Another beach…another shell Another memory of my life saved Wrapped inside the fragile cover Of a small miracle of nature. Caressing its delicate edges I am moved by the richness of color And it’s unique imperfections. Like the scars in my life It’s small lines and broken edges Cannot discount the beauty of the whole. For it is with each rough wave That I survive… Still marred… Still imperfect… Still beautiful.
I have a love of walking at night when the world is quiet, the darkness envelopes me softly and the moon hears my whispers. Many nights I have walked the streets, my soul restless as I struggled with various dilemmas. In the light of day, the details of life take up all my time, but at night, when the stillness settles, my mind once again takes up that endless litany of questions that seem to have no answers.
Yet it is often in those silent hours, when my soul is wrestling, that peace seeps in quietly. The pressing problems that drive me outside begin to slowly fade. As I pour my heart out to my Father above, seemingly impossible obstacles are melted away and I again find faith for another day.
On a recent night, I was again walking the streets. My heart struggled with sadness and loneliness. I questioned my decisions and inspirations I felt I had received. What was I doing in this new place far from anyone I knew right before Christmas? Why had I left my friends and family to go to a place where I was nothing but a stranger to those around me? No answer seemed to come.
Yet, in my melancholy mood, I stopped for a moment and looked up around me. The rains had just blown away and a small, bright moon lit the path. The wet pavement looked like silver beneath my feet and the air was warm and soft. As I stood there, the line “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear…” came to my mind and I thought that the old Christmas carol must have been written on a night such as this.
The beauty of the night lessened my sadness, but I still felt my heavy burden as I walked home. The heavens seemed silent and the peace I sought did not come. I tried to distract myself by remembering the lines of the old Christmas carol, but I realized I didn’t remember them all, so I looked them up when I got home. Little did I know that there were more verses written than I knew. As I read this verse, it took my breath:
“And ye, beneath life’s crushing load, Whose forms are bending low, Who toil along the climbing way With painful steps and slow, Look now! for glad and golden hours Come swiftly on the wing. Oh, rest beside the weary road, And hear the angels sing!”
I knew that these sweet words were my answer. Realization dawned…I was never alone. The Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate at this most beautiful season, was letting me know that I was being watched over, loved and cared for at all times. “Glad and golden hours” were coming “swiftly on the wing” and my weary heart had a place to rest.
It was a simple, tender answer and exactly what I needed. Sweet peace melted away my sadness and I felt loved. Since that night, Christmas joy, laughter, wonder at my beautiful, new home and the hugs of new friends have filled my heart. It has been a Christmas miracle and I have been amazed at the love that has surrounded me. At times, I feel as if I have known some of these new friends for years. What a gift!
To those “beneath life’s crushing load”, let your soul “rest beside the weary road” and remember that you aren’t walking it alone. He walks it with you and that is the best Christmas miracle of all.
“So she would not be misunderstood, she told her story every chance she could…”
I don’t often speak of this, because it is something close to my heart that is very private and personal. I have never been able to have children, though I always wanted them. I had two miscarriages and at my age, I am aware that I probably never will have them. I have not adopted nor fostered due mainly to financial situations. So I have not had that beautiful and sacred experience of being a parent to my own child.
However, having said that, I have felt that pure love that comes from a parent many times watching my nieces and nephews (and many other children) grow over the years. Though I was not a mother, I have had the joy of serving as one. I have had the gift of holding babies and watching them fall asleep in my arms when their mothers or fathers were tired and frustrated. I have played with the children, tickled them, laughed with them, helped them through their illnesses, listened to their stories and hugged them as they cried. I have shopped with them as they got older, watched movies with them, worked alongside them and loved them at all times, even if I disapproved of something they were doing.
Though at times I have wished to hold my own sweet little one, I have felt it a gift to be able to relieve a tired parent and for a moment, experience that sacred feeling that comes from loving as only a parent can.
I believe this song, Mary Let Me Hold Her Baby, and the lyrics from it say it best:
“Those like me who can’t have children Still can be mothers Something in His eyes convinced me I could serve so many others…”
I only hope that you will understand that when I reach out to hold your baby or pick up a child who has fallen, it is through a desire to serve and love that I do this. For I can and always will serve and sacrifice for the children, small and grown, because once upon a time…there was a Saviour who served and sacrificed for us all.
“Mary let me hold her baby Her newborn son Though I’d never be a mother I felt like one Mary let me hold her baby So she could rest And ever since that night I held Him My life’s been blessed
Those like me who can’t have children Still can be mothers Something in His eyes convinced me I could serve so many others Mary let me hold her baby So soft and warm Mary let me hold her baby And I was reborn
As my family well knows, I am a lover of Christmas. When I was younger, I used to drive my siblings crazy by playing Christmas music in September. As an adult, I still do this at times. By the time Halloween is over, Christmas is in full force in my house. The twinkling lights are up, the soft, sweet music is playing, the warm glow of candles are flickering, the cinnamon cookies are baking and I am planning out the Christmas presents to buy. I do not ignore Thanksgiving, for if you look, you will see my Thanksgiving decorations mingled with my Christmas, because I’m a firm believe that gratitude is in every way a part of this beautiful season.
But why do I do this? Why do many people do this? Others might have different reasons, but this is mine: because it is the season of light, of giving, of sharing, of kindness and love.
When the daily news is filled with the most evil and depressing of acts (like the shooting last night in California), I want to counteract that with everything I have in me. I want to spread more kindness, more love to strangers, more love to my family and friends…more light. I want everyone to know they are loved. I want to hold a friend or family member or even a stranger until their tears are washed away.
I wish I could do this…I wish I could somehow get this message out to every person…You Are LOVED! How different it would be if all people understood this one thought: you are loved by the most perfect person who ever walked this earth. If you are worthy of that kind of love, then wouldn’t that change your perspective about your life, your purpose and your actions?
It is the season to celebrate the Savior, the Son of God, and to remember not only His birth, but His life and who He died for. I celebrate Him and his perfect life all year, but everything about Christmas from the lights, to some of the beautiful music, to the Star and the small manger scene under my tree…everything reminds me of His perfect love.
Love…to me that’s something worth celebrating all year long.
(My Christmas playlist for this year…sending you all long hugs and so much love!)
These days, watching the news and headlines, I have become more and more saddened and horrified by the awful things that people say to each other. Anger, vitriol, name-calling, violence, terrorism, shootings and threats seem to have washed over most of the people in this country and around the world. Common sense has taken a backseat. Every evil act seems to be splashed over every news station, radio show and internet site. With the midterm elections coming up, we see the hatred grow…and it breaks my heart.
I do understand, because I have watched myself get pulled into these arguments as well, yet when I pause, I realize that most of these people want the same things I want. These people are my brothers and sisters in humanity. They have the same feelings as me: they feel sadness, happiness, pleasure, love, pain, anger, frustration, depression, and joy.
Young, middle-aged or elderly…we all have something unique and wonderful to offer. Let us seek the greatness in each other and stop letting our differences divide us. I know my words are nothing but a small drop in an ocean of negativity, nevertheless…maybe my one small drop will join others until we can fight back the rising tide.
And on that note, to spread a little more positivity, below you will find pictures of everyday acts showing the best in humanity, not the worst. Seek and ye shall find…