Tuesday, July 18, 2006

My everpresent help in time of trouble

There are times when I feel like a blogger fraud for having my nym listed as a contributor to this fine blog. While there is much on which I'd like to pontificate, I often find myself somewhat stymied as to how to bring it all to a coherent post.

Do I discuss the slings and arrows of outrageous Children's Ministry programming? Do I reflect on the experience of preaching my first sermon at a new church, in front of 400 strangers who are now my family? Do I relate anecdotes about the "adjustment issues" common to that subspecies known as "preacher's kids?"

Maybe I should talk about how I've never been so happy and centered in ministry, so confident in my call to serve God's people, so humbled by the experience of being served by them. But its my honeymoon period, and I think it might be better to wait a couple of months.

No, rather than discuss he praxis of minstry, or pontificate about deep theological issues and divides, I'm simnply going to share something very close to my heart...

Her name is Annabella Sophia. She was born on June 30, 2006, and she is my first niece. I love her beyond all imagining, because I love her Mommy, my sister, the same way. I haven't held her yet, or sniffed her little head, or munched on that soft little spot right at the nape of her neck, but she sits in my heart, next to my own babies (who aren't really babies anymore). Age and health prevents me from having anymore children; it is my sister's turn to add to our family. I think she's done an excellent job:

Wouldn't you agree?

There is much to be concerned about in the world today. I have had long talks with my older children about geopolitics and war, and they are concerned at a level that bothers me. At eleven and fourteen, I do not wish for their childhood to be overtaken with the sorrow and pain that wracks my heart. But I cannot try to turn them away from it all either, to pretend that nothing bad is happening, and allow them to exist in a bubble. When they express concern for people in other lands, children their own age and their families, they are doing exactly what I hoped to raise them to do-empathize, care for others, and see past dichotomies and barriers that should not exist. So I offer them what I give to myself and, on this evening, to you as well.

Hope and a reason to never give up. For Annabella and her siblings yet to come, for their families, for the children who are not fortunate enough to be sleeping with stuffed animals or guarded by faithful canine "big brothers." Annabella is content with very little right now-warmth, sustenance, being cradled in loving arms, simply to be. In Annabella's face, I see the face of all children, who are, without exception, gifts of God. And here is my treasure. Here is where my heart lies.

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