Mandy has been my friend since junior high days. Back when scrunchies and perms were still acceptable. We've been college roommates and now we hang out with our crazy families. Ok, her's is normal, but mine is crazy! Mandy is wise beyond words and very centered. Nothing seems to ruffle this girl's feathers. She works at an urban church and has an amazing gift of writing and speaking. We recently spoke at our local MOPS (Mothers of Preschools) together. This blog was included as a part of her message. Well, now it's your turn to get to know this fabulous lady.
Caretakers of the world...
By Mandy Arioto
We met our freshman year of college while living on the third floor of Nease Hall. I was living at the end of the hall in a room overlooking a grass hill with my longtime and all around amazing friend Katie (I will introduce to you at some point). Leila was rooming with a girl I can't remember. But I remember Leila. She is charismatic but doesn't know it and makes you feel like you are her BFF even after just meeting her. This also means that every one who meets her, loves her, because she is gifted like that. It is a quality that is elusive to me. I have always envied her for a gift that I am not even sure she knows she has. Friendship comes easy to her.
Fast forward a few years. I was the first of our friends to get married and have babies. When I had my first baby Leila emailed me to check in. It was a fairly typical email except for one line that has haunted me since I read it for the first time. It said, "...You are joining with the women of the ages to become a caretaker of the world". It is a phrase that has stuck with me in a profound way ever since then.
When you are getting ready to push baby out of your body you usually learn some form of Lamaze. It’s where you learn to breathe in a way that allows you to take pain and use it effectively to push new life into the world.
When you go through Lamaze you think that the only time this breathing is going to be relevant is during labor. But something that I have realized is that learning to take pain and use it constructively to push new beauty into the world is one of the greatest gifts God gives us.
That no matter how bad things are God uses each breath we take to shape our families, our world and our own souls to be more in tune to who He created us to be.
Even on days when we feel ourselves stretched to the point of tearing, we have breath. Sometimes our breath is the thing we offer as caretakers of the world. A breath as we kiss a boo- boo. A breath as we slow down to listen, a breath as we mourn with our fellow caretakers of the world in Japan. Because we may not be able to fix everything but we can use our breath to take pain and use it to bring about a small ray of hope to a hurting world.
You can visit Mandy at her blog here.