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Will You wait for me
as I leave the right road
and cast my pearls before swine?

Will You walk with me
when I can’t find my way back
and refuse to change direction?

With all the wrong turns I’ve taken in life,
You’ve never turned me away.
You even left the light on
for me to come back home.

We were barely out of our teens.  My friend and I were out, well past midnight, doing things we shouldn’t be doing with people we didn’t know.  One of them looked at me and said, “You look like a teacher or something.  What the heck are you doing here?”

I was thinking the same thing. Even though I tried to run with a wild crowd for that brief, wayward period, it was never my milieu.   Trying to be like everyone else.  Trying to be “good enough.”

There is a still, small voice inside that will gently nudge you, even if you don’t listen.  That’s your Soul Compass.  As you go through life, you’ll hear it.  And you’ll probably ignore it, as I did so frequently.

I worked at a company years ago that would give employees a gold watch at their retirement parties.  How ironic to give someone a timepiece after they’re off-the-clock.

In that office, the workload was ridiculous and deadlines unrealistic.  We found ourselves stressed and under-the-gun all day long.  The worst part was that employees were not treated well.

I remember thinking, if I can just get through this day, for the next fifty years, I can retire with a gold watch. Oh joy.  But is life about barely scraping by and feeling weighted down by duty and debt? Is having a job with a paycheck “good enough,” even if it sucks the life out of you?

This is my theory.  It almost sounds quaint, but I really believe this.

We’re not supposed to be anywhere – ever – where we don’t feel appreciated, welcomed, even loved.  But somehow, we’ve gotten off of that track.  We’re so used to people being disrespectful that we’ve re-calibrated our compasses.

As a child of God, it’s not just an option to have a peaceful, abundant life; it’s a birthright.  It may not happen overnight, but if you set your compass in that direction, you won’t just settle for “good enough.”

Make a plan to leave the intolerable circumstance and hold your head high till you can leave it.  In the meantime, stay true to your own standards.  Don’t return unpleasantness.  Take the high road.  Turn the other cheek.  Hold onto the hope that God didn’t create you to live a half-life like some piece of carbon in a lab.  After all, “God’s Word is better than a diamond, better than a diamond set between emeralds,” Psalms 19:10 MSG.  And if God said I’m entitled to live a better life, that’s “good enough” for me.

Some people seem to want a God who can dance on the head of a pin. A God so tiny, you can stash Him in your pocket. A wee God; a pint-sized, shrunk-down, button of a God. Such Gods are comforting. You can wrap your head around them. Heck, you can wrap your finger around them.

How does God get so small? We make Him so. We shrink him down every time we suppose to have Him all figured out. “God is on the side of This Politician.” “God loves America best.” “God only wants Christians in Heaven.”

Look out a window. As vast as the world is, God is more so. Look at the sky at night. As immense as the solar system, the universe is, God is greater. We cannot possibly, in our human limitedness, fathom even a small percentage of what God is. So why do we think we know Him so well? Why are we so certain of His likes and dislikes, His preferences in skin color or religious denomination?

Well, one might say, there’s the Bible. And God is certainly there. But not all of Him. God cannot be crammed into a book, cannot be constrained between two covers. Books are written for human audiences, and again, we fail on this front. We must be approached in ways we understand. In small ways.

Surely we can know God by His representatives, those He sent to us. Jesus taught us quite a bit of what we need to know about God. What are those things? Love, first and foremost. Forgiveness, mercy, kindness, acceptance, peace, humility and —above all — reverence and honor for God, even above societal mores, even above the law.

So to those who would make God small, we must offer resistance. Even when those entities are governments or religions, we must offer resistance. Because God is no one’s puppet. Fools like me will continually try to apprehend Him, only to see Him exceed our grasp. So why not let God be big? When we give up trying to pin Him down, only then can we hope to glimpse Him.

Last weekend, my family and I hiked at Lake Wappapello. Photo by my husband, Dan Edwards.

Last week, Ruth wrote a post about being able to count a good cup of coffee as a blessing. She discussed how we need to be able to locate these gifts even in difficult times.

I have to admit that this isn’t easy for me, especially when I am super busy. You know what I mean. This weekend we had family over for lunch, pulled up carpet, tore out tile and got ready to sand floors. Tuesday, if not also Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, I have jury duty. But I also have work deadlines on the 15th and 28th of the month. Blessings? Maybe I can work in a few but it won’t be for days and days. I’m just too busy.

At times like this, in order to spot my blessings, I need to do something meditative. Note: I do not say meditate. I have monkey mind. It’s a Buddhist term for a frantically active mind. Maybe its my tendency to be Type A, but I don’t think I have monkey mind so much as screaming band of monkeys mind. My brain is far too busy to be only one monkey. Because of this, I find meditation difficult if not impossible.

This means that I do things I find meditative. I have to have some kind of fairly mindless activity to distract my brain while I relax. When I have the chance, I walk the local labyrinth. Depending on the season, I pull weeds or shovel snow. Knitting also works for me. When my family is with me, I like to walk outside, through a natural area.

When I take time to do these kinds of activities, my frantic little brain can expend a certain amount of energy on what I’m doing. But it also mellows out enough that I can take the time to look around.

Like Ruth, I notice the little things. A rich cup of coffee. A decadent piece of chocolate. A song that stirs my soul. Or just the pleasure of getting to be, for an undetermined amount of time, while I do something that let’s me lose myself in a simple task.

Speaking of which, over this horde of screeching monkeys, I can just barely hear a skein of purple wool calling my name. And beside it sits a cup of coffee.

–SueBE

Lord,
So often I am simply too frantically busy
to note the blessings
that surround me every day.

Help me,
even in the midst of all this bustle and hype,
to take a deep breath.
One,
two,
three.

Help me to slow down,
if only for a moment,
and to appreciate all
that You have given me.

Amen

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