Thursday, January 26, 2012

Looking Beyond

When January rolls around, I give some cursory thought to the past and coming years, but in reality my yearly clock has always revolved around the school year—for I’ve never quite moved beyond that childhood frame of mind.
This school year has been a good one, and it seems to be flitting right by; but for my extended family, it’s been a year of goodbyes.
Two of my uncles have bid farewell to this world and exchanged it for another much better. And, as I write this evening, a dear aunt, too, is looking beyond this realm—beyond the world we know and grasp most sincerely.
This is an aunt I grew up close to. I remember nights spent in her attic upstairs at sleepovers with cousins. There were summer nights lounging lazily on her front porch, and always hearty country meals.
There were loud older boy cousins who watched wrestling on TV with my uncle and wrestled around on the floor—something my sisters and I (without older brothers) could not understand.
One night, years ago, we stopped by Aunt Ruth’s on our way home from a trip to Michigan. She showed us her quilts she had made in that upstairs that held so many childhood memories for me. My young and impressionable children were awestruck by the narrow, steep stairs and talked for days about the big supper she’d made us and the cool upstairs they all got to sleep in.
I think perhaps only now that I’m a mother of grown children and nieces and nephews do I realize what pleasure we had brought to her by stopping by for even just a night.
I come from a very large extended family and have always thought it sad for those who don’t because of what they miss. For all those aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents have always been an anchor for me for as long as I can remember.
We were not a perfect lot for sure, but there was always more than enough love to go around and a deep rooted belief in a good God who sent His Son to save us.
Someday, I too, like Aunt Ruth, will loosen my grip on the familiar of this world—and release my fingers as I find the courage to set my gaze on a world yet unseen—a world I know is filled with love.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

It Is What It Is

Some days you just need to know when to stop. Today was one of those days. When Jay said, “I need to get there on time today because I was late to my last meeting,” it didn’t seem like a big deal until I asked him what time it was. Then it was a big deal.
With one side of my hair rolled, I realized it all wasn’t going to happen in 2 minutes. Some days demand a new plan, an adjustment. I did, however, have time to grab the mascara, blush, hair spray and curling iron—and a scarf—to stuff in my lunch bag. Hence, getting ready for school at school became plan B. It wasn’t exactly how I’d anticipated going this morning, but it worked. Often we must make adjustments in life.
The world today tells us to take control. But, for the Christian control is a fraud; for the world, it’s a deception. I have a friend who is undergoing chemotherapy. And after the chemo, there will be surgery; after surgery, radiation; and after that, more medication. As we were talking last week, there were several times she said, “It is what it is.” So often that is true.
We wish for something a little different (or a lot different), but it just isn’t. “It is what it is.” So, we do what we must; we adjust. Sometimes, it’s as petty as throwing a curling iron in a bag. Sometimes it’s going to the next chemo session.
Sometimes, we just need to stop, adjust, and walk. One thing that helps is knowing we aren’t alone.
We do not walk alone;
We travel hand in hand.
We do not walk alone
Amidst a troubled land.
So when the skies grow cloudy,
And hard to search your way,
Remember that I love you—
And praying— come what may.
We do not walk alone.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thoughts on Prov. 1:4-7

There's something in instruction for everyone: the simple, the young, the wise, the discerning--

That pretty much covers people, all people. We're never too dumb to learn or too smart to learn more. We're never too young or too old. And, where do we always start?

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge."

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Some Days I Love My Job

Some days, I really love my job—and often for the craziest reasons. Today as I stood in the midst of the library, surrounded by students digging into research databases on the computers, the main printer not working, and kids seeking help with one thing after another—mainly how to connect to the printer in the lab next door—I stood in the center of such chaos that seemed so right to me and thought, Some days I love this job.
To most onlookers, it might have appeared like a mess, but not to me. And, to be honest, I sometimes get a rush from apparent bedlam. One of my favorite movie scenes is in While You Were Sleeping, where the actors sit around a dinner table eating and carrying on at least two separate conversations at once. It always reminds me of when all our kids were home, and when they return now with spouses and grandkids in tow.
I love it because it’s focused pandemonium, and it’s people connecting in random points to seek, to help, to learn.
It’s kind of like a crazy orchestra, wildly playing, or crickets all chirping at once or a young mom with a handful of kids, shuffling a menagerie of spontaneous disasters in calm, rhythmic sequence.
How often does the world just look and sound out of control? Yet, it is not.
Some days, all that energy makes me tired, but other days it makes me want to laugh. Today was one of those days.
Some days, I love my job.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Choose to Love

It’s impossible to make somebody love me. I may try—try to be good, try to be nice, try to be fun; but love—love is a gift, a gift one chooses to give.
Now, I do think people should try to be good, try to be kind and fun too, but those alone won’t bring us love. We can’t make love happen anymore than we can make rain. Love is a choice.
And it struck me last year—as I contemplated love—that if Jay loves me, it’s because he must choose to do so. I want to be a good wife, and I want him to love me, but only he can choose, choose to love me. He could love anyone, or no one at all, but he choses to love me.
And though I often don’t consciously think of it, I choose to love him, every morning, every day, all these many years.
Then, if people choose to love—should it not remind me that God has chosen to love as well? God looked down on humanity, and He chose to love. I don’t know why; He just did. He chose to love us. He chose to love me. He could have loved anyone, or no one at all, yet He choses to love me.
And under the paradoxical sovereignty of choice, I choose to love Him, to pursue a strange and mystical relationship with a Being so incredibly beyond myself.
So, this year (or at least for awhile) I think I’ll choose to focus on love, because I think it’ll be good for me and maybe good for you—for love can be neither purchased nor cajoled. Love is a choice. And when 2012 comes to an end, I want to look back and see that I have loved.