Tuesday, December 1, 2015

'Tis the Season

I felt like sharing some good things that have been on my mind, because hey, who doesn't like things that are nice?

This is from an article by D. Todd Christofferson:

"Some years ago I heard a radio interview featuring Bishop Desmond Tutu, the Anglican archbishop in South Africa. He had just published a book with daughter about the reconciliation that had taken place in South Africa following apartheid. Basically, the book's message is that there is good in all people.

During the interview the host asked a perceptive, inspired question of Bishop Tutu: "Have you found that your relationship to God has changed as you've grown older?"

Bishop Tutu paused and then said, "Yes. I am learning to shut up more in the presence of God."

He recalled that when he prayed in his earlier years, he did so with a list of requests and solicitudes. He would approach heaven with what he called "a kind of shopping list." But now, he said, "I think [I am] trying to grow in just being there. Like when you sit in front of a fire in winter, you are just there in front of the fire, and you don't have to be smart or anything. The fire warms you."

I think that is a lovely metaphor-- just sit with the Lord and let Him warm you like a fire in winter. You don't have to be perfect or the greatest person who ever graced the earth or the best of anything to be with Him."

And, here's a little story that's been on my mind recently-

This past summer, during a rather difficult time on one of our trips, I needed a place to be alone and found some solace in a quiet corner of our hotel.

After a while, an older man showed up. It was clear he also liked this spot, and he was planning to have some study there. He approached, we made small talk about what a good find the spot was, and I mentioned I was about to leave anyway. As I walked towards the elevator, he asked, "Are you alright?'

Cue insta-tears. "Well, not really."

He invited me to sit back down, and said if I felt like sharing, he would listen. I explained a few details, and mostly sat there crying while he patted my hand. He then said, "You know, I'm not really a good Christian, or even a good man, but maybe I can pray for you?"

I nodded, and he offered this prayer: "Dear God, I'm sorry I'm not a good Christian. However, Caitlan here is having a hard time, and it's confusing because things seem bad but we know that you're good. Help us to understand. Thank you Lord, Amen."

We talked for a few minutes more, and then I returned to my hotel room.

It was a fairly simple experience, but I don't think this man realized how many prayers he answered for me that day. More than just the situation at hand, it was nice to feel that I was remembered and noticed. It was also impressive to me that he didn't need to feel like "a good Christian" to be kind to me or even pray aloud for me. It was just a simple, authentic gesture of kindness, and it was his best idea at the time. To be honest, it spoke volumes about the kind of good person he really was, and the experience helped me immensely.

So, here's to spreading some love, and Merry Christmas. And here's to you, old man in the hotel, I hope your life is treating you well.