I am seeing the world differently these days. I have been on several mission trips to countries with severe poverty. I have seen children in need of food and homes. I have even seen it in this country, in the mountains of Appalachia. I went, I lived that life for a week or two or a month, and I swore, I would be changed. I was certain I could never go back to the way I lived. I never lived an extravagant life, but I did not go through my day being thankful for what I had. I take for granted clean water and running water and heat and air conditioning. I take for granted being able to run to the store and get what I need or just what I want. I quickly forgot.
But now these days, each night when I lay down I think about this little boy on the other side of the world that does not have these luxuries and suddenly it all seems so personal. It hits my stomach as my two year old asks for the one hundredth time this morning, "Mommy please hold me; I just want you!" And I wonder if he has thought how much he wishes someone would just hold him. I wonder if I added up all the times I have held my little two year old in the past two years if it would even come close to how many times in his six has he missed out. I think, as I ask my children what kind of cereal they want this morning, what it will be like to ask him what I can make him for breakfast. And I know he may have no idea what I am asking. And if he does, I might offer him ice cream for every meal because six years is a lot of years to have missed out on ice cream.
The other day my mom was visiting. My children LOVE their grandma. My Karis gets so excited that sometimes it is enough to make a person run in the other direction. I sat her down for a two minute talk about how it can be a bit overwhelming. She looked at me with big eyes and said, "But MOM, she is HERE!!!" It made me think of the verse in Matthew where Jesus talks about why his disciples are not fasting, but are feasting: "Then the disciples of John came to him saying, 'Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?' And Jesus said to them, 'Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from then, and they will fast.'" (Matthew 9:13-15)
There is a time for feasting and a time for fasting.
The church calendar is full of feast days and fasting days, times of celebrating, and times of self-discipline and waiting. Karis was celebrating while her Grandma was here, how could she control herself, there was a time for self control, but this was not the time. And it is now Lent, a time of fasting and waiting, waiting for the rejoicing at Easter, a time of celebration. And now I think about this little boy around the world. As we wait, it is a time of fasting, of seeking God's grace and mercy. There will be a time of feasting and celebrating when he comes home, but for now we wait.
And in the waiting in and the fasting, I think of the blessings I have.
90. Sunshine and longer days that bring promises of Spring.
91. Spring that promises of new life.
92. The smell of air kissed by the sun, coming in my windows.
93. The song of two year old sung with all the gusto in the world.
94. A little boy whose eyes fill with tears, after he has insulted my dinner because his heart is so big he cannot bear to hurt his mamas feelings
95. The little words whispered in my ear, words of love or fears or secrets.
96. Friends that speak words of encouragement without worry of how they will look if they say something good about someone else.
97. Watching my daughter learn a new song on the piano
98. A day spent with a little girl shopping and holding hands, knowing that soon she will not want me with her but for now I am probably one of her favorite people to have there.
99. Running on a Sunday afternoon with new friends that feel like old!