I’m sitting amidst my Christmas cards that were so going to be sent Saturday – as in last Saturday. How could a week have passed?!
I sat in the same place yesterday. At my dining room table. Looking at envelopes and cards and various address books – since I’ve never compiled a list so things like this could be easy. No I’m working off multiple directories, an old computer address book and addressed-but-never-sent cards from Christmas’ Past. I guess it must be overwhelming since my current scheduled trip to the Post Office keeps getting delayed.
Yesterday the cards were back-burnered again. And it was a wonderful delay. Because what can be better than being delayed by a friend. That’s not delay – it’s a delight.
Mid-addressing a card, my friend Katie called.
“Hey girlee,” I said, thrilled to be answering my phone – another excuse to avoid.
“What are you doing?” she asked. “Do you have a minute?”
“Where are you,” I prodded. “I was just thinking about you. I grabbed a loaf of Cinnamon bread for you yesterday and meant to drop it off.” (I have such good intentions … and inconsistent follow-through)
“I’m actually on the other side of the park.”
“Can you come over?” The park is at the end of my block. “I have something for you.”
And there the blessing began. We don’t see each other often, but visiting with her is always like a long drink of cool water. In fact I’m still savoring the chat. So much so, I asked her if I could share one of the sweetest moments. She said yes :)
Somehow, in our conversation, we made our way to the topic of prayer. And she told me how her dad, when he was alive, would steal away to a monastery once a year for a weekend of silence and prayer.
She had me at weekend of silence. I’ve been turning off the radio in the car, just to have a few moments alone with my thoughts – that seem a bit numerous and loud of late.
“He would write me letters while he was there,” she told me. “And it was in one of those letters that I found the taste of freedom.”
She thoughtfully continued, “He told me that he never meant to love me according to what he wanted me to be. He said he wanted me to know that he loved me just the way I am.”
“That’s beautiful,” I replied, savoring the words.
“It was. … When he did that, I began to feel safe and free to be who I am. It really had such a profound impact in my life. And I think about his words – his gift – as I love my own kids.”
“Wow.. so good.” My mind raced because that kind of love sounded familiar. “You know, what your dad said sounds an awful lot like the way God loves us. Even though we feel some sort or pressure to perform in order to deserve or to be loved, that’s never been God’s love. He loves us the way we are. He gave everything in order to be able to love that way.” No need to mention the Christmas music playing in the background, or a decorated tree in the other room, or the sea of cards strewn before us as we sat at the dining room table with a fire roaring behind our backs.
“ Yes … my dad gave me one of the best gifts ever in that letter. And it is similar – though not as perfect – as the gift of Christmas.”
Thanks for walking the road with me.
This sweet, hand-written treasure is shared so generously from Katie. May the words encourage us to love our kids and understand God’s love the same way. HE has always loved us for who we are, not based on expectations or on what we do.
… I never have been good at expressing my love, but during my stay here, I’ve come to realize how special you are to me and how much I do love you. I love you just as you are. I used to think in terms of loving you if you’d change like I wanted you to, but no more of that. You’re fine just as you are.
I want you to feel free to do what you want to without having to please me or do what I might want.
You are a wonderful loving young lady.
I am so proud of you.