Sunday, December 14, 2014

December 14 - Expand

This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas. 
The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart, 
but the important thing is that they lead towards the Good." 
Pope Francis

I haven't put together a jigsaw puzzle in years. There was a time not so long ago that a puzzle always sat in some stage of completion on the dining room table. Sometimes mom would sit at the table for hours, looking at the pieces and only fit a couple of them together. Then someone else would walk in, usually Dad, take a quick look and neatly connect three or four pieces into each other.  Today's SSJE word is expand, which follows on the heels of risk and act. The words go together like pieces of an Advent puzzle. The month is half over and I'm just catching on! After one risks doing something in a different way, or acts on a new idea, the natural progression of things would be the expansion of one's horizons - physically, emotionally or spiritually. 

Sweetie and I had lunch today with a couple we've been getting to know at church. I'm not so good at joining new groups, or opening up to new people. I'm not anti-social, just not good at small talk and glad handing, so I was a little nervous about spending more than 5 minutes with new people. It turned out to be a perfectly wonderful time. We not only got to know one another, we shared ideas as well as pictures of our kids. Talk about expanding my circle! My longest conversations of late are with a two year old. As the time wore on, I relaxed enough to be able to enjoy the moment - the sunshine, good food, interesting people and even learning new things. 

In his homily this morning, my priest talked about how he and his wife carefully unwrap their favorite creche which has been in the family for many years. With each piece that is taken out of the packaging, the whole Bethlehem scene comes to life  light. I loved the metaphor. As each day of this Advent (preparation) time passes and we get closer and closer to the "reason for the season" each of us can unwrap our hearts to the wonder, beauty and light of the Christmas. Writing this blog has certainly shed a different light on things for me this year.

As I've said before, I get uptight as each day passes and all my self-imposed goals haven't come anywhere near fruition. My neighbor said today, looking around the living room, "Oh, you're not decorating this year." I think she may be right! With only 11 days to go, I'm wondering why bother. But here's the thing, even if I don't bring down all the boxes from the attic, and dig through the knotted strings of lights for the ones that still work, I can unwrap me. I can smile at people I don't know. I can wish the haggard grocery store clerk whose computer just quit, a Merry Christmas instead of going ballistic at having to wait. I can wear some shiny earrings. I can send a card to a recovering soldier, even share un-frosted cookies. It's my light and yours that's most important. Not just in December, but all year long.  If I were a cartoon right now, you might see a light bulb shining over my head with a caption that says "aha!"

On the way into church this morning, I spied this car. I can't say why, but it tickled the little girl in me. It made me smile. A chalkboard car. How fun is that? Sweetie just kept walking. He has no desire to paint our car matte black. But imagine. What if every day you go out and wash your car down so it is just plain, un-touched black. Then when you go out to the store, or to work, you leave your car in a conspicuous spot along with a sign that says something like, "feel free to let your inner artist loose," next to a big box of colored chalk. What might you find when you come back to the car? I dare say it wouldn't just be children who would like the idea. I bet big kids would stand around and watch for a few minutes, then grab some chalk and start coloring. How cool would that be? 

Jesus said, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children." (Matt. 19:14) 
That is my kind of heaven!
Merry ME

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