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

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How to Pray? How to Serve.

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, November 5, 2014

pink roses, again

How to Pray? How to Serve.

Today, this was my week to pray. I mean, for an intercessory prayer group I am part of. Each Wednesday, in round robin fashion, a member of the group offers prayers for the rest. By email. I know that there are more than fifteen members. I know that I have only met two others (and one is the administrator for the prayer group). But there is a cohesiveness in prayer. A fellowship and kinship that comes from gathering in prayer together.

Today, I had the opportunity to gather prayer requests (and praises!) from a friendly group that meets together each Wednesday morning. I had the privilege to pray for those who were at the group meeting, and those others we were missing. God, this is awesome. And, a privilege. And, exciting to be able to lift up many prayer requests and cries for God to act. For God to do or not to do, to speak or not to speak. God knows.

I get prayer requests from the most different sort of amalgamation of prayer email. And telephone calls. And people stopping by. Some prayer requests come from relatives or friends, concerned about their loved one. Near or far, that doesn’t matter to God. God will hear, God will encourage and support you.

I ask the dear Lord to help me to be welcoming. And honest, and caring. God, help me to be prepared with all the unknown events of the day ahead. And God, we pray for the sick, the shut-ins, for those who are far away. And, especially for those who do not know You. Thanks for loving me, too.

@chaplaineliza

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What About When I Have a Cold? What Then?

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, June 4, 2014

prayer peace of God

What About When I Have a Cold? What Then?

For those who might be following this blog, you might know what I’m going to say already. I wrote a post about my son last weekend. He called me from work and asked to come home a little early. He said he wasn’t feeling well, and I could tell! A deep, chesty cough rattled the telephone, that’s what he had. As I brought him home, I could also see his poor eyes, starting to get red and a little watery. He certainly looked sick, for sure.

When I got him home, he had the beginnings of a cold. It turned out to be a moderate one, but I did worry about his cough for a couple of days. (I know, I know. Worrying goes with the territory. I’m a mom.) So, I didn’t exactly baby him, but I did a bit of fetching and carrying for him. By his report, he was a little lightheaded. I know what that’s like! I am not often lightheaded, but it is not pleasant. No way!

Little did I know that I would catch his cold. Yesterday morning, I felt the beginnings of a scratchiness in my throat. Then, by afternoon I started to feel post nasal drip. Oh, no! Not a cold! I knew something was coming on by dinner time. Yup. Achy muscles, and a slight headache, on top of my general yuckiness.

So, today I was scheduled to lead a bible study. Yes, I did facilitate the study, but I gave everyone lots of warning! Stay away, because I certainly do not want to share this cold with anyone! I think the study went well. I hope it went well! I had great material to work with—we took a look at John 21, verses 1 through 14. Breakfast on the shore, and the miraculous catch of fish.

But it is prayer time in the study today that is sticking with me. Several significant prayer requests, and one that surprised me! I was not expecting it at all. I prayed for these requests already, and I am sure I will pray some more as the week continues. Prayer is an opportunity to share encouragement and comfort with others. I felt that as I gathered prayer requests (and praises!), and then we all prayed. Earnestly. With heartfelt cries to God.

Even though I was not one hundred percent today, I was still able to pray and to lead in prayer. God, thank You for the comfort, encouragement and blessing of prayer. Not only on a vertical plane, between You and me, but also on the horizontal. From me to another person, on this level. Help me continue to be willing to pray and lift people up. Lift up their requests and praises, too! Thanks, again.

@chaplaineliza

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