Archives for posts with tag: holding on

IMG_4425

My son called a few weeks ago with some exciting news and all I kept thinking as I sat there smiling on the other end of the phone was that I was thankful for the front row seat to so many cool things. And I told him so.  But as soon as I said it, I thought, well, that sounds pretty presumptuous.  But he agreed and was like “yeah, me too Mom…” And as I thought about wanting that front row seat, I kind of laughed at how things have changed through the years.

josh2josh

I grew up liking to sit in the middle row. In class. At church. At weddings and public functions, I liked being not too far back, but not too up-close-and personal in the front row either.  Then, when I became a mom of quite a few children, I quickly found a new and great appreciation for the back row…the VERY back row.  It’s close to the door in case there’s a need for a quick get away.  It’s important to have a clear safe straightaway exit if there’s an unexpected (but expected) need for a diaper change, feeding, or disciplinary “pow-wow.” Yep, way back when as the variables in my life increased and my world included lots of unknowns, that’s when I started so appreciating the back row. I could focus on the tasks at hand without feeling the unnecessary strain of doing it in front of lots of onlookers.  So for years, the back rows were where I felt most comfortable because keeping my ‘little ducks in a row’ …or not…was easier there.

chase and zac in wilmington

But, how ironic is it that now, I WANT front row seats!  And how ironic that those very ‘children’ who gave me such a grand appreciation for the back row are now the ones who are giving me a front row seat to so many amazing and beautiful things in my life?  ALL of  their journeys and successes, their dilemmas, their failures (or not-yet-successes), their quirks and jokes and laughter, their new arenas and experiences that come with them…ALL of it makes me thankful for the glimpse, the window, this front row seat  that I have into their lives.

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 11.26.23 AM

 

But it’s a window… It’s not a door to bust through and invade and take over. It’s a window. It’s not a camping out spot,…it’s a view, a seat, a place to sit and marvel and watch and experience. It’s a place to be available to these “stars” in my life as they live out the scenes of their every day lives…available to reach out to if they want to, or merely observe if they carry on and don’t. It’s a place to enjoy and weep and pray and laugh and be through it ALL.  All that I see, that is. Am so aware, there’s so much of who we all are and do and be that others don’t see. (Thankful that prayer can reach even there…) But the part I do see makes me so thankful. And it keeps me on the edge of my seat in this thing called life. In a good way, in a hard way, and in a way that keeps me so very alive and vested.

 

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 11.28.49 AM

There’s nothing like the joy that comes from watching someone ‘do their thing.’ It’s especially sweet when you’ve had a backstage view of all the rehearsals and practices, attempts and fallings, fears,  and fatigue and risings-up-again, …all of the not-yet moments that were so very necessary to the developing of the moments of doing-one’s-thing. And we all have a ‘thing’. Just gotta find it. And help others find it. Because we were born for “it.”

ZAC

Am thinking God knows how we’re wired. He knows “the paths that we should take…”  He knows what makes us tick, or ticked off, what makes us passionate, what makes us feel most alive and in our zone. And when we find that ‘it’, it is a joy. But not just to us. It’s a joy to those who have front row seats, to those who are the beneficiaries of the use of the giftedness, beneficiaries of people using their skills to make an impact can whatever way they can. At different seasons of our lives,  we can lose  our “it” that we were born for by having it take a back seat to the needs of the now, the needs of those in our lives.  Moms can get really good at that…losing (or postponing) their “it” that is. So can husbands and dads who are trying so hard to provide and be there for their families.

hope helping

But we’re not meant to always and only have a front row seat to others’ lives. Others in our lives can also have a front row seat to ours. Have been cognizant of that in recent years and am hopeful that in the same way that I laugh out loud and have tears streaming down face with pride watching people do their thing, that those in my life can actually even have moments like that with me. Because we are in this journey together…however short or long it may be. And we impact each other. We do. We inspire or we don’t. We encourage or we don’t. We build up or we don’t. None of us can be all things to all people. We’re not meant to have that place, to fill those kind of voids. But am thinking that our love can point to the God who is and does. Am thinking He is meant to have that place in our lives and does fill the voids. And we can be little windows in people’s lives to remind them of that.

mm20

 

I love that some people will have arenas filled with people watching them ‘do their thing’. They will be celebrated by tens of thousands of people and will be well known. They will be encouraged by many and applauded. But I equally love watching someone quietly be faithful to their task when there’s no audience, no cheers, no front row seats. That the beauty that shines in the arena, shines in the quiet places that no one sees. Sometimes we’re not even aware of the gifts of the precious lives in our midst. How many are the opportunities daily missed because we fail to see the value of those in our midst and to connect. Who do you have a front row seat to?  Are you glancing at your watch as they share and do their thing or are you engaged, vested, encouraging, applauding even?  And what do people who have a front row seat to me see?   Do I even realize that they are there? Do I know how my actions impact them?

