Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Work of Christmas

There are some people who are life-bringers in your life even though you have never met them - and have only occasionally directly exchanged words - Stephanie is one of those for me. On numerous occasions she has been part of "the right words at the right time" for me in ways that have been deeply nourishing. These words came via Mike Todd's blog but were words sent by Stephanie. Again they are nourishing words for me today.

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among brothers,
to make music in the heart.

Howard Thurman - The Work of Christmas
A Grateful Heart p 74

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas without Mum

Well to be honest the hardest thing about Christmas has been the guilt about the relief of mum not being here - and how pleasant and nice it was without her. A lovely, relaxed, very little stress day without mum. No need to work around whether she will be there or not, no need to worry about her being jealous because I'm talking to someone else. It was pleasant.

I realised this was how it was leading up to Christmas - and to be honest, for me the hardest thing was coming to terms with that and also of course therefore the various comments about "I'll be thinking of you today without Lyn" etc have been quite hard to deal with. Don't get me wrong - I appreciate the places the comments come from but frankly unless people have been clear that they mean "in the mixed picture that it is", those words spoken in care have been unhelpful rather than helpful. They have just added to the guilt that I've already been wrestling with.

But this is how it is in much bigger ways than just Christmas - it is my reality. While I am really thankful for so much of mum's role in my world - I wouldn't be here without her and that's pretty profound and what much of my grief has been about (think back to the way I talked about my grief as the "breaking of the umbilical cord"), life is easier and less complex than if she was around. And I'm sure that is true for her. As I said in my eulogy - her pain is now gone ... and that includes the pain she caused others (and the pain that then caused for herself).

So hesitantly I say I'm at peace with her not being around ... and growing in peace with my thankfulness for that. She knows peace she's never known before - why should I feel guilty about loving that fact and the consequences of that for me?!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Being Abused

It's been an interesting week in the shop and church building. Lots of people in quite hard spots really and some hard stuff to deal with. One of our hardest situations involves stuff being stolen - sigh. Mobile phone, money from our money jar near our coffee, our staff members lunch from the fridge (that had her name on it) ... Bizarrely the one we had proof of who it was, was the lunch (she had been the only person in the space). So today I spoke to her about it - or tried. She denied it and walked off initially and then later on came and interrupted a conversation I was in and said that she knew "I wanted to talk to her and that she wasn't impressed". I calmly said I would talk to her about it on tomorrow as she walked off (that was all around our morning church gathering). This afternoon someone else was praying in the space and this woman came in and we expect she took some more stuff. As I was sitting just before our evening service she came up to me and said "I know you want to talk tomorrow but I can't talk then but I can talk now" and then left the building. I sat for a minute, prayed and then went out - going I have to take that as an invitation for a conversation. I went out and calmly walked up to the woman and said her name starting a conversation. She then lashed out at me, yelling at me and saying various things that didn't make sense - a huge amount of aggression.
It's hard stuff - at the time I was able to sigh but it is hard stuff and I'm angry and processing it all.
It is the hard end of the presence we want to be - and sometimes the hardest thing is holding the line and loving people well enough to truly love them and not just let stuff go.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Love or abuse

Just reading through a sheet of quotes a friend gave me while I was away. This one really called for my attention:

The act of love is to say "I want you to be who you are." The act of abuse is to say "I want you to be who I want you to be." It is that simple.
James D. Gill