As summer break was drawing to a close, Bob asked me to go on a “rocket ride” with him. When your husband of almost 38 years asked you on a date, the appropriate answer is “YES!”.
Part of our retirement planning the past several years has been to purchase several good bicycles. I say several, since they are used for different purposes: on-road, off-road, and then I have one just for errands and groceries (I call it my “town-bike”).
I’m somewhat disappointed to admit that the muscles and joints are not quite what they used to be, readily complaining, and preferring my great-grandmother’s rocking chair to the hard saddle of my Specialized Allez. Of course, padded spandex comes in handy. Bob says there are two fashion rules for wearing spandex:
I grew up on the edge of a large Midwest city (Indianapolis). My graduating class in high school was over 700, and I attended the main campus of a Big Ten university immediately thereafter. I have been to visit my daughters on both coast in L.A. and the Big Apple, and accompanied my husband’s small college on a trip to London several years ago.
All this to say, crowds don’t bother me.
It’s not that prefer them; I don’t. In fact, I’m writing this on my somewhat secluded patio in my comparatively sleepy small town with my quiet mutt on the pavestones as the birds sing around me. Yes, in a way, I’m hiding. Intentionally. Is that so bad?
There’s nothing but beauty when you look into the eyes of your own 6-month old child. It’s just that after a grueling 12-hour flight from overseas with the precious teething infant who has refused to sleep for the past several days, weeks, months, feels-like-years, you can barely see that beauty because your own eyes are having trouble focusing…
So after scooping up our youngest (and said precious one with precious but equally exhausted daddy) from the airport and gotten everyone tucked into bed at the nearby hotel for the night, Grandma got to babysit after the next morning’s breakfast so the young couple could try for a brief nap before the next leg of the family vacation.
At this age, Sweet One is not only still trying to figure out her own sleep schedule, but is also nine time zones away from home. She is intelligent, (W-A-Y above average, naturally), inquisitive, and most of all…
…awake. Very awake.
She and I are walking, talking, bouncing around the hotel, and looking, watching, and then we start touching. I can almost see the synapses connecting. Different textures, different temperatures through tactile experience. But one item seemed to keep her attention.
It was the glass door.
She could see though it, but couldn’t see “it”. Her hand would pass easily through the nothingness of air until it came to the same seeming nothingness to her sight, although her hand would stop, suddenly. Interestingly, because she had no mental/emotional grid to process this, or a priori objections to the experience, she simply accepted it and moved on.
“Although I can’t see it, obviously something is there.”
I pray that this basic lesson will not be buried under layers of empty philosophy later in life.
“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see…By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.”
Jesus affirmed a dimension more “real” than the one limited to human senses and experience. When I deny this, I deny myself the better part of my humanity and the potential expression of that reality:
I hazard myself (and others) to “be all that I can be” based solely on my limited self-concept, rather than the one for which I was uniquely designed.
I view situations through a lens of temporary, rather than eternal consequence.
My sense of peace and contentment will be linked to my personal sense of control, (and even a brief survey of history or a quick look at the news should blow that one out of the water!)
We made it to our destination all in one piece after a long car ride (though which Sweet One slept almost all the way!) Everyone is still in bed as I look into the cool fog on this Pacific Northwest morning. I know the mountains are there, but the fog is in the way, just like the unseeable glass door was in the way the day before. God’s reality is in play all around us.
Moses, what a guy. Talk about job stress—the perks were pretty great but so were the occupational hazards. (And I think I have tough days!) At least there was clear communication with the Boss; no lost email trails or intra-office misinterpretation of body language, all that. God’s instructions were always unmistakably clear, right down to what colors of decorative embroidery thread to use for the big church tent!
One year into their miraculous escape/rescue from centuries of Egyptian slavery, God now has them positioned to pull up the stakes and start their journey in earnest to the Promised Land. He has also promised to be their Guide, a cloud by day and something that looks like a pillar of fire by night. Again, fairly distinctive, even for someone directionally challenged, like me. When Continue reading “Decisions, decisions!”
When I was “back home again in Indiana”, (and, if you’re a native Hoosier, you’re probably familiar with that song, even though no one seems to know where “Hoosier” itself comes from)…anyway, when I was back home again in Indiana just last weekend to see the folks, I was helping them consolidate to move into their new apartment.
