Friday, November 19, 2010

A story of commitment

A youngish woman artist friend has wanted to help her two older men artist friends who are down on their luck. Their food stamps have kept them alive, but without housing. Together the three of them found affordable housing in a small rural one-stoplight town a few hours from Seattle at the foot of the inspiring mountains. All three moved there a couple of months ago. The men are beginning to thrive and produce art once again.

The woman works in Seattle. The routine is that she and the man who owns the old pickup truck awake at 4:30 each morning. He drives her about one hour to the commuter bus stop where she catches the bus for the long commute to work in Seattle.

A few days ago the Seattle area experienced a strong windstorm. Broken tree branches took down power lines in many locations. The woman and the pickup truck owner went to sleep at their normal time. The other man usually stays up later. After the two were asleep the electric power went out. It was then that the one still awake realized that all of their clocks were plug-ins and had stopped. How would the woman know when to get up to go to work?

He stayed up throughout the night listening to his battery-powered radio. At 4:30 AM he awoke the other two so that they could begin the morning transportation routine. And he went to bed and sleep.

Commitment. She is committed and giving her heart to help the two old artists renew their art and their dignity. They each are committed to helping her do the work that she loves and needs to do.

Am I thoughtful enough to care about others’ needs sufficiently that I would stay awake all night so that others could be awakened at the time they needed?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

When does the season of Advent begin?

The season of Advent begins a week from Sunday, officially. We have had Advent and Christmas merchandise on display in our store for a most of this month. Filling orders for candles for Advent wreaths as the days are shorter and it’s dark when we leave the store in the evening is a warm feeling of lights in the darkness, of which Advent is a part. Each day the numbers of orders grows as we all prepare for the season of preparation. I ran across a radio station this week that is playing Christmas music 24/7.

So when does the season of Advent really begin? Stating that Advent begins on the First Sunday of Advent is like saying that a marriage relationship begins at the wedding. Oh, no it doesn’t. The wedding commemorates a relationship that has been growing. And, in good marriages the relationship will continue to grow and change as time passes and the years go by.

Did Advent begin when Nancy began ordering Advent and Christmas merchandise back before Easter? Did it begin when Julie lovingly used her talents to display the Advent and Christmas items early this month? I know that officially Advent is not yet here, but it doesn’t seem that way today in this ministry-which-is-the-store.