Sunday, December 1, 2013

Gratitude for Hope

Life is Good: we always have hope


Month of Gratitude, Day 30

Well, last night after the kiddos were all snug as a bug, I sat down at the computer to write my final "Month of Gratitude" post. It could have been an easy one... I'm grateful I don't have to write a post every day for an entire month starting tomorrow! ; ) Indeed, it has been a lovely exercise to write about my blessings and especially to focus on the little and simple things. However, trying to carve out time to write each day has not always been so simple. I've enjoyed the process...thinking and writing. I have loved the feedback from friends I know and new internet friends I have never met. It's been good for me to sit down and be quiet. It's been good for me to save some thoughts for my kids and share what is on my mind. But to be sure, this mama has a full load and so I breathe a sigh of relief at the idea of writing a post or two each week moving forward.

So as I said, last night, I sat down to write. It had been a good day and I was grateful. We had begun our Christmas celebrating. We had spent the morning downtown at Macy's. On their 8th floor, they have a "Day in the Life of an Elf" display that is really adorable. They have several scenes of animated elf dolls doing their daily tasks like making candy and other goodies.

We met a close friend and her kiddos that, like ours, are 2 and 5. It was fun to watch the kids delight in the magic.

They bounced around from scene to scene. Literally. The excitement took over their little bodies. It is no surprise that people call it the "most wonderful time of the year". These kids were reveling in it.

Later, we watched "Moose Crossing", the puppet show in an adjacent room on the eighth floor. It was cute and for four bucks a person, it was a real bargain. Our kids loved it. It was a mixture of real puppets...

shadow puppets...

and marionettes...

 After the show, the puppeteers brought out some of the puppets and let kids try them out. What an extra special treat. We were the last ones to leave, so we even got to peek at the back of the stage.

We came home to lobster bisque (yum!) and then set off to see Santa at a local photographer's studio. The kids got 15 minutes to talk with Santa about toys and the North Pole and anything else that was on their minds. And we got a cute picture for their memory boxes.

It was the most relaxing, enjoyable Santa visit of our five and a half years of Santa visits. Thank you! But if you are wondering why our little ones aren't sitting on Santa's lap, it's because the wee one is far too discerning for it! That is as close as he would get. And that was okay with us. He sat on a stool next to Santa and said, "Merry Christmas!" No tears. Success.

It was a good day. A very good day. A day full of fun and frolic and magic. And I was grateful.

Before I wrote my post, I decided to check my accounts. And when I did, I learned that a friend's father had passed away. Tears filled my eyes. My heart ached.

Allyson and I forged a friendship over conversation. Like my friend, Pip, Allyson is older than I am. I grew to adore her and admired her for many reasons (I wasn't a teenager yet, but she was one of the most real teenagers I had ever met, wise beyond her years, and just a really good-hearted friend) and I think I valued her friendship in a different way because, unlike the girls my age whom I had been friends with since we started school, I felt Allyson had really chosen to be my friend. We hadn't just always been friends, but rather, she picked me to be her friend. Even though I haven't seen her in a long time, our friendship was very special to me and I look back on those years with such warmth.

So I put my post on hold. I couldn't think about anything but Allyson and her family. I called my mom to tell her. She gasped. We felt the sadness together. I prayed. And prayed. And prayed again. I asked for comfort and peace for their family. I thought about Allyson's children. In a correspondence with her, I told her to hug them all tightly. I felt so glad that she had them to hug and hold on to.

I awakened this morning thinking about Allyson again. I thought about what a great day our family had together yesterday and all the while, hers was saying goodbye to her beloved father. Our hearts were bursting with enthusiasm, their hearts were breaking. And still, I began thinking about this being the first day of Advent and why we celebrate it--the anticipation of our celebration of Christ's birth. The Christ Child. The King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Prince of Peace. The little, tiny baby that brought hope to our world.


This is what connects us. Each day, some of us will experience happiness and some, sadness. Others of us will be somewhere in the middle. But whatever spot we are within that, we all have hope. The hope that Christ's birth brought to the world. The message his birth gave to us all. A light unto our paths. The gift of love, the gift of hope.

Carl Sandberg said, “A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on.” It started with the greatest gift of all, our Savior, Jesus Christ. He lives in us. That hope lives in us.

So on this last post of Thanksgiving and on the first day of Advent, I am grateful for hope. In all its glory and innocence, its enthusiasm and kindness. And for the One who brought it into our world to us so that in our finest moments, we have gratitude and in our darkest moments, we have light.

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