I am so sorry you haven’t heard from me in such a long time. I have been in the middle of a flare-up for a
couple of months, and it is painful and draining. I have tried to sit and write, and my writing
goes nowhere. With all that has been
going on in this world, you would think that certainly God would give me
something to say, but nothing has come through my mind or my fingers. In this season of anticipation, I am honestly
I am not waiting to feel better; I know it will come in its own
good time. I am waiting for the pain to
pass. It will happen, but not on my
schedule. It is difficult to endure at
times, but I am comforted to know that I am not the only one who has gone
through struggles with pain. Paul wrote
of a thorn in his flesh “to keep me
from being too elated.” 2 Corinthians
The psalmists wrote often of
pain. “But I am lowly and in pain;
let your salvation, O God, protect me.”
Psalm 69:29 “For I am ready to
fall, and my pain is ever with me.”
The problem with pain is that it distracts us from so many
things, including God. It weakens us
physically as well as mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. One drags through the day, sometimes with grand ambitions of what
will be accomplished, sometimes with the hope of just getting the bare minimum
accomplished - getting bathed and dressed and the animals fed. I am so grateful that I have a loving,
understanding husband, although I often fear that he must be so tired of coming
home to yet another day of nothing accomplished. I am also grateful that it is Christmas
break, and I have secured the services of a high school friend, who can look at
a room and see what needs to be done without my telling her. Thanks to her my family’s Christmas presents
were wrapped and boxed and mailed last Monday, and my office filing was taken
care of. While I was trying to figure
out what to do next, she cleaned out the magazines on my end table. I am blessed.
I used to be able to do two things a day; on an exceptional day I
could handle three. Now I’m lucky if I
can do one, and I am grateful for those times.
Volunteering with the children at school gives me a sense of purpose and
worth. Attending Bible Study keeps me
connected to the Lord and other Christians.
Going to the gym with my husband, if only to use the hydro-massage, helps
me get out of my house. Participating in
the Christmas Pageant (although I had to hide the script in my Bible and read
all of my lines - my short-term memory is shot) gave me a chance to forge
connections with our youth and celebrate Christmas in a new way.
Today is Christmas. I
still haven’t sent out the Christmas cards.
They may be Epiphany cards this year.
But we celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in church. We brought requested food to the St. Vincent
de Paul kitchen. (Did you know there was
a whipped cream shortage? Apparently a
nitrous oxide factory exploded and since it is a propellant and a preservative
in canned whipped cream, it has caused a nationwide shortage, but we were able
to find plenty at our Costco.) We’ve
renewed our homeless bag ministry since our city closed the campground where
those without housing were allowed to sleep overnight. There are lots of cold people on the street
now. The local market cooked our meal,
and it is excellent. And there is plenty
for anyone who might stop by.
On this night when we remember and give thanks for the gift of
the Christ Child, I wish you all a
blessed holy day, full of joy and gratitude.
I don’t know when I’ll be able to write to you again, but please know
you are in my thoughts and prayers every day.
Dear Lord, I thank you first for the gift of your Son. By coming to earth as one of us you
demonstrated the depth of your love for us.
Thank you for the gift of Scripture, which can guide us and inspire us,
comfort us and instruct us. Thank you
for the saints who have gone before us, and for those who live among us
now. Their love and their lives
encourage us when we weary or our path is unclear. And thank you for the promise of the
resurrection, of knowing that we will always be with you. Because of Jesus there is hope, and the world
has never been the same. Amen.