Sunday, December 09, 2007

Called to love through prayer

Although William Law and I would not have agreed on many things, he is the author of one of my favorite sayings. When Asher and Jacob were born, thousands of people throughout the world (literally) came to pray for these two amazing little boys. One day when I was reading a book of quotes, I stumbled upon one by Law which said, "There is nothing that makes us love someone so much as praying for them." When I read this, my eyes could not help but well up with tears, as it touched at the heart of what so many of us were experiencing at that moment.

I have been working somewhat diligently today on another project for my Epistles course. As I was studying Paul and the core teachings in his letters, I was been unable to control my mind from drifting. I've read over and over again about the call to unity as the Body of Christ. In the context of Philippians, it is the call to be unified in the midst of proclaiming the Gospel. In our little internet community, it is still the call to proclaim the Gospel, but in the form of praying and supporting those who have become family even though we have never met.

While making dinner, I thought back to last year when I attended Christi Thomas' funeral mass. This was yet another beautiful child I had never met yet fell in love with over years of following her battle with neuroblastoma. There were many who thought I was crazy for driving five hours to a funeral when I knew no one, yet my internal reaction was always "but I did know her". I knew Christi as I journeyed with her via the internet through her treatments, through her jokes and outings, through her last days. Most importantly, I knew her and fell in love with her and her family through prayer. That is what compelled me to go and it is what made a five hour drive feel like minutes. I just knew in my heart I had to be there.

When William Law says there is nothing that makes us love someone as much as prayer does, he is speaking complete truth. I know many of you who have joined in praying for the caringbridge community understand this fully. During the last couple of months, we have lost so many on Asher and Jacob's Friends list. In the midst of celebrating the holidays, there has been a deep sorrow in knowing so many were losing their loved ones. In a way, we have been grieving alongside each family. In the suffering of these families, our hearts are broken.

I have been asked by some why I continue to follow these families when there is so much sorrow involved. I've been told to protect myself from unneccesary grief. Yet I know, as i'm studying in Paul, the call is to love. It is to love and risk the suffering, as Christ loves us so much he suffered on our behalf. We are co-crucified with Christ, participating in his suffering and death. Loving others includes suffering, it is not free from pain and grief. Our call to proclaim the Gospel includes taking such risks in order to pray for others. It is the gift God has given us. I will take the risk, as the reward is so much greater. To love others and see Christ in them is one of the great blessings I have experienced. So, I will shed the tears and continue to love these children of God through prayer.

Friday, December 07, 2007

7 Days and Counting...

I have a strong love/hate relationship with early December. The end of the semester always gets me quite neurotic and riled easily. I'm finding this year is worse than others, particularly because I know the importance of doing well in my courses. Graduation is just around the corner, and I kinda need certain classes to graduate!

The thing that makes this crazy time of year wonderful is the Advent season. Preparing for and anticipating the celebration of Christ's birth. The fresh snow we actually have on the ground! The pretty little 5 1/2 foot tree in the corner of my room, stuffed full of presents nicely wrapped for my family. It's cold but hey, i'm an Alaskan and we like the cold! Even in the midst of the stress, this time of year is still one of my favorites.

At the moment, I am taking a "brain break" from my Hebrew final. The papers and tests are slowly winding down. My big stressor exegetical paper is finally done. Having this accomplished has taken a huge weight off my shoulders. In all, if it was double spaced it would have been 17 or so pages. After a week of staying up till between 2-4:30am, it is in the professors hands and finally out of mine!

My foot is slowly doing better. The physical therapist gave me a scare the other day by telling me he didn't see it getting much better. He felt I would probably always have the feeling of walking on a rock. According to him, I have basically no arch support anymore and there is little to protect my metatarsals from each other, which causes the rock feeling. I left his office feeling extremely burdened. He is looking for solutions to try and help the foot, but I did not get the sense he was confident about what he would find.

Thankfully, I have felt a small improvement this week. I have spoken with others, including my chiropractor who specializes in neurology. Most have expressed my feelings that I am less than a month out of surgery and my foot is still quite huge. It needs time to heal, and I need to keep working on it to loosen the scar tissue. I will never be 100%, but I doubt I will always be this bad. I do plan to call my doctor on monday to discuss what was said by the physical therapist, just to get his opinion (and reassurance!).

So, it's been quite a week! I feel so blessed to be at the end of my second to last semester. I will deeply miss this place, but am very much ready to take the next step. After almost 8 years of higher education, it is time to move on!

Hope you all are having a great week. I'm ready for some hot cocoa and a Christmas movie! Maybe I should finish my final first though...