Monday, December 25, 2006

The Night Before Christmas, I was stirring...

I had a really lovely day, Christmas Eve. I was blessed to share a good portion of the day in the company of some close friends at my kitchen table over some brunch. Perhaps the two cups of coffee I drank with my Bavarian Cream Puff as evening approached are why I am awake right now. Or perhaps it is because my bedroom is aglow with the Christmas lights outside and so I don't have the usual degree of darkness which I prefer for sleeping. Maybe it's the little tiny Prettiness who is sleeping in the very center of my bed, perpendicular to me, feet poking my side. Or maybe I just can not quiet my mind. Too many sugar plums dancing.

So instead of lying in bed awake, I decided to get up, have a little snack and read a chapter or two from Andree Seu's, Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me. I just read the essay entitled, "Omega Point, What are we working for?" and thought particularly of two brothers I know. For them and the rest of you, I want to share this excerpt. I found it quite meaningful and heartening as well. The essay begins:

Sometimes, in mid-footfall, I get confused: am I rushing about my work so that I can eat, or am I eating so that I can work? All this striving, where does it tend to, where is the payoff, the "meaning"? "All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; ...All the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied" (Ecclesiastes 1:7; 6:7). Thus the intellectual pursuit of fractions of seconds at traffic lights, or while removing lint from the dryer lint trap. And then I submerge again beneath the surface of thought into the vortex of quotidian events. Till next time.

All this was grievous to me until I considered...
A man in the Russian Gulag had had enough. He decided he'd carried his last stone from pile A to pile B for his tormentors in this Sisyphean farce. He laid himself down to await execution by shovel blade. Just then a fellow prisoner sidled up and, wordless, traced the shape of a cross in the dust; walked away. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn then gathered himself together and scooped up another rock- this time knowing why.
The rest is history.
"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation," quoth Henry David Thoreau. But I know a better quote: Malcolm Muggeridge said the happiest person in the world is the woman who sweeps out her house to the glory of God. She is not aware of the grievousness of her days because she has transcended them with knowledge; she has "overcome" and will receive the hidden manna and also a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to her (Revelation 2:17).

... "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Scene 1: Willy Loman, working for Willy Loman, walks in, stage right, carrying two large sample cases: The Death of a Salesman.
Or imagine: Willy Loman, working for Jesus now, walks in, stage right, carrying two large sample cases: new play.

The whole collection of essays is definitely worth reading, and it's quite a small book, unfortunately, but it is meaty. While I have nothing more to add to her words, I will leave you with this seasonal message:

"Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."
(Luke 2:14)

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.