Monday, December 26, 2005

Be specific

I noticed in my last post I said to "be specific", but did not give any specific examples. Here are some from one of the latest crises of our family life.

Pregnancies have proven difficult for us; our last was the toughest yet. A mild placental abruption landed me on complete bedrest early (I would spend 6 months in bed for this child). Our priest visited every week with the Eucharist, naturally, and with other good conversation.

Father asked what we needed; he was very happy that we answered with concrete things. Bill works from home, but I was unable to tend to our four other children from my bed. We needed someone to come into our home occasionally to entertain the children so Bill could have solid blocks of time at the computer. Since Bill and I would both be home to deal with emergencies it could even be a young person, 12 and up or someone who could use service hours.

Antoehr time Bill mentioned he was getting bored with the meals he was cooking. Father whispered this in the right ears and suddenly every 3 or 4 days we were getting boxes full of meals to reheat and serve or to freeze for after they baby's arrival.

Fahter asked what he could pray for specifically. Our answer was that I would not have to start insulin injections and that we could carry the baby to 32 weeks. When we reached that goal my blood sugar spiked and I had to begin the shots. My blood pressure began creeping up. The new prayer request became that my blood pressure would stay down and we get the baby to 36 weeks. Our parish prayed us safely there.

Even our own prayers need to be specific. The baby was born; money wsa extremely tight and by December we had raided the depths of our freezer. I stood in our pantry for a heart-to-heart with God. "Heavenly Father, it looks like a mealless Christmas for us this year. I thank you so much for all the food you've provided for us. I ask your help so I may be creative and make a healthy meal for my family. And may it be festive, because my Lord, your Son's birthday is a feastday."

Within three days, Father had dropped by with fifteen pounds of venison from a parish donor, and one of the parish men also a member of the Kiwanis Club had brought by a large box of food stuffs, including a turkey. We had a wonderful Christmas feast. Many thanks were given to God, who tells us to ask and it shall be given to us.

The least of these

I've several friends with small children & rough circumstances, so, as I declutter I've been setting aside clothes and toys for these families. My Mom offered to deliver these boxes and took them with her tonight. What a relief! Five boxes and a couple of bulky infant accessories are gone.

Another relief; even though we're poor by America's standards, we're still able to give charitably. God is so good! Many times, we've been the recipients of charity. The generosity of others has kept our heads above water and our hearts hopeful more times than I can count.

Often our prideful selves get in the way when we need to ask for help. I'm reminded of an incident told by Kimberly Hahn. During a difficult pregnancy she apologetically asked for help (again) from a friend. The friend, weary of Kimberly's apologies and seeming unwillingness to ask for basic needs, got a bit angry, saying something like, "How dare you deny me the opportunity to grow in grace?"

If you find your hand being pulled; hearing the words, "Call me if there's anything I can do," call them. Be specific. People who say such things really want to help -- they just don't quite know how. Give them ideas. If you're new in an area, contact your priest or minister. He will get your needs to the proper church members. Be specific also in your prayer requests for of course there are those in every parish whose greatest talent is the very practical gift of intercessory prayer.

Being poor in spirit means accepting that sometimes we are the "least of these" others must care for. If our pride gets in the way we will indeed deny our brothers & sisters growth in grace.

Clutter

Clutter. It fills our lives. My husband and I are trying to sort through our clutter; trash, give away, keep. We're filling boxes and boxes.

How did we amass so much stuff? After all, we're poor. We've made choices to keep us home with our children; those choices tend to eliminate high-dollar careers. Of course, because we're poor people give us things. All our furniture is hand-me-downs from various family and friends. Nothing matches but it's homey.

Of course, we can't let a gift-giving occasion go by without a book. And when you collect books you must have bookshelves. The books are the hardest to declutter; neither of us can bear to throw a book away.

Clothes seem to be easiest to sort. And the papers! We could drown in our sea of paper. From years past; definitely time to throw away much of those items. The paper will be easy, just toss or file. Certainly won't be giving away sheafs of electric bills.

We're already seeing such a difference. The house seems more spacious, light and airy. We eagerly anticipate beginning the next project. And getting rid of the clutter in our house is helping clear the clamor in our souls. Fabulous!

Anyone need some baby clothes?