Saturday, March 31, 2007

Too Late Soon

We are going to die. There is no question that it is going to happen. Before we die ourselves, we may have loved ones die before us. Our friends or family could also struggle with illness and disease. That should not come as a surprise to us. We know that traumatic things happen. We can recognize this as logical fact. Life is fleeting. And fleeing. Away.

Often in the aftermath of trauma, a person will pick themselves up by their bootstraps, and have a new lease on life as they boldly go on to bring about change in response to their circumstances. Some folks will start ministries, some will spend more time with the people they love. The mom who heads up a foundation to help children with the disease that took her child, the executive that cuts back to fewer hours after his first wife left, and the homeschool mom of a prodigal who learns to value relationship above academics ~ they all have something in common. They have learned. They now know that life is too short to waste time on the meaningless drivel of striving in the world. Priority is newly placed on relationships rather than success. They value their time with their families and friends more now, after "what they've been through". This is a good and godly response to tragedy.

But I'm not willing to wait until tragedy comes. Knowing that there is no tomorrow pushes me to get back to basics today. I am scared not to. I am afraid with a godly fear of wasting the time I have been given ~ of not making the most of every opportunity the Lord places in my path. I am scared of not valuing the relationships with which Father has blessed me appropriately. In the past few years, we have purposed to put a stake in the ground, and make changes ~ as many and as radical ~ as the Lord reveals in order to value what He values, and to live with eternity in view. Eternity is all that will matter, and we cannot go back and have a second chance. There is something very freeing about living with one's deathbed in mind. It will come soon enough anyway...and maybe sooner than we think.

If I could encourage you in anything, it would be this: ask Father to help you put to death any of Martha, and any spirit of worldliness that resides in you, and sit at His feet like Mary. Are there relationships that He is leading you to restore? I urge you to do it. When relationships and the world collide, let there be no doubt of which side He is on. Listen to His voice and obey. Love people. Be real. Only one thing is needful. If our every idle word will be accounted, how much more so our actions? "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin", James 4:17. Hard words, yes, but from a loving God ~ for our good.

Remember, God has many names, but one of them is not Practical Polly. All the what-if's or buts that come to our minds do not hail from His lips. Without making pretzels with God's word, sales, agendas, and goals have little place in His economy.Those things have more basis in our fleshly desires than in His revealed will, no matter how much we try to convince ourselves otherwise. Ask me how I know. Fear of man, time pressures or any other excuse we mutter to excuse disobedience are not from Him, either. Those relationships He brings to mind may be the means He uses to minister back to us ~ if we will only heed His voice in obedient trust.

Repentance and forgiveness are good, but restoration is better.

Because one day it will be too late.

And that day may be soon.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Worry, Tilling and Fussing

It all started when I killed my tiller. OK, so maybe it's not a mortal wound, but it doesn't exactly till, either. When the thingy that holds the roundy part in place fell completely off as  I rammed gently bumped the cinder blocks at the end of a row, I knew I was in trouble.

Having been raised in the inner city, and knowing little about gardening that I didn't read in a book, I keep quiet and learn a lot from watching my friends. When I noticed two weeks ago that my friend-who-was-born-with-a-hoe-in-his-hand, had his garden turned over, the "Aha!" moment came, and I knew that it was the appointed time. I still couldn't tell you the last frost date for my area, so I'll listen and learn when to sow my collards, too.

After killing breaking the tiller, my first thought was that my coveted outside time was over, and, after a winter's worth of being cooped up inside, this was no small matter. Crushed, I instantly started thinking of the steps involved in repairing the tiller: load up the tiller, spend half a day getting everyone shoed and jacketed, drive into town, find the part, escort seven children to a public restroom, then drag everyone home only to discover that I didn't get the right part. Then I was sure the broken part would cost thousands of dollars, have to be special ordered, take months to be delivered, and gardening season would be over before it ever got started at my house.

Once I caught myself and called this thought process by it's rightful name, Worry, I repented, and began to look for the bright side of not having the tiller available. My garden is not terribly labor-intensive, anyway. It is a raised-bed (read that: very soft soil) Square Foot (read that: very tiny) garden. I could always  just turn over the soil with a hoe. Even though tilling was kinda fun, it was still a little more like breaking a wild pony than I preferred. So this would be an enjoyable form of exercise with immediate tangible results (read that: instant gratification).

Anyway, I am the girl who is always lamenting about the ridiculous ironies in our culture. What sense does it make to get a desk job, determined to 'not work as hard as my parents did', then buy a riding lawnmower because you don't have time to cut grass, then a health club membership to 'get some exercise'?  It is like simultaneously running the air conditioner to cool air on a hot sunny day and the clothes dryer to heat air. Or driving to the park to take a walk. Or sending Momma to work to be able to pay for private schooling and convenience meals (and therapy because of the stress). Simpler is better.

So I pulled out my hoe.

About half-way through my methodical hand turning of the garden I started to wish I had never been so smug regarding the aforementioned inconsistencies. At our house, you lose any right to fuss about stuff that you aren't doing something about (read that: Don't talk the talk if you aren't willing to walk the walk). Just as I determined to suck it up and smile my way through to the end, Mr Visionary showed up with the exact piece needed to repair the tiller. When he had the thing perfectly fixed and tested in less than five minutes, I knew two things. First, my worrying had been way out-of-hand. The piece cost $.68, and was easily picked up on a routine errand while Mr. Visionary was already in town. Second,much as I would have liked to should finish it by hand,  I would have go against my high ideals resigned determination and use the tiller to finish the garden.

After all, I wouldn't want to offend Mr. Visionary.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Amen To That!

When the clock read 9:21 this morning...

Flower Child: "It's really 8:21 in the morning."

Flower Child: "But it's 9:21a.m. under Communism."

The girl is right ~ I hate Daylight Saving Time, too.