Last Saturday I was decorating a small Christmas tree in our downstairs bathroom. As I turned on the lights to the mini tree all the ornaments took on a new look. The light caused this change because it brought out the beauty of the brilliant colors of the simple bulbs. I was asking God, “What should I write about this week? Lord, help me.” Then as I was mopping the floor He gave me the idea about being a light to others.
This week has been a bit of a struggle; I’m on antibiotics due to a stomach bacteria in my gut. I have no fear in this condition, but it still weighs on me. When I drove to Costco to pick-up the prescription it was not ready. The sales clerk told me that order was not filled because the cost for the medicine was $900! I would never pay this amount. With a shocked look on my face, the lady proceeded to inform me that they were going to work on getting the price down. “Okay, but I’m not willing to pay anything over $75!” I answered. A half an hour later, the prescription was broken down into three different drugs at a cost of $49. How can you trust Big Pharma? How do you get from $900 to $49?
My husband Mike retired and, even though he has been working from home because of COVID, we keep bumping heads about the smallest things. His main grievances against me are that I have way too many emails and I save too many photos on my phone. I know people who have over 20,000 emails and over 5,000 photos on their phones and it hasn’t stopped the world from spinning off its axis. It bothers me that Mike is so organized, all household cords are meticulously wound up. This drives me crazy! Needless to say, his retirement is going to take some adjusting.
I feel responsible for causing him any heartache because I was not taking into consideration that retirement is a drastic change in his life. When two of the men who worked under him came to pick up the company car, I saw great sadness in their eyes. Of course Mike had the car washed and gassed up before turning it in, because this is who Mike is. When the men left, I came inside and started to cry. “Why are you crying?” He asked. “I don’t know, I’m sad.” I answered. It had finally hit me of how Mike was feeling. He was the best boss; he always took care of his workers. Mike was the light in that company because he is a scrupulous and empathetic man. When things were not right he called them out. When we have this type of boldness, we understand that it is the Holy Spirit guiding us.
There is a special spiritual light that comes from God’s illumination. Through His Holy Spirit we receive this light. We are to shine His love on others. You cannot do this unless you are moved by the spirit of God. When the headstrong Israelites were wandering through the desert, God’s light was always with them. They did not make the spiritual connection because all their murmuring caused them to remain in the wilderness. They were spiritually wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. Yet for 40 years God provided for them, even though they could not enter in because of their unbelief.
These past couple of weeks I have had several unpleasant encounters by being combative and at times a little difficult. When poorly trained cashiers meet impatient customers like me, the outcome is not pleasant. Sometimes I forget to be that light and cast darkness in the situation by attempting to prove my point. After I repeat the story to others, the Lord benevolently shows me that the customer may be always right but that I must be gracious in my protest. When companies are understaffed and overworked, the last thing they want to hear is fault-finding from an irate customer.
Sunday morning after Mass we went out for breakfast at a local eatery. As I passed through the front door a stench of raw eggs silently slapped my face, but I kept the gagging to myself. “Be the light, be the light,” I told myself. When the milk was delivered to our table, again the egg smell hit my nostrils as I took the first sip. I held my tongue, and got through the meal without a complaint.
Advent is a time to reflect on the birth of Christ at Christmas. We are reminded to pray and fast during this holy season. Advent is referred to as “little Lent” because we should be looking inward and drawing closer to God through the Sacrament of Holy Communion. We wait for our Messiah with great anticipation for His Second Coming. Our hearts should be filled with a giving spirit, giving of your time to help others. We participate in giving by prayer and fasting, we donate to those who are going through financial challenges. We make special efforts to visit those who are homebound, and we visit prisoners.
We are all made in the image of God. We all have imperfections. I was talking to my brother George the other day and he asked me if I was dyslexic. I’ve known this about myself for years, the fact that I still count on my fingers, or transpose numbers and letters has always been a huge challenge. I learned to cope by using other tools like memorizing things or repeating what I read over and over again. Because of my dyslexia I have a photographic memory. My brother shared with me that over 48% of the prison population suffers from dyslexia. This made a lot of sense to me because when you have a learning disability, frustration and anger can play a huge role in your formative years. If you can’t read, you can’t function in today’s society and in many cases these young men who suffer from this disorder fall into the cracks and many end up in jail.
In December of 2019 the First Step Act was passed by Congress This law was introduced by Republican Senator Bill Cassidy. Before becoming a senator he was a physician working in three different prison clinics. This is when he made the connection with dyslexia and prisons. This new law will evaluate prisoners with learning disabilities and teach them to read and overcome problems related to dyslexia.
Dear Lord, Thank you for all that you have bestowed on us. Help us to draw closer to You during Advent. May we be used to shine Your light on others, and especially during Advent. We seek to be in Your Holy Presence; we remove our sandals as we stand on Your holy ground. Use us as Your light to lead others out of darkness. Amen.