Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The (Imperfect) Christmas Lights

Yesterday, we did the majority of our Christmas decorating. As a retired couple with no young resident children to regale, our decorations are sparse. The four-foot tree came back up from the basement and was installed on top of the Barbie piano so it would make its appearance to the outside world. A few more ornaments were added so that it wasn’t a totally Charlie Brown tree. And two three-light candelabra were added on either side. A rather festive appearance after all.

Alas, there was a problem. When we plugged in the tree lights, only about a third of them were burning. I suspect I know exactly where the problem is as I immediately spotted a socket without a full bulb inserted. And the light in the middle of one of the candelabra is also missing. So now the challenge is to find where I stored the extra bulbs.

However, this experience made me stop and think about our families. The comparisons were both encouraging and troubling.

So many of our families have portions of the string that aren’t presently lit. They are still beloved. They are still connected to the rest of us, hopefully through eternal covenants. But for some reason, their lights just aren’t currently burning.

Discouraging, right? Still, are we mourning so much over those sections that we fail to see and fully appreciate those which are burning brightly? I’ve heard it’s not unusual for the children whose sibling is struggling to resent all the attention the parents give that child in the effort to regain and maintain equilibrium. While we all recognize that the child in danger is naturally the focus of attention, we should not forget to nourish those who are presently a little safer, still a little further from the precipice.

Of course, all analogies break down at some point. While I can go look for the necessary bulbs and replace them at my volition, it’s not so easy with eternal beings whose agency must be respected.

Until that agency—that precious, essential, terrifying prerogative—leads our children back through their own choices, all we can do is see to it that the current of love and support continues to flow to them. However, at the same time, we should do all we can to ensure that all the lights are receiving that current of love and support.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go look for the replacement bulbs. Passersby may not fully appreciate the lesson of the imperfect Christmas lights.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A Note; a Request

By the way, while searching for my blog after a considerable time away from it, I saw that another Lorraine had used "unleashed" in association with her name. It was a bit unsettling to realize that her lifestyle was vastly (and I do mean vastly) different from mine. So those of you who might be looking for my simple little blog, please, please be careful not to confuse the two of us.

And please don't go look out of curiosity...you know what happened to the cat. Sadly, in our society today, there are dead cats all over the place. And I would be loathe to think that I had contributed to the slaughter.

Thank you.

The Commode: The Wednesday After Thanksgiving

WARNING: Some shocking statements follow which will seem almost unbelievable for those of you who know me well!

As I was vacuuming the floor [amazing statement #1] in preparation for mopping [amazing statement #2], I had an epiphany. [Let it here be said that it is true that mopping the floor twice in as many weeks really is uncharacteristic for this housekeeper. It’s just that we had an incident with a Corelle dish’s having a close encounter with the ceramic tile floor, and all of you who have had that experience know the horrendous results that ensued. Enough said.]

Back to the epiphany: As I was vacuuming, I happened to glance at the commode in the half bath off the kitchen. Our house is a fairly large structure. My husband was the main contractor and constructor. He basically built the house off of a sheet of tracing paper where we had modified a commercial floor plan to our preferences.

We did have a plumber run the lines for us. But when he did, I’m pretty sure that the house had just been framed. How did the plumber get that drain pipe in exactly the right location, basically (although not precisely) in the center of the available space for it?

Well, for one thing, he knew what he was doing. He had had previous experience. And we were able to trust him to complete the job.

The reason that this impacted me is that our lives currently seem to be akin to a marble cake. There are multiple colors swirling through our experiences—some light and some dark. It is difficult to see how all of it will come together to form a sweet confection (which, of course, is the hope we have for the ultimate outcome).

Nevertheless...........and that is the key word...........nevertheless, it is my firm conviction that there is a Master Contractor who is watching over our eternal construction project. He has been through this process before. His previous experience informs His counsel to us. He knows loss; He knows exultation through exaltation. He is worthy of our total trust.

I am grateful for that assurance. I can move forward with confidence and comfort because of Him and the others who serve with Him.

Giving thanks continues.