The “Bug” has bugged out.
When my daughter Bethany turned 16 we helped her get the vehicle of her adolescent dreams…a VW Bug, the perfect car for a free-spirited girl. We had a mechanic give it a thorough once over and once he signed off we signed papers. But alas the dream was rather short lived and soon turned into a nightmare of breakdowns and costly repairs. Now we have been told it is going to cost more to fix the Bug than it’s worth. Ouch! Oh, and the new mechanic added…it’s not really all that safe to drive in the current condition. Double ouch!
So the Bug is crouched in our driveway and Bethany is working on the days she is not in class saving her dollars for her next “non-Bug” vehicle. In the meantime, I have become the chauffer who drives her to work so my schedule has altered. I like to get into my office early-thirty but now that has changed. In the first few episodes of ‘Driving Miss Bethany’ I was mentally calculating how much work I could have gotten done had I not been on the road and then tried to figure out where I would make the time up. Then it dawned on me, what a self-centered scum ball I was being and how I was thinking like a short-sighted idiot. I was being given the gift of 20 pretty much uninterrupted one on one minutes with my lovely, vivacious, bright and slightly cosmopolitan daughter. Where else in my day does that happen? And besides, next fall she will attending school in Tallahassee. So I decided to seize this wonderful gift and now that drive has become a highlight of my day. And she doesn’t know it but I’m trying to figure out how I can pilfer from her car fund…just to prolong my role as her chauffer.
All we have is the moment. We don’t have time to cling to “to-do lists” that rob us of the time it takes “to-be”. We don’t have time to cling to the false sense of importance that busyness brings when the truly significant is right next to us. We don’t have time to cling to what is next and miss out on what is here. All we have is this moment.
I’m playing “hooky” today…
Yesterday a friend called and asked if I would crew for him Friday (today) as he is moving his boat to a marina that is a six hour sail away…six hours under sail with a 10 knot breeze under blue sky and a temp in the low 80’s. H-m-m-m. So I quickly assessed my options:
A.) Keep my two appointments and tackle the remaining six things on this weeks to do list.
B.) Punt on the appointments and the to do list and set sail.
C.) Reschedule the appointments to next week and knock out the to do list Thursday night.
My decision, Option C…by the time you read this I should be somewhere in the middle of the bay headed south. I think it was author Annie Dillard who said: “Spend the afternoon, you can’t take it with you.”
We are an Easter people living in a Good Friday world.
As I reflect on all that has happened in the world at large and in my own little corner of the world since last Easter I am reminded of this quote by writer Barbara Johnson: “We are an Easter people living in a Good Friday world”. You understand this because you live in the same world I do…sometimes it’s just simply excruciating. Whether it is yet another senseless act of terrorism or a tsunami or a tragic car accident or a sick child or the death of one you love who had so much more of life yet to live. Things that are hard to reconcile with a universe created by a loving God.
So yes, we live in a Good Friday world. But that is not the whole story. We are an Easter people.
Easter, the resurrection of Jesus, reminds us that terrorism, tsunamis, accidents, sickness and not even death have the last word in God’s universe. Easter is the promise that after darkness there is light; after the deepest heartbreak there is the possibility of joy; and even after a devastating loss there is hope for life abundant.
May I remind you that Jesus totally understands Good Friday…a whip, rods, crown of thorns, betrayal, nails. May I also remind you He took it all for you, because He simply couldn’t stand the thought of heaven without…you. Honor Him today and every day of your life.
And may I remind you it may be Friday but Sunday is coming! Easter! And we are an Easter people!
Imagine sitting alone under a sky strewn with stars as you listen to the steady rhythm of gentle waves washing onshore.
Well, that was my experience one night this week as Jacque and I slipped away to our favorite haunt on the Atlantic coast of Florida.
Jacque took a book and went to bed, I took the opportunity to be alone with God in the sanctuary of creation. At one point I began praying for a close friend who is listing severely to one side with challenges that seem not only unjustly large but unfairly numerous. As I started to pray I found myself at a loss for words. Ever been there? Stirred to a place so deep there is not adequate language to capture what you feel. So I simply began to pray a five word mantra: “Oh God, please help ____!” and then again…”Oh God, please help ____!” Over and over and over again, not as vain repetition but as the cry of a soul for the sake of another soul. Sometime after midnight I arose from my chair and my eyes fell on the Big Dipper in all of its glory. With the limited star navigational skills I have, I used the Big Dipper to direct me to Polaris…the North Star. Polaris, the one constant that lets you navigate with some confidence.
Scripture says the heavens declare the glory of God. It did for me as I stood there eyes trans-fixed heavenward. A realization settled into a place deep in my spirit that the God who put Polaris in place and keeps the earth’s axis at such an angle that it always tilts north to this one star…is the same God who can and will keep my friend afloat. Such peace I felt at that moment. And so I whispered another prayer as I exited that holy place I was in: “Thank you Lord…Thank you Lord”. Then I went inside committed to doing my part to help my friend and quite confident God will do His.
For a guy who is seminary trained…some of my most effective prayers seem to happen when I am at a loss for words. As St. Francis once said: “Pray always, when necessary use words.”
You do know don’t you that there is a huge difference between meeting a train and making a train…right?
Recently I read something by Seth Godin which drew that distinction to my attention and it sort of got my attention. If you are trying to make a train…10 seconds too late is too late. (Jacque and I almost found this out the hard way once in Italy.) The consequence of not being on time is a painful one.
On the other hand, if you are going to meet a train, well…10 seconds is no big deal is it? Neither is 40 seconds or even a handful of minutes. Anything beyond that can be a bit annoying if not downright uncivil, but you get the idea.
Far too often, we treat our responsibilities as meet, not make. So we not only show up a bit late…we also show up a bit short on both preparation and quality but full of excuses and explanations. Jesus once said it this way: “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.”