Saturday, December 22, 2012

Lesson 177. Be the Queen of Nostalgia.

I love Christmas. I love being at candlelit services where strangers lend a hand to light up each and every wax tip. I love the smell of the tree and how it fills a whole room with a soul reaching warmth. I love the lights for their gentle twinkle and their ability to make anything festive. I love Christmas.

My sister called me the Queen of Nostalgia the other day, I'm beginning to think she's right. Maybe that's why I bathe in Christmas carols and lie under the tree listening to my record player every night when I get in from work. Maybe it's simply because if I close my eyes I am six again, and everything is wonderful. Broken hearts don't exist, nor do financial concerns or jam packed timetables. All that exists is the hope of what lies beneath the wrapping paper, the arms of loved ones that will envelop me in days to come, and the dreams that are unrestricted by adult logic or reasoning. 

Maybe one of the reasons why I love Christmas so much is because it reminds me to be six. Because six year old Lydia could teach eighteen year old Lydia a thing or two about life (Although choice in pets and hair cuts would definitely be something I could teach past Lydia about. Mice and a bowl cut? Seriously Gregory and Sheena encourage healthy life decisions.) Tonight, I'm lying down on the floor by the tree, and I'm attempting to leave behind the teeny broken pieces of myself, to shut down financial concern and to just take time out from my jam packed timetable. Tis' the season to be jolly and the weight of adult life can often eliminate the said joy from the whole situation. I'm not saying neglect all responsibility and start wearing clothes from the kid's department, I'm saying learn from six year old you. Leave behind the worries that you don't need, be the Queen of Nostalgia. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Lesson 176. For Orli, reach out.

Have we discussed my forty five children strong Christmas choir? I feel as though we have. If we haven't, or if you missed it, it's quite the tale. One might compare me to the pied piper minus the rodents and apparent medieval dress sense. I sing for some very sweet children in preparation for a big town show the weekend before Christmas, and they in turn stare at me and offer a weekly self esteem boost by cheering every time I enter the room. It's a jolly holiday with my kids.

Any way, two weeks ago I missed a week because my head weighed in at a catrillion kilograms. Although it was just a headache, I thought it was best to stay away from choir practice as to avoid it being trampled by the not-so-pitter-patter of overexcited primary school children. I was back the next week, but a favourite face of mine was missing. Enter Orli, the sweetest girl with the saddest story. 

I do not know the details of Orli's illness but what I do know is that it is chronic and it's been alluded to that Orli will not see the length of life that you and I will. There is constantly a tube in Orli's nose that connects to the backpack she wears all day everyday, there is an alarm that goes off at which her mother instantly responds to. Orli is not the size of a healthy eight year old, due to her illness her growth has been stunted and I'm unsure as to how her growth has been affected long term. Orli has the most beautiful smile and the cutest nose. When she stands by your side, a shadow by the bend in your knee, you wish that she'd just stay a little while. Her quiet presence is calming and her attitude is astounding. Orli is a very precious child and was hospitalised last week.

Things were very uncertain. We were told not to rely on her being out of hospital for Christmas, but with prayer and her mother by her side, she returned this week.

Orli approached me with a beaming smile this afternoon. Then the sides of her smile drooped a little as concern crept into her eyes. "I'm sad that you were sick the other week" she said to me. My eyes filled with tears and my heart broke. "I'm sad that you were sick last week Orli," I said, "I really missed you" 
and with that she smiled and took her place in the choir. I couldn't stop thinking about what she said, her slightly shaken voice replaying over in my head. A child that knows the hospital walls better than a staff member was telling me she was sad that I was sick.

Maybe it's the genuineness of Orli that struck me. The way she could so easily relate to illness with such a heart full of love and concern. Then came the challenge that sent my head spinning until this very moment, where I write out all the wonderings and whats and whys and whens of my encounter today. 

Orli unintentionally changed my life in that moment. Orli made me realise that our biggest battles in life can be our biggest breakthroughs to others. I want to get back to the genuine heart of a child. I want to reach out to someone regardless of my own circumstance, whether or not mine seems better or worse, I want to reach out. Because reaching out starts change and begins a fire of challenge within a community. If I cared for someone a little more, they would care for someone else a little more. If I was able to reach out to someone in heartache because I had experienced heartache instead of wallowing in my own pool of pathetic, I might actually be able to do something about it. I might actually be able to flip a perspective or stand a shoulder. Our wounds can be the source of relational growth and healing. Don't let your sickness riddle all areas, see it as a point of difference in the way you relate. We have to face this together, whether big or small, headache or chronic illness, if we face it together, we face it much better.

So for Orli, reach out. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Lesson 175. Trust the road you walk on enough to walk down the middle of it.

There's something about being able to walk in the middle of the road at any given time without any form of fear. That's where I live.

Not that cars don't come by, they do. But I hear them, and I move. I am in no danger when I walk in the middle of my street, and that's something I treasure.

I took the dogs for a walk today, and they preferred the road to the grass, so they walked on down it. They too are attuned to the whoosh of a car approaching and sense it soon enough to seek safety, they trust the road they walk on and so do I.

Do you have a road like that? Do you trust where you are? Do you trust yourself to know when you need to move?

I think that's when we're most secure. When we know the road we are on, when we trust the ground beneath our feet enough to take risks but trust ourselves to know when the risk is simply too risky. Today I felt at peace, I trusted that my wee lane was a safe one. I trusted Missy and Perdita to listen to me and adjust to the conditions. Trust the road you walk on enough to walk down the middle of it.