|My siblings and I in reverse birth order, summer 2010|
In 15 days it will be my 15th anniversary.
In 25 days it will be my 37th birthday.
I am not ashamed of my age, by the way, I embrace it. I am the oldest of four children. As you can see by the picture on the right, we're not ordinary people, by any stretch of the imagination. The second of us is the sister I call Rainbow, she's the one in the pale blue tank. The third of us is the sister I call Crazy, not because she's nuts, even though she is, but because my kids call her Crazy Aunt ____, where the blank is her name. The fourth of us is our baby brother, whom I refer to as Nomad due to his incessant need to travel and never stay in one place very long. I should probably change that name though, he's been living with our mom for a couple years now...
|also in the package|
If you notice, in the middle of the picture on the right, there is a tiny, metallic object. This is the thing I was waiting for most. Not because of what it is, but because of what it represents. I cannot explain it any better than my sister did when she posted on my Facebook, however, so I will let her words do the explaining. All I can say is, thank you little sister, thank you very much.
The following was posted by my sister onto my Facebook page on Monday, July 30:
This is a true story.
When I was 18 my family was going through a difficult time. We were all experiencing a loss of faith and with the Holiday season upon us it seemed as if we had forgotten what the purpose of the Christmas Season was. In a desperate attempt to find my place I went to the midnight mass at church. I was alone, young, and lost. I sat alone in the last row, hiding in a dark corner, when one of the Ushers tapped me on the shoulder. He said, “You can’t sit here alone, come up here.” He directed me toward the front and sat me with his wife and two grown children. I had seen this man and his wife from time to time but didn't know them personally. The mass started and went as these things usually do, but as people were approaching the alter for mass I had one of those moments.
Some may know the moments I am talking about, and others will just have to go with me on this. As I gazed at the image of Christ on the cross and considered the sacrifices he made for us I felt…humbled. I considered how one little baby could give up so much for so many, and how he did not allow pride to waylay his purpose. It occurred to me that with all the troubles and turmoil in my life it was nothing compared to the challenges he faced. I bowed my head in shame. It was shame for my selfish thoughts and feelings. It was shame for my trivial worries and distracts. It was shame for my lack of faith. Then the tears came.
I can still remember the smell of incense, the gentle singing of the choir, and the evening chill in the air. What I can’t remember is why I felt I had to hide my tears from the world. I buried my head in my arms like I was praying and tried to hide the fact that I was…what I was. They say the Lord works in mysterious ways. I have no doubt about that. The Usher’s wife, sitting beside me, was given insight into my plight that night. She was given sight into my turmoil.
I felt her put an arm around me, open my hand, and press something small into my palm. I can still remember what she said to me, “She came to me when I was in need. It is time for her to help another.” I opened my fingers and looked at the small golden pin in my hand. The angel in my hand was worn, but loved. Her arms outstretched, she was the embrace I needed. It was the Lord working his ways to give me the hug I needed. It was the Lord saying to me, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6,7)
A few weeks later I tried to give the pin back to her owner. She would not accept the gift. She told me when the time is right I would know, and pass her on to another. The time has come for the pin to find a new home. My sister and I were never close growing up, but as we get older she and I have grown closer. My sister has felt the difficulty of our current economy as much as we all have, and she is in need of help. I have seen people turn aside the generosity of others because of pride. Just as a stranger was made an instrument of the Lord, so I have become an instrument as well. When my sister opens her birthday package in a few days she will find a treasure. I know she will read this message before she gets the package, but the anticipation will be like a hug from the Lord as she waits. My only request is that she continues this message. “She came to me when I was in need. It is time for her to help another.”
The lessons here, you can never be too humble before the Lord. You are an instrument for the Lord’s work as much as you will be influenced by those who are his instruments.
-JM, August, 2012
I love you JM.