Sunday, January 11, 2009

Will You Let Me Be Your Servant?

Every year when I write our family Christmas letter, I sit in a quiet corner reading the mail we received during the year from friends near and far. I reflect on the speedy passage of another series of months until I fairly burst with the joy we lived in the past year. At that moment, I run my fingers along my keyboard, take a breath, and spin the story of our year.

Most years, my letters are stamped and ready on Black Friday. Then I wait until I receive the first letter of the season before happily making my way to the post office to mail my stack of Christmas cheer.

2008's letter was nearly impossible for me to write.

As I sat in my quiet corner thinking about the year, I felt little joy.

2008 saw the end of my parents' thirty-nine year marriage. I watched mom consumed by her demons. Grandpa Stuart -- our last grandparent -- died. Dear friends and family suffered all variety of personal heartbreak. Our business struggled in tough economic times. Tragedies small and large dominated my thoughts.

I couldn't write the letter.

I started preparing dinner instead.

Preparing food for people I love brings me peace. That night while chopping onions and slicing potatoes, my mind drifted to the people who would be eating this meal. I thought of Joe, outside with Adam putting the Christmas star on the roof. I smiled at all Joe's taught Adam about being a man in the last months. Over the noise of running water, I heard Jakob giggle -- or, rather, he chuckled like the cool teen he is -- as he shared some tidbit about the day with one of his friends who still actually talks on the phone.

As I prepared food to nourish their bodies, they nourished my soul doing what they do.

I realized how incredibly blessed I am.

I married a phenomenal man who loves me more than I deserve to be loved.

I am mother to two boys who are each my favorite son.

I am surrounded by nurturing friends who held my hand while mom broke my heart.

I prayed with Grandpa Stuart in the forty days between his diagnosis and death.

I welcomed new relationships with dad's family.

I achieved mutually respectful relationships personally and professionally with astonishing people.

As I finished the dishes after that evening meal, the lyrics of a song Grace sings, Servant Song by Richard Gillard, haunted me.

Will you let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you?
Pray that I might have the grace to let you be my servant, too.

We are pilgrims on a journey, we are trav'lers on the road.
We are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load.

I will hold the Christ-light for you in the nighttime of your fear.
I will hold my hand out to you; speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping, when you laugh I'll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow, till we've seen this journey through.

Will you let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you?
Pray that I might have the grace to let you be my servant, too.

I am a servant by nature. I genuinely love helping -- so much that a dear friend gave me a mug with a new motto: "Note to self: STOP volunteering for stuff." During Grandpa's final illness, I found profound joy in doing things for him just so he could be comfortable -- with no sense of my own discomfort.

Prior to this year, I have never been good at accepting service from others, or admitting I needed help.

This year I did need help. Thank God for all the people who were abundantly generous. I would not have survived this year emotionally intact without learning the value of letting others be servants too.


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  2. Wow, are an INCREDIBLE writer. I love words, and the way we can pen a feeling or a point on paper (or web) that you just might not have the words to speak audibly. Thank you for starting, and sharing your blog with me! I am eager to hear how God continues to bless you. I, too, am a servant...who, wants desperately to Love People To this world where there is so much pain and oppression...I pray to be a you, I am so grateful that God gave you what you needed at the times you needed most... but then, He always does, if we simply LET HIM!!
    ~Hebrews 6:10