Lessons in Trusting From an Eleven Year Old

Cooter was sick with his standard Sunday evening 12 hour stomach thing two weeks ago.  I don’t call it a proper bug, because there’s never any rhyme or reason to it.  He doesn’t run fever or have any other symptoms.  Just every so often–occasionally–he will have stomach trouble to the point of vomiting a few times.  Most always on a Sunday evening.  We will stay up late watching his go to “sick” movie (the original Batman), and then once he’s able to, he will make the call on whether he will go to bed or sleep on the couch, and whether or not he prefers me to be close by for the rest of the night.

This last time, I was anxious that he feel better quickly.  If it ran typically, he’d be fine before morning, and we really needed for him to be.  He has drama on Mondays, and he really, really doesn’t need to miss any rehearsals if he can at all help it.  I’m old school, so if I had any doubts about him being well, he wouldn’t be going.  That night I kept asking him if he felt okay.  He did but then a second wave hit.  I decided to try an oil I have that is suppose to help with stomach upset, so I applied it topically.

Things had settled a little, and then he told me that he thought he’d be okay if he didn’t have to keep smelling that smell–that it was really bothering his stomach.  Interesting.  Well, nothing for it but to try to gently wash it off.

He said that helped.

The next morning–as per usual–he woke up asking for his oyster crackers.  And then real food.  He was hungry.  And he kept it down.  And he ate more and was his old self.  Just like all the other times.

Wow.  It never ceases to amaze me how quickly his body turns around from whatever THAT was.

I was talking with him that night after drama.  He was glad to feel better and more than happy that I agreed we wouldn’t use the oil for him again.  He said that trying to stop the throwing up was not working.  “See, Mama,” he said in that voice he uses when he is imparting the greatest of wisdom to his old Mama, “I just have to trust the process.  If I’m sick and throwing up, that means I need to do that.  Get the bad stuff out.  Mama.  Trust the process.”  

A lot of the time I can see Mama in my middle child, our Princess.  But in that moment, I could see and hear Mama in my little guy’s words and expression.  He knows how much I worry when he’s sick, but he’s fine because he “trusts the process.”  And in telling me to do it, well, that’s just like my Mama.  Trying to calm me and bring me peace in the midst of chaos.

Trust the process.

That’s so hard to do sometimes, isn’t it?  Because it requires letting go.  Letting go of trying to “fix” things or cure them or even just guiding how it goes.  Being a “scriptwriter” for my own life from way back, this is really hard.

But I look at that peace on my little guy’s face and he’s just taking it in stride.  I’m sick, okay, let me do what I have to do to get better.  

Trust the process.

Trust it in the midst of a new friendship.  Trust the other person.  Give them a chance.  Trust in the middle of planning a huge project. Trust that it will all come together.  Trust in the making of a long journey.  Trust that we will get there, or wherever we get, it will be okay.

It sort of goes hand in hand with what Mama often said, “Do your very best.  Be your best self.”

Because if you do those things, then trust the process, there is a peace in that that calls out to my soul.  I want that.  I need it.

It’s a Sunday again, and today Cooter was out with his best buddies building a fort with sticks and branches trimmed from the trees around their house.  It took them a while, but they built a magnificent fort, and then they proceeded to spend the afternoon on into the evening in it, telling stories, imagining adventures, and making the best of memories.  They took it one step at a time, did what came next, gave it their best efforts, and wound up with a great place to play.

If they’d worried about what kind of fort, or tried to count all the sticks and branches ahead of time, or worried about how it could be torn down before they were finished or how there could be critters living on the sticks or how someone might spill a Gatorade inside the fort (true story) and how that might delay their fun…..well, it could have been a long afternoon and made for some grumpy little guys.

Instead.  They formed an idea, did their best, and trusted the process.  In the end, their lives were all the better for it.

Okay, I know, it’s just a fort.  One that will most likely be fire pit fuel in the next few weeks.

But it’s a beautiful example of trusting the process.  And not nearly so…..ummm, disgusting….as the stomach trouble story.

