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All-consuming

April 12, 2015

There is laundry to do

and so I’ll sort

the socks and jeans

but as my hands are busy

my mind is

consumed elsewhere.

I put fuel in my car

but as I watch the numbers spin

and try not to breathe the fumes

my thoughts are far away

from the convenience store offer

of two hotdogs and a slushie

for three dollars.

I make conversation

with those in my path

and I speak what

I hear you say

but I have not forgotten

what I asked of You

nor am I ready to let You forget.

To the untrained eye I am

driving

cooking

conversing

working

cleaning

writing

feeding cats

but Your eye surely sees

I am like a dog with a bone,

burning for the burn,

unwilling to let go,

unwilling to create a safe no

to buffer the agony of

a tarrying yes.

 

 

 

When the torch gets heavy

April 10, 2015

Every moment of every day we get to decide who’s calling the shots in our response-o-meter.

It’s important to know that refusing to decide is the same as making a decision.  I know that might sound odd, but life will gladly press the default button and decide for us if we don’t make it clear we are purposefully choosing another option.

Nowhere do I feel this more keenly than when I am faced with an environment of heaviness and negativity.

In case you’ve not noticed, that junk is contagious.

It usually starts with a Cranky McCrankerson or a Debbie Downer who is having trouble finding a little spot of sunshine.  They’re walking around in a cloud of grump-funk, spreading stink.  It can be a challenge to remain unaffected.  If you’re not intentional about keeping some emotional margin from that sort of mess, you’ll usually find yourself covered up with it sooner or later.

You have to be determined to close your ears to the ‘tude and climb above the grump-funk line.

Hope and joy are stronger than grump-funk.  So is love.  They really are.  But only if they’re released and employed.  Only if someone purposefully decides that they will carry them into the dark cloud and let them shine.

Shining isn’t the path of least resistance.  It is, however, a force that can totally dismantle the cloud and transform the atmosphere.

I have to keep reminding myself of that.  I have to remember who I am.  Some days it’s a drag to push back.  I get tired and sometimes I’m battling my own cloud, with no tolerance for anyone else’s.

I can’t give that any room to operate.  Neither can you.  We can’t give our feelings during any given moment the power to boss us around.  Hand them the reins, and you know you’re gonna be on a runaway wagon in nothing flat.

No, thanks.

I am a Light-worker.  And that means something.

 

 

Done and doner

April 9, 2015

The universe is full of wonderful and profound thoughts to think.

I can assure you that not one of them exists in my head tonight.

My day started early and went full throttle for 12 1/2 hours before I finally took a deep breath and sat down.  And now my eyes don’t really want to stay open anymore.  I’ve got a case of the yawns, the kind that give you watery eyes that won’t stop.

I keep racking my brain to remember any of the tons of things I meant to check on once I finally got some time with The Google.

I guess those things must qualify as “wonderful and profound”, because I can’t remember a blasted one of them right now.

 

The stretching

April 8, 2015

Just because it seems like too much doesn’t mean it will be overwhelming.

Just because it feels chaotic doesn’t mean there isn’t intention and order.

Just because it feels heavy doesn’t mean it’s more than you can bear.

Just because it’s unpleasant doesn’t mean it’s horrific.

Just because it feels uncomfortable doesn’t mean it will swamp you with pain.

Just because you’re not used to it doesn’t mean you won’t adjust.

Just because there are unknowns doesn’t mean you can’t master it.

Just because it’s big doesn’t mean you won’t own it like a boss.

 

Ambushed by delight

April 7, 2015

The message popped up on my phone midway through the morning.

Hey, would you have time to bring me a pair of shoes?

Now, I assumed the Sparkette hadn’t forgotten to wear shoes to school, and when I inquired further about the shoe situation she said that the flats she’d worn were killing her feet.  I know what her alive feet smell like, so the last thing I wanted to do was find out what they might smell like dead.  I had to drive past the school anyway, so I grabbed the requested spare pair of shoes and threw them in a bag and headed out.

As I was walking towards the school office I saw a man just ahead of me carrying a stack of three Little Caesar’s pizzas as well as a bag of Crazy Bread.  I walked through the door of the office in time to hear him tell the secretary that the pizzas were for his daughter.  The secretary asked if his daughter was expecting them, and he said yes as he separated the pizzas into two stacks, one containing two pizzas and the other containing a pizza and the bag of Crazy Bread.

“Actually,” he said as he handed her the stack of two to put behind the counter, “these are for her.  This other one is for you all in here.”

Her jaw dropped.  “Really?  That’s for us?”

“Yes ma’am,” he smiled.

“Oh my gosh!  I was just saying…”  She turned to another co-worker. “Did you hear me just say that I forgot my lunch today?”

Another secretary popped her head out of the hallway.  “Is that really for us?”

“Yes!  Did you hear me say earlier that I forgot my lunch?  I can’t believe this!”

She thanked the man profusely as she set the office lunch on the back counter.  Then she turned to me in a notably better mood than she’d been in when I first stepped into the office a couple of minutes earlier.

