The holiday weekend is stacked with busy. There are commitments and errands and places to be. My agenda is a scribbled list on an index card. There are also things that didn’t make the list but scramble in my mind. Clean the bathrooms. Have boys pick up bedrooms. Run to three different stores for last-minute Christmas gifts.
I’m devising a strategy when the porch door flies open. “I’ve got the mail, Mom! There are Christmas cards. There are bills and a letter for you.” My little son tears the top of a green envelope, and I reach for the white one with a child’s script.
The letter is from Hannah, our nine-year-old friend.
Dear Eliasen Family, Can you come to the Christmas program at my church? I’m in it…
I smile when I think of gentle, beautiful dark-haired, dark-eyed Hannah. I warm inside, knowing that she was thinking of me too.
Then I read further and see that the play is this weekend. One of the performances is tonight. I think about how I can shift the schedule and what I can do and then it’s plain and powerful and in my sight. My harried, scribbled, pressure-filled list and Hannah’s invitation are on the counter, side-by-side.
I’m moved by the beauty of it.
There is busyness. Running. Things that press. And then there’s an opportunity to reach into a life. To respond, in love–to someone who has just reached into mine.
The words fall solid on my heart and I think about what it means, this reaching. Reaching into life is first reaching upward to the Lord for wisdom, love, strength, mercy and sustaining grace. But it’s also reaching laterally into the lives the Lord has placed, in this moment, beside mine.
I begin to understand that when my hands are out and open, when I reach, my soul-focus shifts away from myself and toward whomever I’m reaching for. And oh, the opportunity is deep…
Reaching out to encourage those in the brotherhood/sisterhood of the Lord.
Reaching out, with God’s truth and love, to those who don’t know Him yet.
Reaching to lend a hand. To help. To make a difference in a life, no matter if it seems insignificant or small.
The beautiful art of reaching into a life brings purpose and joy–blessings I don’t want to be without.
It doesn’t take long to reprioritize. And later that night, when the play is over and there’s a great throng of people in the fellowship hall, and I catch sight of Hannah making her way toward me, perfectly lovely in her gold Victorian dress, my heart swells.
She finds me, and her arms go around me fast. Mine wrap around her, too.
I’m thankful for the choice I’ve made tonight, and I’ll hold this vision for the New Year.
A year of reaching.
I’m expecting wonderful things….