While you are reading this, I am with my Mom on a small cruise ship with less than 90 passengers, meandering inland waterways from New York to Montreal. On August 17 my Mom celebrated 90 years of life. She has declared that instead of ONE birthday party – she would celebrate the entire year. Mom has extended an invitation to family and friends and anyone else who would like to celebrate that she is available all year to do that.
Mom has been living with me for a year now. During this year we have traveled back and forth between our home in Medina and the parsonage in Wintersville every week. I watch my Mom and wonder at her joy and her spirit. When I spoke with her about bringing my work at Steubenville to a close this past May – she suggested that I hold off until the end of the year. I thought the drive and the intense lifestyle of being a wanderer was too much for her. She is full of surprises. Now as we enter the fall season, I don’t think she ever wants to stop making this trip. She has come to love and look forward to being with so many of the Zion Church Family.
When we visit the scriptures there are folks who are advanced in years who are also full of surprises. Moses and Aaron were chosen to lead the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage at the ages of 80 and 83 (Ex 7:7). Joshua was given the charge of leading the conquest of Canaan during the last thirty years of his life and he lived until he was 110 (Josh 24:29). Caleb was also very much involved in the conquest and he was in his eighties (Josh 14:6-11). Daniel served God from the days of his youth for over 70 years (Dan 1:21). He was well over eighty when he served as one of three governors over the kingdom of Babylon Dan 6:1-3). He was thrown into the Lions’ den and received visions. Zacharias and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist, were both advanced in years. Zacharias was serving in the temple and Elizabeth gave birth to John!
What I realize as I ponder the characters in the scripture stories and watch my Mom live her life in its fullness, is that it isn’t about the people and their stamina, it is about our God and our Call to fullness of life and abundance.
So often we can get caught in the fear and the “woe is me” mentality. Truth is – it simply is not about us. It is all about way more than us. We are so tunnel visioned and have the hardest time seeing outside the boxes that we have self-inflicted that sometimes it takes a real shake to get us to wake up to the possibilities and the personal power that each of us have within our hearts and souls to make a difference.
I am sailing right now, and my Mom is sailing with me. I am so blessed to be sharing these precious years, months, days, moments of her life with her. That is part of the abundance that I have become aware of.
Sometimes the most precious of gifts comes in a disguised wrapper. Every now and then someone says to me,” It must be really hard taking care of your Mom,driving back and forth, caring for two congregations, and on and on….
Yes sometimes I am not sure how I will get through one more day – but that’s only when I let the “woe is me” attitude triumph.
Truth is I am so blessed every moment of every day and when I wake myself up to that reality and see the Divine Presence in everything and everywhere- then I can see with Divine eyes the reality of what it means to be me.
Why have I shared this? Because every one of us has the same potential to either wake up to the Divine Presence in your own life – or to let the “woe is me” attitude take over. Which will you do? How are you blessed? What do you need to do to become aware of the rich blessings and once you do – how will you handle the magnificence that you call your life?
The Rev. Dr. Carol Vaccariello