This week I’m going to follow Cooter’s example and try trusting the process.  In my days, in my conversations, in my relationships.  I’m going to try giving it my best and then letting go.  I’m hoping I’ll have as big a smile as these guys did this afternoon, hanging out in the midst of broken branches and limbs that their trust and hard work turned into a pretty cool place to spend a Sunday afternoon.  Or a lifetime.

Love to all.

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One corner of this afternoon’s magnificent fort.

Football and Other Team Sports

The past few weekends have found me watching a whole lot of football.  Some exciting things were happening for teams down here in our parts.  My little guy is a huge football fan, and I enjoy seeing his joy, so I’ve picked up watching and rooting for teams again.  It brings back happy memories of Sunday afternoons laying on the couch with Daddy kicked back in his recliner, watching the games and not betting on the games because Mama didn’t allow that.  (Okay, there may have been a quarter or two that exchanged hands. Shhhh.)

Saturday we watched the Falcons game over at MessCat’s house.  Leroy had invited us to join them for the Big game.  I’m not sure he knew what he was getting into, because I can get rather vocal in my cheering on of the team of choice.  And with the playoffs on the line, I was pretty…..ummm, into it all.

Y’all, I watched my little guy cry real tears when the Patriots came back in the second half of that Super Bowl last year.  I’d have loved for the Falcons to have another shot.  But they didn’t win on Saturday, so they don’t, and nobody handled it better than my little guy.  He just moved on to the next game…..and cheering on anyone playing the Patriots.  He’s growing up.  And adapting.

I’m a proud Mama.

While we watched the games, I was intrigued by something that seems new to me.  When a player caught the ball and landed on the ground, there were several occasions of it being in question as to whether the player had “control” of the ball when he landed.

Really?

I mean, is this new?

My brother-in-law explained that they were really cracking down on this this season–that if it didn’t appear that the player had control of the ball, the pass was not complete.

Oh.  My.  Stars.

I don’t mean to sound old (I mean, yeah, I’m rapidly approaching that state), but back in my day, if they caught the ball and didn’t drop it when they fell, it was complete.

Or at least that’s the way I understood it.

I cannot tell you how many plays we had to sit and wait after while the folks in New York made the call as to whether a player in Philadelphia or Massachusetts actually had control of the ball.

Never mind that the player did not lose the ball when he landed on the hard ground.

It was really, really annoying.

And while I’m not going to argue about the ins and outs of football–I don’t need to know all the intricate details, I leave that to fans like my little fella–I have been chewing on why maybe this has bothered me so much.

And here it is.  Way too often in this life, we are hit by something from out of the blue.  Something that knocks us for a loop, sends us off track, causes us to lose our way for a moment.  And  way too often, there are those around us all too ready to have us doubt ourselves and how we are handling things.  How well we are hanging on to the good in our life.  They would have us thinking that we don’t have a hold on things, no matter what we know to be true.

We didn’t drop the ball.

We are still hanging on.

And we will get back up and carry on.

No matter what those in New York–or anywhere else for that matter–have to say about us.

The other thing that struck me was that each and every person watching had an opinion as to whether the ball had been properly “caught” or not.  Usually said opinion had a direct relationship to the person watching’s team preference.

And then it was a couple of days later that this hit me.

Life is a team sport, isn’t it?  

For the most part y’all, we don’t do life by ourselves.

We have folks around us, doing this life journey alongside us.  Sometimes folks are cheering for us, and other times, sadly way too often, folks are cheering against us.  There are times when people we have on our side get traded or retire and we are given new team members.  New people to meet and get to know, and soon our stories and journeys are intertwined as we head onto the field together.  Some days we win, some days we lose, and all those days in between…..

we learn.  We try.  We practice.  We rest.  We sit in the stands and cheer others on.  Or help them get down their own field.  We revive and restore and then…..

we try to get down the field a little bit more.  Together.  With the help of those beside us.

A team sport.  Where we learn to trust and share and pass the ball when we need help and block the hard things as best we can.  And when one of us gets knocked down…..

we reach over and give them a hand up.

