Sunday, 27 January 2008
Little girls. You never know what they will find funny! Someone at work sent me this free ring tone. "Let me out I'm stuck in your pocket!" said in a high pitched and English accented voice. Elena and Grace thought this was the best! So, when I had them this weekend, there were about 100 requests to hear it one more time. While I thought it was cute, I apparently didn't know just how much fun it could be!
A friend called me Friday morning while I was at work. She is dong the single mom thing and has been under a bit of stress over the last 6 months. She is the independent sort, so for her to ask me to take her girls for the weekend says something about how much she felt like she need a break.
Though it wasn't in my plans, Elena (7) and Grace (5) and I are pals, so I thought that I could swing it. They came at 10:00 on Saturday. Somehow, it turns out that I had promised two meals on Saturday -- one to someone from church who just had surgery and one for a friend's family who was out of town. I don't renege on promises! So, we dropped a casserole off to Kathy, went to the grocery store (interesting event with 2 girls tagging along), grabbed McDonalds as a reward for being such good helpers, dropped supplies off to Kathy because she needed some things from the store, came home and whipped up baked spaghetti, played a few games while it was baking, and then ran it out to my friend's family -- all the while listening to that ring tone.
We got back to my house and my friend, Debbie, called. She invited me to dinner! She could hear the noise in the background, so I explained that the girls were here. She told me to bring them as her children play better with new kids around. We put in a movie for a couple hours and watched it in a "dog pile." I had the couch first and then Grace climbed on and the cats and then Elena. I couldn't move lest I knock someone on the floor, but it was a happy couple of hours.
We then headed over to Joe and Debbie's where we were treated to homemade pizza. The kids ran, played, and belly slid head first down the stairs! We then frosted mini heart shaped cupcakes. It turns out that when you range in ages from 3-7, cupcakes are reusable. They were getting eaten as fast as they got frosted but then we started running low on cupcakes. The kids decided to lick the icing off and decorate multiple times!
So, we've been to church in pajamas (the girls, not me), had lunch, and now Elena is reading and Grace and Mali are napping in a patch of sun as I write. Contentment is sweet even if I'm a little tired from keeping up with them. It has been a good time.
And, I think there is a hope principal to be found in all of this. Hope is meant to be passed on. I think a lot of hope has been passed around as people have served each other. I helped Kathy and my friend's family. (Though, I should point out that I'm not as domestic as all of this makes me sound!) While I'm helping out Grace and Elena's mom, they have also brightened my generally solitary life. And then, Joe and Debbie and their kids having us all over . . . . Interestingly, they had already spent much of the day having another single mom's kids over! I'm sure when they called to invite me they were just thinking one not three! I also know that my friend's family spent part of their morning helping to clean the church and work on the church library.Ironically, today in church the message was on service. Mark Savage started the service by saying that he wanted us to each listen to the Holy Spirit and write down something we could do for an anonymous (at that point) struggling family in our midst. We've done it a couple times in the past, but we would also be emptying our pockets or purses as an offering for them. Still, this time he wanted it to go beyond finances so bright orange pieces of paper were passed out to put commitments on. He challenged us that we often look to for serving to be categorized and limited, but we need to know "It's not about me!" We can also try to serve depending on who it is. Jesus didn't do that. He washed the feet of Judas.
A couple months ago, I had a conversation where I was complaining about someone else. Julie said to me, "I've found that the people who grate on me the most are the ones I most need to have compassion on." I've been thinking about it the last couple of hours. I think Julie is right. In someways, the things I've done the last couple of days have been easy because of who they are for. I need to ponder who I might be called to serve when it wouldn't come so easily or naturally.
But what does it mean to have compassion on someone? I looked it up online at http://www.thefreedictionary.com/. It said, "Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it." That was humbling to read.
I think it fits biblically. In the gospels, when Jesus feeds the 5,000 it says that he had compassion on them for they were like sheep without a shepherd. There are two things that stand out. First, He understood their plight. Second, He didn't just understand it. He had a deep desire to address it. In fact, that is why He came -- to be the Good Shepherd!
Mark also taught about how in John 12 it talks about how a seed must be planted to multiply. A seed that isn't planted remains alone. The planted seed brings about a great harvest.
So, as Mark talked about us emptying our pockets and (in some ways) our hearts in acts of service, I was reminded of that silly ring tone. Let me out I'm stuck in your pocket! Hope stuck in your pocket is really no hope at all. Hope stuck in your pocket will only wither and die. It's meant to be passed on. Will you let hope out of your pocket today?_________________________________________________________
One last picture because it is so cute and an anecdote. At Crosswinds we have a kid oriented service at 9:00 with dancing, singing, skits, and contests. It is called Kid Stuf. Anyway, Joe and Debbie's kids, Raquel and Lucas, know all the songs and sing them loudly at home and in the car and dance. However, we've had Kid Stuf for over a year and they have never gone up front to join the other kids on the floor.
Last night, they were having a lot of fun with Grace and Elena, so we planted that idea that at Kid Stuf they could sit with Grace and Elena. Still, they headed to their normal chairs when they arrived this morning. I said something to Raquel but she seemed unsure. So, I said as excitedly as I could to Lucas, "Want to go sit with Elena?" His eyes lit up and I took that as a "Yes," and before he could change his mind, I snatched him up and carried him off to the front. Raquel, not wanting to be left behind, followed.
They stayed up front the entire time! This is Lucas rocking it out in his pajamas. The only catch was that it meant I also stayed up front and sat on the floor too. Since I was trying to engage them, I felt compelled to attempt the dances. Seeing as I have no rhythm, I'm sure it was quite the sight to see!