Monday, July 16, 2007

Grace, Sacrifice and Cherries

I've been thinking a lot lately about how to turn my heart and life more to God, to grace, to beauty, bliss and simplicity. A week or so ago, I was finally getting into bed, much later than planned. Just as I lay down, I heard one of my little sons starting to fuss. As I lay him down next to me, he snuggled into my body and I lay there stroking his head in the dark quiet for a few minutes. For whatever reason, my mind started thinking about Mary, the mother of the Son of God, and what her thoughts must have been as she held her Child. I don't know, but I have to wonder if she knew what He was born to do, what He would have to go through and fulfill for everyone. I can't imagine what her thoughts would have been, hearing, but not comprehending, what He was going to go through. As I was thinking about this, I was reminded of one of my favorite Christmas carols titled "The Infant King."

Sing lullaby! Lullaby baby, now reclining, Sing lullaby!
Hush, do not wake the Infant King.
Angels are watching, stars are shining
Over the place where is lying: Sing lullaby!

Sing lullaby! Lullaby baby, now a-sleeping, Sing lullaby!
Hush, do not wake the Infant King.
Soon will come sorrow with the morning,
Soon will come bitter grief and weeping: Sing lullaby!

Sing lullaby! Lullaby baby, now a-dozing, Sing lullaby!
Hush, do not wake the Infant King.
Soon comes the cross, the nails, the piercing,
Then in the grave at last reposing: Sing lullaby!

Sing lullaby! Lullaby! is the babe awaking? Sing lullaby!
Hush, do not wake the Infant King.
Dreaming of Easter, gladsome morning,
Conquering Death, its bondage breaking: Sing lullaby!

It is a lovely carol. If I had a wish for you, I'd attach a link to King's College Choir from Cambridge, England singing this. It is oh so beautiful. I was thinking about the sacrifice that she made and wondering what sacrifices I make in my life, or if I make any at all. I certainly feel that I'm not making enough.

Sometimes I think I tend to think of sacrifice as big things -- and I am painfully aware of how many big things I'm not doing. Then I read this post by Geo where she talked about how she mourns the fact that she doesn't have a very good memory. But she mentioned something quite spectacular: that part of having a great memory is forgetting. Forgetting the baggage you carry around, the hurts that injured you, the offenses that you tote around in that bag on your back. So...maybe that's the kind of sacrifice that I could use more of. That is something you can do from wherever you are, and ironically, it is as much a gift to yourself as anyone else it might affect (which I think is generally how sacrifice works). That little post inspired me to try to sacrifice and remember in this way much more often.

I read something pretty profound last night...something that kind of capped a lot of what has been swirling around in my head lately. As I've been thinking about how to fill my life with more of God's love and to cultivate more of an awareness for joy and peace, I've realized that I, in large measure, choose the perspective through which I view my life. Here's what I read last night:

"There is power in our thoughts. We create our own surroundings by the thoughts we think. Physically, this may take a period of time, but spiritually it is instantaneous. If we understood the power of our thoughts, we would guard them more closely. If we understood the awesome power of our words, we would prefer silence to almost anything negative. In our thoughts and words we create our own weaknesses and our own strengths. Our limitations and joys begin in our hearts. We can always replace negative with positive." (from Embraced by the Light)

Then, I loved this by Chelle today, and it was perfect...her thoughts on gratitude and how we view our lives was just perfect. If I want bliss, joy, peace and love, I can have it, but it begins with me and with what I choose to celebrate and focus on.

And lastly, I've had some pretty lovely moments lately to remind me of the simple things that I love. I spent two hours on Saturday with my neighbor. My husband was asleep, exhausted from early working all week, so I headed over to my neighbor's house with babes in tow. Ever since I became a stay-at-home mom, we have had several conversations together. We seem to cross paths more often. She has been a stay-at-home mom now for 26 years, and I admire her so very much. She loves my children, and I love her for that. She inspires me in her dedication to family and how committed she is to her husband and children. I love her for that, too. And I loved her for just visiting with me on Saturday. I was in her bedroom for almost two hours. She showed me her Josh Groban DVD, and we held babies, feeding them (and enjoying ourselves) some Cheese Nibs and Goldfish, and drinking some Cherry Limeades. I love her so much, and I love spending time with other mothers and for mothers who share their wisdom and love with me. Thank you Lisa. I love you so much.

Then, that evening, I pitted cherries for the better part of three hours, with only a break to eat dinner. It was lovely. Something about working with my hands seems to connect me to somewhere deep within that I can't explain. Finishing, my fingers were stained and I could tell the natural oils in my fingers had come off. My back hurt. But it hurt oh so good.

I have much to be grateful for.

How do you go about bringing greater grace, beauty, bliss and simplicity in your life? What do you do to turn your heart closer to God?

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