Both of them are your typical Builder-Gen—responsible, frugal, forward-thinking, hard-working. Nothing is to be assumed, (Dad taught me how to spell “assume”—it makes an “ass out of u and me”), and nothing is to be taken for granted. Gratitude is a chosen attitude, and God’s will and wisdom are superior to mine.
Yes, I know not to put my folks a pedestal, and I don’t. But let’s be real; not everyone has had parents like mine.
So while I’m helping Dad recuperate from a knee problem across the street in a separate facility, Mom and my sis (who is local—thank God!) are sorting, organizing, and packing and sweating, with Dad and I out of the way.
Mom did request, bless her heart, that my brother and I go through Dad’s old financial records (V-E-R-Y old) before she takes them to the shredder, not becauseContinue reading “Hoosier yer folks?”
Best dating story: Bob and I were coming home from an evening out. As I was still in college, I lived with my parents in the summer, and my dad, as a stickler for protecting his family, always had the door locked if I got home late enough and they had gone to bed. Naturally, I also always had a key to get in when my soon-to-be finance would deposit me at the front step.
The key, however, only fit the main entrance, not the outer screen door…
What happened next was almost something out of Ferris Beuller’s Day Off. Bob, being the practical science-guy he is, couldn’t understand why I didn’t just ring the door bell, (which, to this day, seems like the most sagacious option), but in deference to my objections, he pulled his little Pinto (remember those?) around to the driveway and helped me go from the big wooden storage box, to the top of his car, and onto the garage roof which led to my own second story window. Thankfully, I had left the window open, but DRAT! There was that locked screen window (what is it with screens??) that I had to poke my fingers through to raise, hoping that the family dog wasn’t currently my room ready to sound the intruder alarm.
Having successfully deposited his future bride safely, albeit not conveniently, within her home, Bob took off and I went to bed, thinking I would relate the incident to my folks…someday. Until I got up that morning and they asked me how I had gotten in last night, as Dad noticed he had locked the screen door, and Mom was wondering what my shoes were doing in the garage.
At what point in a young person’s life does she realize that her parents are not stupid?
Now, Dad is a fixer; property is something that must be improved and/or maintained, so my screen window didn’t stay impaled for long, allowing for mosquitoes, bees, and other pests equal access to my room, (geewhiz, hadn’t thought of that one). And thankfully, I didn’t dent Bob’s car, pull off the guttering or slip and break my neck scampering up the shingles. In retrospect (sigh) I should have just rung the doorbell!
Which is kinda the point the writer of Hebrews is making when he says:
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
I wonder how much wasted time, energy, and (gulp!) destruction I have caused by not first coming boldly to my Father’s presence. What fears have stolen my peace, what anxieties have poked holes in my power, and what kind of hellacious peril I have put myself (and others) in due to my lack of faith in God’s most holy acceptance of me because of His Son!
After all, I’m one of the family. If I’m feeling locked out, I just have to ring the bell.
…well, not always. In fact, I don’t even know where that cockamamie concept originated. Especially now with the various photo-editing applications and other wonders of the virtual world that continue to invade our reality. So when pictures show up on my email or on other forms of communication, I tend to be a bit more skeptical than I would have in the past.
In fact, right now the whole concept of “Fake News” is making a comeback. At least, I call it a comeback. Fake News has been around forever, starting in a Garden a long time ago, and it comes in many forms, being woven quite effectively into our modern living:
Propaganda was an effective tool to discourage the Allies in World War 2.
Most people my age have probably heard the phrase, “there are lies, there are d**n lies, and there are statistics.”
Of course, then there are the white lies. Which is like having a white carpet in a house with three children and two dogs…
There’s the infamous statement, “Just kidding”. Orson Wells tried that back in the 1930’s with a recital of a World of the Worlds enactment on radio, and that went over quite well.
Like Solomon said, truly there is nothing new under the sun…
But that doesn’t mean I just abandon my five senses as any source of honest interpretation. It does mean, however, that I need a little discernment. Or a lot. Words are cheap, but observable behaviors and definable outcomes have a place in what’s really going on behind the scenes.
Or better yet, what’s going on within the heart.
“I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things.”
