Monday, December 10, 2012
Motives, regrets, still learning, still sharing
This starts with notes jotted down during and after church, and continues with whatever comes ...
-- I regret missing the celebration of life at my church in Norman for a photographer whom I did not know personally, but who apparently touched the lives of many, many people I know and care about professionally and at church. But I had to think about my reasons for regretting not attending, considering that I don't think I knew him at all or his family very well, even though they attend the church. Were my reasons selfish? It seems so. I didn't know him. But I know many people who knew him. And it was at my church. Ultimately, the reason I didn't go is when it was the morning after my work shift that ended not that many hours earlier. But I still wish I had gone. I don't know how many times this will have to happen before I learn: Go. Be there.
-- On the other hand, I also struggled with not going to what I still consider the home church in Gainesville to see my great-niece as Mary in its Christmas pageant. I knew there would be pictures and possibly video, but those don't capture the special moments for a sweet little girl and her younger sister before, after and as they did their part to share the story of Christ's birth. But in this case, I can say "Go. Be there." still played out, but it had a different tune. I went instead to my church in Norman, where the children's "What Christmas Means to Me" program blessed me in a special way, especially as I watched two precious young sisters who reminded me of my young great-nieces and their even younger cousin, and how sweet it is to watch them grow up learning the traditions of the church. The service also included baptisms of two equally precious little sisters. And to cap it all, our choir director sang an aria from "The Messiah" that likely will make anything the choir can do for its cantata next Sunday seem pale by comparison. Fortunately, it is not a competition. God can be glorified in all, and I believe He was and is.
-- Perhaps an even bigger capstone to the worship service for me was what happened afterward. I had no thought of picking up an Angel from the Angel Tree ministry. I was just trying to find out if anything was left to buy from the youths' bake sale. But the person I asked thought I was asking about Angel Tree. I almost said, no, that's not what I was asking, but I caught myself, and quickly asked to see what they had. I ended up buying size 8 clothes for a 4-year-old girl who has at least one parent in prison. As I thought about that today, I couldn't even imagine what it would be like to be 4 years old (or any age, for that matter) and have a parent in prison. It brings tears to my eyes to realize how blessed I and my family are -- and yet I struggle with selfishness. I worry about giving too much and end up giving very little of my money or my time. Seriously. Sadly. And it's very hard to break the pattern. I'm grateful for one small step and praying for more progress in this area. (And -- I also found the bake sale leftovers and bought something to support the youths.)
My prayer is that God please help me not be selfish as I experience and share His blessings. And may I continue to grow and learn from missteps, trusting God to work all things for His great good.