Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Aroma of Peace

My little short legs have just been a-pumping the past few days.  Everywhere I walk, it is with purpose and a task in mind. 

We had a weather event (who comes up with these phrases?) last week and The Church House was closed on Thursday afternoon and Friday.  So, last week was a short week.

Next week would be a short week, with a Monday holiday, but mine is really short.  I’m adding 2 vacation days to that to spend a few days with my absent husband who is at the _______ in _______!  (I’m not saying because people seem to hate me when I say where I’m going. )

I’ve spent all week catching up so I can get ahead, if that makes sense. 

That doesn’t even account for the fact that there was an earthquake in Haiti and The Church House is buzzing with activity regarding aid for Haiti.

It seems like the world is just out of kilter, you know? 

Oh, did I mention that I sang at a funeral on Monday and am singing at a funeral this afternoon?  Quite the bookends for my work week.

Anyway, I rushed into the kitchen to grab a cup of coffee (and wouldn’t you know that I had to make it myself).  While impatiently waiting for it to drip on through and tapping my little size 6 foot and thinking of the 949 things that I needed to be doing, I took a deep breath.

I inhaled the wonderful aroma of cinnamon baking.  Today is Friday.  Every Friday morning, the children in the daycare get ½ slice of cinnamon toast for their morning snack. 

I closed my eyes and was instantly transported into a very warm kitchen, sitting as close to the radiator as I could get, reading a book out loud to my Mother, who was at the kitchen sink.  Snow was blowing outside the window, but it was so cozy and safe in that kitchen.  Mother would help me with whatever word I might be struggling with, without even looking - which I always thought was some sort of magic. (Several years later, as I practiced the piano, she could walk through and look at me and say, "B flat, Molli".  I didn’t figure out how she could do that, either, until my own was practicing the piano.  Then, I knew.)

Many, many cold afternoons of my childhood, and there were more than a few - we lived in Iowa and Missouri when I was a child - were spent in the kitchen with my dear Mother, sipping hot tea and eating cinnamon toast.  The aroma of cinnamon toast brings me a sense of safety, of comfort, of knowing that Daddy would be coming home and that everything really was going to be okay.

And, you know what?  When I opened my eyes and found that I was still in a world that has seemingly gone completely mad, I felt the sweetest peace.  As long as there is cinnamon toast to be made and children to eat it, as long as there are so many people who genuinely care about the victims of poverty and disaster, as long as I trust that God is in control and know that He will meet my needs…everything really is going to be all right.  Even if I don’t know or can’t grasp those things, it really is going to be okay.

Sometimes, it just takes the right aroma to make me remember.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the gift of music that seems to comfort those who are mourning, for the outpouring of compassion and giving that I have seen first-hand this week, for allowing me to go to _______ to see my Rocket Man and for a so many wonderful fragrances in Your world and our ability to inhale them and find peace.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

‘Tis Done. Its Over. I am Finished!

I looked at the beautiful lights on the sweet Christmas tree that I swiped and unplugged them this morning. I’m not tired of it yet, but think I ought to turn it off and take it down before I am tired of it.

Same with most of the other decorations. Putting them away is such a hateful task. This year, however, I am determined to do it cheerfully. No whining. No putting it off until the Super Bowl (not a joke…I’ve gotten away with that one before). It’s coming down. Like a K-Mart flashing Blue Light Special…everything must go!

I have never understood the rush in which some folks de-deck their halls. That’s okay. I don’t have to understand it. I always enjoy my Christmas decorations so much more AFTER Christmas. After the tasks of wrapping presents, baking, exchanging gifts, attending functions-after all those things are finished, I quietly and thoroughly enjoy my decorations. Some of them are ancient and are really showing their age.
There is the set of choir children that were at my Grandmother’s house. They are the tackiest things you ever saw. They have rhinestone eyes. One of them has lost its head, and the crack where it was glued back on is jagged and black. There are 3 of them and my precious Neenie bought them to represent my older brothers and me. They came with blonde hair. Neenie painted the hair on one brown, because I wasn’t blonde.

There is the tinsel star that adorned my first tree after I married and left home. It was shiny and bright in 1977. It is pretty ragged now, but it touches my heart and reminds me of a very sweet Christmas long ago and far, far away.
I have a felt stocking with just an “M” on it because ‘Mollianne’ was too long to fit. It is weary looking with age, but I hang it with a tear each year. My Neenie made it for me when I was a baby. It was my very first Christmas decoration.
I will gently wrap and put away the pickle that has been such a joke between Rocket Man and Boy Wonder. The funny gingerbread man and the clay angel that my youngest step-daughter made for me when she was in the 4th grade. My nativity set, many of the pieces were gifts from Annie. A handmade bread dough ornament that was on a gift to Jamie when he was only 4 months old. Angels from Grandma Buster’s tree. All very dear, dear friends it seems.

As I lovingly wrap all of them up and put them carefully away, I will whisper prayers for the people and places that they bring to mind. The laughter and tears of many holidays and the hope of many to come. As much as I cherish them all, it is time to put them in the red and green plastic tubs and haul them back to storage.
While I try to hold the wonder and awe of the Christ Child in my heart all year, I must move away from the manger to know the whole story. Rest well in your wrapping paper and plastic tubs, my lovely ornaments and decorations and lights. You have brightened my days and from what you represent, a great Light has been seen.

…and Easter is coming….