Sigh... the weather here is wretched. On Monday we had our first "bad driving" snow (only about an inch but it made the roads unexpectedly slick). Today we had sleet and rain with all expected to turn back to snow in the morning. I have found rain falling when the temperatures are in the 30s to be much colder than lower temps and snow. Talk about bone chilling... at least we're missing the blizzard conditions to our west. I'm staying inside where it is warm and cozy today with chicken soup simmering on the stove.
I was thinking of the "why" question yesterday morning as I sat in our car, parked "downtown" with the heat on to keep me warm. My eyes watched a line forming in front of the urban ministry building... single mothers, old men, Hispanics and African Americans, a very young Goth couple, a tall guy with two degrees from a world class university. Oh, wait... that man is my husband! :)
That line was our first of three once-a-month stops at food pantries yesterday. We schedule them so we can go to all three on one trip to save gasoline. What made this particular wait even more interesting... I was reading an old Christmas issue of Traditional Home, which had been free on the library's magazine table.
What a difference between the lifestyles in the magazine and those in that long line for government food with advertisements for $4,000 crystal bowls, stemware at $200.00 each, plates at $150.00 each... yikes.
Why? Why me... why us? I get e-mails quite often about my good attitude toward all of this and how is it possible? Well my friends, I have already gone through the "Jacob moments" as I wrestled a few personal angels here and there. I have gone through the grief stage and the annoyance stage and the coveting stage and the "stomp my feet and pout" stage until He had me where He wanted me... the "Your will and not my own" stage.
He has used life's circumstances to mold and shape this lump of clay until she could look at life as it is and not how she would like it to be and find... that which is lovely.
I truly, truly believe as we are doing our best to follow Christ, He does not allow anything in our life that does not pass through the fingers of His Will first. It is easy to kneel at His feet and tell Him that He can do with our lives what He wills. It is another thing when His Will makes us have to live... less than comfortable... lives.
Send us to Africa but not the unemployment line! I'll suffer in the Sudan feeding the poor but don't give me diabetes or cancer. We offer ourselves as a living sacrifice but with... boundaries. Then we complain when He uses us in a different way than we planned. Like those who followed Moses into the desert, we accuse Him (God, not Moses) of trying to kills us. Mother Theresa is credited for saying, "If this is the way He treats His friends, I would hate to see how he treats His enemies". :)
I will unpack the items brought home from the food pantries. Some are very good and we'll be able to use. Others go into sacks to take to our church's food pantry as they are not beneficial to diabetics are those with food sensitives. Regardless... we are grateful.
I'll never completely know why this side of Eternity and on the other side I probably won't care. But I do know this... the only way I would enter this world of young Goth couples, poor African Americans, Hispanic single mothers, and very old and poor men... is by God's direction.
Most days I feel that I live in two worlds. As I write, my husband is sitting at our dining table with an old college friend as they discuss ways to help their fraternity on campus. Yes, this morning he is standing in freezing temperatures (and let me stay in the warm car until they opened the doors) for government food and this afternoon he is discussing his old college fraternity.
For the past few weeks, I have driven to campus each day to meet Christopher after his last class. Students speaking various languages sit around me discussing science and math and engineering and literature and... well, you get the point.
According to what place I am meeting him, I could be sitting next to a freshman or a Noble Prize winner, a graduate student or an astronaut. All while I scrambled for fifty-two cents in my coat pocket to buy a cup of coffee.
But that is how I have learned to have a good attitude, it is all in the way I now see this trip into an entirely different world than I'd ever planned to enter (much less remain). After the complaining and after the whining and after that whole "angel wrestling thing"... I see the world through His eyes and not my desires... and He reminds me I am just passing through... and I did say "Thy will and not mine be done".
So, I hope that answers some of the questions I've been getting. Attitude is a choice. I know there are many readers experiencing a difficult time this Christmas. Keep your eyes on what is good and trust God in the journey. He has a way of bringing JOY into the life which is full of expectation. :)