Christmas, Family, Friendship

Too Good To Be True

Tis the season for Christmas stories to portray happy families and for Christmas movies to mend broken hearts in ninety minutes—if you take out the commercials for gifts that will satisfy our deepest longings. I knew the stories and movies and advertisements were fantasy but what about friends’ Christmas cards and letters of bliss?

Along the way, I learned that any person or family too good to be true was too good to be true.

Certain friends, acquaintances and leaders seemed faultless. It was heart-breaking to learn of their hidden pain and struggles, and yes, great flaws. I had no idea. It gave me perspective when I was tempted to wonder why others had it so easy. They didn’t.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

Romans 3:28 (ESV)

Our brokenness is why we celebrate the birth of a Savior.  Jesus’s perfect life and subsequent death in our place is the only news this season that is both too good and too true.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11 (ESV)

Family, Friendship, Memories

My Sunsets

When I started, I promised myself I would never post a photo of a sunset. I had seen too many on the internet and had become insensitive to them and a bit derisive of their triteness.

And then my husband and I spent a week of evenings sitting on a fishing pier and watching the sun retreat over the water. My too numerous photos seemed perfect to share. They had to be shared. Except, I couldn’t.

I couldn’t break the promise to myself to not post sunsets. More importantly, I couldn’t because the sunsets were ours. Those not present could never experience the wondering if the clouds would break or the beautiful colors that were eventually revealed when an opening let the sunlight through. Nor could they feel the excitement if an evening predicted intense colors.

My sunset photos not only reminded me of the expectation, the surprise, and the savoring, but also the movement of the water, the breezes, the conversation, and finally, the lights of the distant town after the event was over.  

Some sharing isn’t possible, but along the way, I gained more respect for those who attempt it.

Do you risk sharing the un-shareable?

Family, Friendship, Parenting

The Relationship Test

How do you know you care about certain people? You want to be in their presence.

Drop by my house. Come any time.

How do you know they care about you? They want to be in your presence.

We’ll make space for you. Everyone scoot over.

My most memorable example came from a two-year-old when I was hiking the Tijuca Forest with a cousin and his four young children. Caves were our first destination.

Before we entered, my cousin mentioned that his youngest was afraid of the dark.

Cave Entrance

“I’ll hold Daniel while you explore with the others,” I offered.

Since his birth, I’d spent weeks being the child’s caretaker while his father worked, and his mother received medical care.

“He won’t leave me.”

He was right. The two-year-old refused relief from his fear and clung to my cousin’s neck. He would rather be with his father in the dark he hated than without his father in the light he loved.

View from inside

Throughout the day, it was obvious Daniel loved his father so much that nothing was worth leaving his presence.

To whom do you cling?

…in your presence there is fullness of joy…

Psalm 16:11

A Cup Of Tea

Who will bring her a cup of tea?

That question was repeated multiple times as my aunt fretted about her daughter not having children or grandchildren to help her as she aged.

I have pondered my aunt’s concern since our conversation. Stores will deliver groceries. Restaurants will deliver meals. Ambulances will transport to the hospital. Taxis or Uber will make errands possible.

But who will bring a cup of tea? Usually intimate family and friends. Our expressions of love and concern can be the simplest acts.

Thank you to all who have brought me cups of tea over the years.

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.

Psalm 127:3
Family, Friendship, Parenting

As Much As You Are Loved

“You are not behaving like someone who is loved as much as you are loved.”

After my boys were in college, I heard this response to a child’s behavior. I forgot the source, but not the sentence.

Along the way, I decided that while the sentence is a powerful response to behavior, it is not helpful for change, unless followed by a second question. “Why?”

Why do people, especially our children, not behave like someone who is loved as much as they are loved? I have pondered that even more as grown children express their frustrations. I have two answers

We are either not showing love or they are not feeling the love we are showing. I suspect the latter most often.

Are you feeling loved?