Sunday morning Roger was away attending a 60th birthday party for his uncle Steve May. Steve is a long tome friend of ours who preaches at the church in Sundridge Ontario. Anyhow, I filled in for Roger – my sermon was based on our experiences in March in Pascagoula. – using this opening paragraph of Dicken’s Tale of 2 cities to lead to some contrasts that I perceived in the pre- and post- Katrina attitudes of (some of) the Christians I had met there.
Sunday p.m. we had our usual LIFE group study looking at how we can encourage one another through “random acts of kindness”. It was a good time of sharing and I learned some interesting things about people I have known for years.
However, despite these good things, I really didn’t have a very good day. Friday I shared that I was in a slump. I don’t know about anyone else but it continues to amaze me that I can know it is happening. I can think through logically what I need to do to “turn it around”, I can even do those things and yet it is almost inevitable that I have to really “crash and burn” before I can get back on the road and those closest to me – particularly Linda end up bearing the brunt of my angst (That’s odd I just tried to look angst up in the dictionary to be sure it meant what I thought and I couldn’t find it. – ah well it will have to mean what I want it to mean and I hope it means the same thing to you!!).
Anyhow, my anxiety and tendency to respond angrily to minor events continued through the weekend. It came to a head Sunday night and the storm has now passed. I‘m now “normal” again (although my normal leaves a lot of room for God to work on me). I have concluded that the “root cause” this time was that I’m still working through the “grieving” process of giving up my work life to move into retirement. I said to a friend that, as much as people tell you that you that retirement can be like losing a loved one – I didn’t really believe it until I’ve started to experience it. I think I’ve been in denial and now the reality is coming home.
I have talked about the need to “re-invent” myself but I haven’t really worked out what this new way of living is really all about. Perhaps that is a good metaphor for our Christian walk.
I do know that the answer to working through these “ditches” in my life comes when I finally turn it over to Him and stop trying to fix it myself. Of course God gave us intelligence, directions for living and that ability to make choices – so turning it over to him doesn’t mean lying down in a corner and saying OK God – fix it. – but it also doesn’t mean that I have to figure it out all on my own and be perfect in how I react to every situation. His grace and forgiveness is there when I mess it up. It is that confidence in His love that ultimately provides me with the power to turn away from anger & despair and to return with Paul to “being content no matter what life throws at me” (paraphrase of Philippians 4).
So Monday, Linda & I decided we should each take the day to do what we wanted to do for ourselves and finish the painting later in the week. I had heard about the need for drivers to take seniors to/from doctor’s appointments or shopping. and I had an appointment at the Red Cross to complete the application process so I did that.
On my way home I stopped by to see my Dad. My Mom & he were married May 29, 1937 and spent 62 years together before she died in 1999. So I wanted to spend some time with him because it is a day when he misses her a lot. I was going to take him golfing but he had already been out with his friend Don and it was hot (I see from John Dobbs blog that it was in the 90’s in Mississippi yesterday) – well we hit the high 80’s.
Instead of golf, I had him come over for the latter part of the afternoon and we played cribbage – for once I actually beat him 2 games straight. Usually, he wins them all. I grilled some pork chops and roasted some potatoes on the BBQ and with Linda’s coaching prepared the rest of our dinner. After dinner, Goldie , Morris & Debbie dropped by – they were in the Sault for some reason – I think in part that they too wanted to spend some time with Dad.
Linda spent a good part of the morning shopping at Value Village – it turned out to be 50% off and she had a ball and came home with a bunch of small stuff -pictures, yard ornaments, etc. some for home and some to decorate the classrooms at the building. She ran into my sister-in-law Marilyn and had lunch with her at Swiss Chalet.
I also had time in the early afternoon to get caught up on a bunch of small things – doing my household chores, dealing with an income tax issue, cleaning up some backlogged email. Overall it was a very good day – despite the fact that there were a couple of distressing things that I encountered.
Kyle Lansdell who has been working part-time as youth minister and my nephew Ken had driven a group of young people to Mackinaw Island for an outing on Sunday. They took bicycles so Kyle was driving his Dad’s truck. Ken was driving Rob’s van. They had a great time to-gether but unfortunately, as they were leaving the parking lot to come home Kyle got in a spot were he had to backup. Ken had been following him and had stopped behind him – well you guessed the truck hit the van and crunched the fender. (Ford’s are tough so no damage to the truck).
It was a tough thing for both Ken & Rob (Ken's Dad) to have something like that happen when they were doing a good thing – exacerbated by the fact that the van was almost new (and that last July 1 someone ran a stop sign and demolished it’s predecessor). I really felt sorry for all involved.
I also was able to make contact with a lady from our church who had been absent for a couple of weeks and discovered she had decided to go elsewhere. It is always sad when someone doesn’t feel their needs are being met and chooses to look elsewhere. I think honesty demands that we acknowledge that we have failed in some way in encouraging and supporting that individual. At the same time people are accountable for their own choices and we can’t control those choices. I pray that she keeps her focus on following Jesus and that she finds a group of Christians to meet with that can fill the part of her spiritual journey that she was apparently missing
Charlie & Linda