Monday, July 20, 2009

Cathy’s Corner

I’ve been out of town this past week so this was something I received as an email and I thought I’d share some Christmas in July with you.

We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, 'Hi.' He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and giggled with merriment. I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man whose pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map. We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled. His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists. "Hi there, baby; hi there, big boy. I see ya buster,' the man said to Erik. My husband and I exchanged looks, 'What do we do?' Erik continued to laugh and answer, 'Hi.' Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby. Our meal came and the man began shouting from across the room, 'Do ya patty cake? Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek- a-boo.' Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk. My husband and I were embarrassed. We ate in silence; all except for Erik, who was running through his repertoire for the admiring skid-row bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments.

We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot. The old man sat poised between me and the door. 'Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik,' I prayed. As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As I did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby's 'pick-me-up' position. Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man. Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love and kinship. Erik in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head upon the man's ragged shoulder. The man's eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes. His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor, cradled my baby's bottom and stroked his back. No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a time. I stood awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms and his eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm commanding voice, 'You take care of this baby.' Somehow I managed, 'I will,' from a throat that contained a stone. He pried Erik from his chest, lovingly and longingly, as though he were in pain. I received my baby, and the man said, 'God bless you, ma'am, you've given me my Christmas gift.' I said nothing more than a muttered thanks.

With Erik in my arms, I ran for the car. My husband was wondering why I was crying and holding Erik so tightly, and why I was saying, 'My God, my God, forgive me.' I had just witnessed Christ's love shown through the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made no judgment; a child who saw a soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes. I was a Christian who was blind, holding a child who was not. I felt it was God asking, 'Are you willing to share your son for a moment?' When He shared His for all eternity. The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me, 'To enter the Kingdom of God we must become as little children.” Sometimes, it takes a child to remind us of what is really important. We must always remember who we are, where we came from and, most importantly, how we feel about others. The clothes on your back or the car that you drive or the house that you live in does not define you at all; it is how you treat your fellow man that identifies who we are. Author unknown

Have a great day in the Lord

Cathy’s Corner


In 1989 there was a book written by Valerie Bell titled Nobody’s Children. Here is an excerpt from that book.

A song called “Bless the Beasts and the Children” describes the low status of childhood.

Bless the beasts and the children. For in this world they have no voice. They have no choice.

Something alarming is happening to children in America today. We can easily recognize that children are America’s most silent minority group. They have no voice. They have no choice. They have little power. Like beasts they are easily taken advantage of, exploited. They are small, weak, and powerless; they are easily victimized. When their childhood voices turn adult twenty years from now, what will we learn then about their childhoods? Will they praise us for the nurturing we’ve given them to carry into their lifetimes? Will generations to come remember our parental era with thankfulness? Or will they shake their heads in dismay over what we’ve set in motion? In twenty years they will tell us what they can’t now, but then it will be too late to make changes in their lives. We should be concerned about children not only because they are our future, not only because they will be our final interpreters to a remembering world, but we should be concerned for children because of their helplessness, their total dependence on the adult world to act on their behalf.

That book was written twenty years ago but I think it could have been written about present day.

Twenty years ago I was the Mother of children ages 11, 6, 3, and 1.Where did those years go? Can my children look back and say they had a good childhood? Can they be thankful? I look back and see things I would have done different and things I would have done the same. All of us make mistakes as parents and most of us do the very best we can. Sometimes we get things right and sometimes we just mess it up royally. There were many times I had to ask my kids for forgiveness. But they still love me unconditionally and I them. They know I would go to bat for them at the drop of a hat. When Cassandra wanted to sing and dance at the school talent show, I played the piano and helped her choreograph her song, when she wanted to go to Law school I was her biggest supporter and advocate. When J wanted to play football I ended up being his coach in 5th and 6th grades and when he wanted to enlist in the Army, I was (somewhat reluctantly) his biggest supporter and advocate. When Kiersten became the High School Mascot I attended almost every home game in 90 degree weather and rain and snow. When she wanted to become a Meteorologist and chase tornadoes I was her biggest supporter and advocate. When Caitlin wanted to try out for Drum Major in High School and made it, once again I tried to attend almost every home game. When she wanted to go to school and have a career in music and theater I have been her biggest supporter and advocate. And I have always been their biggest prayer warrior. In the heart of all of that support and encouragement was a life centered around Jesus Christ and I tried to always point every situation, every circumstance back to Christ and how He was working and is working in their lives. I taught Sunday school and served in Children’s Choirs. I had a vested interest in their spiritual upbringing not just at home but at church as well whether I was on staff or not. I have always been their biggest advocate.

Today we have children that need an advocate, they need someone who will champion them and support them. We have children that need adults who will love them and encourage them. Perhaps here at church is the only place some of them get that support and encouragement. Twenty years from now what will these children say about our parenting and grand parenting? What will they say about our church? Did we do all we could to encourage parents to take up their rightful mantle and be the spiritual leaders of their child’s life? Did we provide a spiritual foundation for our preschoolers?

 The past year we began with about 80 new teachers. We asked for a one year commitment and appreciate those who have served this year. The investment you have made will make an eternal difference. If you will be returning to an Adult Connection Class this next year I ask that you pray for teachers to replace yourself and for those classes that were never filled. Hopefully you had a good experience serving in Preschool and you will pass a good word on to the adult departments. A letter has been mailed to our parents reminding them of our One Year One, One Year Off strategy. Please be in prayer for Anna, Kerri, Lori Anne and me as we contact them about serving in Preschool next year. 


Proverbs 31:8a– Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves….



Have a great day in the Lord