I think that has been my favorite part of watching the games, and I didn’t even realize it. That hand that goes out to the player on the ground…..and it’s ALWAYS there.  I’ve yet to see someone have to get up off that ground alone.  No matter what the situation was that put them there.

Tonight I’m thankful for the ones running along with me and for those cheering me on.  I’m thankful for the ones up ahead who have made a way and for the ones coming behind.  Most of all, I’m thankful for the ones who sit with me when I’ve been knocked down and offer a hand to pull me back to my feet when I’m ready, all without judging what knocked me down or how I came to be there.

Life is a team sport.  I’m going to hold on to that image.  For the days I’m feeling knocked down, dragged out.  And for the days when those around me need someone to cheer them on or someone to pass the ball to…..or someone to remind them that no ma’am, you did not drop that ball.  You hung on to it.  And you might be on the ground right now, but you’re okay.  And together we’re going to get you back up and on your way.

Look around, y’all.  Give your team people squad posse fans coaches fellow players a big ol’ high five.  Because you’ve got this.  Some days you may run into double overtime and find yourself a touchdown behind, but we’re all going to be okay no matter what the folks in New York say.  Because we are together.  And if you’re sitting on the bench by yourself right now, don’t stay there.  We pick you to be on our team.  Come on over.  Because we can never have too many folks to count on and share the journey with.  There’s no such thing as too many players on the field in this version of the game.

Thanks for playing alongside me.  Love to all.

 

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Design custom made especially for us by Macon Ink http://www.etsy.com/shop/MaconInk

the unburdening

as the shadows grow long
I drag my bag now filled once again
down through the pasture
beside the still waters
and up to the tree
whose roots stretch out far and wide
above and below
the ground that sustains it

I slowly empty my load
carefully fingering every
worry, woe, and wondering
before placing each one in the hollow between
the two biggest roots
where nothingness is all that can be seen

upon emptying it,
turning and
facing the darkness,
I carefully lay the bag
over my shoulder
and head back to the house on the hill
where the only light for miles around
blinks in the void,
back by the waters and the pasture
that by morning will be covered in frost

the sigh I breathe, relieved to let it all go,
to leave it there for You to carry to who knows where
and dispose of in whatever way you are able,
lets out a puff of air that is barely
visible in the night–
I grow colder
as the light grows brighter

unencumbered for the moment
I climb beneath the afghan
made my hands not known to me,
gifted hands that moved in tune
to the songs of praise and thanksgiving
she hummed along to,
I too hum until the sleep quickly comes
and I dream only of light and hope and geese
that fly to parts far and near

they too are unburdened and light

until the dawn comes and I begin to fill my bag
again

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Richard Dorrell [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Why I Don’t Tell My Children to “Be Nice”

Be sure to say thank you.

Share with your sister.

Take turns.

Make wise choices.

Be kind to your brother.

Act like you are somebody.

You don’t always have to be first in line.

Be a good friend.

Let it go.

I say all of these things and many, many more to one or another of my crew at least once a day and then some.  But there’s one thing that I used to say that I found myself almost saying today that I will be very careful about ever saying again.

Be nice.

Cooter had one of his activities today.  After he finished I asked him how it had gone.  He shrugged.  This is one of the very few times he’s not outnumbered by all the estrogen in the room, and I know he can get rowdy along with the best of them–all those boys.  Whew.

“I was good.  I tried.  It was just hard.”

I asked him how.  He proceeded to call one of the others “creepy” and I corrected him.  No name-calling.  That is not okay.

“Well, it is, Mama.  He wants to hug me all the time.  It creeps me out.”

And there it was.  On the tip of my tongue.

Be.  Nice.

Only I caught myself just in time.  A glance in the rearview mirror assured me that he was serious.

Okay.

It’s been a little over a year since I had the conversation with my oldest where she shared what she had read–that we shouldn’t tease anyone about someone being mean because they have a crush on them.  We don’t want anyone to equate meanness or cruel words or hurtful actions with affection.  Not when they’re little.  Not ever.

