Saying “Hello,” Being Kind! (#BestOf)

(the Best of) A Year of Being Kind, Sunday, May 31, 2015

Another year older, another year flown by. I think about my children, and remember. I think about the little ones in preschool, and get nostalgic. Another school year comes to a close. The promise of summer vacation lies ahead. Have fun, little ones! Be happy, my children, now not so little.

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, May 29, 2014

Saying “Hello,” Being Kind!

Suffer the Children - von Uhde, 1884

Suffer the Children – von Uhde, 1884

I love small children. I loved it when my children were small, and I could take them to the park, the beach, the playground. We would have such adventures! The smallest things captured their interest, and became the topics of deep discussion. Like a busy little ant nest next to the sidewalk. I remember one of my preschool-age daughters squatting down and examining it so closely, and for so long! We talked about that ant nest for some time afterwards.

Another time, I remember two of my children (I think one in kindergarten, the other in preschool) as they laughed and splashed in the outside shower, at the beach house near our condo. Simple pleasures. They spent a good long time having fun in the open air shower! I was relaxed and unhurried, and I enjoyed watching them having a great time.

Now my children are grown. (And almost grown—with my youngest at seventeen.) New ages, new adventures, new challenges.

But I still enjoy small children. I have the opportunity to see preschool aged children almost every day. At my work, the building houses a preschool that provides daycare, preschool and kindergarten for several dozen children each day. So, I get to see the children in the halls. In the bathroom. Outside in the playground. All around the church.

“Pastor Elizabeth! There’s Pastor Elizabeth!” And sometimes one or two of the braver ones ask me, “What do you do here?” and “Where do you stay when you’re here?” I laugh and tell them I am working here at church. “But this is our school!” I nod and say, “Yes, and my office is right around the corner, too!” I get happy “hellos!” and random hugs around the knees. And I say “hello!” right back!

I’m reminded of what Jesus said to His disciples and other followers in the Gospel of Matthew—He said that the little children had an open invitation to come to Him! There were some adults who wanted to keep them (and their mothers) away from Jesus—such an important Rabbi couldn’t be bothered with children, after all!

Jesus corrected the adults’ fallacy, and went ahead and welcomed small children. Then—Jesus laid hands on the children and blessed them. How awesome is that?

I want to follow Jesus’ example, whenever I can. Imagine, welcoming children, being friends with them, and encouraging and caring for them. And—their responses are so honest, loving and genuine! God willing, I’ll be able to continue to say “Hello!” for a long time. What a chance to be kind, loving, and caring. Thanks, God, for this awesome opportunity!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Suggestion: visit me at my daily blog for 2015: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er – Thanks!)

In Which I Am Kind to a Sister

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas presents

In Which I Am Kind to a Sister

Who doesn’t like to get presents? I think of little children. My four little ones (when they were little), and just about every other small child I have ever known. Even most adults I know enjoy getting presents. Receiving a gift-wrapped package, wrapped in pretty paper.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Two of my children and I drove into Chicago mid-afternoon today, to see my sister. She had been quite sick for most of last week. So sick, she needed antibiotics from the doctor, right in the middle of the holidays. Sadly, last week was one of my busiest weeks of the past few months, so I was not very available to her. After spending several days quiet at home, she is now much improved. We all went to one of the Christmas movies currently showing in the theater. Afterwards, we went to a nearby restaurant to get some delicious Italian food.

True confession time: when she was living, my mother was difficult to buy presents for. She was a tremendous woman, strong-willed, kind to a fault, generous, artistic, fond of music and books and the creative impulse within. And—she was incredibly picky. (I haven’t been willing to do a full analysis of it, but I know that some of my attitudes and “stuff” associated with gift-giving comes from this.)

I do try to choose presents that I think people will enjoy. With everything I know about that person, I am on the lookout all year for presents. Understand, I definitely do not haunt retail establishments on a weekly basis. No, that’s not my favorite thing to do, at all. However, if I see something—even something little or inexpensive—that I am reasonably sure one of my close relatives likes or might enjoy, chances are that I’ll buy it. And put it away for a gift-giving occasion. Just so, in the case of my sister.

At dinner after the movie, we brought the presents into the restaurant. My sister pulled them out of the small bag they were in. She made the comment, “This is the first present I’ve opened this Christmas.”

That sudden statement made me reflect. Some people do not receive Christmas presents. Do not have anyone to give them Christmas presents. Or, sometimes, do not have any money to buy Christmas presents for their loved ones.

A sad thing. Desperately sad. Just as some people are alone on the holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day. I know that some years, I have been caught up in my own family doings, and haven’t been as attentive to others as I ought. I am sorry. I hope I can make up for it by being a good, gracious, loving person from this point onward.

I hope my sister enjoyed her small presents. I honestly chose them with great care. And—despite all the attitude “stuff” that is a legacy from my mother—I hope all my presents this year are useful, or enjoyed, or bring a smile to people’s faces. God willing, may it be so.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Saying “Hello,” Being Kind!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, May 29, 2014

Suffer the children Fritz von Uhde, 1884

Suffer the children
Fritz von Uhde, 1884

Saying “Hello,” Being Kind!

I love small children. I loved it when my children were small, and I could take them to the park, the beach, the playground. We would have such adventures! The smallest things captured their interest, and became the topics of deep discussion. Like a busy little ant nest next to the sidewalk. I remember one of my preschool-age daughters squatting down and examining it so closely, and for so long! We talked about that ant nest for some time afterwards. And another time, I remember two of my children (one in kindergarten I think, the other in preschool) as they laughed and splashed in the outside shower, at the beach house near our condo. Simple pleasures. They spent a good long time having fun in the open air shower! I was relaxed and unhurried, and I enjoyed watching them having a great time.

Now my children are grown. (And almost grown—with my youngest at seventeen.) New ages, new adventures, new challenges. But I still enjoy small children. I have the opportunity to see preschool aged children almost every day. At my work, the building houses a preschool that provides daycare, preschool and kindergarten for several dozen children each day. So, I get to see the children in the halls. In the bathroom. Outside in the playground. All around the church.

“Pastor Elizabeth! There’s Pastor Elizabeth!” And sometimes one or two of the braver ones ask me, “What do you do here?” and “Where do you stay when you’re here?” I laugh and tell them I am working here at church. “But this is our school!” I nod and say, “Yes, and my office is right around the corner, too!” I get happy “hellos!” and random hugs around the knees. And I say “hello!” right back!

I’m reminded of what Jesus said to His disciples and other followers in the Gospel of Matthew—He said that the little children had an open invitation to come to Him! There were some adults who wanted to keep them (and their mothers) away from Jesus—such an important Rabbi couldn’t be bothered with children, after all! But Jesus corrected the adults’ fallacy, and went ahead and welcomed small children. And then—Jesus laid hands on the children and blessed them. How awesome is that?

I want to follow Jesus’ example, whenever I can. Imagine, welcoming children, being friends with them, and encouraging and caring for them. And—their responses are so honest, loving and genuine! God willing, I’ll be able to continue to say “Hello!” for a long time. What a chance to be kind, loving, and caring. Thanks, God, for this awesome opportunity!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.