I have a hard time "emptying my head", even while sleeping I wake up with a running list of things to do, and people to connect with. This time of year makes people a little harried (and crazy). We start our holiday season gathered around a table and giving thanks. Fast forward and we race through the next few weeks trying to find time to get together with friends and family, and finding the perfect gift for someone we care about.
Welcoming the fourth child home today gave me a sigh of relief as they started trickling home on Wed. It goes without saying that my heart smiles when our nest is full. So, I was thinking today as I went to Kohl's for the second time in one day, today, that the best gift for anyone would be the "gift of hope". We all hope for SOMETHING…good health, good kids, good job, good spouse…on and on and on the list can be filled with something we "hope" for. Thirteen years ago we were facing our first Christmas without John, and ten years ago we were celebrating Walt's last Christmas with us There are so many things that have become vague to me over the years, but that last Christmas is stamped on my heart forever. I remember "hoping" that my kids would be "ok", "hoping" they would and could sustain friendships, "hoping" they would do well in school, "hoping" they wouldn't be afraid.
The one thing that I hoped for after Walter and Henry's dad died was "perseverance" and "strength" for all of us. I am reminded of Walter's confirmation verse Romans 5: 3-5:
"3And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
We've been so fortunate to have strong role models in our lives, giving guidance when needed (and when not needed…but, appreciated!) As I watch my children come to the end of chapters in their lives and start new chapters I can only be reminded of what I like to say to people who I counsel and move onto new chapters, "while I am sad to see you go, it is wonderful to see you grow". The "gift of hope", what better gift is there?