And this takes it one step further.  If I were to tell Cooter, now be nice, he just wants to hug you, that means he wants to be your friend, imagine how that could mess him up later on.  Sure, this is all innocent–a boy who is younger than him, wanting to hug it out because he wants to be friends.  Just a year ago, that was very likely how Cooter was with his older friend there.  But what if?  What if later on someone else’s “touch” gives him the “creeps,” and I’ve set the precedent of ignoring those feelings, not giving them validation, and told him to “be nice,” that they just want to be his friend. I have to show him I trust him now, that I respect his “creepy” feelings if I want him to continue sharing these things with me and be able to stand up for himself.

It’s a scary and wonderful world we live in.  And as I’ve said before, this raising of the children is not for the faint of heart.  These children with their precious little selves, always listening and watching and paying attention and not always when you really want or need them to, they are so fragile and strong.  So vulnerable and wise.  So innocent and knowing.  All of that.  I don’t want to mess this up.

It’s so hard to know what’s right, you know?  It is so instinctual for me to want my children to be kind, to be polite, and to be respectful.  It was on the very tip of my tongue to correct my boy, to crush any hope of him talking about this kind of thing to me again–all with those two simple words.  Be. Nice.

Instead I gathered my thoughts, and told him that I could appreciate how that made him feel uncomfortable.  I suggested that next time, if it happens again, he should step back and put his hand up and say, “Hey, I can be your friend, but I don’t want to be hugged.”  And if the little guy doesn’t stop, he should go and let a grownup know that he doesn’t care to be hugged.

I don’t know.  It’s so hard to know, isn’t it?  All I can do, as my Mama often said, is the best I can do with what I have now.  And right now, I think the most important thing is for each of my children to feel heard and know that they can bring any story, anything at all, home for me to hear.  I can’t promise not to flip out–it’s kind of my thing (yes, another thing)–but I can promise I won’t leave their side.  Not even once.

"Stickered" by my little guy.  Not a prouder Mama anywhere around.  Love that boy.

“Stickered” by my little guy. Not a prouder Mama anywhere around. Love that boy.

I guess I must have done okay because Cooter gave me his sticker from today.  He smiled so brightly (oh how I love that toothless grin) and seemed plum tickled with himself over it.  I wore it proudly all afternoon and evening.  Let folks stare.  My baby boy thinks I’m awesome.

And tonight I’m thankful for that.  And so much more.

Love to all.

 

 

I’m Done with Apologizing

Mess Cat was over today, and we just visited.  The way folks do.  Sat on the furniture that’s for sitting and talked about a little bit of everything.  It was awesome.  She’s been working on home projects and so have I, so this was a nice respite for us, as our littles played together.

We started talking about our personalities and how they are different.  An incident from when I was in fourth grade came to mind.  My teacher, Mrs. W, who had taught my Daddy and my Uncle, was teaching us about quotation marks.  We were to write a sentence using quotation marks.  Correctly.  She asked a few of us to write our sentences on the chalkboard.

I loved writing on the chalkboard.  Something that has continued on to the whiteboards in my adulthood.

Love.  It.

So I was thrilled when she called on me.  I went up and wrote my sentence on the board.  I had tried to step outside the box and make my sentence a little different.

Big mistake.

My sentence was:

“She said she was going to town.”

As in someone asks, “Where did Mess Cat go?”

And I would reply…..

so proper use, right?

Only Mrs. W corrected me, had me correct it on the board, and totally misinterpreted my meaning.  She wanted,

She said, “She was going to town.”

Which doesn’t even make sense, am I right?

Ah, well.

I was a people pleaser.  So I never said a word or tried to explain myself.  That was 36 years ago.  And I’m still carrying it.  What is that about?

I told Mess Cat today that I’m trying to outgrow that, living as others expect, trying to people please.  It hasn’t always been healthy for me, holding in what I’m really thinking, what I really believe.   And I’m paying for it, so I’ve decided no more.  I’m not talking about showing out or picking fights.  I’m just going to quit apologizing for certain things I do or say or believe.

