We've had some interesting conversations about believing around here lately (if you're under 12, you might want to stop reading). And most end with this sentiment from the over-14 crowd:
"If you don't believe, you get socks and underwear."
Socks and underwear are extremely valuable, but they don't top wish lists at our house
(although, to tell you the truth, I could use some of both).
And then we started to have other conversations. About waiting, hoping and giving.
My kids worked together to organize a 'give' to an orphanage in the Philippines.
We heard Lingap's founder speak in church.
It also happened that this was the day I told the kids that we
had to do a volunteer project together. (Mean Mom.)
My daughter suggested Lingap, so she was placed in charge.
The kids collected toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, chapstick, nail clippers, nail filers, small toys, combs and brushes from our friends and fellow parishioners.
We were stunned with everyone's generosity. In all, the kids filled 104 pouches, and had more than 125 small toys ready to go. We arranged to bring these items to John & Judy Drake, Lingap's founder and his wife. They're awesome people who do this wonderful thing for children who are truly without hope.
I was overwhelmed by my children -- in a good way -- and this isn't the first time this Advent.
They asked tons of questions of the Drakes, looked at pictures of the Lingap kids, shared a meal and enjoyed each other's company. My children were incredibly impressive (not just the manners part).
And, I admit, I was proud of them.
As I stop to think about it, it wasn't their manners that impressed me most though.
While I was stuck thinking about the horrible situations these children come to Lingap from,
my kids were plotting what the kids might need next.
While tears welled in my eyes (much like they have all week),
my children planned for a day of kindness tomorrow.
And while I wondered to myself how we could find light in a
world where ugliness is sometimes overwhelming,
my children wondered when they might travel to
the Philippines to work and play with the kids at Lingap.
Truly my children have lit up this Advent for me and showed me the hope
available to all who dare to dream about it.
They have shown me that wallowing in the dark is pointless.
Seeking hope is the only way.
And believing is what makes them so special. While it might not be a guy in a red suit, my children
believe in something way more powerful: The hope of a new day.
And that they will change this world because in the face of darkness they are light.
They have brought light to these darkest days of the year and are bringing it to the world.
They know where the presents come from, and someday, they might even ask for socks and underwear, but today, they're way too busy giving to worry about receiving. And that's exactly what I love about them.