Posted by: Jim E | December 2, 2012

Wonder…Christmas…Mom…C.S. Lewis…And Others…

I like to get up early…in fact sleeping until 7:00 is pretty much out of the question…if I happen to wake up at 5:00, its hard for me to go back to sleep…afraid I will sleep too long or something…I keep thinking, “People have to get up and are on the road by 6:00, even before, so what am I doing in bed.”…I get more done in the morning…and just enjoy the time…and of Christmas lights on mantlecourse I don’t need to go to work, so I get to use my time as I like…

Every morning I get up and turn off the home alarm…then turn on the lights…empty the dishwasher, maybe the garbage…just a few things, so we can have a “fresh start”…then I go sit on the couch for a few minutes…the only lights on are the Christmas lights…the tree, on the mantel, and above the bookshelves…Judie decorates beautifully, and especially at Christmas…so I sit back, relax and think…go through the plans for the day, about our family, about, just things…it is a wonderful time…that’s the word I want…Wonder…I have a fresh senseChristmas tree Little Rock, AR of wonder…I love that time…to wonder about all kinds of things…

My Mom had that, wonder, that is…she was a master of it…she lived with wonder in mind at all times…I don’t know if she ever read of C.S. Lewis but she had some of what he had…someone wrote, “my belief that Lewis’s mind was above all characterized by a willingness to be enchanted”…”his delight in laughter, his willingness to accept a world made by a good and loving God, and his willingness to submit to the charms of a wonderful story”…”an openness to delight”…”the possibility that anything could happen to someone who is ready to meet that anything.”…Heavens, Mom had that…let me explain by telling you about her…portions of this are from something I wrote 8 years ago…just before Mom died…

It’s just a few days after Thanksgiving…and my Mom is in a nursing home…she no longer knowsimg019 us and sleeps most of the time…she is losing weight…but her heart just keeps beating…she is so strong…but then she has always been strong…her life was not easy, but I guess life itself is not easy…there are all kinds of mishaps along the way…things we did not plan…things we did not expect…but what I find amazing is how she approached a difficult life…she did it with such contentment, acceptance and yes, wonder…

At our house at Thanksgiving, out come the recipe cards…some Mom’s, some of both Grandmas…and it seems every year I am reminded of my growing up years…when Dad got back from the Navy at the end of WWII…they built a basement for a house that I”m sure Mom expected to build someday…I’m not so sure about my Dad…but they put a roof on the basement and we lived in what we called “The Basement House” all during my growing up years…

That basement house had no indoor plumbing (we had an outhouse), no plumbing under theimg018 sink (we emptied the pail in the back yard when full), Mom’s cupboards were wooden apple boxes attached to the wall (painted and had small curtains that Mom made), the walls of the two bedrooms were 2 x 2’s covered with cardboard (painted and sometimes wallpapered), the ceilings were cardboard too…no doors to the rooms…just curtains…a furnace in the corner of the large room…a refrigerator and stove…table and chairs…and a sofa, etc…

And though compared to today and even compared to that day, she had little…I never heard her even once, complain…not then or since then…and though she had a hard life, she faced it with such contentment…and she accepted what was given her, she was devoted to her three boys and her husband…and though Dad drank throughout our growing up years, was so difficult to live with and gave little money to Mom to run the home, yet my Mom worked, and made it work…

Recapture the WonderAnd she never gave up on Wonder…in “Recapture the Wonder”, Ravi Zacharias captures what Mom seemed to have…she saw things differently than most…she saw that “Fulfilled dreams are not necessarily fulfilled hopes. Attainment and fulfillment are not the same.”…many have dreams of careers, position, power…thinking that these will bring fulfillment…but what my Mom had, she could not put into words and I don’t think I can either…but her life and her fulfillment seems to have been above the “realities” of her life…she found contentment, acceptance and wonder within her experience…and I think that is within all of us…that place that is empty or nearly so…we may have attained much, but that place is still not “filled”…and my Mom found that place and filled it, in spite of her circumstances…it was what wonder is all about…