So here goes:

–Today while we were visiting, my oldest called me a name.  And it made me laugh.  “Helicopter Mama.”  I looked over at her, and she nodded, “Yeah.  You.  You hover.”

Y’all.  For the love.  I busted out laughing.  Forget monogramming.  I am so having that put on something.  A name I’ll wear with pride.

Because I am.  You got it.  And baby girl, I know you are 18.  Legal in different ways, still not in others.  However, here’s what you need to know and I’m not sorry a bit.  I will always be your helicopter Mama.  I will be hovering when you are my age, good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.  I love you, I want what’s best for you, and forgive me if sometimes I think I might know what’s what a little better than you do.  Or when I ask too many questions.  Or when I worry because you got off from work 45 minutes ago and I still haven’t heard anything.  *ahem*  I’m asking for forgiveness but I am not apologizing.  It’s part of what I signed up for nineteen years ago when I was waiting on you to arrive.  I hovered then, every little flitter or burp had to be interpreted…..and the first time you had hiccups in utero?  Oh my land.  Called the doctor I think. Or my Mama.  So yeah, I’m the best Helicopter Mama there ever was and will be as long as my blades will turn.  You call it hovering, I call it love.  And I do.  Love you.

–I’m done apologizing for my dog barking when folks come over.  Yeah, she’s shy.  She’s slow to warm up to new people.  She barks like mad when someone comes through the door she doesn’t know.  However, she loves like nobody’s business, and that is pure joy.  Many nights my writing is delayed because she is laying at my right side, patting my right hand, wanting some attention and cuddles.  That right there.  That’s why I wanted a dog so much.  While I wish she didn’t bark quite so much, and that my word about someone being okay could be enough, I’m done apologizing for it.  I give thanks she is so attentive and protective of all of us.  For such a sweet little fluffball, she’s a smart girl.  And she knows who her people are.

–I have found myself apologizing for my child’s food allergies.  Lately I’ve heard my own words, and I’ve thought, “What on earth? Why am I apologizing for taking the best care of my child that I can?”

I’m done.

No more apologizing to servers in restaurants as I explain for the umpteenth time about her allergies and ask them questions.  I appreciate their compassion and attention to details and I will compensate them for it, but I won’t apologize for asking what I need to know to make sure she’s going to be okay.  No more apologizing to folks when I have to carry separate food for this precious child.  She’s okay with it, I’m okay with it, and I hope you will be too.  (And I’ve never had anyone who wasn’t–such sweet Mamas at birthday parties–who let me know ingredients beforehand or who say “please, by all means, do whatever you have to do to feel okay for her sake.”  This is an issue that is about my mindset, not theirs.  For whatever reason I’ve felt like I should apologize for “inconveniencing” someone else, and I’m done with that.)  And no more apologizing for the paranoia and OCD that comes with having a child with food allergies.  I appreciate your help and your ideas and suggestions, but I’ve got this.  I’ve been trusted with this child by a Power Higher than anyone who walks on two feet, so please, trust me too.  I’m really trying to trust myself.  It’s taken years for me to get where we are today, mentally and in our routine, so yeah, we got this.  As “got this” as anyone can be in this situation I guess.  It scares me to death on a regular basis just how fragile life is, so I really appreciate those who go out of their way to understand and to join the “Keep Princess okay” team.  And there are many of you.  Thank you.

–I’m done apologizing for where my children are in the learning process.  When our Princess was “behind” learning to read, I stressed.  I worried and I wondered.  And I STRESSED.  With Cooter I have worried a little, mostly because he didn’t seem the least bit motivated, but then, that’s who he is.  He is motivated differently than either of my other two children, so I had to learn about what makes him tick.  Once I did, it seemed like he took off.  But we have many years ahead of us, and many more opportunities for me to worry and apologize for them being behind, ahead, or right on target.  (Believe me, I have very nearly earned a doctorate in apologizing–I can find a reason in any situation for me to need to say “I’m sorry.”  But no more. I hope.)

