What do you pour yourself into? I was out walking Lilly, our dachshund 2 weeks ago. It was quite late and the stars were brilliant. Over our yard In front of me was the Big Dipper, majestic and looming. I have always been able to find the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper because they pour into each other. As I stood in the cold and thought of the new year, I found myself reflecting on the question, “what do I pour myself into?” My mind wandered through some related questions, “What do I allow to be poured into me? What am I passionate about? What captures me, my time, my energy, my money, my ears, my eyes, my attention?”
A few days later on a morning television show, two ladies were talking about new year’s resolution. One mentioned she liked to have a word for the year. Just one word that she focused on all year… and I drifted back to my Big Dipper experience and the word “pour.”
That’s my word for 2009, “pour.” I had coffee with a friend at Starbucks and I mentioned my word. She said, “That’s great” and I asked her what her word might be and after a few moments she smiled and said, “do.” I know her and “do” fits her!
What’s your word for this year? Where are you going to grow, to be passionate, to give, to pour yourself?
During the holidays, Ron and I spoke of looking for ways each week that our family might help someone else. We were looking for something our family could do together. This past week we went to a local food pantry operated by Graceworks Ministries. The folks there were wonderful. As we waited in the lobby for our job to begin, a young mom with her two children sat filling out paper work for aid. Our boys played with her children. I thought of the countless number of people that need a hand during these tough times. Carol, the volunteer coordinator, greeted us and described our job for the day, I knew we were in for a wonderful journey. We worked together filling shopping carts with food that families in need would pick up. Ron and I each worked with one of our sons. Carol talked to us about the families they help and the churches and groups that stock their warehouse she said, “it looks like a lot of food, right?” We gazed at rows of food. Then she said this pretty much has to last until May. We get food from folks to help out, but we’ve already given out more food this year than we did last year. As we walked the isles to fill our carts, Max and I would come up to an area that was empty and he’d say, “Mom what are we gonna do?” “I guess we’ll have to skip it, Max, and go to the next thing.” “Mom, we need to go by the grocery store and tell our friends what they need. People would help if they knew, right?”
So we are gonna send out an email blast to friends in our town and you might do the same in your town. Make a trip to your local food pantry and see what their needs are. I love that Max, Zach, Ron and I experienced it and poured ourselves into an afternoon of compassion. I could have been that mom filling out paper work with my two kids. In our small way, we made a difference for a few families this week.
Last month, I spoke about the loss of my friend, Kathleen Baskin-Ball. I called another friend of mine, Billy Crockett, to tell him about her last days. I remembered an event Billy and I did years ago with Kathleen. After the evening ended, Kathleen said to me, “look Celia, you and Billy must keep writing and singing songs about those on the margins, those hurting, those not seen, those in need. More important than singing, you must go there, go with me to Mexico or to East Dallas, go and experience it yourselves and then you can’t help but share what you have seen. You can’t help but be moved by what you have witnessed. It becomes apart of you and you’re changed. It’s more than just singing, writing, volunteering or giving money. It becomes who you are. It’s no longer theirs or mine, it’s ours.” She was right about a lot of things and she poured herself into a life of practicing what she preached.
I want to live a life in which I pour myself into eternal things, but honestly I fall short day after day. I never went to Mexico with Kathleen, regardless of how many times she invited me. I always had something else I was doing during her trips. I guess I thought, I’d get to it later. I spent 2 whole hours today searching for my favorite winter knit hat. How trivial is that! It’s brown with a color band around the top. If you find it let me know. I miss the mark day after day, but lots of days I’m on my knees surrendering (myself and my hat).
My prayers are for you and I as we embark on the days ahead, that we’d know the gift that is Christ and each other; that we would know the awe and gratitude for creation, for the Creator and that we’d pour ourselves into eternal thing; that we’d look for new ways for our churches, schools, families, ways each of us would turn ourselves toward each other and give selflessly; that we would be light that others not only see but experience.
Shine on friends,