Helen is being brave tonight

Tonight at Grabill Missionary Church a bunch of people are putting up trees. We’re putting up lights. We’re hanging wreaths. We’re putting poinsettias on the steps. We’re playing Christmas music. We’re eating pizza and drinking coffee.

Helen won’t be there. She does decorating all the time around here and this year, this Christmas, she’s not.

She made a commitment to NOT do it this year. She’s not quitting church. In fact, she is doing A. and B. and C. and D. Every Sunday she does E. But she committed to release the decorating this year.

It’s hard. Yesterday we walked around and she showed me where everything is stored and where it has gone in the past. Boxes are well labeled. Extension cords are even with the lights which are with the trees. She was kind of like Odysseus, lashed to the mast, listening to the Siren song of bells and balls and baubles.

I understand Helen. I understand what it is like to be committed to doing things, to feel a kind of failure when you don’t do them. But tonight, about 20 people are going to get together and figure it out.

These 20 people need this kind of event. It will help them to work together, to laugh together, to argue together (politely, I’m sure) about what color goes where.

By Helen’s commitment to release this piece for this year, she will laugh at Christmas and 20 other people will own Christmas. I don’t want to sound patronizing, but I am so proud of Helen.

It’s making me think as I write. What are the projects that I need to release so others can delight in the struggle?

What about you?

5 responses to “Helen is being brave tonight

  1. Good thoughts, Jon. It makes me think of the oft-repeated advice (often by *me*) to the young that they should be willing to let others help, and be willing to ask for help — first because they will need it, but beyond that because it gives people the *joy* of giving help.

  2. “it gives people the joy of giving help”

    Thanks Tim, for that perspective. Occasionally, I realize that by doing it
    all myself, I am being incredibly selfish rather than being helpful and
    humble.

  3. An update on the decorating. In two hours close to twenty people decorated
    four 10-12-foot trees, assembling two of them. They also hung wreaths and
    garland…and laughed. It was a delight to watch.

  4. I am wondering how this will affect me :)…..

  5. You mean, as you pass responsibility on to me?