My house.  Oh good gravy.  It’s a cluttered mess.  Especially right now.  In transition.  Moving precious memories and things from my growing up home to my home now.  I want to be a good steward of all of it, and if I can’t, then I need to let it go.  (Is that song playing in your head now? I would apologize, but…..) I want not to feel like I need to apologize every time someone walks through my door.  “I’m sorry it’s such a mess.”  Oh my.  That would be nice.  And the only way I can change that is to do something about the clutter.  And I am.  Oh, it won’t be huge, I guess.  We still live, work, play, eat, sleep, and learn here–pretty much 24/7–but it could use some organizing and culling…..and we are on it.  Seriously.  Be impressed.  I did not inherit my Mama’s organization gene.

–My faith.  My beliefs.  My values.  So many times I hold my tongue for fear of offending someone else because I know they wouldn’t understand; I know their beliefs are different.  I don’t want to upset anyone.  And yet, I get so frustrated when I see others who are more conservative with different beliefs being so vocal and adamant that their way is the. Only. Way.  I need to reach a better balance. I need to be able to speak my mind, respectfully, without picking an argument.  And I need to be able to share my opinions and thoughts gently without feeling apologetic.  *deep breath*  This is going to take a while.  It’s a hard one.  But no more apologizing for what or who I am.  I just can’t do it, and I’m not being true to myself if I do.

–Finally, I am trying to stop apologizing for my slow progress on the whole grief journey.  When I was with Hospice many years ago (is it possible that it’s been thirteen years?), I came across something that blows the whole “wandering on a path” idea of grieving out of the water.  It was a Grief Wheel.  And the thing is that you can go round and round on it a few times before heading towards Recovery, and sometimes the least little things–something you come across, a song on the radio, the smell of sweet potatoes baking or squash cooking in the skillet–can send you right back on that wheel again.  It’s not a long and winding road with an end in sight.  It’s cyclical, and no two days might ever look alike on this journey.  There are days I just can’t be a part of the world and all that is going on, and there are days that I can’t wait to get out there and be with everyone and all that is.  Those days are not common, but they happen more than they used to.  I am sure I seem sad sometimes; I am.  I know I must seem angry too; I am.  I probably seem very lost; yep, that one too.  But I have joyful and happy moments too.  It’s all a part of figuring out my life without folks whom I loved and respected and went to when the world came crashing down or everything was awesome.  They multiplied my joys and divided my sorrows and were a safe place for me to land.  I’m sorry they are gone, but I’m not sorry for missing them.  I have to work through it at my own pace, and I need to stop feeling like I need to apologize to everyone for where I’m at.

Years ago in my previous life, I had a friend who was a manicurist.  She pointed out to me on a Tuesday evening over a beautiful French tip manicure that I said “I’m sorry” way too much.  She told me that the world did not need me to nor did it expect me to apologize with every other breath.  I felt a little put off at the time, but you know what I said to her?  Yep.  “Oh, I didn’t realize.  I’m sorry.”  Sigh.

Over the years that conversation has come back to me.  And I’ve realized more and more that she was right.  I did apologize for things that an apology was not necessary for.  As though I need to apologize for my mere existence taking up space.  It’s not about others most of the time.  It’s about me.  Feeling intrusive, inconvenient, and in the way.  Troubling others.  Yes, occasionally it was because someone made me feel “in the way” or “a bother, ” and other times I needed to offer a real apology.  But way too many times, it was about me, myself, and I. And my skewed perceptions.

So I’m done.  I’m going to try to hold back on apologizing for these things that are a part of my world and just are what they are.  Apologizing is not healthy in every case, and if I’m wrong, well…..then.

I’m sorry.

Wait.
No.

Oh boy, this is going to be a long rehabilitation.

Love to all.

 

 

PS–Did anyone notice all the proper use of quotation marks throughout?  In the words of Eeyore, “Thanks for noticing.”  🙂

 

 

Dream a Little Dream With Me

Today is Epiphany.

Yes, the twelve days of Christmas are over.  We spent much of the afternoon putting away our Christmas and tidying up.  And I made it through it.  Only this year, I made no promises to myself about where we would be when the boxes were opened again.

