Friday, December 9, 2011

Kindness and Paying it Forward

     The list is completely prepared with neat little boxes to check off. In one week, we get to ski! I have had an overwhelming response to my organizing the homeschool ski groups to Sugar Mountain, thus the rates are good and we can afford this otherwise impossibly pricey love of ours. 
     One friend wrote me, very concerned that I was taking on an enormous task and had no idea how inundated I would be. She offered to help me develop an online form so that people could register without me having to email back and forth to get all the info I needed. It took me all day, even with her expert help, but in the end, the form was complete. At one point, after several back and forths, the friend was ready to give up on me. I could tell. She wrote, "Maybe it would be easier for you to just send out emails." However, she stuck with me, and I did finally produce a very fine form that will help me in streamlining the process.
     Another stranger wrote, a fellow homeschooler.
"This is an enormous task you are taking on, " she warned, "Are you sure you want to do this?"
     Yet another stranger wrote and said that since she didn't ski, but would be bringing her kids, she would volunteer to hand out the ski tickets so that once I had the registration set, I could go ski myself.
Every homeschooler who emailed me asking to join the ski group list, thanked me profusely, saying that for the typical one income earning homeschool family, skiing was a sport none of them could otherwise afford. I agree. The only way we ever got involved with it was because of the kindness of some homeschool families in Asheville who organized huge groups of homeschoolers and secured group rates at the mountains. When I am done homeschooling, my skiing days will probably end...unless I become a world famous top selling writer. My suspicion is I will have to find a less expensive sport to indulge knitting.
     Our ability to do this wonderful thing was due to the kindness of strangers. More and more in life, I see strangers reaching out to others. I just read in 2 Samuel where King David regains his throne and wants to offer kindness to anyone left of Saul's family when King Saul and son Jonathan are killed in battle. This is a remarkable gesture on many levels, not the least of which being I have correctly spelled the name of the person that David ends up showing kindness to (Mephibosheth!).
     Saul had been relentlessly pursuing David to kill him, out of the rage of jealousy. David evaded Saul and refused to lift a hand against the "Lord's anointed one." Mephiposheth, Jonathan's son, was crippled when his nurse dropped him, fleeing David's army. She assumed that since Saul wanted to kill David, David would want to kill any offspring of Saul or his sons.
     David instead, ends up extending kindness to Mephibosheth, the lame son of Jonathan, bringing Mephiposheth to the palace to eat at the King's table for the rest of his life. It is a beautiful picture of the grace extended to us in all our crippling sinfulness from the King of Kings. In running from God, we become crippled. Fear sometimes prevents us from returning to the author of our hope. Yet the King is willing and anxious to seek us out, to show His love and mercy, to welcome us back to His table of bounty.
    Now I am a little concerned that in my musing about skiing, and kindness, I am also imagining lame, crippled people. This is the downside of skiing. It is downright dangerous.

Genesis 21: 22-23
“God is with you in everything you do. 23 Now swear to me here before God that you will not deal falsely with me or my children or my descendants. Show to me and the country where you now reside as a foreigner the same kindness I have shown to you.”

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