I awoke this morning to subzero wind chills and a second day of a swollen throat and fever. Hopefully three meals of orange juice will help the latter, only Spring will bring back the warmth outside. There are e-mails to return eventually but today I must finish everything that needs to be accomplished before my visitors arrive on Saturday.
I had my weekly appointment with my doctor's nurse a couple days ago. One has to wait awhile at the County Medical Clinic, even when they have an appointment. Although I usually take a book with me, I always end up people watching for such places are fascinating. Their faces... the delight of the very young... the wrinkled faces of despair and hopelessness of the old.
This week most of those waiting with me were young Hispanic mothers. It isn't always so. There have been farmers in their tractor company hats, unemployed construction workers, young men and old women, and mothers of small babies who look as if they are barely out of childhood themselves. A variety of fellow sojourners in life traveling down a path most of us did not anticipate.
For some reason, my thoughts flashed back a little over twenty years to an afternoon corporate board meeting. I was dressed in my wool navy "power suit", meeting with the President and Vice Presidents of the company in long range planning exercises. I was about Stephanie's age at the time, working with my boss in Organization Development. It doesn't seem all that long ago, yet, at the same time... I look back at that young woman and can no longer relate. Who was she? It couldn't possibly be me for she is young, healthy, smart, so assured of herself and the world.
As my thoughts came back to the reality of today, I remembered what Beth Moore had taught just that morning. Nothing happens to us without going through God's "yes". It takes a broken heart to empathize with one who cries the same tears. Is that God's gift to me? Mercy so I can reach out to the hurting with mercy? My eyes fill with tears at the site of sadness all around me in this Season of Joy.
In the days and months ahead, how many other people will find themselves uninsured and sitting in such a clinic? Their suits gathering dust in the closet, their heels replaced by old and comfortable shoes. How many fathers will send out hundreds of resumes, hoping for just one open door. How many mothers will pray at the side of a sick child, hoping they do not need medicine they can't afford.
I can stop by Starbucks on the way home, a gift from one who appreciates Pumpkin Spice Lattes like I do. I have a couple of dollars in my pocket, ready to find a diamond in the rough at the Mission thrift shop near the doctor's office. I go home with my dollar treasures.
Most of my "Christmas" work is behind me now. The package has been sent to New England, treasures purchased throughout the year... always with Christmas in mind. The excitement of finding "just the right gift" at a price I can afford, placed in the box where such treasures are kept until time to wrap them and send them on their way.
I will make the puppy chow today, completing the gift baskets for my husband's two siblings. We cut back completely on Holiday baking this year, except for what I made for them and what I'll bake for Christmas dinner. Good for my budget, my waistline, and keeping my blood sugar numbers down. :)
I thank God for this path. Not what I wanted or what I had asked for but indeed a gift from Him. To be able to catch the eye of another at the clinic and give them a knowing look... I understand. I feel your pain and your frustrations.
But there is One Who gives hope to the hopeless. That's what all this glitz and glitter is all about. The Baby of Christmas who grew up to be the Saviour of the world. The true Gift this Season offers. Peace. Hope. Love.
I cannot put money in the bucket as the bell is ringing outside of the store. But I can lead you to the One who offers you water so you thirst no more. Dust off the Bible on the shelf. Read the Gospels. He is real.
Picture: Seasons of Peace; allposters.com