Monday, December 10, 2012

Measuring Up

It is funny how important growing is to young kids. I remember thinking "One of these day I'll finally be as old as my siblings." Unfortunately that day still hasn't come! I just can't catch up to them! I also remember when two of my siblings, who were just older than me, would stand on the scale and report to my mom that they'd both finally reached eighty pounds. Then I'd try and I still didn't quite measure up (I wish this were still the case!). Though there was one way I remember vividly in which I did measure up to my siblings. My mom would have  us stand next to the wall that connected the kitchen and the dining room. She'd mark just above our heads, then measure with the yard stick to see how much we'd grown. I can still remember the rush of excitement I'd get when my line of growth matched another line on the wall. That meant that, even if my siblings were no longer that height, at some point I'd reached the same spot they did.

During later years, I've learned that we aren't the only kids who had a wall full of lines. We also aren't the only kids who tried to reach each other's heights and weights. I was at a household quite a spell ago. I only knew the husband and wife but I also knew that they'd lost one of their children many years before when the boy was still very young. As we spent time at their house enjoying a festive occasion, I slipped into the kitchen to grab something for the hostess. It was then that I noticed that on the wall were lines just like the lines we once had in our house. Under each line were the names of their kids and their ages. Near the bottom of the wall were the names and heights of three kids. As my eyes scrolled up the wall it became painfully obvious that one name was missing and only two lines would ever continue. I realized this was even more meaningful as I looked around at the other kitchen walls. Each one had been painted and bordered to match a more modern style of decor, but the wall with the lines stayed the same. It was a testimony of the little boy who would never be forgotten.

These walls full of lines remind me of a lesson that especially rings true around the Christmas season. Something that I have great memories of and that brings a smile to my face serve as reminders of loss to someone else. I love hanging lights and baking cookies, shoveling snow and caroling. Other families may love this too and maybe one of those things in particular were done by a family member that can't spend this Christmas with them. This Christmas season while we enjoy all of our friends and family, let's not forget all of the people around us who feel more hurt than hope this season. Whether it's a phone call, helping them decorate, or sending them a card to let them know they're loved, do your part to spread the Christmas spirit.


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