Dear Wellspring Ohana,
As I write this letter to you all, I am sitting in one of the least desirable places I would ever choose to be, not including the hospital/clinic, the cemetery, or a loved one’s sickbed. Where am I, you might wonder? Well, I’m at Dave and Buster’s. The place is a nightmare for visually-oriented persons. Bright lights flash everywhere, giant screens scream for attention, loud noises compete with each other to barrage the senses, and there’s an underlying low rumble that reminds me of the sound I heard as a child when Mount Pinatubo erupted.
In short, it feels a bit hellish.
But I'm here because I love my child, my child who’s trying to make friends at his new school, my child who invited a posse of potential friends from school to hang out with him. One showed up. That’s why we’re here, now. Two middle-schoolers running around, having the time their lives, while I wait. And I'm fine with that, because I’ve found that in life we do things for loved ones that we wouldn’t do for anyone else.
What are you doing simply for love right now? Perhaps in this season of life you’re caring for aging relatives or working at a job you’d rather not be at, but it pays the bills to help support your family. Maybe you’re helping out your grown children, even though you’d hoped they’d be at a different place in their lives at this point in time. Maybe you’re staying in a relationship to work out issues with a spouse or partner. Perhaps you’d prefer to not be doing any of these things, but because of love, you’re extending yourself, putting yourself in places you’d rather not be, being present even when it’s uncomfortable and when it hurts. Although it’s important to have healthy boundaries and to practice self-care for our own protection and personal growth, it’s also wonderful when we can stretch ourselves in these ways, simply for the love of someone else. This is what God does for us.
In a way, Advent is about God entering the hellishness of our lives and the brokenness of our communities, even into the bowels of death itself, all for love of us. God could have chosen any manner of ways to reveal God’s Self to us. Yet he chose to become one of us, being born completely human, having his mother Mary and his stepfather Joseph raise him from infancy onwards. What faith God must have in humanity, to entrust God’s own Self to us, for us! It was all for love that Jesus took on our humanity, our vulnerability and everything that entails, even to the point of being cast out of the city to die on a Roman cross. All for love.
At this point in time the boys have come back to the table where I’ve been hiding out here at Dave and Buster’s. They’ve played out all the points on their card (whatever that means.) They’re flushed from running around, their eyes a bit glazed from all the stimuli. But they’re happy. And so am I. Because when we give to those we love, there’s always some kind of reward there, one we can experience either now or later.
My prayer for you, Wellspring ohana, is that as you give and receive this season you will find present with you the One who has given it all, just for love of you.