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Archive for December, 2013

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So there were TWO very long furniture-delivery trucks parked on Jefferson Avenue in front of my house, taking up at least a third of the block. 

They were there for me.

Thinking that I could simply order dining room chairs on the Internet, I did so and the first and second sets of six chairs were being picked up (it hurt to sit in the first set and the second set bore little resemblance to their picture), while the third set (which I had visited at the store in person) was being delivered.  This involved two different stores – Slumberland and HOM Furniture.  

Slumberland arrived first, made their pick up and the drivers then discovered they had locked their keys in the truck.  Apologetically, they came in and asked to borrow a coat hanger.  As the Slumberland guys struggled for forty-five minutes in the freezing cold, the HOM van pulled up.  They made their pick up and delivery in the house and proceeded to help the Slumberland guys with the door.  After about twenty minutes, they gave up and left.

I called to the Slumberland guys to come in and warm up, which they did.  They also asked if they could have another coat hanger because they “almost had it” but the hanger bent. 

Then it was one of those moments when having a basement full of stuff paid off.  I said, “Wait!” and raced to the basement and proceeded to bring forth something I had bought for the garden—I have no idea why – a yard-long piece of sturdy metal with a circle on the end. 

“How about this?”

“Well, maybe,” they said.

The door opened on the first try.

Sometimes the best gifts come from the basement—that part of your life that you think is useless or irrelevant –but is the missing piece of a puzzle someone else has struggled with for a long time. 

Maybe it’s not a thing but an invitation to someone not on your A-list, a good word or compliment to someone you usually ignore, or something unexpected given to someone who wouldn’t think a gift would be coming (at least from you).

…”And the world is about to turn” as the hymn goes.  Pope Francis is Time magazine’s Person of the Year.  What a turn of events!  What recognition of the power of love and working creatively and with great heart. 

Be part of it.  Turn the old patterns on their heads this season. 

See you in church…

Barbara 

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MISSING THEM

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It was about four o’clock on Thanksgiving eve.  I had just put pumpkin and pecan pies into the oven and was stirring cranberry sauce on the stove.  Suddenly, I wanted to call my mom so much I could hardly stand it. She died ten years ago at age 93. 

She and I used to talk almost every day in the late afternoon. This time can be tricky for those of us who live alone, negotiating that transition when people used to be arriving home and aren’t anymore.  There was no one else to call that I hadn’t talked to already that day, and an aching loneliness filled the room.

Usually I do pretty well, but the holiday, the familiar recipes, the dishes that were hers that I was using to carry things tomorrow to my daughter’s house for the holiday meal, and the sad news blaring from the radio about suffering in every corner of the world brought me down.

My parents, my aunts and uncles – save one who is close to 100 —are gone now.  I loved some of them, was befuddled by others, and downright annoyed by one, but they were a constant in my earlier years.  Now I am an elder and I haven’t adjusted to that.  I wonder if they did. They seemed so much older when they were the same age I am now!

I think that the ache we feel at such times is a testament to the depth of the connections we had with those gone before us and the eternal nature of love – although we never would have called it that in my family—not in a million years! 

Funny but I don’t have any of their pictures around the house – not even of my mother — only one of my grandmother that sits in a gold frame on my dresser.  She has her arms on my shoulders like a guardian angel. I am about five and holding up the dress she had given me, with its plaid taffeta skirt and velvet top.  And it was Christmas.

We don’t have the deep allegiance to ancestors that is present in many cultures and traditions such as Native American, but I have been feeling it lately.  So when Bishop Steven Charleston  (who is Indian) sent this out on Facebook, it healed my holiday-weary soul.  May it help you, too.

“When the hour is late and the world is quiet, when prayers are being said and dreams are being sought, then the space between this life and the life to come draws thin, and if you look with eyes of the Spirit you will see your ancestors watching over you, watching just beyond the candle light, keeping their gentle vigil through the night, offering their wisdom in words too still to speak. You are being blessed by those who loved you most. You are safe in their care. The air around you is filled with a ceaseless benediction, your life held secure in hearts as pure as holy.”

I hope so.

See you in church.

Barbara

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