"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Monday, December 16, 2013

Dear Abby, You Got it Right

The headline caught my attention: "Widower dreading Christmas will feel better if he reaches out".  

"Miserable in Massachusetts" had written in with concerns of not being able to buy gifts for his brother's family due to his limited income -- a Social Security disability.  And it was Abby's response that proved so powerful smack-dab here in the middle of the gift buying season and giving frenzy.  "You have something to give to your relatives." She writes. "It's the gift of your presence." Oh, how right you are, Dear Abby!

You see, for the several weeks following my recent surgery, apart from my sweet husband who was with me 24/7 for two solid weeks, there were 4 people who really stood out to me. As much as I truly appreciated all the food, all the cards and phone calls, and certainly all the prayers, what I call to mind as the most precious were the ones who came with no gift in hand and just stood or sat by my bed. Their presence WAS their gift, whether they realized it or not. 

My experience as of late has made me aware of just how poor I am in this ministry department. How often have I NOT gone to visit someone because I didn't have anything to take? Or even more so, how many times have I actually taken food yet just dropped it off at the door and NOT gone into visit, because I was in a hurry to make it to the next thing? Again, the food is wonderful -- much needed, in fact, and I am so grateful and indebted to those who supplied such, but how much more are people healed because we take the time to offer our very presence which says, "You are worth it."

But here's the paradox ... the mystery of it all. It is in the giving that we, too, receive healing. You see, Miserable in Massachusetts lost his wife this past year, and so he writes, "I feel alone. There's just me and my dog now. The holidays hurt." I think his answer and ours might lie in Isaiah 58 where we are told that as we "start giving ourselves," THEN our lives will begin to "dawn in the darkness" and "break forth like the morning." Then, THEN, our "healing shall spring forth speedily." Yes, it's in the giving of ourselves that we ourselves are healed.

Dear Abby, you got it right. The gift of presence. It could just be the most powerful thing we have to offer anybody, including ourselves, this Christmas -- or any day of the year for that matter. So, in this season of gift gifting, why not forgo the wrapping paper, tie a bow around your neck, and make a house call.

Just an ordinary moment...

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