Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Eleanor and Advocacy

Lately I have been on a decluttering mission, and last weekend I tackled our bookshelves. In addition to listing many of our books on Amazon.com, I stacked up a pile that turned into a box of books that wouldn't be worth listing online to sell. Instead, I put them in the car to take to Edward McKay's, a local used bookstore that gives store credit for used books.

After waiting only about 5 minutes, I was told that my box of books would yield $14 in store credit and $1.70 in cash. Not sure how they do their calculations, but I thought this was pretty good considering most of the books I brought in would only sell for pennies on Amazon. My intention was to save the store credit and purchase a gift for someone (probably Chuck, since he wouldn't mind a used CD or book as a gift), but instead I ended up coming home with a different treasure.

While waiting for the determination on the amount of store credit my pile of books would bring, I browsed around most of the store. Not seeing much of interest, I waited near the front counter. Being the introvert that I am, I really just wanted to get the transaction taken care of and head back to work as quickly as possible. Instead, it turned out that everyone else had the same idea, so I had to wait a few minutes.

I happened to be standing near the biography section. Now I am not one to read biographies...the last one I read was in 5th grade - Dwight D. Eisenhour. 5th grade was a LONG time ago, and I only read that one because it was a school project. Anyway, I thought to myself that the only biography I'd be interested in would be one about Eleanor Roosevelt. After thumbing through the books for a minute or two, the last one on the shelf was a beautiful hard cover book about Eleanor written by her grandson. I knew I had to have it.

Now I am quite the frugal person, and buying a book like this is quite out of character for me, but I decided to go ahead and get it. In the midst of months of reading self-help books and blogs, I needed to read something just for me.

I am not exactly sure what has always attracted me to the person of Eleanor Roosevelt. For one thing though, one of my favorite places in the world is the Franklin D Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, DC. They built it right before I left for college and I have been there several times since. Actually, in my mind, it's not a trip to DC without a stop at this memorial.

In contrast to monuments like the Washington, Lincolon, and Jefferson monuments, this memorial is a tribute to the time period that FDR was president, not just to him as a person. You walk through the memorial, complete with large stones incribed with his quotes, cascading waterfalls, and metal sculptures of people and places. It's also right on the water with an amazing view of the Washington DC area.

Sometimes I myself find it strange that this is somewhere that I love to be. I could walk around the memorial for hours, reading the quotes and reflecting on the time period of the Great Depression. I think what I am drawn to though, despite the dark times portrayed, is the message of hope.

Maybe it has something to do with my work each day as an advocate, someone who works on behalf of other people. Although lately at work I have been overwhelmed with requests and needs, I am also blessed each day by the opportunity to aid someone who is in a situation that feels so overwhelming. Cancer is a scary enemy to be fighting in this mortal life, and Satan is just as scary in our spiritual lives.

As an advocate for cancer patients and their families, I get a tiny glimpse each day of what Christ does for us as our ultimate Advocate.

1 John 2:1-2
1 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. 2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

Let's be advocates for others as we strive to have the heart of Jesus and show Him to the world!

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