This is My Crowd

This is My Crowd
Picture by: Photography by Vicky Campos

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cramming for the 2011 Year in Review

I didn't learn much this year.  But, it's been a good year overall and I do feel like I've made strides in my personal growth, but I also know that I floundered a bit for the first 8 months or so, which, for the record, is like 66.6666666...% of the year.  That's a lot of sixes and, being a Christian, I try to avoid grouping the number 6 together as much as possible.

Side Note:
The appearance of the number 6 in triplicate is EEEEVIIIILLLL, in case you didn't know.  I'm not hyperspiritual or anything, but it's better to be safe than sorry. 

Back to my languishing the year away... In my defense I was adjusting to life with a baby and all that it entails (just in time to start adjusting to life with a toddler).  I think that counts for something, I sure hope it does. 

But, as I sit and reflect on 2011, I realize that what little I've learned has impacted me greatly. 
Picture by Dream Designs

First, I realized that I can't do everything.  I've tried.  It doesn't work.  People viewing my life from the outside think that I AM doing it all, while my loved one's who are stuck in my vortex of chaos are intimately aware that I, in fact, am not.  My knee jerk reaction was to dump everything and hide in my bed.  That choice was good and bad.  As I slowly start to rebuild, I will be more cognizant of what I'm choosing to add and whether or not it is intended for me.

It's funny, as often as I've discussed this topic with other women or read advice from ladies in "the know", one would think that I could have avoided this pitfall.  So, if you are reading this and think "I CAN do it all!", you might consider the possibility that doing a bunch of things half-way is not really doing it all. 

Second, I realized that among the things that I put on hold, my service to others is something I need.  Once you begin helping others in some capacity and choose to stop, the ickiness of being self-centered starts to build-up and become uncomfortable.  Without the purposeful action of serving others, we become emotional and spiritual hoarders.  We become so concerned with our things, it keeps others from us.  If you've ever seen the show Hoarders, that would be a good picture of it.  People need to see where you live.  They need to sit your living room and chat or at your dinner table and be fed.  My husband and I have determined that this, for us, is very literal.  So, hospitality it is! 

The third thing, and possibly the most important, is that there really is a world of hurting people surrounding us every day.  People say it, I've heard it.  We see pictures on television showing hurting people in third world nations, people at war, people being oppressed and we, or rather I, feel separate from it because it's so far away and not really a part of our reality.  We bury people in single graves and count individual deaths, in not so far away lands, they count them by the dozen or hundred and graves are communal.

As sad as that reality is, that separateness is prevalent all around us, even here.  I had the opportunity to help at The 99 (Link to website Here) and found that we are immediately surrounded by hurting people.  My role was to be one of about one hundred people to just talk to people as they came out of the walk-thru theater.  In the various "rooms" there were depictions of the top 5 real-life events that end in death for young Americans between the ages of 10 and 25.  The intent of the event is not to use fear but truth to simply reveal the real consequences of poor decisions that young people make on a regular basis.  In fact, the term The 99 represents the statistic that 99 young people die in the United States every day. 

Though it was designed for young people, men and women of all ages went through the tent.  It was freezing.  The lines were long, but in they streamed.  At the end of the nearly hour long tour, people were provided the opportunity to speak to a volunteer about what they experienced and how it affected them.  I had the honor of being one of the many volunteers, though only for one night.

What I found over and over again was that so many people are broken hearted, worried and need God.  As we find ourselves just less than a week away from the birth of our Salvation, it just reminds me that all of the cars on the road are not just cars.  Each vehicle represents a person or a family that needs kindness and compassion.  Regardless of how "together" a person may appear, there is likely an underlying struggle or situation that is causing them pain that you simply cannot see. 

My heart was broken many times on that night.  My only only regret was that I had not gone sooner and more often.     


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