Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Missing Mom

Tonight I am missing my Mom.

She has been gone 10 1/2 years. In some ways it feels like a lifetime ago that she left this place and other times, just yesterday. I miss her was a laugh that came from the depth of her being. I miss hearing her say my name. She had a way of saying it that always made me feel like I was her favorite person in the world. I miss hearing her tell me about a book she was reading. She was an avid reader and could easily read 2 or 3 books in a week. I miss seeing the delight in her eyes as she would tell me about something funny she read or heard. I miss smelling the aromas of her cooking - especially during the holidays. I remember waking to the smells of celery and onion on Thanksgiving morning as she was busy stuffing the turkey. She was a splendid cook, and we all relished enjoying the bounty of her hands on holidays. I miss what could have been. I miss that she has never laid eyes on my daughters. I know that she would delight in Emily's tender spirit and in Olivia's spunky "girly" spirit. I know she would laugh at Chad's jokes and be amazed at how grown up he is becoming. I miss hearing her words of wisdom as she always knew the right thing to tell me when I was anxious or upset about something. I miss having a mother. I miss talking about her in the present. I miss her physical presence in my life. I miss you Mom!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


My eyes have been opened. No longer do I live in a community and NOT see the vast needs that exist right inside our own borders. Right under our noses. Before my opportunity to step inside the world of the hurting, hungry, destitute, I lived ignorantly. It changes you to witness the hunger (physical and spiritual) and destitution. I can no longer drive the streets of this community admiring the well-manicured lawns and not think about the depth of needs that exist.

While I am saddened by this awareness for many reasons, I am compelled to speak out, to act upon those feelings. I realize that my own needs seem to diminish in intensity in my awareness that some are wondering where they will rest their heads tonight or what they will find to fill their baby's tummy. It is easy for us to make assumptions as to what caused the predicament. Is it laziness, wastefulness, undisciplined selves? Understanding the "whys" are important. Don't get me wrong. To meet needs without rooting out the cause only enables neediness. But, have we grown accustomed to assuming and excusing our lack of compassion? What if we assumed something different? What if we assumed that with some compassion, with some of our lives poured out into theirs, a change can happen?

I am called, as a Christian, to be a hope-bearer. Not an assumption maker. I must be willing to share my hope in order that someone else may find theirs. We have bought into the notion that individual is best. That handling things on our own is the brave thing to do. And, sadly to some, that we are entitled to better. None of these are true. We were created with a need for community. We were created for connection with others. And, none of us is entitled to anything but what God has willed in our lives. The sense of entitlement, from what I have witnessed, is a great source of heartache amongst many of the needy. Yes, there is a huge chasm in our world that exists between the poor and the wealthy. What gets us into trouble is when we think to ourselves, "they owe me", "they have to give me what I am lacking". In a sense it is a reaching and grabbing motion with the hands instead of a position of palms up, waiting to receive.

The fact of the matter is that there will always be poverty. There will always be those who have much and those who do not and varying degrees inbetween. Does that abdicate our responsibility to have compassion? Or to step up and offer what we can of ourselves to give someone else hope? Absolutely not! For those of us who know from where our hope comes from, we need to share! It isn't something we are supposed to keep for ourselves. For hope grows when we share it. As we are reaching out to feed the hungry and clothe the poor, I need to remember take opportunity to feed the souls too. At the core of every human being is a place that is empty without God. A place designed and created for God alone. If I, who knows this to be true and has experienced the life-giving presence of God in my life, am not willing to tell someone this, then I am not a hope-bearer. I will have failed my responsibility, failed my destiny.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Catchin' Up

Well, summer has passed us by, and life has moved from a moderate pace to crazy. I have a first grader, third grader, and sixth grader this year. Wow! I feel old. Chad has been very busy with football and acclimating to Middle School. Quite nicely, I gratefully admit.

Where does time go? Really! I was having a discussion about time with a friend last week. She said something that made so much sense. When we are young, say single digit age, time seemed to pass by so slowly. And, as we all have felt, the older we get, the faster time seems to travel.
She once heard someone say that when someone is four, a year is a quarter of his or her life. When someone is 40, a year is 1/40 of his or her life. Wow - the simplicity of that statement.

Needless-to-say, I have been contemplating time. Chad and I were conversing today about Heaven. He is worried that he will be bored in Heaven because of the fact that it is forever. Don't you just love the innocence of childhood? I sure do! I remember thinking the same thing. Perhaps never speaking it out loud, but the thought crossed my mind. I remember a choir director of mine saying that we would be singing all the time in Heaven and thinking, UGH! I like to sing, but not all of the time. Anyway, my response to my son went something like this.

Imagine a place where there is nothing bad. Nothing. No ill feelings at all. Nothing to make us feel lacking or wanting or pain. Think of a time that was so fun that you wished it would never end. Capture that fleeting moment and imagine that feeling for eternity. See, we can hardly grasp such a possibility, but it will be. Heaven is completely void of anything bad. Our connection with our Creator completely restored. Pure joy. I reassured him that it isn't anything to dread or worry about, and I reassured him that his feelings are normal.

God is so good and we can't fathom that. Yes, we try to wrap our temporal brains around Him, but we can't. We project our own disappointments, failures, inadequacies on God by blaming Him when life doesn't go our own way. But, our projections do not change Him, not even one iota. I am so grateful for that. I am so grateful to know that in the midst of uncertainty, sadness, and disappointment in life, I have a deep resonating hope. He is who He says He is, and He does what He says He will do. And He is creating a place for me in My Father's house where I will one day fellowship with My Creator and My Savior. Hallelujah! AMEN!