I want to write. I have so much I want to put on here. I got to go to Florida. Such fun. I went so my wife could have a photo of Mickey Mouse, her, & myself.
...though, my personal favorite moment..... at least from the going to special places standpoint... was going to TWLOHA headquarters. They were great. I have a lot I want to write that I've "unpacked" from the experience. They were so great to me. Jessica was very kind. ...yet I'll save that for another day. Another post.
Tonight I'm going to talk about....tonight.
I really can't miss the Christmas Eve service at LW.
Largely because LW is like a family that chose me.
I got out of work late. A story unto itself. So I scrambled home, washed up, threw on something..... "moderately dressy" "in the neighborhood of dressing nice for Christmas". Ran out the door....& then it hits me. I haven't shaved in days. I haven't eaten supper. I have time for neither. I lost [well, the love seat "hid"] my glasses. So I'm wearing my old pair. And they look old. Like... painfully old. So this translates into my feeling horrible. I felt like garbage. Which usually translates into me being very: "Don't see me. Don't notice me. Do not look in my general direction. Don't speak to me. Basically, I do not exist."
The problem? The people... my LW family.... yeah, they don't know how to do that. It's against their collective DNA. You think I'm exaggerating don't you? In most crowds [large gatherings of people] I can walk in & out of them without a trace. No one notices that I was there. I, honestly, cannot find a way to do that with these people. I've tried, really I have. The crazy thing is, the more I don't want to be noticed... the more of them that see me. Say "Hi" to me. Wonder how I'm doing. Tonight... was "business as usual" for them. Now, after years of this, I've given up. I mean... why fight it? What's worse, I wouldn't want YOU to feel that way. I'd want to be one of those who said "Hi". Who wondered how you were doing. Hoping you're ok. So why do I act like it's illegal to be that way to me? I don't know. I mean I can come up with some strange answer, given time. ...I just don't want to waste the time anymore. It took some time, it often does for me. To just be there tonight. To let go & just be glad for all the Hi's, for all the Merry Christmases. These people are family to me. As hard as it is to say, I need them. I just do. Part of me, secretly, loves that they're like this. They are being used to gently change me. Into who I was always supposed to be. Scary.....a beautiful kind of scary. So over the course of the service I just kind of told myself to just give in. Just enjoy them. They don't care what glasses I have on, or why. They don't care whether I have facial hair or not.
Truth is... when you get down to it..... they don't care where I've been. They care where I'm going.... & who's taking me there. I hope you have at least one person like that in your life.
I really hope you have a community like that.
LW is a community like this for me. Not the first. Not the only. Not the last. I think that's part of what attracts me to TWLOHA. This idea of loving a person. In spite of the junk that their story may contain. Whether or not you even know what darkness might be in their story.
I started out in the "old way of doing things" when I got to LWCC tonight. It didn't take them long to gently take my hand & lead me out of it. Now...I still felt like I "wasn't dressed right for the occasion"...I just new that they didn't care. Not about how I was dressed. Not about how I felt about myself. They just care about me. And we ALL need that. ...and it felt good. So I stayed. I got to be helpful. I got to use my enjoyment of photography. For myself...even more fun, for others. I got to be cared for & to care for others. All in the same night. All in the same place.
It's not even Christmas yet.... however, that... is a gift. [at least to me]
Don't just buy something for someone. Make memories. Spend time with people. Why?
Because THAT'S the gift... they will remember. That's the gift that, years later, will be talked about fondly. Stories are better than stuff.
May His grace drip from your fingers,