Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Nothing New For Me

I'm so done looking for the innovative, riveting, complex, and trendy new thought. Not that I was ever good at that. I actually am particularly NOT good at that.

And somehow I'm okay. Somehow I'm not feeling left behind. My simplicity is just alright with me.

And so today and yesterday and the day before I found myself talking about the same ol' same ol'. Even so, tears filled my eyes, passion caught in my throat and pushed through the airways in a stream of joyous telling of that same ol' same ol'.

Jesus made men. Jesus made women. And when they marry they are husband and wife.

Some become fathers. Some become mothers. Some are given children to become the next generation of Kingdom dwellers.

And His Word tells us how it should work, laying out the perfect design for us to explore again and again. First with that one, and that one, and now with this one.

It is amazing truth. It is freeing truth. Because it is...truth. Simple, unadulterated truth.

Come to think about it, it is always innovative. Always riveting. Always complex. Rarely trendy.
But always and forever it is Truth.

Available to the simple minded, the child, the master, the rich, and the poor. Powerful. Transformative.


Thursday, January 09, 2020

Obedience, No Matter What

Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.
That's an old refrain from another day and time. The truth remains true (funny how truth is like that) but I'm not sure our understanding of those words is as clear.

Obey - to comply with or follow commands, restrictions, wishes, or instructions

I get the feeling today that obedience in many if not most situations is subject to circumstance.

"But Mom, I couldn't do it because I got this text from a friend and had to..."
"I know the assignment was due today but last night I just wasn't feeling my best and..." 
"My work shift was scheduled to start ten minutes ago but there was snow on the windshield and..."

With genuine incredulity we stand amazed as the boss, teacher, or mom cites that instruction was disregarded, commands ignored, requirements disparaged. Lucky us if that is the case. At least we are in the company of those who have a correct assessment of the value of obedience.

More often, unfortunately, we may actually be coddled and excused from the failure to comply or follow through. Apparently disobedience is too strong of a word, too harsh an accusation to levy on an employee, student, or child.

Oh, how we fail to understand. And oh, how we fail to instruct.

There is right and wrong.
There is wisdom and foolishness.
There is obedience and disobedience.

It is clear. God is not a trickster who delights in keeping us clueless. His Word teaches us the difference between right and wrong and to recognize disobedience.

Open the Word and learn. Then teach your children. Practice discipline as the deserved consequence to be expected. Demonstrate mercy as the generous alternative that is not deserved. 

They will know the wrong of disobedience and the grateful heart of one who understands mercy.

Monday, January 06, 2020

Tree Side Sighs

We packed our luggage on New Year's Eve day and headed to Fredericksburg, VA. We just arrived home today from several days with Carina and her family. Up the long staircase I trudged with heavily laden arms, back to my world.

And our lighted Christmas tree greeted me. Window bays and tabletops still cheerily displayed familiar but out of time holiday decor. A bit of a time warp. Christmas was all put away and the New Year already welcomed in Fredericksburg but not here at 105 Main.

Bags were soon emptied. I intended to nap (it was a very early departure this morning.) But somehow I instead found myself obediently acknowledging the calendar. I began gathering decor for storage. Manger scenes, wreaths, snowmen and candles all were garnered on the dining room table for wrapping and boxing, evergreen boughs and holly stems tossed away. One trip, one handful at a time.

Until now. Now I sit next to the brightly lit tree, still soft and pliable and boasting treasured ornaments, glowing and filling the corner with colored light.

Sigh. Let me sit here. Let me enjoy this delight one more time. Have I even done this yet? Even once during December? I'm not sure that I did. Sigh.

Rick is resting. Merrick is at work. So I sit in the semi-silence of semi-darkness. Outside my windows, cars shuttle past on the way home from work as dusk falls.

But that is out there. Here, here by my tree I sit and sigh and stare.

You know what I'm learning?

Year by year I get a bit more reticent to let this season pass. There is never enough. It feels like I could use an eternity of days to just celebrate His goodness.

Sigh. What a good good, good good plan that is.

Monday, December 30, 2019

If At First You Succeed, Do It Again

I directed my first large scale adult community theater production. I think it was really terrific.

Just might do something like that again.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Let It Be

Packing the final boxes and bins at Mom and Dad's home. They've moved to a smaller apartment and downsizing is happening once again. And touching those precious items that stir memories and emotions is happening once again as well.

My mom had asked about her cedar chest, the wedding gift from her mom and dad years ago (how many? So many...) She knew there would be no room for it in their new home so I had already stored it away. I promised that it would stay in the family one way or another - at least in my lifetime.

"I just want to see those things one more time." So we dutifully brought some tangible memories to her for a final inspection.

Browned, fragile shopping bags from Sibley's (a once-upon-a-time premier department store in Rochester) housed her yellowed wedding dress and veil. She touched the fabric once more as I looked over her shoulder. "My mother made this for me by hand." I looked at the tiny stitches and marveled. My grandmother - the one who watched me as a preschooler, the one I watched as she fell to her knees in pain with her first heart attack, the one who wrapped her arm around me to comfort and assure me of my worth and her love, the one who always put a fresh molasses cookie in my right hand and another in my left hand as I asked, "One for my twin brother Darryl?" - that same grandmother had held this delicate fabric in her very own hands, carefully moving the needle in and out as she crafted a beautiful gown for her only daughter.

"Only it was white!" my mother remarked with such surprise.

"It is truly antique white now," I replied with a smile, genuinely appreciative and in awe of what time does. Always does.

That day a folding chair was brought into Daddy's "man cave" so he could sit as we sorted his seemingly endless stack of CDs. Daddy bravely faces time, knowing that these are somewhat obsolete in many ways, already becoming passé. He acknowledged that they would not be treasure to many.

I looked over his shoulder at his shelf filled with literally dozens of complete opera scores. Immediately my mind's eye recalled him sitting in his easy chair with a score on his lap, singing along as his state-of-the-art stereo filled the room with the music of Puccini, Verdi, Menotti. Rarely Mozart. He was never a real fan of Mozart's operas.

Today I folded that chair for storage and the room is empty. My eyes filled with tears. The season of this room belonging to him is past.

Time leaves its mark. I see it everyday on my face. I see it in my hair. My body feels the mark of it in joints that are aging.

My folks are now settled in a new, smaller place. They've managed to bring many treasures with them, for which I'm glad. And they left many behind for me to continue sorting.

I'm discovering faded 1950 Valentine's cards signed by my grandparents and sent to their daughter who was away at school, birthday cards inscribed with my Dad's familiar writing "Ken and the kids".

Photos of Daddy as a little boy in times and places long ago and far away.

Broken Christmas baubles and a somewhat crumpled Easter bonnet purchased at said Sibleys in 1962, with the original receipt in the box (note: $15 in 1962 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $124.72 in 2018.) That Easter bonnet was well recollected by me as a prize possession of Mom's for many years (for a Depression Era baby that was one huge investment!) Over the years I have found it repeatedly, carefully tucked away in its box, surviving every move...until now.

Time has had its way every where I look. Faded. Musty. Crumbling.

And as more time passes we add another word. Irrelevant. How many photos do I find at auctions, saved for decades in a box in the attic only to be viewed by me, a stranger wondering who this might have been and what they were named?

God has a better plan. Eternity. Never ending joy in His presence. Forever and ever.

And to that I say, Amen. Oh, let it be, let it be.