Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Greatest Gift of All

He said that he had on "his walking shoes" so that he could pace the halls when I was born.

My momma said, "you're late, she's already here... in the nursery if you want to see her".

He brought me flowers






































6 red and 11 white carnations
for the
6 pounds and 11 ounces that I weighed

And he has never been late since...

Instead he has been here for me every day
been here for me every day
been here
for me
every
day

But today it was my turn...

To be there

to pace
to pray
to praise

while he was being..
Born again.

(Looks like now we both have on our "traveling shoes")

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

When Life Hurts

I don't usually read the morning paper, but today's front page headlines caught my attention
 
It read:
"Burials begin in Connecticut"

I looked down at a picture of a hearse carrying the body of a 6-year old child and my heart sank  I blinked hard to stop the tears that I felt tears forming in the corners of my eyes

I couldn't cry there.

I turned the paper over as if not seeing it would make it less real,
and was shocked by what was printed directly on the back side of the tragedy

Bold, brightly colored advertisements for

toys on sale
Christmas gift suggestions
pictures of more stuff to buy

(as if what we really need right now is more stuff)

The message rang out loud and clear that sometimes life is...
contradictory
confusing
cruel

Sometimes life hurts

In fact, just yesterday I was thinking about the 5 year-old girl in this picture

remembering the... 
fear
uncertainty
unspoken pain

she felt as her mother lay sick in the hospital... on this picture day

It's like a tragic headline with colorful ads on the back

"Smile for the camera, sweetie"

But who wants to smile when life hurts?

She eventually managed this forced little smile to disguise the fact
that she had already learned that even children are sometimes left feeling...

helpless
sad and
alone

I understand it all better now

and wish that I could sit down with her

pull her up onto my lap
hold her close
and just let her cry...

I would apologize for not giving her the opportunity to grieve that experience;
for minimizing her pain and lying to her that she was alright. 

I would apologize for teaching her to wear a mask,
and making her pretend to be strong when she was only a child.

If I had it to do all over I would let her cry

and after her tears subsided I would pull her in really tight and quietly whisper

Now let me tell you who to call the next time...

when life hurts

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What's In a Name?

True Story...

One morning as a father was dropping off his son for class at the preschool
where I was working

He suddenly stopped
looked at me
asked...

"Why did your parents name you Tundra"?

(and before I could remind him that my name is actually Tondra)

he continued with...

"Don't they know that tundra is a dry and barren land?

You are not dry
You are not barren

So, you know what? 

From now on I'll call you... Tropics."


and he did!

He changed my name that day because he had learned from his tribe in Africa
that names mean something

And it still makes me laugh as I remember
that each morning as he walked in he would say,

"Hello Tropics.  Today is a beautiful day."

That was over 15 years ago.

Fast forward a few years...

When I was dating my husband one day out of the clear blue he said
"If I ever have a son, I want to name him Micah because it means to be like the Lord"

and sure enough

we got married
and two years later
we had a son

and while pregnant I went online to look up names and their meanings

I scrolled through

lists of names
their meanings
and their language of origin

(yes, I'm a former Spelling Bee champion, don't mock me)

until I got to one name and its meaning that literally gave me chills

The background story...

I've been told that when my grandfather's younger sister was young, she fell and broke her hip.  It was "back in the day" so the medical treatment was not all that up to par (translation= her hip was set improperly).  To complicate matters even more, her hip being set improperly prohibited it from healing properly, which resulted in her walking with a severe limp for the rest of her life.

But when I saw the meaning of her name,
it literally gave me chills

because her name actually means:

"Crippled one"

Then I began to understand the relevance and importance of "what's in a name"?

I have since gained a better understanding for names and their significance,
as I've read how in Bible times people were named

as a direct reflection of who they were
what they would be
or what would occur in their lives 

Names meant something
and when necessary
names were changed to reflect the "new" purpose or direction for a person's life

So what's in a name?

How important is what we let people call us?
How important is what we answer to?

Do you know what's really in a name?

(Matthew 1:21)