So how could a person like my Mom find at Thanksgiving and Christmas…and really at every time of the year…such fulfillment in what she “had”…it was more than happiness…it was wonder…she was always so excited about life…though many days brought hard, hard experiences and disappointment…yet she saw with eyes the wonder of life itself…of nature, of family, of living, of friendship, of caring, of work, of things she really did not fully understand…but she had it…she had wonder…

Ravi Zacharias has some descriptions of wonder…let me share a few: “Wonder is that possession of the mind that enchants the emotions while never surrendering reason. It is a grasp on reality that does not need constant high points in order to be maintained, nor is it made vulnerable by the low points of life’s struggle. It sees in the ordinary the extraordinary, and it finds in the extraordinary the reaffirmations for what it already knows. Wonder interprets life through the eyes of eternity while enjoying the moment, but never lets the momentary vision exhaust the eternal.”

Mom had it…she had it…it is how she faced what to me were very difficult circumstances…yet she followed “the voice of direction”…that “still small voice”, which says, “This is the way, walk ye in it” (Isaiah 30:21)…and though her voice was not strong…she would sing around the house…and that song came from this wonder...”But how do we find this wonder, not merely in His name but in such a way that our heart rests in that delight?”…So in whatever life brings we need to see the wonder all around us…and fill us with that wonder that makes life wonderfulPsalm sixty five verse 8 and sacred…no matter our circumstances…

So tomorrow morning…I will wake up early…I will sit on the couch…enjoy the lights and relish the wonder of all of this…Christmas and all it holds…and memories of my Mom…and remember Psalm 65:8 “You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.”…

 

 

 

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Responses

  1. your story of your mom was delightful, kind of reminds me of my mom and our growing years, they were so simalar! My mom is going on 93 and is so beautiful inside and out because she has the peace of JESUS in her heart! Thanks for sharing your story of your mom!

    • Dottie…thanks for the comment…Mom’s are special…hope all is well with you and yours…Christmas was always special with Mom…she always made it wonderful for our family…we still have many traditions she started or passed on to us…have a wonderful Christmas season…Jim E

  2. Hi Jim,
    Thank you so much for sharing this story. Your Mom sounds like someone I would have loved to meet and have a long talk with. As I struggle being a divorced Mom and as we struggle with all of my daughter’s health issues, sometimes it’s hard to be content with what little we have and stay positive. The things you shared about your Mom are so inspiring – to have that wonder, contentment, fulfillment and acceptance. I’ll definitely be re-reading your story several times to draw inspiration from it. Thank you so much. You have just made my day.
    Take care,
    Julie
    (By the way, I’ve read some of C.S. Lewis’s books. His story is pretty amazing. Our pastor talks about him often also.)

    • Julie…thanks for the comment…yup, my Mom was special…born in 1920, she lived through some hard times…just think, she was about 10 years old when the Great Depression hit…so lived thru all those years…married young, to a man who drank too much, most of his life…she had to work to raise three boys…WWII hit in 1941…two young boys and her husband goes off to war…worked while he was gone…those were tough years…in 1946, when Dad came back from war…she thought he would have changed, but war did something to him…he drank more…they had one more boy…then she went to work to make ends meet…not much money coming home from Dad…and there is much more…but in all that, she took us to church…taught us the same wonder she had…much more to the story…but it gives you a little more…hard times…with wonder…equals a good life…not easy, mind you…but a good life…she felt that way, her whole life, though not all was rosy…

      Julie, you are a hero to me…and to your family…you may not hear it often…but like my Mom, you still are that…the wonder she had, somehow told her so…and made her continue to persevere…you, as you continue to take care of your family will find wonder everyday as you “look” around you…finding that reflection of wonder everyday…it’s there…we need to look, “there is so much to see”…see things others miss, that’s part of what wonder is…John Piper put it this way “Beholding is becoming.” II Corinthians 3:18 (read http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/letter-to-an-incomplete-insecure-teenager …all of us feel this way at times, enjoy)…thanks…Jim E

  3. Excellent article Jim! Thanks!

    • Thanks Julie…will try to add a few more this Christmas season…Jim E


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