So on with Epiphany, the day marked to honor the theophany of the infant Jesus to the Magi, the Wise Men.  (theophany–my new word for today–it means “the appearance of a deity to a human”)

I love the story.  The Magi set out looking for the one born to be King of the Jews.  They had seen a star indicating that he had been born.  They went to Jerusalem and started asking how to find him.  When King Herod, a rather jealous king, heard about this, he became worried.  He told them to go find this newborn king and then come back and tell him where the baby was so he could go and worship him too.

Yeah, right, Herod.  I see what you did there.

The Magi continued on their journey, and then…..

11 They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.

12 In a dream, they were warned not to report back to Herod. So they worked out another route, left the territory without being seen, and returned to their own country.   –Matthew 2:11-12, The Message

Here’s what I love most about the story.  They were there for the right reasons.  They were there to worship the newborn King, not serve Herod and his priorities.

But then there’s this–“In a dream, they…..”

When have you ever dreamed with another person?  Never, right?  So these Magi–some say scholars, others say kings–each of them had a dream…..individually.  I’d love to have been a fly on the wall the next morning.

“Ummm,” one of them takes a big gulp of his coffee, looking for some way to put his thoughts into words.  “I know we all were on board with this plan to go back to Herod and tell him so he can come worship as he said, but…..” Another gulp of coffee.  “Oh never mind.”

Another one, slightly stooped as he rolls up his knapsack, speaks with his slow and deep voice, a voice that makes you listen for the wisdom therein.  “No brother, what were you going to say?  I want to hear it.”

The first one shakes his head.  “No the lack of sleep and the excitement of the past few days, all of that has my mind a little mixed up.  It’s nothing.  Let’s head on out.”

Still another one, the youngest of the travelers, speaks up.  “Well I don’t know about any of you but I didn’t sleep very well.  I dreamt all night.  And such vivid dreams.  They gave me no rest or peace.”

The second man, finished with his journey preparations, leans against his pack and says,  “Dreams?  Really?  Tell us about them.”

The dreamer shakes his head.  “Man, I’m telling you, it was so real.  But still nothing for us to base any decisions on.  I guess I’m just worried about the trip back.  That’s probably all it is.”  He pauses.  Then he slaps his thigh with his right hand and looks at the others rather sheepishly.  “Okay, all right, y’all are never going to believe this, but I dreamed we shouldn’t go back to Herod….we should go back another way and head home without even stopping back by like we said we would.  Is that crazy or what?!”

Eyes pop and mouths open with disbelief.

“I had that dream too!” “I can’t believe it, that was my dream too!”  “But what can this mean?”  “So should we follow what we were all told in our dreams or are we heading back to Herod?”

I love it.  I don’t know that this is how it played out–all we are given is one verse for what I think is a very important part of the story…..they were told in a dream, they went back another way.  The End.

But it’s not.  As we listened to this story at Evening Prayer last night, I thought again about how this might have happened.  Thank goodness they were obedient, yes, but I am really thankful that the first one spoke up about the dream.  Can you imagine the tension inside each one (much like the tension inside of me when a dream is rambling around looking for a way out), fearing that he would have to be the one to share what his dream was–to the disbelief and scowling looks of his fellow travelers?  That he would have to be the one to look crazy? And yet, share it he must.  Did any one of them understand the real importance of the dream?  The importance of obedience?  Thank goodness at least one did.  And it was a very good thing.

But here’s the lesson that sticks with me, in my mind and my heart, from this story.

Never be afraid to share your dreams.

Who know who else has also been given that dream to make it happen….with you?

And that’s what I know.  In this year of “with,” in this life of with, I know that nothing I am to do is me and me alone.  Our dreams can only come to fruition if shared with others, and if we all work together toward reaching that star…..it is there we will find the Gift it shines to honor.

Share your dreams, even if they seem crazy; who knows what good and right things can come from it?

For the fun of it, from a show we watched every Christmas.  I seem to particularly remember Daddy loving this show–

Finally, a great song about dreaming from one of my favorite musicals–and yes that is Mr. Donny Osmond…..