I’m falling a bit behind on my altar posting. I suppose most of that is the result of the frenetic pace of the last two days - Thursday long day at work followed by finance ministry meeting at church where they asked all the prior treasurers/bookkeepers to pool collective knowledge on how to do the job well. Yesterday was our annual shopping day, started when we used to take a day off while the kids were in school and spend the whole day shopping and having a quiet lunch out together. Jenny went along this year, so there wasn’t a great chance for romance, but somehow that was fine. We laughed really, really hard at lunch and had great food and I even managed to have a cashier bootleg a gift for Jenny into my bag while Jenny stood right next to me. Still, not a lot of quiet, spirit of the season moments.
But an interview I heard on Talk of the Nation on Thursday has stuck with me. It was a chat with Amy Dickinson about how to manage everyone coming home for the holidays. A lot of the focus was on handling long term but unmarried relationships spending the night - what are the sleeping arrangments? One caller, who admitted that her personal values were more of the marriage first, shared bed later color, stated eloquently why she was putting her son and his long term partner in one room. He was leaving for a long tour of duty right after the holidays, and she boiled it down to the question of how do we love each other best in a given context? It was so selfless and loving.
How can we love one another well when we are in one another’s presence? This is the question I will try to carry in my heart as I head to Ohio on Monday. It is easy with Wilson’s family; they embody respect and love.
It is much more challenging with our mother for me, as you know. I need to work on my ability to be selfless, I guess. I think if I can try to respect her values without allowing the assumption that I share them, perhaps I can make some progress. One of my coworkers is so good at not being frustrated by other’s behavior - she immediately says, “different value system”, which I think allows her to not judge them NOR judge herself. In essence, she is respecting herself and the other person simultaneously, and that is a loving act.
With love and respect for you,