Thursday, September 29, 2016

Sister Love

After five unforgettable weeks together, yesterday I dropped off my sister at the airport and bid her a tearful good-bye.

Now, there is a giant hole inside my heart that only a sister can fill.

Her first visit was fourteen years ago. Since then, we exchanged a ton of e-mails, talked on Skype countless times. We paid a couple of all too short, rushed visits to her and the rest of my family in Europe. One can say that we could have, should have done more to arrange more time together.

But life has a way of interfering with could-haves and should-haves.

Just as, sooner or later, life has a way of forcing the true love out into the open. 

She spared no expense in coming, paying her own way, apparently blind to sacrifice of leaving everyone and everything behind for such a long time.

Days and weeks before her coming, I was cleaning like a mad banshee, clearing out as much clutter as I could, making room for her both in the house and in my schedule, daydreaming about what it’s going to be like to live with her again under the same roof.

I admit, I was a bit apprehensive, too.

Will she feel at home? Will we drive her crazy? (I know we will – it’s inevitable!) How are we all going to adjust to another person inside our little family’s rut? How’s she going to adapt to not just our family’s but also this country’s strange ways and rhythms, values and habits?

I understand that most people can’t afford such extravagant luxury of the gift of time. Sure, we had some exceptional circumstances that justified the incredible splurge. But, during those fleeting five weeks, I realized that there is nothing – nothing ­– that can replace an extended time of living together, under the same roof, sharing life, meals, laundry, recipes and everything else.

An open-book life with no place or desire to hide or keep secrets. 

It was the most refreshing experience I’ve had in a long, long time.

I think it gave me a tiny taste of what it was like when Jesus left his home and country, Father, saints and angels and moved in to live with us… 

...what a gift that was and how life-altering the experience would be not only for those who received him but also for the Son of God himself. 

The Word became flesh and moved in with us... John 1:14

Saturday, September 03, 2016

The Secret Power of Innocent Questions

One exceptionally busy year, Ash Wednesday sneaked up on me utterly unprepared.  I woke up that morning, suddenly realizing what day it was.

Being too early - Before Coffee - my brain was still in the mushy pre-caffeine state.

What should I be fasting from?.... What should I be fasting from?

Since nothing was coming to my mind, I had enough sense to throw the question at God, asking Him if there might be something - anything He would like me to give up for Lent that year...

Then I jumped out of bed – by now we were already running late for school – quickly forgetting all about the Lent and my question, until I got back home to the peace and quiet and the second cup of coffee to enjoy...  

That’s when I noticed that my beautiful lima-green iPod earbuds were… gone!

With them, gone was my peace, quiet, and the anticipated enjoyment of the second cup of java, which sat abandoned on the kitchen counter, turning cold and bitter.

It wasn’t until late that afternoon, having circled my bike route on foot three times, that I finally conceded. 

I was both resentful and mystified….

I felt my earbuds were taken from me without my consent. I definitely do not like my things taken from me without my consent. It’s called stealing. But, it's hard to pin that on God, since I am quick to profess that He owns it all anyway.

But, even more than that, I was baffled.

Why in the world would God – GOD?!!?!! - need my favorite EAR BUDS???