Saturday, December 24, 2011

two places

There are now 12 people gathered in this house for the holidays. Every nook has someone
sleeping in it. I wake up early, as is my habit, and lay in bed for an hour enjoying the quiet. Soon the house will be people everywhere, laughing, cooking, relaxing, sitting in front of the fireplace, wrapping last minute Christmas presents, football game on the television, little girls running around the house. A peaceful chaos.

As I lay in the dark and stillness of the morning, I begin to pray. Thinking of a few Bible verses
I’ve been memorizing. Talking to God about what I hope for next year. Wondering if what I want to do lines up with what He needs me to do. Thanking Him for a warm house and cozy bed
when it’s -10 degrees outside.

Faces appear in my mind, people God has brought into my life in the last several months. A woman alone trying to recover from cancer. A young man staying in our home on the weekends.
A high school student who is having a hard time. My daughter who will leave for college when
the calendar turns to 2012. My son who I need to let grow up. My husband who will preach the Christmas sermon tomorrow. The album of faces is thick. So many people whose lives intersect with mine, and their difficulties and challenges weigh on my mind and heart. What can I possibly be or do that will make a difference in their lives? I pray about that. Lord, how can I love them all?

There are two places my life toggles between:

The quiet hours of prayer. Asking God to give me a bigger heart. Confessing my impatience and lack of understanding and weakness in caring for people. Lifting up each name and all their burdens. Casting those cares on the Lord. Filling up my own soul with the presence of God.

The busy hours. People everywhere I turn. Trying to love. Giving a hug. Listening. Overlooking faults. A word of counsel. Putting down my tasks to be with someone. Looking for the right
words to give. Seeing the hurts of so many.

It was the life Jesus lived. People - toggle to solitude - toggle to people - toggle to solitude -toggle to people. The one requires the other.

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