Thursday, December 04, 2008

Keeping my eyes open....

Snow? What snow???

First we had torrential rain and then the sun came out. Freezing, but snow? Pah! Admittedly it fell north of here. By about 200miles, it seems. And this country is famous for letting 2 inches of snow stop the nation in its tracks, and I think it did just that this morning. If you happen to live north of here by a long way.

So I sallied forth on the quest to buy the last little bits for my presents, and got to the shops at the crack of dawn. Empty car park. Empty shop. Plenty to buy, and no people. On a sale day. No queues at any tills either. Just moi. This, people, is a very real and worrying sign of the times. I zapped through the shop (I do like using words which clearly do not in any way reflect the truth!) and was home by 9.30am. Mission accomplished. That is the longest distance I have driven too, by the way. Baby steps. Sigh. I am the ultimate long distance driver usually. Just not right now.

I had a couple of things I really wanted to talk about...... can I remember them? Hmmmmm. What were they..... ah yes. I remember one of them now.

At house group a little while ago, the conversation turned to the church looking after its own, caring and also reaching out to the community to help where necessary. And I listened to the conversation buzzing around me, and all of a sudden, it occurred to me that the words were all very cheap and the actions all very prescribed in a sense, and I wanted to say out loud - where were you when.....? Or where were we when.....? Or where was anyone when.....? And I didn't. Because I knew I may have said things I would have regretted. So where does the accountability start?

It is so easy to say the words - we look after children in need. We look after the old. We look after widows and orphans. We look after the sick. We...... who are the we? Do I? Do you? It is not enough to simply be a part of the body which apparently does these things, and bask in the reflected glory. It doesn't work properly unless all parts of the body actually work in the first place. That means noticing. You know what I mean?

I am as guilty as the next person of saying things our church "we" do a, b, or c. But do I actually take part in them? Who are the people who actually go out and do these things? I need to do more. Open my eyes more. My experiences can help other people facing similar circumstances. My strengths can be utilised to bring both empathy and understanding to some situations. And the same applies to us all.

The reason this is weighing so heavily on my mind, is that I noticed a friend sitting quietly at the housegroup meeting, not saying much at all. And as the conversation turned towards what "we" do to support each other, she had her hand almost covering her eyes. It worried me sick. She never said anything about what she may have been thinking, but something was clearly wrong. And it is. I understand how deeply it must have hurt her to listen to all the words, and she must have been thinking....what about me. I am here, and has anyone even noticed something could be wrong?

You see, we say the words so easily and generally sometimes, that we forget the individual. It is hard to say that you are hurting, or worried, or have nowhere to turn. Believe me, I know. Been there and done that. But it is even harder to sit and listen to the words, knowing that no-one considers for a second that one of those needing help is right there among us. All it takes is a call. A note. A visit. If we need to be seen, we need to see too.

I am willing to bet there are a great many people close to each of us right now who are hurting, worried, frightened. And silent. I am making a real effort to try to notice them, just the way I wish I had been noticed. It has to start with someone. One. Especially now. It is winter, it is very cold, and we live in perilous times. As Christians, this is the time to be aware of those in need, whatever that need may be.

And noticing is not enough. Doing something tangible is what is most important. Our actions will speak far louder than any words. This is as much a wake-up call for me, as it is for everyone. I can make a difference. So can everyone.

If we are aware and care enough.


Olson Family said...

So nicely written and truthful. I almost had myself a pity party. I am a bit stretched right now - doing for others. Maybe taking on a little more than I needed (have you seen the Bernese in my post?). Feeling like sometimes no one asks how I'm doing and if I need anything. A lady at church told me two weeks ago how she loved how "put together and organized" I always am. HA HA I wanted to laugh in her face. If she knew all the things I wasn't getting done.
But I stopped short to remind myself that someday it really could be me with the cancer and looking at my last Christmas with kids, or disabled, or dealing with a seriously ill child. And there will be others to serve instead. How we are to be thankful for our blessings and prayerful about our difficulties. Remembering how Christ did not complain about dying for us - He looked to His Father for comfort.

Yes - we need to look around and notice. Dare I say, ask for help sometimes?

Mary said...

Spot on!

Vee said...

Linds, the next time the Holy Spirit moves you to speak, please do. We all need someone to speak from the heart just as you've done here today.

Susan said...

Well spoken, Linds, and I am afraid we are all guilty of just what you are saying. I know that I am and I know it must grieve the Father and my Lord. Thanks for the gentle reminder to be about our Fathers business.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, I just had some of these thoughts today, too. I teach kids who are very difficult and have tough exteriors. However, when I hear their life stories, I get it. Invisible needs are hard to see, even in those who look like they are getting by just fine.

Glad to hear you got out and accomplished your goals. Hang in there. I know God will use this episode in your life to glorify His name, and I know you will be willing to obey!

Linda in St. Louis

Dawn said...

Well said, my friend. I wonder what was wrong with your friend.

We silently suffered through so much of our "stuff" because it was "shameful." I now wonder how many others do the same.

But you're right about taking credit for what "we" do as a corporate body of Christ. Great food for thought, as you often give us!

We had snow this morning - several inches of beautiful fluffy stuff, with a high of 19 F. But tomorrow it's supposed to warm up to the 50s again and melt it all away. What a crazy place!

Crystal said...

My friend, you are amazing with the profound and candid way that you speak to us everyday. I wish I had your courage and forthright manner to say what we need to hear.

I feel for you friend and for you, wondering what to do and say, at the meeting. I know that I have only a little inkling of what needs there are, as people only have a glimpse of my needs. It's hard to be open and honest after being closed for so long. And these economic times are affecting more of us than ever. I know I need to pray about this and then go where Heavenly Father points me and shows me doors that need to be opened.

We can make a difference. ((( HUGS )))

Joyful Days said...

Thank you, Linds, for that very real reminder. It is so easy to be "busy" and promise to catch the next chance to help someone.



someone else said...

Linds, this was so beautifully written!

Bless you, Friend!

Donnetta said...

So true! What a tremendous challenge and reminder to my own heart today.

Janine said...

You are so right. Our lives are so busy that we tend to think that someone else will take care of things. When Shan had her accident we had people that we barely knew arriving at our front door with prepared meals - made me feel very humble so now I try to do my bit too. As my mom always said "Cast your bread upon the waters and it will come back as a ham sandwich"!!