Yup! I started a little early this year. But this wasn't my fault! I was at work searching for pictures for invites/posters for the church and I stumbled across this Pentatonix Christmas song, Mary Did You Know. And well, then I was hooked. So the rest of the afternoon I had Pentatonix singing Christmas songs to me.
Looking outside, it was snowing and the sun was trying hard to shine and I had that whole desire to be at home, on my couch, snuggled in an aphgan that I inherited from my aunt Hilda, look at Christmas lights and just be.
I was all alone in the afternoon on Friday at work. It was a good time to work on a few posters and things that I like to do without people over my shoulder (I'm just a private designer kind of person.) and play my songs loudly - ok, not loudly, but louder!! It's also a lonely place to be - it's a big church! So music is nice to have on. After I was finished my work for the week, I headed into Fort Garry's beautiful sanctuary to steal some notes on the piano. There is something about being in a large room by yourself - just you and a beautiful piano - and playing music. I'm not that good and it's been a long time since I have opportunity to play piano, but thanks to the persistence of my parents, I can play! And I am forver grateful. (I was far from grateful at the time of lessons... the rapping of the piano teacher on my knuckles "higher!! Higher!!" or the obnoxious scales and arpeggios and all those other practice things that I couldn't stand! I loved to open up new books and just try things - just play to play! But, I do realize how important all those scales and such were... not really - but wouldn't want some piano teacher folks to get upset!) So I played. I played some of the choir songs we are working on for the Candlelight Service at Glenlea. I pulled out the hymn book and just picked songs that I love and I played. Don't tell anyone, but I sang along with some of them too!!
I always thought that if I could change one of my gifts I would like to have 'singing' be in my gift portfolio. To be able to sing a solo anytime someone asked - to be the person people want to sit beside in choir - to start the 'happy birthday' song at birthday parties (really awkward to sing happy birthday when there isn't a birthday!) - to be the one to start #606 (and I would start it lower than all those bird-like sopranos out there!!). But, alas, not so much.
In the meantime, I will paint, plan parties, chat with my kids, walk with my husband and visit with autopac agents.
We recently had a late Thanksgiving/Spencer Birthday party at our place. It was fun to fry fresh potatos and bbq hamburgers on the grill. YOu know it is going to end - that bbq season - you just stretch it as long as you can!! It was great to have family over to visit and play games. I love looking around the room and seeing all my kids, their friends, extended family enjoying each other. I hear often of families that are hurting and separate and don't see each other. I am thankful that, at this point, there is real love for each other and all the new family that we have added over the years.
As I think about that and I think about all the anger in the world - it is such a contrast. My very simple mind thinks "Why can't we all just love each other!" But I know it is much more complex then that. Then in these moments my mind doesn't know what to do with all the tragedy that you read about and hear about and see. My heart breaks. And in those moments, those intense moments, I can't pray. I feel stuck. Then I think, "Why can I not pray - it is the easiest thing that i can do right now." And it's not that I am angry with God - I believe he is crying and hurting alongside all of us. It just feels beyond words.
I feel guilty in those moments - I'm not praying enough, not reading enough verses, not wanting to go to church enough, not excited about getting up early for choir practice/sunday school. I'm not sure how to get my head around all of this. Life has had its challenges over the past number of months and I'm not sure i have climbed out of the darkness yet.
So... in these moments my heart cries out to God. I listen to Christmas music that heralds our God and SAviour. I read quotes that exclaim the Joy of the Lord. Listen to people who are passionate, pray on all of our behalf. My heart cries out to God in its own way - God and I chat on the way home from work. We chat on long trips when i am by myself. But is it enough?
I dunno. But what I do know is that without my God... I don't know. Without my God... I'm not still standing. Without my God... I fall. He loves me - even though I can't sing, can't always pray, don't always read my Bible, don't want to go to church every Sunday - and He wants me to keep trying.
So... I will continue to try. And I will continue to try and be there for others who are hurting - people here in Winnipeg. I send my prayers to Paris, Beirut, and all those places that are hurting so badly. May we pray for those who cannot. May I find strength to pray for others - and remember that it is not about me.