Friday, November 14, 2008
Light and Hope
It's sunny today. It was supposed to rain, but as I walked to the bus stop this morning, I realized that it was going to be a gorgeous day. By mid-morning, all the haze of the chilly morning was gone and beautiful bright autumn sunlight had taken its place.
This is the first day this week that I have felt real hope in my heart.
It's been a tough week around here. All kinds of things are happening, work is crazy, my kids are crazy and one is pretty sick, my choirs are getting ready for the onslaught of Christmas joy...
I actually told my boss yesterday that I hated Christmas. On SO many levels...
It's a frantic season, with regard to church, performances and shopping. There are so many expectations of greatness and tradition, you can't ever hope to live up to it all. Everyone is so busy that no one really appreciates the reason for the season: Jesus coming to Earth as a child to save us from our sins. And, really, it's November 14th...do we HAVE to play Christmas Carols on the radio ALREADY???
My kids belong to a youth group that is going to go to Appalachia for the weekend before Christmas. They are going to go and build wheelchair ramps and help to do house repairs, deliver toys and clothes to the needy, and have a prayer revival (or whatever you might call it when you're Catholic...).
I was reading the letter that their Youth Group minister enclosed with the registration forms and I was very surprised at how much he assumed. At one point he stated that "We have been abundantly blessed by God. We have never had to go through a winter without heat or water. We never have to worry about whether or not there will be food on the table for dinner." That's not true of MY kids. I am sorry to say that we HAVE lived through a winter with no heat. We do have times when we actively worry about whether or not we are going to have food on the table for dinner. But, we HAVE been abundantly blessed by God. We have jobs, a roof over our heads and family and friends that love us and care about us.
My little missionaries are going to take this trip. They have to raise $150 each for the trip. They have been asked to ask parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles to donate to the trip, in lieu of presents for them. All the money goes to buying presents and food for the people they are going to minister to in Harlan County, KY. My son took this trip last year and he said it was one of the most wonderful experiences of his life. He told me he didn't miss his Christmas presents at all. Unlike their cranky old Mom, the kids are full of hope and light, and they can't wait to take it to the world.
So today, as I sit in my office with sunlight streaming in the window, I am reminded that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. It's been a tough week, but I am making it through. Even though I feel like a failure as a parent sometimes, I see my kids becoming people that are worth knowing. That was my goal as a parent: to raise people worth knowing. They don't see all of the hard knocks that life has handed them, they just see life. And they see people out there suffering that they feel called to help.
I am SO proud of my kids and their strength and character.
"Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!"