It behooves me to be reminded that God Almighty sees it all as it really is, no spiritual photo-editing in Heaven. The first order question, then, is what does He see in my life? In His church? And whatever He sees, and however He sees it, IS worthy to be believed.
“God answered, ‘I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain…'”
Why would God tell Moses that He would confirm this commission AFTER this little errand had been completed?
I repeat, God has such a sense of humor.
This comment marks the beginning of Moses’ courageous “but, God…!?!” speech. Not that I would have done any better, to be sure. I love that he begins at this most uninspiring place and ends up in the Hebrews 11 hall of fame, but that’s another story….
At this writing, our second granddaughter is celebrating her first Christmas, having been born only a few days ago. This was an interesting birth. Granted, all my girls were born 30+ years ago, but to make things even more interesting, this wonderful event took place in Scandinavia, and things are a little different there—our little jewel was birthed underwater in a special bathtub, after which the new family was taken to a special area in the adjoining hotel for three days while they adjust and learn and ask questions and are generally pampered, rested, and supported until released home.
Finally, someone is making some sense!
Which is a far cry from the little Lego manger scene that I’m looking at right now (belonging to our first granddaughter, whose home we are in for Christmas!) In fact, right now everyone is still asleep, the packages are just itching to be unwrapped, and I have enjoyed a few quiet moments reading Luke chapter 2.
Now, if Scandinavia could provide such a nice environment for our sweet new bundle, why couldn’t God provide something a little more upscale than a dirty feeding trough in a stinky stable for His own Son?? On the surface, one could think…well, one could think many things, I suppose. And do, but mistakenly.
No matter how much we learn about conception, pregnancy and birth, even I have too much of an artistic soul to arrogantly think we can ever fully grasp the sublimity of it all, nor can anyone within a paradigm of a closed universe grasp the Grand Design. For crying out loud, those of us who ascribe to a divinely open universe can’t see it all either!
Which makes me think that this temporal life is likewise akin to a pregnancy as we are being formed and ready to be birthed into Eternity. A whole bunch of things take place inside the womb preparing a child for their first appearance. Isn’t the same happening to me, and those whom I so dearly love? Who am I to question or doubt God’s unique plan and mysterious process He is using to bring about their preparation for the heavenly birthing process?
“Just as you cannot understand…the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.”
I follow my actor-brother-in-law, Doug Jones, on Instagram and Facebook. We rarely get to see his face, but he has been nonetheless amazing as Pan in Pan’s Labyrinth, the fish/man Abe Sapion in Hellboy, the Silver Surfer in the Fantastic Four, and Chochise in Falling Skies, to name just a few. And we just found out that he is going to be (yet another) alien in the up and coming Star Trek spin-off Discovery.
Of course, I’m old school, with the original Kirk and Spock and Bones and Scottie and all that. But far be it from me to consider myself a snobbish connoisseur of fine sci-fi—I also enjoyed Galaxy Quest, and the “famous” quote from Captain Jason Nesmith, “never give up, never surrender!”
So, okay, I’ve not yet donned any cosplay nor stood in line for hours to talk to a personal hero of the silver screen. Heck, I hang out with Doug and Laurie on fam-jams anyway, and they ARE heroes in my book!
I also appreciate the actors in the Hebrews 11 “Heroes of the Faith” line up—it reads like something out of one of Doug’s movie credits. Allow me to review (from my human perspective):
Gideon, cowering in the barn trying to hide his grain, and who needed a fleece (twice) to convince him of God’s answer.
Moses, who’s recorded conversation with God (as if standing in front of the burning bush wasn’t enough) is replete with “but God!?!”
Sarah and Abraham, who both thought God needed a little help, (since that always turns out well…)
Amazingly, God chooses to interpret their history differently:
“Their weakness was turned to strength.”
Say what? How is it that God somehow overlooks, not only their failures, but also the consequences of those failures, and chooses instead to record in the New Testament rendition (for all eternity, no less) their successes?
Like it or not, “oops” is part of a Christian’s vernacular, and “I’m sorry” should roll off the tongue more and more easily as time goes on. One important thing that can be said for these heroes of the faith is that they never gave up. They may have given in a few times, but they never gave up.
In that, Captain Kirk has nothing on Captain Nesmith.