Monday, December 18, 2006

What to get him for Christmas

My oldest son lives a couple thousand miles away. The distance isn't just physical but soul and spirit. We just don't have enough time together or enough good long talks on the phone to really know each other these days. I love him dearly. He is one of these introverted techy types. Brilliant really. I'm proud of him. He's a man of integrity and there aren't many in his generation. Christmas and birthdays just serve to emphasize the black hole lies between Wisconsin and Nevada. I just don't know what to get him.

I've found some really neat techie sites like OhGizmo! that have cool stuff, but it's only the expensive items out of my price range that I would feel sure that he'd like. I do have fun looking though, as I'm a bit of a techie (and a Treckie) myself. I'm not really finding things that satisfy my heart enough to make me feel good in sending them. So do I give in and buy a gift certificate or send something I can afford, like the pencil sharpeners where you stick the pencil up this plastic nose to sharpen it. Will he think it's funny or will he think I'm insulting him? It's hard to have so much distance between us.

His work and our poverty have kept us from traveling to spend time with each other over the years. He's not a phone person, but we have had a few good late night talks. As I think of him and wonder how to express the love I feel in the gift I send I realize all the more how much I miss him and long for the days when we were closer.

What can you see?

Lying on my back hidden in a summer wheat field I could find all kinds of wonderful things in the white clouds of our Michigan sky. Sometimes I was the only one who could spot the elephant in the sky, other times my little sister would see it too. I never thought to ask if she could really see it or if she was just being agreeable. I've found more things in life that are that way. Things I don't really see until someone else points it out. Then it becomes perfectly clear and I wonder why I didn't see it in the first place. Now I can't not see it.

Lying on my back with summer sun and breeze, I thought so many new thoughts, thoughts that never came in the school months. Things were too settled then. Seems like there wasn't time to think of things that I wasn't being told to think about.

Now my life is too much like the school months, occupied by what I must think about because of all the things I am expected to do and to be. I have far too little of those in the wheatfield, lying on my back in the summer sun moments.

I long for those times of connecting; connecting with my Maker, connecting with the creation around me, with time to wonder and questions that didn't have to be answered. Some questions are just good for the asking.

Winter had it's times for extrospection. Two weeks of Christmas break gave time for walks in the snowy wonderland of woods and fields around our farm. Sixty acres now seems small to me, but then it was so big I couldn't explore it all in a day.

I wanted to be tough, definitely a tomboy. I'd have contests with myself to see how long I could stay out in the cold. There were no contests with my sister and brother because they'd quit too soon to even be any competition. They missed out on the secrets of snow caves dug in the dried up ditches where I could snuggle in and be hidden and warm my cave with just my breath.

I'd sometimes hear them walking within a snow angel's length of me and laugh silent laughs because they couldn't find me. This was after they'd gone in and had hot chocolate, gotten warm and bored and decided to come back out again. Then they'd be gone again and I'd be in the quiet of the snow just left to my own thoughts, pioneering thoughts, like thoughts of things I could have done back in Little House On the Prairie days.

It was also in those times that I would talk to God. I didn't really know Him very well. We didn't go to church much and when we did the Sunday School teacher would say things like "You all know the story of David and Goliath," and I'd think to myself that I sure didn't know that story and I wish she'd tell it. But of course I'd never let on. I didn't want to look stupid in front of those kids I didn't even know.

Somehow God and I had these meetings in the quiet, in the woods, in the tree tops and in my secret hideout under the brambles at the edge of the next farmer's field. He didn't say much, but I knew He was there and somehow I knew how big and powerful and terrible awesome He could be and at the same time I knew He loved me and watched over me. I knew he could snuff my life out in an instant, but that He never would because He loved me. Such a strange sense of security in the presence of One so powerful.

It is mostly just His being there that I remember. Such a good feeling that I just wanted to stay and be there with Him. I didn't want to go in for supper or head for the house because it was dark out. I'd stretch the time as long as I thought I could get away with and then reluctantly I'd go in and leave all the wonder out there because nobody in the house seemed to think on such things or experience such presence.

Now that I'm grown I realize I could have talked with my dad about such things. He too has had precious experiences with our Creator. But he never talked of them then so I didn't either. Strange how we can grow up living with our parents and yet really know them so little.