My great-nephew left today.
He has been living with us the past few years, going to school, falling in love, making a life for himself. Within a short period of time, he had a group of friends from church that I called his "posse", and shortly after that, a girl that lit up his eyes and heart and became his constant companion.
And then he joined the army.
He is in love with helicopters, and can find and fix its problems. And the army needs men who can fix helicopters. Only two weeks from completing Basic, they got 2 weeks off for Christmas. He went to his sister's house for Christmas, and then spent the next week here.
His sister lives in Redlands with her hubby and 1 and 1//2 year old little son. They have always been very close.
Well, that's not entirely true. She did not like the little interloper to her family for the first 10 or 12 years of her life. One Christmas in particular, she was 6 and he had just passed 1 year old, he wanted to see what she got, too - with the endless energy of a toddler, he circled and circled and never gave up. She did NOT want his fingers "all over her stuff!"
After almost melting down with exasperation, she gathered it all together, to make it easier to guard ,
but still he could reach it.
So... she sat on it.
But I digress.
At the age of 11 her girlfriends thought he was soooo cute - so she granted a truce.
And then the most wonderful thing happened.
She accepted Jesus Christ into her life.
And her heart grew 10 sizes that day (Sorry Mr Grinch - got you beat, hands down!) From that day on, she and her brother grew closer every day. They hung out together and she counseled him and they shared their hearts.
And still do.
So at Christmas she invited the entire family to come for Christmas dinner.
Of my original family of 4 kids, 2 parents and a grandmother , only myself and one brother are left.
And he, curmudgeon that he can be, refused to go to Redlands - a mere 3 hour drive.
And I could not find it in my heart to leave him alone on Christmas Day.
So my niece had one less person to bother with, and he and I shared a frozen lasagna for a few hours.
And after that I was alone.
But this kind-hearted young man called me on Christmas to tell me about a special present he ordered for his grandmother and me, checked how my day was, and then told me, "Everyone here loves you," ending with "Merry Christmas!"
Quite a lad.
Somehow, after his call, the alone feeling left me. (pausing here to clear my throat and blink my eyes a bit - think I got a piece of something in one…)
My usual New Year's meandering is spent deliberating on my word for the coming year, a thought to concentrate on, day by day.
This year, I've decided on "considerate."
I want to put others first with a heartfelt letting go of my "self".
To train my heart to walk with Jesus and pray for my Father's eyes to be my eyes, my hands to be His hands, my heart to belong fully to the love He offers to one and all, and to let it be poured through my hands and heart - daily, without a moment's hesitation, without withholding a second's worth of energy or a teaspoonful of affection.
I want an open heart, open hand, and arms open continuously to anyone who needs a hug - or can't move fast enough to escape one. I want to think up the small things that are really big things when put in the proper perspective, and make sure no one ever suffers that "all alone on Christmas Day" feeling on whatever day it happens to be. To look for those little things that mean so much to curmudgeons and non-curmudgeons alike. And to drop-kick that "me first" attitude that so easily creeps in thru the cracks in the walls of my heart.
In short, to have an attitude that says, "Everyone here loves you."
I'm gonna miss that boy.