It is nearly 10pm and I just got out of the tub. Normally, I would have been fast asleep by now. But when I got "home" (to my godmother's house, where I have been staying during the week since late September), her grandchildren were there and the normal nightly routine went out the window. It was no real sacrifice, really. I haven't seen them in a long time and we had a ball. I ate a quick dinner and they entertained me while I packed my bags (I have a short week due to Thanksgiving), then we went downstairs and played go-fish and they helped me bake a gingerbread cake to bring to work in the morning. After our baking and game playing, they put on a talent show for us...which consisted of a lot of running and yelling and counting for some reason. I also found out I can still do a split...which amazed me and the kids!
So, after all that excitement, here I sit, still tingly from the hot water, knowing I will feel this diversion in the morning...and I don't mean from the split. I was tired when I got home, I know I will be even more tired when I drive to my real home tomorrow night. But, my brother Joey, whom I haven't seen since August, will be there waiting for me...so I will press on.
One thing I've learned since Katrina is that nothing...not routines or likes or dislikes, my time or even my own home is mine. Everything is up for interuption, change, rearranging and just plain dismissing. I have learned to more easily push my preferences aside and hold what I thought was mine very loosely...and to be more willing to hand it over, toss it, or give it away.
My youngest brother and his family have been staying in my apartment since I've been working in Baton Rouge. Since they have moved in, my place is virtually unrecognizable. I have taken off slipcovers, changed out curtains, removed items that were either breakable, in the way or would otherwise cause problems for the kids. I gave away half a room's worth of stuff...things I have been holding on to for years. I come home every weekend to a place that looks, feels and smells like someone else's house.
On the weekends, I would normally have my niece's and nephew over and even spend the better part of my time with them. But now, I am the live-in babysitter and the time I would have had or made for myself, to do what I wanted to do is gone. At times, just getting to church on Saturday (we meet at another church now because ours flooded...so church is a major accomplishment. If I can also squeeze in a short conversation with a friend...that is amazing!
People that I "had" to talk to everyday, I am now grateful to speak with a few times a month.
Things that were priorities for me, in terms of how I spent my time, are optional now or not even a part of the equation at the moment.
I've discovered that most things are optional.
I don't mean to sound like I am being abused or living the life of the martyr. I am not. I am happy to share my home and have so much time with my precious ones. I find it a tremendous blessing to think less about myself and do more for others. I have been very well taken care of throughout this whole post-Katrina thing, and I am finding great joy in returning the blessing to others. I think it was Amy Carmichael who said the things we are given are not just to bless us, they are given to be given...to be shared with others.
Tonight, I put my routine aside and shared my time with two precious children that I rarely get to see. During the week, I bring treats to my co-workers. Since I don't have to buy many groceries, and have the time, I have taken to baking things for them. I usually have something a few times a week, if not every day. Whatever the frequency, it is enough for them to call me Betty Crocker. It has been a big hit and I am glad to do what little I can to make our situation more pleasant...and give of what I have been given.
I also hope that it give honor to the Lord. That they see godliness in my desire to bless them...and not just a girl with a penchant for baking.
Jim Elliot, a martyred missionary said "he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." I love that quote. Truly, all we can keep, all that will never be taken or become out-moded or lost or deteriorate is Christ. Everything else...EVERYTHING...is up for grabs and subject to loss. So, what's mine. Nothing..nothing but Christ. To which He says:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
I am His and He is mine. What else is there to fear the loss of? What else should hold my attention or sway my emotions? Nothing.
All I have is yours Lord, make it so. Make my heart ever more willing to give and give and hope to gain nothing but Christ.