|K hanging an ornament on our tree|
Sometimes I'm not sure who learns more from my mother/daughter relationships: me or my daughters. I learn so much from them. And they are often the lessons that I need the most.
Friday night, B and K spent some time crafting. B made a three dimensional Christmas tree and a snow globe that was snowing on one side and had a hand gripping it on the other side. K made only one thing: a Christmas tree adorned with every color of glitter glue available. And she made it with one intent: to give it to our rector, Father J. As she piled on the glitter, as she crafted a pipe cleaner star for the top of the tree, as she waited for the glue to dry, K talked about giving the ornament to Father J.
K patiently let her ornament dry overnight on Friday. She even ate breakfast before asking if we could please take the ornament to Father J. While nearly every part of me wanted to tell her to wait until today at church to give it to him, I knew it would be a long wait for her. We didn't go to our regular church this morning because B was singing at another service, so if I had made K wait, she would have had to wait until this evening's family concert.
Let me make this perfectly clear: I am not the kind of person who shows up unexpectedly at people's doors to chat, say hi... or deliver something. But K is exactly that kind of person. She thinks that people are the most important thing in the world. So I swallowed my hesitancy and drove K to Father J's house (which is in our neighborhood). He was at the hardware store, but his wife graciously accepted K's ornament and put it on the tree. K was satisfied and I survived stepping outside of my comfort zone.
K is similarly anxious for me to get to know our new next door neighbors. This isn't an easy task in the dead of winter. As I mentioned, I'm not a knock on your door kind of girl. So I have a plan: we will bake cookies and deliver them together.
It's not that I don't like people. I don't want to give you the impression that I'm a recluse. But I do tend to feel awkward around strangers. My solution? To not talk to them. This technique serves me well. I stay safe in my comfort zone. Do I miss opportunities to connect with people? Yes. Do I miss opportunities to encourage others? Probably. Is this wrong of me? Not exactly. But I do think I choose my own comfort over people. I choose to avoid interactions that make me uncomfortable because I am thinking about me. I'm not thinking about whether the other person might want a kind word, a simple question or a response other than a smile from me. I am thinking about me.
K, on the other hand, thinks about other people. She notices them. She reaches out to them. Her world centers on relationship. It would never occur to her to wonder whether Father J would want her ornament. She was thinking of him and wanted to make something for him. So she did. For her, it was that simple. I can learn so much from K's approach to people. Instead of seeing them as something to flinch from, could I actually learn to see people and interactions with others as great blessings? Could I learn to see people as ornaments of life that lend grace and beauty, rather than roadblocks to be dodged?
I think we each have our own personal hindrances to encountering God fully. For me, my tendency to choose intellectualism over relationship is the barrier. I have to work to remind myself that God doesn't just want me to know about him. He wants me to know him. If I had to guess, I would imagine K will never have this barrier. Will she face her own struggles and need to grow in other areas? Absolutely. So I hope God is gracious enough to give her a daughter who teaches her some of the lessons she needs to learn.