In the grand scheme of things, my world is pretty small and it's getting smaller every day. In less than two years, we've had to say good-bye to four good friends, and are still getting used to the idea that Mom has gone on. Our lives and our world are diminished by their passing. Our hearts, however, are enlarged with treasured memories, now that they are free of their jars of clay.
My world started small. Most do. For the longest time, it was just Mom and Dad and the 5 D's. It expanded, slightly, when I started school, but since we moved so frequently during my elementary years, each expansion was temporary with no long-term friendships formed. I recently lamented my many moves, only to have a co-worker note that such a beginning undoubtedly contributed to my flexibility on the job now. She has a point. I'm not easily thrown, regardless of the situation before me. And there is no doubt, that since Danny was a friend long before he was a lover, I treasured that first real friendship and have always tried to treat it with loving-kindness.
I am or have been a daughter, granddaughter, daughter-in-law, sister, sister-in-law, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin and friend. In each of these roles, my world initially expanded. However, I haven't been a daughter since my dad died in 2000 and my years as a granddaughter ended with my paternal grandmother's passing in 2002. My already small world shrinks, day-by-day. If it weren't for the grocery store and my job, where I spend a significant amount of my life energy, it may very well be just Danny and me, as the old song goes, "Against the world."
That's not altogether a bad thing. We work well together and enjoy one another's company above all others. BooBoo Kitty's presence, made so much more precious this year, after his harrowing time of solitary confinement and his miraculous return home, adds companionship and comfort.
The addition of LilBit changed the entire family dynamic, and we couldn't be more pleased or more grateful. Not knowing his history, we suspect that he must have run away from the circus, reversing Toby Tyler's journey. He stands on his hind legs and dances like a professional.
He also has expanded my world, North, South, East and West, on our afternoon walks through the neighborhood. I live in a neighborhood filled with hard-working families and the elderly. It reminds me of my favorite neighborhood growing up, on Kidder Drive in northwest Denver. I finished fourth grade and spent my fifth grade school year at Valley View Elementary. Kidder Drive was an oasis in the midst of the sprawling city. I really liked it there. My best friend was Lisbeth Lyons and my favorite neighborhood family were the McManuses. Debi claimed the sisters as her friends, but I hung around them as much as they'd let me and went to church with them every chance I got.
What I loved about that neighborhood was the camaraderie. The families all knew one another and came alongside one another in times of trouble or disaster. It was small town living in the midst of urban chaos and I would have gladly spent my remaining childhood years there.
Neighborhoods become small town oases in the midst of urban chaos. You find a favorite store and shop there, a favorite hair dresser, the quickest route to the post office and the bank, and then live out your life in your own small world.
I'm sure that the sprawling cities on the Eastern Seaboard are comprised of a million small worlds. Scattered throughout those neighborhoods are those who believe and obey.
The storm has passed. The damage done, however, will be evident for generations. The watchmen did their job, and woe to those who did not heed the warning. They reap their folly. Now is when those who believe and obey begin to see who their neighbor is, and treat him as such.
But what about the next storm? When asked about some who had died horrible deaths, their blood mixed with the blood of sacrifice, Jesus asked, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them--do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish." (Luke 13:2-5)
Are we so arrogant to dare to proclaim that the East Coast must be more evil than we, to deserve such judgement? Are we not also living under judgement, as pastures dry up and crops fail?
The watchman in Ezekiel 33 carried a heavy burden. He called out the warning, day or night, clear or stormy. If he failed to give the warning, the calamity that visited was on his head. If the warning was not heeded, however, the calamity was on the people's head.
Hear and heed this warning: Some day, you too will leave the world a smaller place by your absence.
"Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon." Isaiah 55:6, 7 (NIV)
I don't have all the answers, but I know, and love, the One who does. Let's walk in His love and discover Him together.