Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.
I am thankful that I come from a very large family. My grandmother had 7 children and each of them have children, and all of those children have children, etc. :)) I have heard from family members that my Grandfather would have had 15 kids if my grandmother would have agreed! My mom said that even "back in those days" people thought my grandparents were crazy for having so many kids. (No offense to people who don't desire to have many children).
But I often wonder.
Behind my grandfather's quiet, sincere smile.... Did he know a few secrets that bring true joy in this life?
Noise. Laughter. The blessing of a new life welcomed as family. Snotty noses. Dirty hands. Hugs. Kisses. Rocking chairs. Lots of food.
A house with standing room only during the Holidays.
Some people see noise as annoying... But I wonder... Have they ever experienced true silence?
I stopped dead in my tracks while reading in the book "Kisses From Katie" this week. Below is the few paragraphs that captured my heart. Katie was a missionary, but now she lives in Uganda and has 14 little girls that she has adopted (so when she refers to "girls" you know she means SEVERAL children)!
In this chapter she is talking about an elderly woman that lives in a very poor village. The woman's house is made of mud and is about 4 feet by 4 feet. She had no family left.
Here it is:
"I was not prepared for the sight that met my eyes.
Grace was indeed old and blind, but those realities only scratched the surface of her troubles. Frankly, I stood there looking at her for a few minutes, marveling at the fact that she was still alive. Her body was hardly strong enough to sit upright, certainly not able to stand or walk. She had not eaten in three days, and she hadn't been able to see for the past five years.
She can't weigh more than eighty-five pounds, I thought.
What most caught my attention was the eerie silence that surrounded her house, in the very back of the village near a trash pile. All of her neighbors had gone to work their menial jobs or do whatever they did to pass the time.
Even the wind seemed quiet that day.
I thought for a moment that Grace's tiny mud house was exceptionally dark inside, and then I remembered that for her, it was already dark anyway. I embraced this sweet woman, patted her back, and kissed her cheeks; and I told her that Jesus loves her and I love her.
"He does!" she exclaimed. "He has sent me visitors as I asked!"
Her excitement turned to a whisper. "I wanted to stop believing. I did not think God cared for me. Lord, I believe in You."
Tears streamed down both of our faces and together we began to pray to our Father, who sees and hears even the smallest of our requests.
That day was just the beginning of lots of time spent with Grace. I immediately began to take her food a few times a week, and her neighbor helped her cook it every day. We went to many, many doctors' appointments getting treatment for her TB, blood transfusions and lots of vitamins. When I took the girls to meet her, they instantly fell in love and immediately adopted her as their jja ja (grandmother).
Before long, the girls and I had developed a habit of packing a picnic lunch and heading over to jja ja Grace's house to share a meal with her, read the Bible, sing and dance. The girls loved it and Grace loved having her home filled with noise and laughter."
Can't you just see it? An old, sick woman alone in her tiny hut filled with hopelessness and sadness. A home filled with an eerie silence.
God gives her a family. And soon, her home is filled with 14 little girls laughing, dancing, kissing and hugging. No doubt it was standing room only in a 4x4 house.
I am sure that a joy radiated from Grace on the days that Katie and her girls came to visit.
In my selfishness, I sometimes miss out on the joys of life. I see "crowds" as a nuisance.
But when it comes to a noisy household, I think my grandfather was wise. There is joy in the noise. I can just see him sitting quietly in his chair during holidays.... Listening to all of the chatter around him... And smiling.
Embrace the noise this holiday season. You would miss it if you had only silence!