DSCN8371

We only see in part now, for sure, but I’m asking the questions of myself because I’m so aware that we impact each other. And the people in our lives are gifts. Gifts. To be treasured, encouraged, admonished, loved on, even more so when they might not deserve it or feel worthy of it. “People need loving the most when they deserve it the least.”  The world sure can be a harsh and angry place. Although technology  has given rise to the potential for connections, people seem more divided and fragmented than ever. Am thinking that a little encouragement, a little applause and recognition, a little awareness that keeps eyes off me and on someone else, can go a long, long way. For those that are cheered, and those that do the cheering as well.  The cool thing is, in this thing called life, one minute you’re sitting in the front row seat, and the next, someone is sitting in the seat watching  you.  And if we let ourselves, we can be encouraged and moved and drawn in by the beauty of the other person’s story, their script, their life. Humility can be a gateway to inspiration and encouragement and growth on both sides of the ‘stage’.

hopeoct19

Would that we would have a front row seat to applaud and encourage many. In word, in action, in prayer…would that we could get our eyes off of ourselves and our agendas to enjoy the ride, even when it isn’t focused on us. Self-centeredness looks to  me more like a merry-go-round with the ego-centric self going around and around and around and around and getting nowhere. And all the spectators kind of do the same thing. Front row seats to others’ lives can definitely feel like a rollercoaster ride for we experience the ups and downs and comings and goings and failures and victories, and all of the emotions that go with it. But I’m thinking it’s a lot more impactful …and fun. And I’ve learned that whether you’re in the front row seat of the rollercoaster, or the back, you’ll still experience the whole ride. (My kids have encouraged me to do the front row seat on that a time or two…and I’ve encouraged one or two of them to get on the rollercoaster…)  But the merry go round…there’s no front or back, there’s just a point that the whole world of the merry-go-round moves around. Around and around and around.

So, am thinking that front row seats are a good thing. On rollercoasters, in class, and when it comes to having eyes to see the people around us. Yeah, the ride can be a little wild sometimes…up, and down, and up and down, but there’s nothing like a good story unfolding before our eyes…if we have the eyes to see it. Here’s to front row seats and rollercoaster rides, and encouragement that puts our eyes less on ourselves and more on others. Here’s to front row seats and using our gifts and encouraging others to do the same. But let’s not do away with back rows…there are moms out there with young kids who need the back rows…for a season anyway. There’ll be plenty more years for front row seats…

DSCN5000

So there’s a few (more than a few) thoughts on front row seats. Here’s to yours and mine.

Blessings ~

Heather

P.S. I love Zephaniah 3:17 that says the Lord delights in us with singing.. that He is in our midst and delights in us with shouts of joy. He delights in us like a dad on the sidelines or a mom in the stands or a sister or brother in the audience cheering like crazy. He sees. He watches. He delights.  Am thinking His is the ultimate front row seat of it all. That’s pretty cool. And He calls us to know Him and love Him and see what He’s doing…to have a front row seat to His heart as He has a front row seat to ours. And that’s the most amazing story of all.

“The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:17

…”shine among them like stars in the sky  as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. “

Philippians 2:15-16

 

treasure2

Outside of the Southern Arts Society Building, Kings Mountain, North Carolina

“God gives us things to share. He doesn’t give us things to hold.”

~Mother Teresa

I love this quote by Mother Teresa:  “God gives us things to share. He doesn’t give us things to hold. I’m thinking that applies to stuff. Am also thinking that applies to us and the ‘gifts’, those unseen talents, abilities and passions, that we have to share with the world. That ‘world’ may be one person, one family, one community…or that ‘world’ may be internationally reaching people on a global level.  But yes, she was so on point again when Mother Teresa said, “God gives us things to share. He doesn’t give us things to hold.”

 

That’s quite a convicting statement for me as I try to declutter stuff that’s been stuffed away for years with more stuff on top of that. It’s also quite convicting as I try to figure out how to use use the gift of my years, days and moments. But it doesn’t have to be complicated, for as Frederick Buechner said, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” So cool. Our passions so often parallel our gifts. What we treasure is so fleshed out in what we love to do.

