practicing open hands

I like to write on rainy days… something about the gray colors, the closeness of the clouds and even the smell, make me introspective and thoughtful. So here I am, at my computer, listening to my children discuss the characters on PBS (choosing who will be Cassy and who will be Ord). And while I find rain a disappointment because I love to be out in the sun, I love the effect it has on my spirit. I relish times of reflection and thought in this season of my life. I need it.

Here are my thoughts for today, for whatever they are worth to any readers: It is good that we are practicing living with open hands these days. My family, that is. I was explaining– again– to someone how we come to find ourselves about to walk away from our home of 11 years and our brand new backyard decks, patio and pool. As I was describing the circumstances surrounding our decision to move to the woods and a smaller, older house, this thought came to me. It is good to let go. It is a good practice to let go of what we have worked for, the fruit of our hands and backs, even a place where precious memories have been made… our dreams and wants, what we have spent our time and money on. It is good… because to cling to this house, to call this “ours” and possess it fiercely, is actually a potential distraction.

I’m not saying that if we had decided to stay here and enjoy our house and decks and pool, that that would be a bad thing, necesarily. It is not sin to enjoy what we have worked hard for. In fact, one of our dreams for the backyard was a dream of hospitality and sharing our home and lives with our neighbors. It was not entirely selfish (well, maybe a little bit selfish). But what we have been called to do now is an even greater act of hospitality, and it is beautiful. To care for this home and beautify it for someone else, for another family. Sometimes it kills me to think about “giving away” all of this (in quotes, because it’s not like they will be getting it for free). To think that we’re only building this for someone else and not for ourselves… it’s frustrating and agonizing… but why not? Why not make something nice and beautiful for a stranger? Why not give it away? Why should this place and these things be so precious to me that I am not willing to hold it with open hands, ready to release it when God asks… and then be ready to receive whatever is next? This is a discipline that we are learning and it is good and right to learn it.

It is also good that our children observe us learning this practice of holding what we have with open hands. They have asked us why we are doing this, working so hard on these projects when we won’t be staying here. My answer? Because God has called us to move on, and our new home will be beautiful, too– the new adventures we have there, the memories we make there, will be wonderful. The work we do there will be good… and we hope whoever comes to live here next will enjoy what we have made. It is as it should be. We hold all these things with open hands, freely receiving… and freely giving it away when the time comes. It is good.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Loretta
    May 24, 2010 @ 09:29:56

    AMEN!

    Reply

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