“Grandma, have you made any new year’s resolutions?” The question came from J, my eleven and a half year old grandson. His younger brother G, nearly eight, chimed in “I haven’t made any revolutions. I don’t really know much about that.” I smiled and ignored the wrong word and explained that I don’t make resolutions. The truth is, I only know one thing about them – they have never led me anywhere but to failure. However, I was curious. So I asked J if he had any. His answer set me back.
“I want to devote my life to Christ.” Alrighty then.
A couple of nights later I woke from a sound sleep. The family had returned home and the nest was once again empty. Among hundreds of other thoughts during the hours of sleeplessness that ensued, I revisited the conversation about resolutions. My grandmotherly advice to J had been to set some tangible, practical goals that would in turn bring him closer to that devotion he wanted. While I don’t believe in resolutions, I believe attainable goals are a sure way to make incremental steps.
Well, then, Grandma. Have you set any goals? They had been simmering in my heart for days so I grabbed my phone, opened the Notes app and made a list.
- Stay to the end of the party. Dance the last dance; have one more piece of cake.
- Never miss a chance to get pie on your face. Whatever the game is, play it; don’t worry about looking foolish.
- Listen more, talk less. Plan to learn something new about every person you know.
- Hold every baby. Every time. Except at Publix. Don’t take babies from strangers at Publix.
- Cook more. Take meals to new mommas and the widow down the street.
- Spend less time wringing hands and more time folding them.
In that quiet night, I replayed the high and low points of the past year.
A boy left us and the grief was palpable, even under the best possible circumstances.
Months later I stood at the front of a military chapel and tried to make words do justice to the life of a dear friend, shortened far too soon by cancer.
Our family grew through adoption and we learned that children who enter foster care often have lots of special needs.
In some, God’s plan has been made clear but in others there are still so many questions.
This Jesus that I work for? He calls me to lay down my safe, comfy life. Pain is what we risk in relationship, but he is right there with us. No fear.
I’m beginning to see the relationship between joy and sorrow. It’s all bubbling up from the same spring. The sorrow was great because of my love for each of those precious souls – the heart connection was so real that there was physical pain. There is great risk in love and he has called us to risky lives. He also promised to be close to us in the sorrow.
Honestly, 2016 will likely look much like last year. There will be gain and loss, joy and sorrow.
I’m looking forward to this year; I will take risks for my Jesus and it will be good. I can’t wait to see where He leads!
I pray that I will have the courage to live each day courageously, loving people and serving my Jesus. And if I get pie in my face, I’ll just have to deal.