I grinned at her. “You know…if God can feed the sparrows, He can surely feed school secretaries!”

She smiled widely and threw her hands up and pronounced “Yes!  That’s right!”

I handed her the Sparkette’s shoes and asked her to see that they found their way to their owner.  She was more than happy to oblige.

It cost that man about $8 to totally delight an entire office full of hungry, overworked, and under-appreciated school secretaries.  In the process, whether he meant to or not, he reminded one of them that her heavenly Father attends to her needs before she even has time to ask for His attention to them.

I am glad I witnessed this.  It was a pleasure to see the surprise and excitement on the faces of the office workers who had done nothing special to earn this small gift that communicated that they were seen and valued.

Sometimes we really have no idea how little it takes to totally make someone else’s day.

 

 

 

Joy in the stillness

April 3, 2015

This Easter season is different for me.

For the first time in decades, I’m approaching Easter without being a member of an organized church.  This is not to say I am not part of a church body, or that I don’t have a church family.  I am and I do.

It’s just that we’re not the First Church of Anywhere, we don’t have a building, we don’t have 501c3 status.  We don’t have a designated pastor, but are instead pastors to one another and missionaries to our families, friends, communities, and workplaces.  There are no committees and no teams, because we are the committee and the team.  We have vision for our small community and for our community at large.  We love Jesus a lot.

But we didn’t have an Ash Wednesday service.  We didn’t have a Maundy Thursday service, or a Good Friday service.  We won’t be gathering for sunrise service on Easter.  We actually won’t be gathering for Easter at all.  We’re all free to find an established church body or community service if we’d like to participate in those things.  Some of us will, and some of us won’t.

And we’re all happy with that.

This Easter, like last Christmas, will have room for stillness.

I’m really happy with that.

I was raised in church and have attended many different kinds of churches, which means I’ve experienced a lot of different types of holy day traditions.  All of them are beautiful and meaningful in their own way.  I don’t resent the years of participating because I am richer for them.

But for this year, I am glad that instead of this holy season being marked with religious activity and traditions, it’s marked with breathing room for life, for stillness, for choosing how I will remember and honor what Jesus did for me.  For intimacy in the remembering with Him in the atmosphere of my heart and mind.

Today was Good Friday.  By human standards it was anything but good 2000 years ago.  An innocent man was betrayed to torture and handed over to a brutal slow-death public execution.  But Good Friday isn’t about human standards.  It’s about a God who loved us so much that He would be pleased to give His only Son to ransom us back from the hand of a cruel enemy.  It’s about Jesus, who endured the injustice, the humiliation, the torture and pain, because it was a joy to Him to do this for His Father…a joy to provide rescue and reconciliation for us.  And the end result of God’s pleasure and Jesus’s joy is indeed good towards us.

It is an amazing thing to consider.  My mind cannot comprehend the transaction that took place that day.  Every day I reap the benefits of it, however.  He did for me what I am totally incapable of doing for myself.

It is entirely possible that next year I’ll be in a different season of life, and that my observation of this holy day will also be different because it will be influenced by a newer season.  I am holding the current season loosely and leaving room for change, shifting, and growth.

I love knowing that no matter where I am, He’ll still be alive, He’ll still be good, and I’ll still be His.

 

The nature of their burning

April 2, 2015

The night sky is so vast, so dark and deep.  Staring at it never fails to remind me of how small I am and how temporary my time on this earth really is.  From my vantage point I see those stars as tiny, but the reality is that they’re huge and ancient.

Scientists say the stars are billions of years old.  Folks who believe in the literal information of the scriptures say they aren’t much more than six thousand years old.  I like to understand why both sides believe as they do, but I don’t argue about such things.  I believe God made them but I don’t know how or when.  I just don’t have a dog in that race.

I am happy to know that the stars are there and that they’re beautiful.

And that they burn.

I love the constancy of their burning.  They don’t wake up one evening and say “oh, I’m tired of burning burning burning and I think I’ll take a night off.”  They were made to twirl through space and burn, and that is what they do.  If you wonder what the glory of God looks like in outer space, just check out the stars.

Sometimes, however, as I’m watching the subtle twinkle and flicker of the diamonds of the air, my view gets interrupted by a shooting trail of light across the sky.  We call them falling stars but they aren’t actually stars at all.  They’re meteors and space junk burning up in our atmosphere.

They burn brilliantly and furiously for a few seconds…and then they’re gone.

I love the fury of their burning.  I love that they aren’t concerned that they only have a brief time to display their fire.  They just go for it, and then they burn out bright.

It’s good to be a star.

It’s also good to be a meteor.

I want to be a star in the face of eternity, but a meteor in terms of my time on this earth.

I want to be consistent and constant, a predictable source of His light and energy.  But when it becomes obvious that I was only a blip on the timeline of history, I want it to be evident that I streaked across the sky with everything that I had, burning with passion and fury and brilliance, unwilling to dim or be a dying ember.

Either way, let it be known that the sky can never be completely dark as long as I’m there.

 

 

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