Friday, November 21, 2014

Gifts of November

 It is seven in the morning as I walk around the perimeter of our beloved Compound, and deceptively noisy. The wind and a light sound of battered leaves surround me. In a matter of hours the leaves will fall from this tree, a skeleton of branches left behind.

With a light frost on the ground, my feet crunch with every step.

Honking, honking everywhere. Geese en route to warmer places fly overhead and take a break at their rest stop in the field.

I don't recall ever noticing that November is so alive.

 At our church's annual Thanksgiving carry in, I am one of five people who were asked to give a brief testimony of gratitude. My first thought was all the obvious blessings- family, friends, food, shelter, health. Especially health. I had a broken ankle and a walker this time last year, so I'm especially mindful of that one. My next thought was that everyone is going to get up and say that they are thankful for those exact things. I wanted something less rote, something more specific and easily hidden, something unique to my life at this point in time right now.

I spent a week being mindful of the lesser blessings, those small but meaningful moments of thanks that get lost in the fold, or perhaps never even make it out of the dryer.

Here are some things I found and sorted.

I am thankful for opportunities to give, and am thankful every time I witness someone who wants to give their time and resources to others in need. This is a good time of year to observe this, as it becomes more abundant with Christmas approaching. I am thankful if someone in need is being fed, clothed, or comforted by any laborer in the field. It happens often, but it's a bonus if I get to see it.

I am thankful every time someone asks about our son, asks about his progress, or just plain asks about his unique diagnosis. Any opportunity to share the joy of his accomplishments or educate someone about Childhood Apraxia of Speech is a personal blessing. To advocate for your children is a special extra-credit assignment.

I am thankful that my husband will be working on Thanksgiving day. It means he has an important job that is in demand. Yes, once in a while we have to reschedule a holiday, but not every holiday. You get used to it when you have a loved one who works in the medical field.

Finally, I'm thankful that I don't shop in any actual stores on the day after Thanksgiving. I can't think of any place I would rather not be than out in the crowds. My Christmas shopping is done, anyway. I guess I can be thankful for that, too.

South bound journey.

What are your unique blessings?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Prayer in a Season of Thankfulness

We're adjusting to a new routine. The Little Mister has started a special preschool program where so far, he is thriving. Even as I blinked back some tears the first time he got on the bus, you can't begin to imagine the depth of my gratitude for this opportunity. So far, he loves it and has adjusted seamlessly in the small classroom of peers. He receives therapy, and so much more. He has two words now: "Yes" and "No". He also has some half words such as yuck, uh-oh, ah-hah, and he is working on "ok."

It has been the answer to a very long prayer journey.

There is a song that says "Someone is praying for you." I always thought it was kind of ridiculous. Who, and why? How or why would they pray for me if they did not know me? How would they even know what they should pray about?

On Little Mister's first day of school I was adjusting to the new routine with my regular Monday trip to the grocery store. When we first were married and moved to this area, I used to sometimes shop at a store on the other side of the county. It was located in a large shopping center and I could do several errands at once. There was a lady I would sometimes see in the grocery store who caught my eye. Perhaps in her fifties, and dressed so flamboyantly that it bordered on a costume, I surmised that she might be self employed in a manner completely off the books and in a very old profession. Her garish clothing caught my attention every time. Once I saw her shopping with a man. She kept rough company. Beneath the flashy and cheap, I could see evidence that she was once very beautiful.

They built a store closer to where we live, and I no longer saw the lady. In fact, I forgot about her.

Until last week.

It was the high spiked heels of her boots and the skirt shorter than her worn out fur coat. Maybe the coat was a Goodwill find, or a gift from long ago. Now, she was pushing a cart through my new store, more creases on her face than even five years ago. How did she get out here? Her cart was far from full, just a few things for a single lady to get by on, pasta sauce and soda. As I encountered her in aisle after aisle, she never once noticed me, the denim skirt mom who was praying that the world would show her some kindness. Winter is coming, will she be warm? Is there anyone to look after her? What about in twenty years?

We ended up in the check out lanes next to one another. She was having a hard time paying. After using the balance on her food stamps, she was scrounging for seventeen dollars and change.

My heart longed to help her. What should I do? Lord, please let her have the money. I don't want her to have to put anything back. Should I help if she needs it?

She leaned over her cart, calmly sifting through her large purse. She was unfazed, and after a while produced something to pay the balance.

We paralleled again on our way out of the store, and I wondered as she pushed her cart through the parking lot. Could she actually have a car? She had too many bags to take on the bus, and she wasn't headed for the bus stop. She confidently strode to a vehicle and began unloading the cart into the back of something. I craned my neck and saw an elderly man helping her. They were putting the bags into the back of his van, while his wife waited in the front passenger seat.

Ah, familiarity. I recognized him as the Deacon from a nearby church, an extremely kind man whose acquaintance I had made a handful of times. So they were looking after her. No doubt doing more than just giving her rides, but maybe also feeding her physically and spiritually.

Thank you.

Someone is praying for her.  

Maybe someone is praying for you.


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