On Monday I wrote about installing a light for a friend on a high wall of a building (Highs & Unknowns) (https://thewannabesaint.com/2017/06/25/highs-and-unknowns/). It was hot on that ladder and my hands and arms were dripping sweat as a vent from the building blew out hot air making it even more stifling.
I’m not a big fan of heights but I made the decision to go up and not look down. I had a hand towel to dry off my hands, arms, and forehead and used it to get a better grip on the light and keep the sweat out of my eyes….all for a friend unable to make the climb.
When we take on a burden from a friend, when we set out to help someone, we do it, hopefully, out of love, kindness, and concern. The challenge becomes when, if, the burden become greater than we realized. The decision must be made repeatedly to continue to carry on, not give up, look for the extra strength needed, to not give up or give in until the burden can be laid down and both are free.
This morning my wife and I sat in a small Lutheran church singing familiar Christmas carols, reciting Christmas liturgy, listening to Bible verses telling the coming of the Savior to our world. In the middle of the service. a woman rolled down the aisle a cart with a birthday cake on it. The pastor then called the children up front and talked about Jesus’ birthday and began to light the candles on the cake. To his surprise and the congregants, the candles began to sparkle! A few of them sparkled enough to him to exclaim; “We might have to call the fire department to put these candles out!” It was a humorous response but also portrayed his concern over the flashing, flickering candles. After the children’s’ portion of the service, the same woman rolled out the gleaming cake. No firefighters showed up so I assume she took care of the candles.
As I think about the candles and cake I am reminded that Jesus’ birthday is; “more than.” It’s more than candles, hymns and carols, Bible verses, liturgy, communion, special services and magnificent homilies. The birth of Christ changed the universe, a cosmos of atrophy, mystery, transience and death. A child surprised all of creation. The birth of the Christ-child re-animated a dying world and beyond. We have become so used to the story but it should take us by surprise every Christmas! The impact of his birth is still being felt today. Our lives are not just saved but should be made vivacious and ebullient, sparkling out of control for the world to see, to dare others to take a closer look and maybe catch fire from the flame we celebrate today.
Last weekend I opened a bag of Iams dog food for the pooches. Chances are it was the last bag of dog food I will buy at our local PetSmart store.
Scooping some out for the dog’s dinner Monday night it hit me that the next time I buy a bag of dog food I will be living in a new place, doing a new thing. Each evening, every serving gets me closer to the unknown and a new normal. Like sand slipping from the top of an hourglass so the bite size bits are disappearing and when the bottom is reached I will need to find a new place to shop for sustenance and nutrients for my furry ones.
As I begin my sabbatical next week I also wonder where my sustenance, nutrients will come from, who/what will feed, inspire, heal and help me.
Reflecting on this yesterday I observed that the dogs aren’t worried about the food running out. They have a lifetime of being taken care of, provided for and have never gone hungry.
Maybe a lesson can be learned as I scoop away the past, embrace an uncertain present and unknown future. Wisdom teaches me to live with open-handed mindfulness, approaching every moment, each experience, ready to receive and release.
So I will trust, and remember that even though I will soon reach the bottom of the bag, I too have never gone hungry.blessings, bdl