What we hold on to and put our time and energy into is so what holds us, and if that doesn’t line up with what I say I treasure, well, it might be time for a bit of a priority re-boot. I’ve been doing a lot of examination and re-boots lately, for sure. And it’s been a good thing as it’s been a kind of taking-out-the-trash, and holding-onto-treasure type of thing….with stuff, and with my mindset. One more quote, a good one…”Where your heart is, there your treasure will be….” Matthew 6:21 Love that. Our actions kind of show us don’t they? Gulp. Yes they do. That can be a great thing or a convicting thing or both. It’s been both for me.

DSCN2040.jpg

Treasures….Boxed up note, keepsakes, and heirlooms from Grannie

One more thought on treasure-holding.  My morning duty at school has been to be a greeter/ door watcher of sorts at our school. I stand at the door and say “good morning” and make sure these young students make it safely from the cafeteria to the main school building. And do you know what I see EVERY morning?  Students holding hands as they walk to class. Young siblings, friends, cousins caring for each other. Holding hearts by holding hands. I see goodbye kisses and hugs at classroom doors. I see older siblings ensuring not only that little ones are safe, but that they are encouraged. Maybe these babies remember what we as adults can so often forget…that we are the treasure…

 

DSCN2027

Another ‘break it down’ simple statement came from Jesus. In Mark 12, He told us to Love God and Love others. Bottom Line.  Love God with your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Love others as you love yourself…  We are admonished to treasure what gives priority to these two statements. Love God, Love others.  Period.

left-behind-5

Castles in the Sand, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Many treasures can slip through our hands. They come and go. But am thankful for the reminder from the example of my students holding hands to hold onto the treasure of those we love. Yes, I think Mother Teresa so had it right when she said that “God gives us things to share, He doesn’t give us things to hold.”  I know that she knew the things for holding were hands and hearts and belief.  And the cool thing is, those aren’t things at all….Human hearts and hands and beliefs were categories that so transcend any ‘thing’.  Anything. And if what I treasure gets in the way of these, then maybe it’s time to trash it, let it go. And then as I let things go, to be sure to hold on tight to those hands, hearts, and beliefs that we treasure. In a world that loves alienation and fragmentation and a glorification of stuff over souls, yeah, it’s important to make a determined effort to hold on tight to what you treasure

.DSCN2037

I’m thinking the more we let stuff go, the more our hearts and hands are free to hold what’s precious and truly matters. As my inspiring principal (with a background in drama that impacts her speech(-es) greatly) once said to me, “Heather, what can God put in your empty hands that He can’t give you with what you’re holding on to?” She of course added to the impact by holding out both hands wide over her head and closing her eyes.  Point made. I wasn’t happy with her that day, as she was encouraging me to get rid of lots of materials that we needed to move on, but she was totally on point.  Point taken <3. Again. And I’m so thankful for her words not just with regard to my classroom, but more importantly, with regard to my days.  Days are definitely a gift to be treasured.

DSCN2011.jpg

Just a few thoughts on treasure from one who wants to remember daily the reminder that yes, “God gives us things to share. He doesn’t give us things to hold…”   and that’s a truth worth holding on to.

Blessings ~

Heather

“…Hold on to what is good,reject every kind of evil.May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

 I Thessalonians 5: 21-24

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 

1 John 3:17-21 

One of the teachers of the law came and heard the Sadducees arguing. He noticed that Jesus had given the Sadducees a good answer. So he asked him, “Which is the most important of all the commandments?” Jesus answered, “Here is the most important one. Moses said, ‘Israel, listen to me. The Lord is our God. The Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind and with all your strength.’  And here is the second one. ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ There is no commandment more important than these.”

Mark 12:28-31  

 

Coming Home

When was the last time I was moved to tears by something beautiful?

Yesterday.

It was an airport moment. Saw my son walking down the corridor. (This after direction from my youngest son who said, “Mom don’t you see him? There he is!” My eyes aren’t what they used to be.) The son who was abroad from January to the end of May and then living outside of NYC from the end of May until now. The son who has pushed himself so hard that I’ve been concerned about the effect of the stressors on him. The son who finished a project the day before and could finally exhale and feel a sense of accomplishment over a job well done. Feel as though he has been running a marathon for 8 months, and he’s finally home for a few days, able to breathe, able to be around his family who can’t wait to see him. Yes, I was moved to tears by the beauty of knowing that for awhile, a very short while, I will have all of my kids home, under one roof, safe and sound.

We moms, we have to do that constant dance of holding on and letting go, don’t we? In my world of being a mom of kids in their teens and twenties, I’ve had a lot of letting go going on. It felt so good to see him down the corridor, rush to him with tears falling down my cheeks, and hold on for a few moments. Yes, I will hold on to my kids when I can, and I hope when it is necessary to let go, that they always remember the holding on. This is the kind of beauty that brings tears of joy and sadness at the same time.

%d bloggers like this: