Wednesday, November 14, 2007
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Matthew 25: 34-36 (KJV)
Day Two of History Fair went well. Though my feet are swollen from the concrete floor and my head hurts from the stuffy air in our convention center, overall, I am feeling quite chipper. At least about History Fair. I am peeved about the condition of my scrubbed and polished house, however. Before I leave for work each morning, I spend almost an hour starting a load of laundry and picking up the house. When I return home at night, I do some more. During History Fair, I don’t have that kind of time. I rush out the door at 7:00 and don’t return home until 9:30 or 10. So, things start to pile up. What is it about men that keeps them from using the dishwasher? Is there some rule of which I am not aware? Is it for women only? Why stack dishes in a sink six inches from the machine that will not only wash them, but store them until you are ready to run the cycle? For that matter, why is there a pile of dirty clothes sitting by the back door? It looks as though some body stripped upon entering the house, but could not walk the extra ten feet to put them in the washing machine. Someone had smoked mullet for dinner, and the garbage can is very stinky. For an odd reason, there is a wet towel in the middle of the living room rug. Don’t get me started on the empty water bottles lining the counter top or the coffee grounds splattered on the floor. The dogs, though female, are even in on the conspiracy. There is another pile of sand under the dining table. Lucy chewed up one of her toys, and there are bits of fluff and fabric scattered about the house as well. She managed to pull away the sheet that I spread over the couch to keep it clean and has been sleeping there. It is now covered in dog hair and dirt. Doesn’t anyone realize how hard I worked to get this place clean? All they had to do was pick up after themselves, but they haven’t. In fact, I don’t think that they even see the mess. Why is it that I can see it so clearly now, but they cannot? Are they not looking? Do they not care? All around me are people in need. I pass them in the street, the grocery store and at work. I am not looking for them, but they are there. Sometimes, I see them, but ignore them. I am too busy, too full of myself, too short on time and money. Is it that I don’t care? More times than not, I just don’t open my eyes and see. Maybe when I come home tomorrow night, the house will be straightened. Maybe my guys will see what needs to be done. I pray that tomorrow my eyes will be open to the needs around me as well.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. Matthew 6:27-29 (NIV)
History Fair is over. We gave out almost 350 awards tonight. Children and their parents came to watch and applaud everyone’s efforts. The documentaries have been watched, the performances are finished. Papers have been read, and all the exhibit boards have been taken down. The judge’s supplies are packed up for another year. There is nothing left to do, but send out the press releases and soak our aching feet. It amazes me each year how everything comes together. Despite much planning and hard work, there are always the unknowns that cannot be controlled. How many students will enter? How many judges will show up to evaluate their entries? Will someone who has done a great job somehow be overlooked? Will there be pushy or angry parents to deal with? Will the teachers be cranky and stressed? I was relieved from much of that anxiety this year. Others took care of it for me. I just showed up to help, did what needed to be done. That always amazes me when I see a team of people working together. Everything gets done, each person gravitating to where their strengths are. Some are good at details. I am not. Some know how to use the computer. I do not. Some have the strength to move the tables and haul in the boxes. I prefer not. Everyone working together, we all get it done. This was our county’s twenty second fair. I think it was the best. But, that may have been because I wasn’t in charge. On good thing about not being in charge is that other people were able to have the feeling of accomplishment that comes from a job well done. Even better, they shared in the amazement of what can happen regardless of our efforts. We had exactly enough judges. We had some wonderful projects by creative students. We had only a few helicopter parents, hovering over their child wanting their experience to be perfect when in reality, this competition can prepare them for life if their parent will get out of the way. The teachers were appreciative of our work. All those unknowns are now history. The man who took my place commented on the wonder of it all. He is a fellow believer so it gave me a chance to remind him that it was not coincidence that everything worked out well. I believe in providence, that God is in control and He takes all things, good and bad and makes them for our good. They build us into the person He wants us to be. Like History Fair, in life, we work hard, we do our best, but in the long run, God is really in charge of it all. He agreed. Yet, we spent an inordinate amount of time worrying over the details of life. What is going to happen, is going to happen. Work hard and trust God to do the rest. Don’t waste time worrying and fretting. Watch and see Him work.
Friday, November 16, 2007
The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. John 10:2-4 (NIV)
Oldest son came home from college today. There was some jockeying for who would have the privilege of picking him up from the airport. I won, but by default. He missed his early morning flight. Whether it was because he overslept or because security was slow, we are not sure, but he ended up sitting in the airport for an extra three hours and arriving home late afternoon instead of mid day. By that time, his choice of chauffeur, a friend from High School, had gone on to better things. That opened the door for me to be available as my all day meeting adjourned early. He had already asked Grandpa to come, but because my dad is still feeling weak, I trumped him and insisted on doing the duty. I arrived at the airport a little early. Since I had some time, I started on a book that I have been saving for a quiet moment. The newest one by Jan Karon. I just love her books, her descriptive phrases and how she makes she characters come alive. They are so peaceful and calming. Immediately, I was transported to another place. When my cell phone rang and oldest son informed me that his flight had landed, I was in a daze. Where was I? That is the only explanation I can come up with to explain why I did not recognize my own child when he walked towards me. Of course, it could have been that he got his hair cut very short. It used to hang to his shoulders so he looks much different. He has gained a little weight which is good. It is due to the luxury of living in an apartment and having a kitchen I think, but at one time, he obsessed about his weight, so I am glad to see a little more meat on his bones. When he was home last summer, he got glasses so that contributed to his changed appearance as well. Whatever it was, my little boy looks like a man now and his own mother did not recognize him until he was almost upon me. I was looking closely and praying, “If that is him, give me a sign.” I did not want to be embarrassed or make him feel bad either. Then, I could hear his voice as he was talking on the cell phone. His voice was the same, and I knew who he was then. I gave him a smile and a hug and hopefully, he will never know my hesitation. In unsettling times, when things seem in chaos and change happens so fast, I am glad that God remains constant. Sometimes, I may not be able to recognize His work in my life. I may be looking for Him and unsure that He is there. But, if I listen close, He will speak to me and then, I know and remember Who He is.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Colossians 3:15 (KJV)
I just finished giving myself a lecture. Talked myself down off a ledge actually. In less than six hours, I will have a houseful of hungry people ready to eat an early Thanksgiving dinner. The house is finally clean again. I traced down the weird smell that permeates it to under the dining table. There is an oily spot there. Lucy must have gotten into the trash and eaten the remains of someone’s mullet. I have candles burning to get rid of the stench. The casseroles are mixed and ready to cook at 4:00. The cake is frosted and ready as well. Tea chills in the refrigerator in the garage. In a little while, I will go to the store and pick up the spiral cut ham. Everyone is bringing something, so the work load is shared. So, with nothing left to do, I am now sitting on the couch repeating to myself, “This is not a Martha Stewart contest. This is a simple gathering of family and friends to celebrate all we have to be thankful for.” I will count my blessings. Here is my list. A husband who loves me despite my quirks and mood swings. Who has stuck with me for twenty six years now and acts like he plans on staying around. All four of our parents, though in their seventies, are in relatively good health. Though we had a scare with my dad, he is doing better. Two children, bright, happy and starting to take responsibility for their lives. An adopted daughter also learning to soar. Sisters, their husbands and nieces and a nephew also well and healthy. A great niece to play with. Friends to share the burdens of life and help us see the joy. Jobs, which though stressful at times, are not to be taken lightly in this day and age. A home, worn around the edges, but the roof does not leak and the air conditioning works. A bed and a pillow to lay my head at night. Two funny dogs to make me smile. A horse to ride and enjoy. Cars, though old, that still run each day. Clothes in the closet, food in the fridge. Much more than many around the world and in our own country have. Health insurance. Doctors who are there when we need them. A big yard. A family of hawks who live in our pasture. The bay just steps from the front door. A church that though it has had its share of upheaval this year, seems to be rebuilding and at peace once more. A novel finished. Another trip to Folk School to look forward to in the spring. Washer, dryer, dishwasher, toilet. Finally and most importantly, God, Who is in control of all things and Who loves me and knows what is best for me. His Son who died in my place so that I can look forward to a heavenly home. Much to be thankful for. Who cares what the house looks like? It is a gift after all.