Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Calm

Journal for Christa—

It’s early Tuesday morning after a night of rain, and I’m at retreat with the seniors. Sitting here under a gazebo with a cool mountain breeze passing through—and not a kid in sight—I relish the silence, the only sounds—the fountains in the pool that run continually to cool the hot spring water.

I need places of calm. We all need places of calm. But, where to find them in our noisy, busy world? I’m convinced that I’m often way too busy about insignificant things. We fill our lives with noise that distracts and hides the calm. I want to find the calm—not just this morning, but where I live.

Down in the Springs, I can see Cheyenne Mountain from my kitchen window. When I look up from the sink, it often reminds me of Psalm 121:1 & 2. I like it best in the old King James because it’s more poetic and beautiful—

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

On this overcast morning in Colorado, I’m reminded of God who created the hot spring that feeds this pool, the chalky white mountain behind me, the rushing stream across the way—and the calm.

Today, and the days beyond today, I will lift up mine eyes from whence my help comes from.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Sometimes “getting there” is no easy journey—whether it’s a job long sought after, a baby carried to full term, or a long awaited space-a flight to half way across the globe. Good things often take a little pain, sometimes a lot; but maybe that’s good. Maybe the anxiousness forces a relief and gratitude we wouldn’t experience any other way—the feeling of “Yes, we are here. We finally made it.”

And then it’s also not unusual to experience, once we’ve “gotten there,” that we’ve only stepped from one journey into another. The first two years after arriving in Colorado Springs were some of our hardest, even though we were so excited to be here.

It’s never easy to start over. Exciting? sometimes. Energizing? usually. Easy? rarely. New babies need a lot of attention, and they rarely sleep all night.

So, let’s enjoy a new baby’s preciousness. Let’s kiss the ground we’ve longed to step on, but I don’t want to let the next step discourage me. Dr. Martin used to say, “Don’t doubt in the dark what God revealed in the light.”

So, during the dark watches, let’s envision that call of acceptance, that baby’s first cry, the embrace of one so longed for. Journeys end and journeys begin. Let’s not forget those first feelings of elation. They’ll help carry us through to the morning sun.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Journal for Christa—

School starts tomorrow, not kids, just staff. I know that when I wake up tomorrow, everything will change—no alarm clock, eggs for breakfast, leisurely looking over facebook, etc. and etc. It will all be rush, rush. Every year I promise myself that things will be different. “I will schedule my time better. I will figure out a way to grade essays faster. I will not get stressed,” etc. and etc. I’ve never succeeded.

Last year was a difficult time for the school. People said, “We just have to get through the year and things will be better.” People often just say things; this year will be no different. I anticipate that our meetings will inform us that we must work even harder with even less and be happy for it.

People get tired. It’s bad to be tired before you even start. I wonder what could happen to change things. Sometimes change is good. Sometimes everything being the same is not good. It might be familiar; it might be comfortable, but it’s not always good.

When people get old, they sometimes are afraid of change. They like things the way they’ve always been. It’s predictable and predictable is comfortable, even if it’s hard. I think it’s better to be willing to change. But, change just for the sake of changing isn’t good either. Change is not always the answer.

This has been an enjoyable summer, one that you’d never want to end. We’ve seen all of our children and grandchildren and have two grandchildren on the way. We traveled 5 of the 10 weeks off. We didn’t do any “big summer projects.”

…To change or not to change? I guess, that is the question—a question that should be answered by another most important question: What is the right thing to do? When our kids were small, Pastor Mark would often say, “It’s always right to do right.” That’s the thing that makes people persevere through a tough season in their marriage, in their life, in their whatever.

So for me what seems right is—today I will clean the house and buy groceries; and tomorrow—I’ll eat a bowl of cereal and go to work. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Plan

Journal for Christa—

Sometimes I wonder what fish think—if fish think at all. Fish are fairly low maintenance pets. We enjoy them all summer. They sort of go to sleep in October, and all through most of the school year we don’t even feed them. Then, long about April when winter begins to remove her frosty hands, they stir.

Though their cognitive level is fairly low, they do sense when something is awry. They seem to know if a blue heron is perched on a neighboring roof. And today, as well, they seem to know that catastrophe awaits, and they are distressed. It’s hard to explain, but we can tell by how they swim if they’re happy or not.

Today, they are distressed. Furthermore, what I’m sure they don’t at all realize is that there is a leak in their pond (not the fishless triangle pond or the smaller upper pond, where the fish are swimming peacefully under and among the lily pads, but the large, deep middle pond that houses the koi.)

So, the water level continues to drop and Jay’s placement of a seining net (which they avoid at all cost) have them moving about the deeper level distressfully. Poor fish.

What there is no way to communicate to them is—“the plan.” “The plan” is (once the water level gets low enough) Jay will catch them (oh, they hate that) and move the koi and some of the gold fish to the upper pond and some to the triangle pond. He’ll then, hopefully, locate the hole, repair it and return most of them to a safe pond. (A few will find new homes from Craig’s List.) But, they do not know and cannot know; therefore, they are distressed.

It’s a good reminder to me—that when I’m distressed, there is a plan…and, not one with quotation marks around it.