Thursday, 6 December 2012

Thursday thoughts on a cold December morning . . .

It was a gorgeously sunny day here in Chester yesterday . . . although bitterly cold. The wind was from the North and when it blew, it cut right through to the bone . . . as my mother would say.  One can be very forgiving of the wind on a day like that though, for . . . when the sun cuts through the cloud and bathes the cold earth, touching the grieving Winter sky with gold and blue, as the clouds roll back . . . it is as if a blessing falls from above.  There may not really be any actual warmth to be felt in the sun, but all is forgiven . . . for warm or not . . . it cheers the soul.

December is the month of gifts . . . custom and ceremony, celebration and consecration . . . all wrapped up for us, not tied with ribbons and wrapped in pretty paper but enrobed in cherished memories of happy times, and family . . . friends . . . love.  Tis the month of miracles and belief in  miracles  The miracle of oil that burns in a lamp for eight days . . . the miracle of a royal son having been born in a lowly stable . . . the miraculous return of light on the longest, darkest night of the year  . . . and the miracle of beautiful . . . unconditional . . . perfect . . . love.

Where there is love, there are always miracles.  Where there are miracles . . . there is joy.  Where there is joy . . . there is abundance, contentment . . . simple and pure, once common, but now . . . Holy.

I was in a bit of a funk yesterday . . . there is a man in my church congregation, a good man.   A husband, a father . . . a grandfather.  A man who has served his community, his family, his God . . . in all ways and without complaint or fear.  We have learned that he has terminal cancer and only, at best . . . a few months to live, and my heart faltered at the injustice of it.  Why should someone who has been so good, and done so much good . . . and who has so much to live for and so many to live for . . . why should he have to die so young, when there is so much left for him here on earth.  I found myself thinking that he didn't deserve this . . . unable to understand for a moment why I, who have messed my life up so miserably in so many ways . . . am for the moment still here.  And I cried because it didn't seem fair and I wanted to take his place because it didn't seem fair.

I see this man in church each week, with his wife, surrounded by his family who love him so very much . . . I watch him serve others in any and every way asked . . . and even without being asked, and here am I who has failed so much on all of those counts.  Two failed marriages . . . a family divided and uncaring . . . and it is the same for Todd.  We've both failed miserably at our lives.  We have each other now and we have a good life together and our faith and we serve . . . but what we have . . .  and who we are pales in comparison to this very good man.  It makes my tender soul ache, and so last night I bared my thoughts and heart to a friend, a good woman  . . . she being one who has also always done and lived the right thing, made righteous choices . . . and yet still suffered incredible loss, loss that would break many in two.

She said to me simply . . . his work here is done, and there is  work awaiting him beyond the veil.  He has come here and done all that he needed to do, and done it faithfully . . .  and now he is moving further along on his journey home to his Heavenly Father, and yes . . .  it will be sad for those that are left behind.  It always is . . . but they know and have the assurance that this life is not all there is.  It is only a stepping stone, and they will be together again one day, because they have done the right things and are doing the right things . . . and because God is fair.  God loves all His children equally . . . the ones who always do the right things and the ones who mess up.  He rejoices with us in our successes and triumphs, and weeps with us in our failures and sorrows.  We may disappoint Him . . . but when we repent and do better, He wipes the slate clean.  He does not hold our wrongs against us . . . neither should we.

There is a time appointed for each of us.  Some go home sooner . . . some later.  All leave something behind.  What we leave behind is up to us . . . is our choice, and however miserably we may feel like we have failed . . . God sees and loves us with a perfect love, with eyes that see right through to our broken hearts and our contrite spirits.  It matters not that we come to the banquet late and with tangles in our hair, bruises on our knees, and wounds on our souls . . . it only matters that we come.

And I felt better.

December is the month of gifts . . . and the most precious gifts of all are the ones that we can store in our hearts.

 “When life is hard, remember - we are not the first to ask, 'Is there no other way?”
~Jeffrey R Holland

Cooking in The English Kitchen today, Beef, Bean and Bacon Casserole.


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