Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Unexpected Blessings

We have been on the road for part or all of the last five weekends for some wonderful events (well, most have been wonderful, and one 'weekend' was a Monday, but you get the picture....). As a result, it seems like our life has been rush, rush, rush. So, when this last weekend was filled with several reflective moments that truly stood out among the others, it made me think about just how very blessed I am. They have also made me think that God is telling me I should slow down and think about what I have. Instead of rushing forward to accomplish the next thing – whatever that thing is – that I should slow down and be grateful. I need to be more thankful for what I have been given and for what He has done. I thought I’d share these moments with you.

Our son brought nine members of Miami’s Table Tennis Team to our home to spend the night Friday night. They competed at the University of Akron on Saturday and we had the opportunity to host these young men while they were in our area. It was a special time and Ken and I loved every minute of it!

While they were here, Miami University (football) was playing in its conference match Friday night (MAC). After we welcomed the guys in and talked a bit, they were watching the game in the family room. I had taken a call in the living room, and after my call I just sat there, listening to the talk in the family room and looking at our Christmas tree, enjoying the beautiful lights.

Those of you who know me personally are well aware that I know nothing of football. What I do know is the sound of excitement I heard coming from our family room as Miami edged closer and closer to winning that game. Sure enough, Miami took the MAC that night! I heard whoops and hollers and my, did it do my heart good! You have to understand that Miami did TERRIBLY last year (maybe they were even in last place in the MAC??? I’m not sure…). I can tell you with all certainty that they won Friday night. Those guys were so excited! I hope they will remember where they were that night, because I know I will. Even though I know nothing about football, I’ll remember that.

The following day we met the team at U of Akron for the matches. Now, cheering for table tennis matches is kind of like cheering for golf and tennis – you have to be fairly quiet and very reserved. That however, did not stop us from ‘doing the wave’ on occasion for our team and providing other support as we deemed necessary.

We had the opportunity to steal a little time away with our son on that day. Our time with him is always priceless. We saw a different side of him that day, though. Matthew has developed a real compassion for ESL (English as a second language) students at Miami. He shared with us how the development of the table tennis team (which he and his friends founded at Miami last year as an intra-mural sport, and has since been picked up by the University as a Club Sport) is a “home away from home” for many foreign students without family ties near campus. Several ESL students practice with the team each week and three came last weekend; two were from China and one was from Viet Nam. Seeing our son exhibit this kind of compassion and mature in this way has been an incredible gift for us. Personally, I see it as an extension of hospitality, so I see it as a double blessing.

Because we’ve been away so much lately, we have missed many church services. On Sunday we took two cars because Ken needed to go into work and had to leave before service was over. As we sat there holding hands before he left, I sat there thanking God for the blessings I enjoyed in the man he had given me and the life we enjoy. I know I take so much for granted and right there in that very moment, it was like time stood still. Have you ever had that happen?

Later that evening, when Ken returned, it happened again. I had a headache and Ken held me on the couch. It was late afternoon, the lights were off and the snow was falling softly outside. It was so quiet and we didn’t speak. I just let him hold me and enjoyed the moment and watched the snow fall. The world seemed to stop – if only for a moment.

I was so thankful for that moment. It was actually at that time that the other three events of the weekend came to mind and I realized that they were connected. I think God is telling me to slow down and be thankful. I take so much for granted and have been blessed with so very much.

It’s especially easy to get drawn into a frazzled pattern this time of year. I have been so guilty of that in past years. I pray I can keep my focus on the Reason for the Season and remain thankful for all the blessings I have.

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