Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Kaleidoscope

My sister-in-law, Kim, delivered a gift without a note explaining what was under the wrapping. Buried within the colored tissue paper in the prettiest of Christmas bags lay a child’s cardboard kaleidoscope.  Laughing, I bring it to my eye and lift my face to look directly into the kitchen light.  The colors immediately begin casting brilliant patterns, changing with each turn of the knob. What a thoughtful present, but what was the purpose of gifting it to me?  

I continue to play with the kaleidoscope; turning the knob as well as shaking the plastic shapes within the tube.  My enjoyment cannot be contained.  Moments of mindless entertainment are brought into focus with each new design.  Listening closely, one could hear the “ooohs & ahhhs” escaping my lips.   But still I wonder, Why a kaleidoscope?  

Maybe I am someone who would appreciate a good old-fashioned toy? Maybe it is how she sees me – always changing & accepting myself with each turn? Perhaps it’s the symbolism of looking with a new set of eyes and anticipating the next pretty display?  Or maybe I would see the images reflecting like the beautiful stained glass windows in church?   


A few weeks before receiving this gift, I was photographed after a “day of beauty” at my hair salon.  When I saw the results posted on instagram - the pictures seem to capture my inner spirit.  With Kaleidoscope now in hand, I think further about the way the world sees me.  For I am often concerned about my appearance, not in “the vain sort of way” but in a “how disabled do I appear” scrutiny.   But these images before me smiling, laughing and being my silly self make me happy.  The joy & love in my heart shines through at any angle – very much like those glorious images contained within the lens of my kaleidoscope.

Look at Me! #KaleidescopeHeart

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Ransom The Captive

* I wrote this story 2 years ago and shared it with friends last night.  
The question for reflection - "what holds you captive?"


Ransom the Captive” replays in my head, and I am left trembling.  The certainty of my imprisonment clearly brought to my attention while mindlessly humming a melody I learned years ago.  The words from this traditional Christmas carol lead me on a new path of self-discovery.

The Season of Advent calls believers to “get ready” and “make straight the path”.  Aside from the outside merriment and glee (which we all complete in great haste) is the hard work of preparing the spirit.   Kindness, joy, generosity and goodwill are perfect compliments to the Season.

But what I yearn for in my preparation is a different perspective and fresh approach to the familiar Christmas Story.   Without fail it comes to me – “Ransom the Captive” – one verse from an ancient song.  I am journeying on an uncharted path; moving in a different direction!

Am I the captive?  Do I act the victim held confined and restrained?  In my own way has this terrible affliction imprisoned me?  

When I think of those “held captive”, I immediately begin with a list of people less fortunate who are suffering from circumstances in their lives.    The ultimate ransom for Christians being salvation in Christ Jesus, but we all have a responsibility to pay the ransom and help those in captivity.  A donation, helping hand, welcoming visit or a simple prayer goes a long way to aid those “held captive”.  But again, I shudder at the thought that I might be included in this list.

Although I try my best to “live above the influence” of MS - I let it, at times, hold me captive. I think of all that I cannot do and many times am fearful to step out on my own.  The stripping down to the soul reveals the chains I carry.  Chains that hold me from a freedom I once knew.  With the weight of this confinement I see myself, very much like those people in the song most in need of ransom. 

To say it was an Ebenezer Scrooge moment – would be correct.   I see the truth and the chains of my own making.  I cannot and will not let this disease hold me back from anything!   For seeing myself as a captive has freed me to once again become the person God intended me to be…..   Hopeful, Uplifted, Saved and Rejoicing in a future I will live in a freedom, which is mine for the taking!   Held Captive….  I think not!

  
O Come - O Come Emmanuel and Ransom Captive Israel.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Basement


If you're looking for me, you'll find me in the basement; working on cracks and fixing leaks in the foundation of my soul.  God seems to be leading me to this quiet place during the season of Advent.  To truly prepare for the coming of our savior - some repair work needs to be done.

The upstairs of my home is decorated with lovely ornaments. The tree has been perfectly placed in front of the picture window. Everywhere possible - I have assembled my beautiful nativities - as reminders of the true reason for the season. Lights are twinkling, garland is hung and Santa with some snowmen have joined in the fun!  I've worked hard to bring the season to life and as a result, my upstairs rooms look warm and cozy... adorn with Christmas Spirit.

But the real and difficult work has taken place in the lower part of my home.  For the things I've created upstairs cannot be sustained without some attention to the details surrounding its foundation.

It is safe to say that the basement is not where I want to spend much time.  It isn't a place I show off to family and never bring friends.  There is little pride in the cement walls and concrete floors of a homes foundation.  It isn't filled with light and glorious things. Sometimes, it brings back memories of scary stories and hidden away creatures.

Oh, but during these advent days of preparation, I have marveled at my basement.  I eagerly go to this place of prayer to fix and patch the cracks that have surfaced.  And with each mend and repair -  I am filled with a greater sense of who I am, a greater trust in God and Hope in His plan for me.

So if you're looking for me, you don't have to search far.  You'll find me in the basement - building and growing a stronger foundation for my home.


On Christmas morning I will journey to 
a place still in need of repair 
   and on bended knee 
give Thanks to God for the gift of His Son 
and for His guiding hand 
in mending my home.





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