What is the best gift but food for one who is hungry, and drink for one who thirsts? For those who feel most unlovable, love feels most crucial, yet most inaccessible. For those who’ve done wrong, the most meaningful gift is forgiveness in full. For this, God set His power aside to be born of a virgin as a helpless newborn boy, reliant on a woman’s breast for nourishment, heart for love, and her tutelage and care for survival and growth. For this, Christ Jesus came: to feed, to love, to quench, and to fully forgive.
The extravagance of the season, embodied: God wrapped in infant.
She showed up at the nursing home, waiting to be let in. Of course her chances for entry were near zero, as animals were not welcome. But this pretty golden retriever would not take no for an answer. I don’t know the story of how she actually gained entrance. I can only tell you that by the time my grandmother was in their care, she had already become part of the facility’s staff. We were told that, from her very first moment inside, it seemed like she had just always been there. She knew where everything was. She knew the routine. She knew this was a quiet place, and she abided. She knew when a patient was soon to die. She graciously stayed with them and comforted them until they passed … but not before seeking entry permission from a nurse. She knew her role. This was her life’s work.
I wonder … sometimes, might we glimpse Eden’s garden in full bloom, pre-fall
Back in the days of house-to-house milk delivery, Uncle Ray had the greatest technology: a horse-driven, refrigerated milk cart. The horse knew what she was doing. She would take Uncle Ray to the first home on the route. He would grab enough ice-cold milk from the cart for the next several homes. She would walk the cart to the spot where he would need to grab more milk, and wait there for him. Then along came even newer and greater technology: refrigerated delivery trucks. Unfortunately, Uncle Ray was not permitted to turn down the newer technology. Not only did it make his job harder, but he lost a dear friend and coworker.
Often new knowhow’s know how is negligible or nearly inept.
She spent the entire afternoon asking me relevant, insightful questions about the school’s students, staff, and mission. How do you teach babies and preschoolers a second language? What countries do they come from? What languages are spoken? Which is the most common? (She made note of Arabic, and couldn’t wait to ask her mom if she can begin studying it via Rosetta Stone or Duolingo). Would I please contact the volunteer coordinator to see if it is acceptable for a ten-year-old to volunteer to help the adults care for the children? Are masks required? Is there a dress code? Is there a form her parents could complete and sign, giving her permission to volunteer there? Even if they can’t let her volunteer yet, can she take a tour of the school, and meet the staff? Oh, and would I please tell them she is mature for her age?
Eager native sprout seeks to share energy to root and bloom transplants.
Having devoted grandparents made my childhood something special. Holidays were spectacular, with wall-to-wall cousins and outstanding meals — Irish on one side; Italian on the other. Summertime meant choosing a cousin to spend a few nights at Grandma and Grandpa’s. I suppose you probably knew, but we were kind of given free reign, and ice cream and nonpareils rained freely. Those were fun years of my life. I miss the years, and I miss my grandparents.
I don’t miss them like my kids miss you. We didn’t have the special closeness my kids had with you … the kind where they weren’t sure they could ever live without you. The kind where they spent their lives fearing the inevitable. The kind that took special grace from God to go on in the wake of losing you both within 35 days of each other. The kind that begs, “Just one more day. Just one more conversation. Just one more hug.” The kind that made their lives richer for the living, a bit shattered in the leaving, and grateful for every shared moment.
A love worth the loss.
This is who I want to be
To my granddaughters.
He asks what my hardest moments have been, pressing me to purposely reflect on a life that has been primarily appreciation-inducing. I had parents who loved me well and modeled life; relatives who enveloped and affirmed me; friends who have laughed with me, and accepted my limitations; a sister with whom I can celebrate differences and honor common blood; children and grandchildren of limitless love; a husband who gives selflessly and fills my gaps; a Savior who has walked beside me since my earliest days. These thoughts of great blessing bring easy breath and grateful tear. Not that I have not experienced occasional pain. Loss of loved ones. Moves I did not want to make. Divorce. I have not been exempt from affliction. But searing misery has come from a single source: The suffering of those I love.
There is no torment
than wanton worry.