Thursday, January 28, 2010


Journal for Christa—

On Friday I said, “I want to feel good by Monday.” She said, “You’ll feel good in 10 days.” As she wrote out the prescription, she continued: “In Europe they don’t treat sinus infections with antibiotics. They just let the body fight it off on its own. They feel good for a few days, then the virus gets the upper hand, and it goes back and forth until the body wins. It’s just that the whole process takes 3 or 4 months, and Americans aren’t patient enough to wait that long.”

Saturday Jay and I were at Walmart. The cashier was old, really old and slow. We felt bad for her. We figured she had to work, that she wasn’t able to retire. We did feel bad for her, but not so much to keep us from putting our purchases back into the cart and wheeling off to a longer line where we still got out sooner.

Yesterday at church, I talked to one lady to see if her husband still had a job. He does, but it’s just a week-by-week thing. Another friend only got 3 ½ days in last week. People waiting—waiting to see if their jobs will last. People worried about their children, they too were waiting this week—waiting to see if they’ll turn to God or continue down, down a bad path. It seems like everyone’s waiting on something.

I think waiting’s hard—but it’s Monday, and I feel good.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Journal for Christa—

John Knowles in A Separate Peace turns a common quotation on end: “The more things remain the same, the more they change after all.” It amazes me how life changes—slowly over the course of a year (or several), in a month, a week, a moment— Such was this week for me—and many others.

Sometimes we can sense change in the air, sometimes not. Sometimes the anticipation of change comes with a paradoxical sense of excitement and fear—or just one or the other. I’ve experienced all three this week.

Then, ironically, or perhaps Providentially, Mark’s Sunday sermon centered much on change. These are a few points that seemed pertinent:
“God doesn’t always move in pleasant ways.”
“We aren’t the victims of circumstances.”
“We don’t move into apathy, but into new areas of ministry.”
“The one place to find help is Jesus.”
Some weeks I could swear that man has looked into the crystal ball of my life.

And what of that? If allowed to gaze into my future, would I look? No, I really don’t think I would. Though there would be joys to anticipate, they would be overshadowed by the pain to dread.
John Knowles was right: “The more things remain the same, the more they change.” Yet, it’s still just as true that “the more things change, the more they remain the same.” So either way, today I choose to look toward the One who does not change—ever.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Shall We Dance?

Journal for Christa—

I think my favorite quote from last year—or at least one we got a lot of laughs from—was by our dance instructor. After Kathy watched us do the sequence, she stared into the space between herself and Jay and me.

Now, I’ve taught school for a long time, and I could read her look like a naked x-ray. She was at a loss for words. After a moment, looking rather perplexed, she stated (almost to herself), “you’re doing the steps…but you aren’t dancing.”

As you can imagine, dancing doesn’t come naturally for us. We started dance on a whim because Linda was teaching free lessons at church. We were beyond terrible. And though Linda has taught many gifted dancers, I sometimes think she’s actually the proudest of us simply because we had so little aptitude for it. We surely would have given up without her. Now, we enjoy tormenting Kathy each week.

We’ve learned a lot from dancing—how to follow, how to lead, how to step together. Learning the steps can be hard; but the more we dance, the easier it becomes. And when you don’t have to concentrate on the steps so much, whirling around the room is a lot of fun—dizzying, but fun.

Life is kind of like learning to dance. New experiences require new patterns. Sometimes you can just follow, but you still have to pay attention. (Jay likes to mix it up occasionally just to see if I’m really following.)

I figure as we travel through life, we can either dance or run on a treadmill. We might not be the smoothest couple on the dance floor, but we have a lot of fun.

Shall we dance?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

This New Year

Journal for Christa—

And so, what would I write to you this week, this beginning of a new year, this beginning of a new decade?
—that life is awesome (because it is)
—that unseen opportunities and expectations await (because they do)
—that this is a new year, the old is past and we can start over (because we can)
But somehow those words just don’t come today. Today is bleak and clouds hang over the mountain.

Three girls came to lunch today. Three girls from last year’s AP class, and we had a very lovely time. They are particularly special girls, and I think God has used me in some ways in each of their lives. Sometimes I think what I do is significant; at other times I contemplate tossing it all away—I wonder why?

Sometimes, it seems to me that there is something—something just out there on the horizon. I don’t know if it’s good or if it’s bad. I don’t know if I want it to be different or just the same. I don’t know, but there is something there. Something for this year.

When I think of all the things that have happened this year—all the changes made, I wonder—just what will this year be like? Opening this year is much like opening a book for the very first time. As each day unfolds and each page is turned, there will be something awesome, something unseen, something new, and much more. Some of it will be exciting; some of it will be hard. Yet, the author of this year is the same as the last, and although this year starts crisp like a brand new book, one thing is certain: the Author is good.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Journal for Christa—

On Facebook the other week, Kim posted the following conversation she’d overheard between our grandchildren. Breck is 5 and very knowledgeable because he goes to kindergarten. Helen is 3.
Helen: I love my baby.
Breck: NO! You’re supposed to love God and Jesus.
Helen: NO! I love my baby!
Breck: Your baby is fake! Jesus is real.

Being a parent is probably the longest and one of the hardest jobs humans do. When children are little, you discipline and guide; when they’re teenagers, you guide and disciple; when they’re grown, you guide and support or just support. This time last year, our daugther’s mother-in-law was dying of cancer.  It was hard to know how to help her. I often found myself talking to my own mother. There in her 70s, she was parenting. Parenting never ends; it just changes, and maybe the skill is knowing how and when to change.

So, this week I’ll leave you just a couple of thoughts: Fervently love your babies, knowing that they are souls who will one day stand before God to give an account of themselves. And love the Lord; for He is real—the true source of peace for our souls and strength for our walk. Ponder His good work in your life, and take heart for the longest and sometimes hardest job that humans do.