When I look at this snapshot of my brother and me it makes me smile. I am not sure what was going on in this photo I was too young to remember when this photo was taken. I think my life was full of big sister-little brother moments so this was likely one of many and nothing so special about this particular moment it has stuck in my mind for over 50 years.
What in the heck was this snowsuit all about? It looks like our mother thought my brother was going to be outside for hours instead of the few minutes that she took to photograph this moment.
I was likely two and my brother six months or so old. I was holding him tight with my little mittened hands and watching over his shoulder to make sure the world was right for for my baby brother, whom my mother had entrusted me with. It was the beginning of a lifetime relationship of caring about my brothers. Though much of our lives my brothers and I have lived half a continent or more apart they are still my brothers who I love and care about as much today as when this photo was taken with the middle brother. I don’t think about my brothers most days, I am busy wrapped up in my life I hate to admit. But then I come across a photo like this and am reminded that I have some pretty awesome brothers.
P.S. To my other brothers who are not in this photo, you rock too. I love you all, but this was the snapshot I found today, so it was the one I used to remind me of what a great bunch of guys I get to call brother.
OK it is not really the last weekend before Christmas, but if you hope to ship anything it is the last weekend before Christmas. It is.
This is where the rubber meets the road. Time for procrastinating is over. Time for a reality check is due; what can be done for Christmas and what can’t be done. The family of years ago with everyone living within a couple of hours of their parents is long gone. We are now scattered to the four corners of the continent and even a few have settled across the pond. It is no longer possible for everyone to descent on the old home place for the holidays. We no longer meet up with family members we love to see and a few we would rather skip seeing. If you are not going to be home for the holidays it is now time things ready to ship.
This long distance family has been a boon for the commercialization of the holiday. When you lived near your family it seemed that you saw them often enough, that if you wanted to give a gift, you knew what your family member would appreciate or need. Your family knew more about your business than you wanted, but there was a quiet understanding when times were tough that your gift may not be as expensive or extravagant as you wished, but it came from the heart. Instead today we feel we must spend to show our love and that we are thinking of family. That shipped gift without your face, well it has to make up for something. So we tend to overspend and send gifts we aren’t really sure are right. Some how we think anything less would not say I love you.
I wrote this because I am struggling with the reality that I am not going to do any Christmas baking this year. I usually bake dozens of cookies or all sorts and sizes. I am that person you hate to get behind at the post office. It is I who lines up with 25 or so priority mail boxes to ship to family and friends all around the country this last shipping Monday before the holiday. Those boxes are lovingly packed to the brim with just enough for each family member to have one or two of each kind. Cookies are my love in a box,and some how not doing it seems like I don’t care enough to make time. Though my logical brain understands the circumstances this year, my heart feels some of that Lutheran guilt.
Today I thought for a couple of minutes about running to town and buying 25 made in Montana goodie food boxes and shipping them apologizing for it not being homemade. Then something kicked in, those that know will understand. Those that would not have understood, should not have been on my list anyway. I have made peace with this decision. I have also promised myself that this year, when they least expect it, I plan to mail those on my Christmas cookie list some love in a box. Not because it is a holiday, their birthday or some significant day, but because I thought of them and wanted them to know someone in Montana loves them.
It feels a little weird, but I know it is alright. The presence of a gift or not does not change how I feel about them. Those who we love know that.
My husband and I celebrated 32 years of marriage this week. It has been a great adventure full of twists and turns I could have never imagined. Yet there is no one else in the world that I would have wanted to take this ride with.
This current election cycle is focusing on one of the candidate’s religion. Is it Christian or not? It infuriates me, because God is all powerful and could have made us all alike in every way. Instead God has chosen to make each of us unique. I am not sure why we have so many organized religions in the world. I don’t see any leader of the organized religions with a red phone direct to God, Allah or their name for the highest being. It is not for me to understand, I have faith in God’s master plan. I do know that God has directed us to love our neighbors. Not, be tolerant of others. Not, be understanding of others. Not, accepting of others. But repeatedly the Bible tells us to love.
Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
What a challenge! I am not sure, but I suspect other organized religion’s holy documents have a similar sayings. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if we all sought to love one another. I know that I do not always do well loving others, but the above verse serves to remind me to continue in that quest and we are all neighbors.
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. I have been married for 31 years. I first dated my husband about 35 years ago. One would think that this means I have many years of exchanging cards and gifts with my husband. In reality nothing could be further from the truth. Long ago my husband and I decided to celebrate our love everyday, in our own way, to the beat of our own drum. Some days our love is big overt, overflowing and out there for everyone to see. Some days it is silent and comforting in ways that only we recognize. It is the best because I am in love everyday, and am enveloped in love the same way.