Wednesday, 19 November 2014

This!

I collapsed into bed last night, mind swirling, almost nauseous. 

I've got myself worked into a tizzy.....about Christmas.

As in, I have to get busy and Get. It. Done.

NOW.

I realize it's Nov. 19.  But the panic to get rolling is real and exists in my gut.

I've already been making my lists and am checking things off, almost daily.

I'm patiently impatiently (truth) waiting for wish lists so I can finish my shopping. 

Waiting for the next pay check so that all this spending can be spread out appropriately.

I'm getting the less-than-favorite jobs done ahead of time so that I don't leave the worst jobs for last when my Christmas cheer lags.


But, this morning as I sat with my fuzzy housecoat on, sipping coffee, mind foggy with "what can I do next?" I had a thought.

"Why am I so consumed and driven to get this done so fast?"
 
 
Straight into my heart came the thought.....
 
"Because I don't want to miss Christmas."
 
 
Dec. 25 comes to me fast, like a rocket ship, and I find myself drifting through the day, exhausted, and distracted.
 
And tired.
 
And I don't want that.
 
In my hurry to strike things off my to-do list, I don't want to miss out on being there, body, soul and spirit, on Christmas Day.  I want to be in the moment  when the big day comes.
 
 
But I do have to pause and wonder.....
 
Have I EVER missed Christmas?
 
Has it ever come and I failed to be impacted by its' beauty?
 
Have I ever not paused to remember that we celebrate Christmas because of Jesus?
 
Has the wrapping of the gifts and the cooking of the turkey and the meeting of the family ever taken more out of me than it's given me?
 
No.  Resounding no.
 
Oh my.  No.
 
 
 
I think the "big day" is part of the "big season".  A season meant to be for the giving of love and the receiving of The Love.
 
So I'm going to strive to be less frantic about the to-do list, and more focused on thinking about the ones I want to give to.  I'd like to be less annoyed with writing cards, and more grateful that I have friends who might like to hear from me.  I'd like to prepare a feast for my table, a feast of loving conversation.  I'd like the joyful Christmas music to be reflected in my joyful heart, not in a stress-induced nauseous stomach.
 
I'm reminded that....
 
This!
This is Christ the King!
Whom angels guard
And shepherds sing
 
Joy!
Joy for Christ is born
The Babe
The Son of Mary
 

 


Friday, 14 November 2014

Come In, The Door Is Open

I was feeling pretty good about myself the other night.

We had invited someone over.

Arms welcoming a friendship from years ago - we just lost touch - and now, we touch hands again.

My house was spotless.  We had worked extraordinarily hard.  Even surprised The Boy with The Tidy.

And I had baked fresh cinnamon buns, timed to be ready upon their arrival.

The coffee was freshly ground; a favorite roast.

Napkins matched the 'coffee and cinnamon buns' theme.

Quiet music played.

Picture perfect.






The door burst open and shyness quickly faded with the "it's good to see you" and the "you haven't changed a bit" and I'd forgotten how easy it was to share life and conversation with them.

As the evening progressed, we got beyond the casual things and started to share our hearts about our teenage kids residing under our roofs. 

Funny, it's these kids that have brought us together again.  In a good way.  ;)

We talked and talked about wanting positive things for our sons and daughters- good friends, good influences.  Godly friends.  Godly influences.  And we laughed at the spider web of friendships that our kids share - you know, our kids are friends with the 'offspring of our friends' from both near and far and 'who knew' and 'how did that ever happen' but 'I'm so glad it did' and 'we've known those people our entire lives' and 'now our kids are friends' and 'you're kidding' and ..... just feeling blessed that these kids have, somehow, ended up with some amazing people in their lives and, as a parent, how could you be anything but grateful?

And then they talked about how it has become tradition in their home that on Friday nights, teenagers start gathering in their home after school and they stay there until it's time to go to youth group and then they all pile in their cars to get them there.  They said "it's a mess when we get home from work; backpacks piled everywhere.  People everywhere."

And....she said.....

"We always make sure there is Kraft Dinner and hot dogs and Ichiban noodles in the house for them to eat."


I've been thinking about that all week.

Kraft Dinner, hot dogs and Ichiban noodles.

Messy backpacks.

Lots of people.

Every Friday night.


All of a sudden, my (for once) tidy house and fresh cinnamon buns faded into the background of my mind.


I don't think it's about the tidy house and fresh cinnamon buns.  I'd like to think it is.  I'd really like to think that I can be occasionally gifted in the hospitality department because I can make a pretty decent cinnamon bun and can set a pretty table when needed.  I actually DO invite people over.....when it's convenient and when it doesn't stress me out too much.


I've been doing some reading about Hospitality lately and it is challenging every preconceived thought that I've had.  Today, I scrambled to write down this quote:

"Hospitality isn't about a home
or a physical table
or food
or any of that.
 
Hospitality is about love.
 
It's about loving other people;
The rest is just trappings."
 
She Reads Truth
 
I am learning that hospitality is a state of the heart and doesn't need cinnamon buns to prove anything or impress.
 
I think that, beyond anything, people today want sincere friendship.  They want to matter to someone.
 
I want to matter.
 
And I think the kids that come over after school and eat Kraft Dinner together on Friday nights probably feel like they matter to someone.  If they don't see it now, they'll soon realize what a gift this family is.
 
Years ago, when I worked with a community of special needs people, I visited my clients in their homes weekly.  The appointments were booked ahead of time and my visits were seldom a surprise.  Sometimes I was welcomed;  sometimes I was not (ha ha, truth!); sometimes I was tolerated and sometimes I was loved deeply.
 
One of my favorites (shh, don't tell) was a gentleman with Downs Syndrome.  He was one that loved me.  Always.  "Oh Ma-wee, I love you in my hawt....will you mawwy me?"  A weekly conversation.  I smile still.  (mild speech impediments made him even more endearing)
 
But I'd arrive at his house and knock on the back door and from deep inside the house, he'd ALWAYS call out "Come in!  The door is H-H-H-Open!" 
 
He welcomed me with the biggest smile, without fail.  He made the worst coffee ever but I drank it (sometimes) and (secretly) washed the rest down the sink.  He sat beside me and beamed his affection in my direction.  He was probably one of the most gracious people I've met.  Of all the people that I left behind when I resigned from that job, I knew I'd miss him the most.  His tenderness touched me.  I miss his friendship.
 
 
We only get a short opportunity to live this life and make a difference in the lives of others. 
 
I don't think loving others is always convenient.  I don't think people need my friendship only when my house is tidy.  I don't think that every time I want someone to be friends with me that I'll have fresh cinnamon buns handy. 
 
Praying that my heart will be open to love....always, and in all ways.