24 October, 2011

The Queen

Do you remember that girl in your high school class that won all the beauty pageants, homecoming votes, and most everything votes? That wasn’t me and I daresay it wasn’t you as those people are rare – I mean there is just one prize and many of us. My friend tells me she was never the rose-carrying, crown wearing winner but always nominated!! It was her best friend who always won! So true for many of us…

…so a month ago when a young girl I know was crowned Homecoming Queen, it was delightful for my friend and me to hold her roses! We wanted to wear the crown but resisted snatching it off her beautiful head :)! The celebration was outstanding that evening. Hundreds of hugs and congratulations were heard and felt. So many mega-watt smiles and pictures were taken – all of us wanting to be pictured with the Queen. This precious girl is loved by many and had a night of nights that will long be remembered.

There was another girl in the stadium that night. She too, was excited about Homecoming, the celebration and the dance. She too was thrilled when the Queen and King were announced. It was a grand night for her and her friends. But this girl was more invisible than the Queen. This girl had been sliding away for several years, present but distant. Good friends she had known her whole life were remote from her and she from them. She had changed; they had changed.

The night wore on with loud music, laughter, dancing, tears, fears, choices, pictures, whispers, kisses and finally home to bed. Exhausted.

When morning broke the Queen’s crown was thrown aside, the dress lay crumpled on the floor, the flowers in water but wilting. The quiet girl woke in her home with her mom at her side. Confused, troubled and safe. Homecoming was over and new paths lay ahead as bad choices had been made. Paths that now needed the comfort of friends. Would anyone reach out to her? Would anyone notice her need for friends? Her dress lay crumpled on the floor, her high heels thrown off, and the invisible ‘crown’ of this sweet girl lay broken at her feet. Our choices can do that to us and will.

It’s so very easy for me to get caught up in the celebration of today that I lose sight of those around me who are hurting. I often forget that the crowns we receive in this life are all going to melt away. The crowns, the roses, the dresses, the beautiful homes, the great careers….all gone. But the people…the people we encounter have an eternal choice. It’s so easy to overlook those who are difficult to love or those who look different from me. I love the pomp and circumstance of being around the Queen and her celebrants but I learned that weekend that the true gift of love comes from those anonymous times we offer and give love to those who have been rejected or cast away. It’s when we act and no one sees. It’s when we give and no one knows….it’s how Jesus loves you and me. He loves the quiet ones, the downcast, the different, the non-popular, the ones who hurt, and the ones who make silly decisions. Can I love like that? Can I be Jesus to someone today?

The next day, the quiet girl still full of confusion and pain received a visitor. The new Homecoming Queen stopped by for a visit. She knew her friend was in pain. Gone was the crown, the fancy dress, the beautiful roses and all that remained was a Love given by our God, our KING, to live out in real life.

Thank you, Lord for living through this little queen.

But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:3-4

06 October, 2011

Momma’s Eyes

This week I walked into my momma’s room and she was asleep. I stood before her in silence expecting her to sense my presence. She did not. As I approached her I touched her arm and she opened her light-green eyes. Momma's eyes have loved on me for 53 years. And I have to say her eyes have actually adored me, spoiled me, showed me unconditional love, laughed with me and cried with me. But today those same eyes looked at me and did not know me.

I sat with my momma for several hours today. At times, we sat in silence and at times we sat in a confused state of meaningless words. But what a great day because she was there and so was I.

I often have this same experience in my own mind and heart: either I have no words to speak or too many words to get out of my head. It seems I’m either sitting before the Lord in silence or babbling to Him in concentric circles. Is this old age? Or is this just life with a husband recently out of the hospital, a sick and elderly momma, full-color life with a high school Senior, and life with a son in college 1000 miles away? Is this just my condition? I think we all have this malady on occasion. And recently I’ve come to believe it’s a blessing.

Last night, I lay in bed and listened…to the silence. I literally heard no sound at all other than the sound of me…my breath, that funny sound in our ears when all around us is silent, a random dog bark, a house creak…beautiful silence.

But there are times when my head feels as though thoughts rush and race at a frantic pace, fighting for my attention, refusing to slow down, and in such a hurry they bump and tumble into each other. My times of prayer become a race around the world of thought with no clear sentence or thought sequence seemingly able to reach to throne room of God.

And it’s in these days I remember,

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

There is no right or wrong, good or bad in my thoughts offered to God or in my silence offered to God, words or no words. Do I love sitting with my momma in silence? Yes. Do I love listening to my momma talk in circles? Yes. I love it because she’s my momma and I’m her girl. She’s mine and I’m hers which is all that matters.

So it is with our God. Silence or babbling. He’s mine and I’m His…beautiful.