Starfish can regrow limbs…

Those who know me, know that I love Advent! I mean, I adore – absolutely adore – every aspect of this beautiful season. I know many will relegate it to the periphery, as they rather shop and clamor for the consumer version of the Christmas season, but I will allow it to do what it is intended: change me, allow me to reflect and then ‘soft reboot’ me back into a renewed existence.

I’ve noted lately that many of us, myself included – admittedly and openly, mea culpa – have been (in the harsh vernacular of the world) bitching a lot! They moan about their illness, their hardships, their blights, their families and relationships, their health, and their finances. They walk around with the heads down and their tongues wagging in despair. They wear appliances like bumper stickers that read, “Look at ME, I need attention more than you!”

Even myself, blessed as I am, have been moaning a lot lately. And, in all my moaning, just like you, I have missed the blessings of my life. I was convicted by God, as I sat in traffic last evening, struggling to endure well over an hour of bumper-to-bumper traffic from home to the Children’s Hospital to pick up Katelyn. There I was, stuck in traffic and the glow of brake lights, listening to CNN and absorbing all the world’s troubles as my own, when it hit me: I am going to pick up my wife, who is pregnant with my child, to stop back at the parish and school  I helped create with a continuing relationship with those like Sean who helped build her into a place of hope, and who gives back to the world like no other place on earth – caring for school children, the homeless, marginalized, the rejected – and all I can do is sit here in my new Jeep and bitch!

So, I am asking God this Advent to come and help me pray more and moan less. I have learned many times over, you can rage pointlessly at the lot you’ve drawn in your life, and the hardships you’re confronting while railing against those in the world who have it ‘better’ than you, OR you can take note of, and pride in, the way you’re taking them in stride and moving forward, ever forward to become a better and more thankful person.

Waiting is one of the ways God changes us. It isn’t necessarily the waiting itself, but who we become while we wait that is important. Mary willingly gave herself over and birthed one single Divine Person – the Second Person of the Trinity. She didn’t birth half of Him, part of Him, or only His nature. She is truly the Mother of God the Son, all because she waited and joyful hope to be changed! How will you and I allow God to use us this season; to change us?  Will you willingly give yourself over to God and allow His will be one with yours? Will you learn that your hardships are no more, and no less, that of someone else; that many hardships we cannot even see, but they are there and ever-present. We can bitch or we can ensure. We can succumb, or we can adapt. We can put ourselves first and cut God off, or we can learn to trust and thrive again! Mary answered the angel of the Lord. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Jesus, may our hearts be rich soil for you and Mother Mary intercede for us that like you we may carry Christ into the world. 

I know that God once intentionally hard rebooted the world once with a great flood and a plague, too, but now He does so every year with a soft reboot that we call Advent.

So, here we are, we have come to yet another fork in the road, and we can willingly now choose between wallowing in self-pity and taking a good, hard look around us. I am reminded that Starfish can regrow limbs, but that’s nothing compared to what human beings can do.

How about you and me together? What can we do?


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