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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Perspective

I am ashamed to say that I spent most of yesterday in whine mode. I woke up yesterday with some sinus and nasal trouble, I had a list of things to do, I was a teensy bit stressed about the upcoming show, and I really felt sorry for my poor little self. I mean, what a horrible thing it is to have a head cold! There was also the fact that my older son was out of school and he and his brother had to get in some "torture time."

I went in to town and left the boys with my mom so I could do some shopping. I had five Operation Christmas Child boxes to fill before Sunday, and time was running out. For those of you who don't know what Operation Christmas Child is, I'll explain. Every year in November, churches and organizations all over the country fill up shoe boxes with toys and trinkets for children around the world who wouldn't otherwise receive anything for Christmas. It's become a tradition in my family to take part, and we all really enjoy it. This year, however, I was a little stressed about it. I had been so busy with the show that I had not had the time to spend on the project that I would have liked. The show itself was another source of stress, but I'll get to that in a minute. Anyway, I headed out to find stuff for the shoe boxes, but I wasn't in a very "Christmasy" mood. I felt sick and stressed and really just wanted to sit down and cry.

Something occurred to me though. I really have little to whine about. I have a cold. Boo hoo. I could be so much sicker. My kids could be ill, but they're not. They're healthy enough to run wild and drive me crazy. And they need absolutely nothing. They're some of the fortunate ones who'll (hopefully) never have to make do with a shoe box full of odds and ends. I should be thankful that I'm the one filling the shoe boxes and not the one waiting and praying for a Christmas miracle.

This always seems to happen to me around this time of year. I get to the point where I'm so focused inward that I can't see all the blessings that have been laid at my feet. Sure, there's tons to do, but at least I'm strong and well enough to do it. Things could be so much worse! My schedule is currently jam-packed with holiday activities, and instead of worrying myself into a tizzy over the upcoming Christmas Tea, I should just chill and be glad I'm surrounded by loving friends and family.

As for the show, I'm feeling better about that too. We had a good final rehearsal last night, and I think everything will come together. If not, well... it's been a blast anyway. I should take a cue from the characters in the show. They're all simple folks, but they do extraordinary things when the people and places they love are threatened. Family and community is a huge part of their lives, and they are all willing to fight for them.

I really live a charmed life. I don't have much to legitimately worry about. I'm not rich, but my family never goes without food. My house is warm and peaceful. My country has problems, but it's still the greatest country in the world. My family will all be together for the holidays.

I'll probably end up stressed and whiny a few more times before the New Year, but I'm only human. I hope I'll take another minute to think about how blessed I really am.

***A special note of thanks to some folks who helped me put things back into perspective yesterday:

*The man in the store who stopped me and told me how good God is. Yes sir, He sure is.

*My husband who has taken over as Mom and Dad so I could do the show. You rock, Baby!

*My little Paulie who requested prayer for me at church last night.

*My cast mates who made me laugh even when I didn't feel like it.

*God for reminding me of all the blessings that I don't deserve but He has given me anyway.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I Saw the Light

Most people who know me know that I am horribly night-blind. What is dim light to other people is near total darkness to me. I don't know why. It just seems to be a family trait. Yippee. I have had some really horrific experiences as a result of this little genetic defect. Most of them have happened on or near a stage. For those of you not familiar with the stage, it gets dark. When those bright stage lights go down, it is DARK. There is a reason it's called blackout. Most normal people's eyes have the ability to quickly adjust to this sudden change, but alas, I am abnormal. My eyes don't adjust. It's just dark. For like, forever.

I remember going to the planetarium when I was in elementary school, and sitting on the floor as the lights went out. All my friends starting oohing and aahing over the stars and I was thoroughly confused. I didn't see diddly.

Anyway, back to the stage. When the lights go down on stage, I usually have to enlist a fellow cast member to lead me off-stage. This is for my own safety, since I have a tendency to walk into set pieces or even off the stage platform. My local theater recently performed The Miracle Worker, and I must admit, I briefly considered auditioning for the role of Helen Keller. I can play blind.

Right now, I'm in a show called Southern Hospitality. I haven't had too many stage light issues yet, but I did run into a problem last night on my way to rehearsal. I am currently having some sinus and allergy issues, and they've worked their nasty little way into my eyes. I was instructed by my doctor not to wear my contacts for a few days. No problem, except that leaves me wearing my sadly understrength glasses. I've had my glasses for several years, and I usually only wear them right before and after bed. I recently ordered a totally cute new pair, but they won't be ready for another week or so. So, last night I had to wear the weak glasses. To drive. About 30-45 miles. Along a really dark and winding country road.

Needless to say, I was a little scared. Thanks to the time change, it was nearly dark when I left my house at 5:00pm. I didn't know how the heck I was going to make it. I was straining my eyes so hard I just knew I was going to get a migraine. Then, out of nowhere, this truck pulled out in front of me. It was a huge truck with red flashing tail-lights and a line of yellow blinking lights along the top of the cab. I rode behind that truck for several minutes before I realized what was happening. As I watched those blinking lights, I thought, 'It's leading me!' Suddenly, I felt completely at peace. I knew I was going to be okay. God was up there watching out for his little blind lamb, and He had provided a guide to lead me through the dark. The truck stayed in front of me the whole way, and I arrived safely at my destination.

It still amazes me how He steps in even when we don't ask. Sometimes, we don't even notice. I can't help but feel completely loved knowing that in the midst of all His busy doings: fighting the Forces of Evil, keeping the Universe perfectly together, He will take the time to send me just what I need before I even ask.

Now, I shared all that to say this. If you are struggling, stumbling around in the darkness, unsure of where to turn, put your trust in Him. He'll reach out His hand and lead you to safety. He'll send you a light to guide you along your path. He won't leave you in the dark. He is the Light, after all.

In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. John 1:4-5