Friday, December 30, 2016

"the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon, little boy blue and the man in the moon..."

As I was putzing about in my kitchen today, a song came on the radio. "Cat's in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin always makes me stop to pause and ponder. The lyrics are so significant to me, the older I get, the more the words cry out. When I first heard the song, I was about ten years old. Although I liked it and would sing along, the impact of those words didn't truly hit me at that time. Hey, I was only TEN! Today, as I stood there stirring the food I had cooking, I bawled. I mean, runny nose, couldn't even talk bawled!

I will be 54 years old in a few months. I am past the halfway point in my life. When my own firstborn son turned 16, I listened to this song and yes, it spoke to me then, of a boy becoming too busy growing up to take time to talk to his father. I switched "dad" to "mom", and the words still haunt me. The last lyrics speak of a now grown man whose kids are too sick and his job keeping him too busy to come home. My own son is now the same: a fourth child on the way, his job keeps him busy and I have moved three hours from him. I think of him often, of his own struggles, cheers and responsibilities and yes, he's grown up just like me. My boy is just like me.

I am so proud.

And I cry.

I think about the Holy Family at this time of the year, especially also, with Christmas just a few days past. Of how Joseph was pretty much lured into the plans that God had for him and, with nothing more than faith to guide him, he too watched as Jesus was born, grew from a small boy to a young man and then...?

Scripture doesn't tell us anything more than that and I wonder, why? Scripture DOES tell us, however that Mary pondered on all these things, treasuring them within her heart. As a mom, I fully understand this as well. And now, as I grow older, I treasure them even more than ever. If I could have a wish, I'd wish for the times when my kids were still very young; the days when we'd play in the sandbox, when we'd snuggle at night reading the book, "I Love You Forever," the days we'd go out once a month and eat pizza at a restaurant and they would tell me all their secrets. I'd want this because, for me, that was the greatest triumph of my life: watching my kids grow, nurturing them, even on those days when they'd be grumpy and want to sleep in on a school day, or the days when I'd nag them to do homework or take out the trash and yes, the days when they'd be too sick to eat and I'd fret as I wiped their fevered brows.

As the new year approaches, my only wish now is for the time to slow down a little bit more so that I can treasure the moments with my kids even as they continue to grow and move forward in their lives.

May God be with you all...and go hug that child of yours, even if they are all grown up.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

you can be a Christmas tree!

I think the above graphic tells it all. It is so easy to try and be something we are not. The world is full of people who are full of themselves. It is sad when they cannot look around them to see that there are those who are running on empty, especially at holiday time, when everything around us is so magnified. If we are not living out the details of a Hallmark movie, then our lives must be in vain. I am sure you have felt this way also. The best way to bring joy to others is to just be yourself. At the risk of appearing foolish, you may be surprised to realize that there are those who wish they only had the courage to do so! Go ahead and blaze that trail and be the light for someone who needs that illumination this season. Don't stop the day after Christmas, either. If you look around you, pain knows no season. June 21st can be the same as December 26th, which could also be April 5th. The point is, be aware of who needs and angel and then, go do it! 

And as the caption finishes, "it's okay to be a little tilted." After all, Linus said it best in "A Charlie Brown Christmas:" "it wasn't such a bad tree, all it needed was a little love!" 

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

are you a humble do-er?

And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

John 1:5-10

I think a lot about John the Baptist, one of the most important prophets of our time, yet also one of the most humble. Upon readying Jesus for His baptism, he told Jesus how he wasn't fit to baptize Our Lord, yet Jesus instructed him to do it anyway. John knew that his mission was an important one.   
"I baptize you with water for repentance but after me comes one who is more powerful than I; whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire!" Matt 3:11

Let's finish that thought:  "Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17

John knew his mission and carried it out. Next thing he knows, a Voice from heaven cries out, giving all praise to Jesus...was that right? Jesus? Now, John could have had his moment, too. He could have given himself that proverbial pat on the back, puffed up his chest and said, "well, you know, God, I DID have something to do with this also! Where's MY glory??"
But he didn't. he went on, baptizing people, doing the work he knew he was meant for.
Then he was imprisoned...beheaded...
and all for spreading the news about Jesus.
Huge sigh.
Have you ever been in a situation such as this? You do all of the prep work and someone else comes along and steals your thunder. what to do, what to do, right?
Be gracious anyway. Be humble anyway. If you look at life and science, a river has to get its start from somewhere. A building begins with the basement, located deep underground. A museum is awesome in its architecture, but no one goes to the underground, points and responds with, "ah, yes, look at the bricks and mortar there, they have an important job to do and we are all here to pay homage to it."
I say, do it anyway. Be the bricks, the mortar, the one who works hard, yet receives very little recognition. Do what you must because it is the RIGHT thing to do, not because you'll receive an award along with a splash on the TV news, just do it because somewhere, someone needs a hero right about now. Somewhere, someone needs and advocate and being an advocate may not always be the popular job, it may not win you any brownie points, heck, you just may end up between a rock and a hard place like John the Baptist was...but just do it because you know, in your heart of hearts that it is the RIGHT thing to do.
"but when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that your giving may be done in secret. And your father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you." Matt 6:4