Thursday, July 28, 2005

You Are Not An Accident!

I am your Creator. You were in My care even before you were born. ~Isaiah 44:2a

Day 2 of reading The Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren.

How many times in life do we rail at the circumstances of our birth? Resent the parents we ended up with? The body parts that don't quite work or fit? Or maybe it's the color of our skin or the part of the world in which we live that we take issue with.

As the last of eight children, with a six year difference between the closest sibling and myself, it really wasn't too hard to figure out that I was an unplanned addition to the family tree. That and the fact that I'd heard it mentioned on numerous occasions. Add to that the fact that I was born in the West Indies, and while my family wasn't poor, we were certainly not living large. I recall the restrictive atmosphere and the feeling of not fitting in because we were "Spiritual Baptists" (whatever that meant).

We weren't allowed to socialize outside the family circle. Although my elder siblings tried to be a buffer for me, it was clear that our family was not like everyone else's. But how could they explain, to a seven-year old, the dementia that can result when bi-polar disorder is left untreated, especially when they didn't even know that it existed themselves? All we knew was that Dad just wasn't too right in the head.

In my later research about bi-polar disorder I realized that I wasn't alone. Many famous people and even a former president have suffered from this mental illness. Somehow that information comforted me, validated the fact that I was going to be okay, that the stigma that surrounds mental illness would no longer control how I interacted with the people around me.

Isn't it funny how quick we are to accept and even desire validation and acceptance from the people around us, when the One whose opinion counts the most put His seal of approval on us before we were even born? Yet, we discount His opinion left, right and center.

Although it's hard to break the habits of a lifetime, I have learned to see each day as the gift it is, reveling in the knowledge that my parents were supposed to be my parents. My place of birth was the necessary soil in which my roots could grow and flourish. The color of my skin and the body parts with which I've had issues over the years all serve to add up to the unique package that is Dee.

I'm here to tell you today, that I am no accident...and neither are you!

Be blessed,

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

It's Not About You!

Everything has been created through Him and for Him. ~Col 1:16b

“It isn’t? Does Dee know that?” is my usual joking response to the above title.

A co-worker and I began reading Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven Life today. I read it aloud while she drove, and at the end of the chapter the thought to ponder was--you guessed it--“It’s not about me.” It called for reflection on areas of my life where I’d erected All-About-Dee altars and encouraged me to knock them down.

It brought to mind the fact that after I see my family on Sunday night, I may not see or speak to them again until Friday or Saturday. Interaction and activities with them always take so much of “my time” that I mire in protecting it.

The danger of this is my belief that time is mine to govern. This came home to me on Saturday past, when I watched as my brother-in-law listened to “Dance With My Father” by Luther Vandross and cried as he drove the two hours to New York (a scary proposition even as I prayed and patted him on the shoulder, keeping one eye on the road as we veered over the line). His much-loved dad had passed away suddenly while in Florida last April, on the eve of a surprise birthday celebration. Caught up in protecting “my time,” I had disassociated myself so much that I was desensitized to the fact that three months is not much healing time. I’d moved on and forgotten the call to “bear one another’s burdens.”

Sometimes, thinking about people and praying for them are just not enough. We need to reach out to them by phone or by a show of presence, whether it’s been a long day or not, heat boiling over or not. We need to just do it, in order to demonstrate that we realize our purpose and know that it’s just not always about us!

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