Monday, December 05, 2011

A Visit From Jesus

Jesus came calling yesterday.  I had a chat with him.  Funny, but he didn't look at all like the images on canvas I had seen through the years.  In fact, he looked decidedly female.  But it was Jesus, all right, he's pretty easy to spot.  He inhabits others these days, perhaps even myself at moments, reaching out with arms to hug with great affection and warmth, acting in a most decidedly Jesus fashion.  It would be impossible to confuse Jesus with a man in a red suit.  It was Jesus, that's for certain, his actions are unmistakable. 

We've been going through a bit of a rough patch, much of it shared here on the blog, some of it kept closer to the vest.  Thankfully, none of it has been monumental, indeed it is simply the stuff that life is made of...the usual ups and downs that anyone who walks this earth encounters.  However, every once in awhile we all feel a bit as if we are the nail, and the hammer keeps pounding.  That's where we have been lately for a variety of reasons.  It's true, we have a tad bit more on our plate than others, but still others have even more on theirs than we do, and we remind ourselves of that often.  What seems overwhelming to some, would be  a desired state and a relief to others, as we all have a different tolerance level for stress. 

I know that my personal Jesus yesterday had no idea just what their actions would mean to me, to them I am sure it was but a token.  To me it was heavy with meaning, it was first and foremost love, but it was also affirmation of God's provision for us in even the unnecessary things, it was a reminder of how reaching out to others can impact them even if to us it is a small act.  Simply being joined for a moment in the understanding that, despite the laughter and true joy we have it can still be hard, makes a difference. It was quietly, gently offered and touched me to the core.

It was Christmas.

It put me in quite a reflective mood yesterday, and as I drove through city streets that looked clean and pristine with their winter coat of white, I wondered to myself if I had ever been Jesus to someone else.  Have my actions ever made a difference for someone just when they needed it most?  Have I ever really been those arms reaching out to hold someone in their time of crushing need, have I ever met them in their sorrow or been able to give them a glimpse of what love really is?  I don't know, sometimes it seems as if Jesus visits me constantly, dressed in all manner of garb, offering comfort and encouragement in countless ways, and that I never really have been the same conduit back for others.  I try, but the ways in which I am continually blessed and moved are ways I know I am unable to be for others.  It leaves me wondering why more times than I can count.

Yesterday's reflective moments and very cold weather also brought to mind that two years ago this very day we were winging our way to southern Siberia where we would be faced with a moral dilemma few have ever faced, where we would have our long dark winter as we waited for hearts to warm, and where our family would be tested in an unusual fashion.  As I played footsie with Angela in our pew yesterday morning, it is hard to imagine the heart that had grown so hard we all almost missed out on one of the best things to ever happen to us all.  Oh, she had forces pulling at her that were revealed later to be short sighted, misguided adults, but there was also fear of giving up her heart to others.  Poor Olesya, having no control over the situation and finding herself staring yearningly out the frost covered window as lace curtains framed her face at the family she had desperately waited for, who had no choice but to leave without her...I can't imagine her thoughts at that moment although as I stared through the back window of the car, craning my neck to catch what I thought was my last glimpse of her as the tears ran unchecked I knew my own heart would never be the same.

Jesus somehow stepped in, I think he was in the form of a Kazakh woman this time named Zhazira.  He offered me assurance in an office two days later, he facilitated the opening of Angela's heart and encouraged her to take a risk just this one time.  Yes, Jesus comes in a variety of races, shapes, genders and even faiths...a lesson well learned as this warm Muslim woman sat across from me, definitely a Jesus person in her own way...telling me "You have no reason to trust me, but Angela is not the child you have seen the past two weeks, she CAN fit in a family and succeed, and she HAS been waiting anxiously for you all to come."  and with that assurance and Angela's head on my shoulder, Jesus brought us together, even if the only man present appeared to be Dominick.

The Jesus of our modern world is one who is often misunderstood, whose martyrdom is held up as all he is about.  The commercialization of Jesus with WWJD bracelets, rock concerts in which his name is sung out loudly as if he is someone's long lost boyfriend, and the declaration by TV salvation experts who live in multi-million dollar homes have turned Jesus into a bit of an icon similar to any sports star or one of Hollywood's "beautiful people" with thousands of dollars of dental work to create that perfect smile, and perhaps a nip and tuck here or there to enhance the illusion of perfection.

I guess I prefer my Jesus to be a bit more human, a little less "rock star".  There is nothing wrong, I suppose, with the Billboard Jesus that so many find comfort in and are familiar with.  I am not at all offended by concerts and jewelry that carry his name.  It's just not really Jesus to me.  Jesus becomes real and alive to me when he quietly visits through others whose less than perfect teeth offer the most beautiful smiles, or whose decidedly imperfect bodies wrap me in their arms for hugs.  Jesus, shockingly to some, approaches us in the form of human figures whose failings are also very real.  We sometimes miss Jesus because we don't understand that he actually loves those imperfect people too, just as he loves you and I...also notably imperfect.  I think that is the Jesus I can best relate to.

Christmas will come and go, we will celebrate with all the usual flair.  However, I am glad that for me, Jesus isn't relegated to a couple of holidays a year and then packed away with the creche and stored in the shed.

I need him too much for that.


Anonymous said...

" I drove through city streets that looked clean and pristine with their winter coat of white, I wondered to myself if I had ever been Jesus to someone else. Have my actions ever made a difference for someone just then they needed it most? Have I ever been those arms reaching out to hold someone in their time of crushing need, have I ever met them in their sorrow or been able to give them a glimpse of what love really is?"

YES, YES, and YES again!

Anonymous said... have to ask if you have been Jesus to any one else? Do I have to call you and tell you all the ways you have been Jesus to my family (as odd as it sounds to write that, given my family's lack of religious beliefs)... :-)

I wouldn't have made it through the last two to three years without your family's unfailing support and love. We would not have had the courage to make a needed change for our family without your help and guidance. You have always been there to listen, to support, offer advice or not offer it, as needed.

Yes, dear, you have been Jesus in more ways than I can name, for all of us here. Don't ever doubt that you have made an impact and that our lives are better for you being in them.

Love from all of us -


p.s. Adam believes that God is a "she"...firmly and without a doubt...

Anonymous said...

Profound, as usual, Cindy! Thanks for your thoughts!
Love, blessings, and shalom!

Karon said...

What a true post, but that is why I love your blog. It is raw, real and deep which is something I find lacking in too many of my interactions. Desmond Tutu wrote a book called "God Has a Dream" where he discusses seeing God in so many forms. Even I, who am just a humble reader, am touched by your storeis, expereinces, your drive to take things to a new level inspires me to take my life, parenting, teaching up a notch.

Anonymous said...

I love this, Cindy! I don't know how on earth anyone can get through a day without JESUS.Once I had a friend who didn't like to bother JESUS with the little stuff.One would be amazed at the "little stuff" I bother HIM with.
Please know that you are very loved and appreciated. Elva

The Gobble's (Lanetta) said...

LOVED EVERY. SINGLE. WORD!!! EXACTLY what my hearts cry is... to be Jesus to those around me... Lord help us all to be more like you! Great post Cindy! GREAT POST!! :)

Carrie DeLille said...

My dear and precious friend, I have been so wrapped up in the soap opera my life has been that I haven't been able to keep up with you. I love you so much and you have been Jesus for me uncountable, innumerable times, at some of the lowest moments of my life. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ."
You ARE His hands and feet everyday of your life, if not to others, then to your family who needs you so!
When are you moving to VA??