Abbey and Lucy New Years 2010
Family, Beds of Roses, and Happy New Year!
In my mind, I'm thinking about families and beds of roses. Do the two repel each other or are they similar? You reflect and decide on your perspective. That's your assignment today.
Yesterday was the Feast Day of the Holy Family. They definitely did not have a bed of roses. Soon after Jesus's birth they have to flee to a foreign land, Egypt, until King Herod dies. When they emerge after his death, they put roots down in Nazareth. Joseph quietly goes about his life as a carpenter and Mary raising children. They both know their roles will be arduous as foretold by prophets and angels. Now centuries later, look at the fruit from their beds of thorns. Even the Holy Family has issues. They were dysfunctional.
Let's fast forward to present day families. Have we turned the tide of dysfunction within our families? We have so, so many distractions that fracture the real root of happiness or our rose gardens. The pests that devour our roses are addictions, pride, sickness, financial stress, social media, the media, deaths, materialism, prejudice, ignorance, jealousy, greed, anger, emotional, physical, and mental abuse. I'm getting stressed! Let me stop here. Whew! No wonder we have thorn-beds instead of rose beds. We are at the cusp of a new year. How can we battle all the pestilence in our rose gardens? We will be lucky to get one rose bud by June. Well students, listen up. First we have to accept that every single one of us has misgivings. No family is perfect. Look kids, if the Holy Family struggled, what does that tell you? No, I heard that! We are not doomed! We have to begin weeding our gardens of hate, pride, piousness, fear, coveted things(material, drugs, and even destructive thoughts,) and control. Then we have to accept that not only are we flawed but those around us are as well and love them anyway. Choose to accept what you can't change. I read today that the more you love God the easier it is to love others. I was so glad when I read this. I couldn't understand why my heart has been so mushy, gullible even. My own husband and children don't understand me.
I had an incident this holiday season trying to help a former student and her single parent mother. Their situation tears at my heart. The mother wanted help buying food for the holidays and a little something for her daughter. I took them to Wal-Mart and told them to get what they needed. I quickly made my last minute purchases and had time to spare. So, I went out and rang the bell for the Salvation Army while they shopped, and boy did they ever shop. When the former student came to inform me they were ready, I handed her the bell and met the mother at the register. There I found two huge buggies of goods that rang up to $550+ dollars. I quietly asked the mother, "Do you have an ebt card?" She replied, "What's that? Food stamps?" I said, "Yes." She said, "Ms. Alley, I do but it's empty." So me in the wheelchair about to have a stroke tried to pay for it but then said a prayer and said, "Let's get the food and one good present for your daughter." My dose of humility. I knew I would be totally overdrawn had I fulfilled this huge list. Our budget had a little wiggle room and I wanted to help. Well, my account was almost in the red after the $199 slim down we accomplished. Did I mentioned the lines were wrapped around for miles it seemed? As I was struggling with the internal anguish, an older woman handed me a $25 gift card and said, "Honey, let me help you. This was a gift and I want to help." Well, I then cried. Humility dose two. After I came home 5 hours later emotionally and mentally shaken from the Christmas spirit folly overload, I retold it my family. They were angry that I was taken advantage of and irate. I explained that it was my fault for not setting the proper parameters. After it was over, my husband said, "Well, Sarah they will have lots of food and feel loved. We should do that instead of gifts for ourselves. I've always said that." And he has, but the kids weren't so convinced that their mom hadn't finally lost it. We survived a sparse account and gained understanding of poverty and blessings that we have although jobs have been lost, parents are sick and feeble, and we have a drawer full of medical bills left unpaid. We have each other, family, and friends who are the hands, feet, and heart of Christ. Our family is the love of God in our perfectly imperfect families. So students, there is no perfect family anywhere on earth in my opinion. Now if you have one, tell them you love them, accept them, and forgive them. Start anew in this year of 2017!
Happy New Year from the Alleys!
Sarah Anderson Alley