Friday, September 05, 2008

Not Flawless...

We have a dear young lady living with us for a year from Colombia, Angela. She is a blessing and a joy to have around. She is participating in the au pair program through CHI and part of her responsibilityt is to drive the kids to and from school.

She has a Colombian driver's license, but is studying and practicing for her California license. Every school day, I ride with her to and from school to give her a chance to practice and become more familiar with the route, as well as to give me comfort with her skills and ability. She is doing great!

About once a week I throw a curve into the route. I ask her to turn into the Starbuck's drive-thru. Today was one of those days.

She ordered her cappuccino and I order my "Skinny Vanilla Latte" (I need to talk to them, I have been drinking these for a year now and don't seem to be getting any skinnier!!) After ordering we pull ed up to the pick-up window, paid and waited for our drinks, with a long line of other drinkers in their cars behind us.

Today, the barista (those cheerful servers at Starbucks) passed us the cappuccino. As Angela was putting it in the drink holder, her foot slipped off the break and the van rolled forward about 3 feet...just enough that the barista's window was now at the back end of the van. Angela started to back up, but I calmly said, "No we can't do that, there is a car behind us and they have pulled up. Let me get out and get the coffee."

So I got out of the car, walked around the back of the van, smiled at the drinker behind us, and then at the barista and retrieved my latte. Back in the car, all was well and we proceeded on our way.

Then I thought: It was good that happened. One might think, that the best thing to boost my confidence in Angela's driving ability and to also help Angela feel comfortable and confident in driving is for the commute to always be flawless. No issues, no corrections, no incidencts to handle.

But actually, I was happy the car rolled forward and we had the opportunity to handle it in a safe and calm manner. Now I know, if anything similar happens to Angela in the future, with the kids in the car, and me absent, she will know it is not a big issue and will be able to calmly handle the situation.

Flawless does not teach us how to handle life. Issues, mistakes, challenges...frustrations...and yes, times of joy and harmony as well, teach us how to handle life.

With my kids, the stinky-faced day I wrote about a couple days ago, taught us how to handle a time when we have been unkind toward eaxh other and how to humble ourselves and mend hearts. It taught my kids that no family or relationship is perfect or flawless, so rather than expecting it to be and then being greatly disappointed and frustrated, see how to mend and heal when the inevitable hurts happen.

So, we like, life, are not flawless and we do not want to be. But we do want to be holy and real.

The other day Nick and I had this discussion around holy versus perfect.. I shared the verse:

Be holy, for I the Lord your God, am holy. (Leviticus 19:2)

Nick was debating that was an impossible quest. That we could not be perfect, only God is perfect. I agreed wholeheartedly.

We cannot be perfect, flawless...and I do not want to be, since I would be the only one on the planet to be that way (and probably dillusional). But that is not what holy means.

Holy in this verse is the Hebrew word quadosh and means "set apart, sacred". to be dedicated to, consecrated. In other words to be different than the mundane and common, to be special because of a connection to God. To be "other". Like Christmas dishes or the lace table cloth. Special, set apart...

So to be holy, does not mean we are perfect or flawless, but that we live and act in a way that is different, in a way that our connection to God makes a striking impact on how we live.

Trying to teach my children to live a holy life, I need lots of issues and challenges and mistakes to happen, to 1) be able to show and explain how "different, set apart" living looks like in the real world, and 2) to stretch and grow and allow God to transform myself into someone who is more and more "different" or "other" than the norm. To give me practice. Just like Angela.

Living this holy life will not only give a guiding light to my children, but will also be a candle in the dark to those around me, who may not even know any other way to handle life's hassles. A hope that there is a better way to live, feel, react.

Livng a holdy life can only happen through my connection and relationship with God. It keeps coming back to relationship, for me lately. And to slowing down for relationship. Relationships are not fast, fit in the cracks, rushing connections. When I am close, open, not ignoring, in my relationship with God, my heart yearns for "otherness" rather than wallowing in self. When I ignore God, even for a day, you can tell it in my lack of holiness and being different.

So, now, when I see the mistakes happen, I need to pause, Am I connected? and then do the holy thing. :)

Who would have thought walking back to the Starbucks window to get my latte would give me a lesson in holiness?

Not flawless...but holy.

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