Sunday, September 7, 2014

It Was the Best of Times...

"...It was the worst of times."  A Tale of Two Cities. And the only line I (or anyone else for that matter) can recall - that first, great, quotable line before the entire class of high school English students nods off.
But it does sum things up.
It's been a great time, moving. Exciting, inspiring, fresh, mind-boggling by turns.
It's been a horrid time, moving. Exhausting, lonely, sad, and overwhelming by turns.

Due to sparking synapses I've been simply jotting down thoughts as they drift by these last weeks. Like catching butterflies. Snagged, netted, and pinned on a board. None too pretty, but necessary for cataloguing.

Living in Town
This is so odd. I can see my neighbours out on their driveways, doing Saturday things. They are so close. I could holler a greeting, but some instinct warns me this is not how Town operates. I lower my head and pull a few weeds from the lawn edges. I am thoughtful. Everyone is working hard to keep their spot looking nice. Earlier this summer I was cutting a lawn that would encompass at least 6 or 7 of these neighbouring yards. I mowed around 20 plus lilac trees, 12 ash trees, and large evergreens, two mayday trees, two apple trees, and a small cherry.  And playground equipment. Do I miss it? Who wouldn't? 

 I miss the freedom. I used to sing the same songs over and over at the top of my lungs and laugh out loud about funny stuff going through my brain, pausing to yell at the dog or the kids to pick up odd hidden things I was about to run over.
Cinder would obediently pick up sticks in front of the ride-on to my cry of, "Cinder! Stick! Stick!!!" and then drop them back in front of me the next round. She acted the innocent but I'm quite sure she thought it was hilarious.

"What? (bark) Oh, you didn't want that there? (bark) I thought...(bark) never mind, I'll get it, ha (bark) ha!"

 There are no enormous ant hills to run over and then watch the ants go crazy. Yes, there are these things that I miss. And I realize, turning my back on the neighbours and trudging back into my new digs, that I can't shout across the street because it all only makes sense if we continue the illusion of our own spaces. There are no convenient (inconvenient?) barbed wire fences marking the property lines. Reminds me of Robert Frost's Mending Wall. "He is all pine and I am apple orchard. 
My apple trees will never get across 
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him. 
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'".

Joy of Unpacking

      It's the oddest feeling, unpacking boxes in the new place. You remember just what you were feeling and thinking, the slant of sun through the window, maybe some music that was on, while you packed that same box in the old place. Unwrapping the plates from their newspaper, you feel yourself in the old kitchen. You can smell the cupboards, see the paint on the walls. In some ways it's lovely unpacking. All the bits of home wafting out, like leftover ribbons from last year's party. 

Sermon Notes

"Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs."  Jonah 2:8

I read this in church, during the sermon (that actually was on the book of Jonah, though I admit to reading randomly during sermons at times when I simply can't focus anymore, after about 10 minutes ...) I love this verse. I cling to worthless things. Idols, like iPhones and my best furniture and the length of my resume. "Forfeit" is a word that coaches use when the other team doesn't show up. They forfeit the game - they could have played, they could have won perhaps, but now they'll never know. When I cling to my idols I am too busy with them to show up to the game. The incredible grace that was for me, that I could have called mine is no longer there, not because God doesn't have rich stores of grace, not because he's given up on me, but because I was busy holding on to my worthless idols and I didn't even get to the game.

Jobless in Three Hills
 "I am the only member of the family who doesn't have a day plan, who doesn't know what she's supposed to be doing. I'm cooking, cleaning, organizing, shopping, paying bills and setting things up for school etc, so my days are busy. Unfocused though. It's rather unsettling, because how am I supposed to get a job and still keep everything running ...seems like it would be the monkey wrench thrown in the clock...nothing but springs and screws flying everywhere and not a clue as to time! Still, a job must be had. I suppose writing poetry all day, sighing blissfully and chugging mugs of coffee won't pay the bills. If only."

Spiritually Speaking

          The thing about packing up your family and going off to Bible college is that people expect you to have a higher sort of spirituality. I've had acquaintances approach me on the street asking if I could bless their baby, or pray for their cat to live through it's vet checkup. (No, I haven't had this. But I did walk down the street in some trepidation for awhile after letting people know of our decision. See, now I can't even lie.)

         It's true, the plans to go to Bible college have been the result of much prayer. We believe in God, we have seen his hand in our lives, and we have come to this point because of a strong desire to make our lives count for God's purposes in the world. He is leading and we are following. It's not crystal clear and at times we can't see the next stone to step on, or we lose each other in the mist. But still we know the path is there.

       So in this sense we need to be close to God, and stay close. We need help and direction and strength - all these God has in abundance. I know it is sink or swim time, rubber-meets-the-road time, and I can't do this on my own. That's the whole point really!
I couldn't do it on my own before either, but now there is no pretending I am.
And I'm glad of this

      On the other hand, I'm still the same quirky, faulty person, who swears a little too much and who wakes up in cold sweats imagining what my kids will be saying to their psychologists in years to come. I am not any more spiritual than I was before. However, I'm hoping I will be more faithful, more real, more sold out than ever before. And that my life and words and blog ramblings will reflect that. 

There is no faking it with God. I'm not going to pretend I have it all figured out, and I'm not going to pretend I'm not growing in my walk with Him.  It's tougher to mime walking on water when you're actually out of the boat.

*      *      *

There is more.
Other flighty thoughts I have netted include:
New Friends, The Noisy Disappointing Dryer, Fear of Shopping, and My-Husband-Is-Often-Home-What-On-Earth!!
These and other stories we can discuss over coffee if the mood strikes.

Thanks for reading and listening to my thoughts. If you want me I will probably be at the Macs down the block, getting brain freeze from a Slurpee. Feel free to holler; it makes me feel right at home.

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