Wednesday, January 09, 2008

January Thaw

When I was working full-time, I used to take advantage of the Holiday season to do things like reflecting on the previous year, preparing family letters(sporadically) and making plans for the new Year.

Now that I’m retired and only work (for pay) occasionally one would think I would have more time to do those things. However, the reality is that taking on teaching assignments last fall resulted in a large backlog of things that I wanted to “cleanup” before moving into new things. In addition we spent 14 days of December away from home and that increased the “backlog “. I have managed to clean out much of the “invisible” pile of old emails in both my personal and university accounts. I am current with the Berean discussion group, generally up to date with household and church related projects and almost up to date on the household books and budget preparation for 2008. However, that has meant that my intention to prepare a “year in review” posting has taken a backseat –as well as any other post.

I say all this partly as an ”excuse” for not having been posting more regularly but also to comment that unlike prior years I’m not stressed out over the things that aren’t done.

I receive a daily devotional based on the writings of Oswald Chambers and he has been emphasizing something that I have come to believe – namely that our job as Christians is to surrender our lives to Christ –to his Lordship and to then move forward doing those things that through prayer and meditation seem to be what is ”needful” for that day and having done that to be content. Putting that into daily practice is (I have found) a continuing struggle because the starting point is surrender and listening rather than starting by looking at my list, my plan about what I want to do—no matter how much I believe that my plans are focused “doing what God wants”. This doesn’t remove the need to have plans and to make lists and to be diligent in doing the things that God places in our lives to be done. Rather it takes away the guilt of not doing everything that is on the list. For example, yesterday I had 4or 5 things on the list that “had to be completed”

We are leaving today for 4 days to go to Southern Ontario to visit with our son Kevin who is flying in for interviews (more on that later) so there was some urgency to get those things done – However, something came up about my Dad’s health and I needed to go to his place and talk to the nurse who comes in every month or so to check on him. Then when I returned our friends Dave & Maxine from Red Rock phoned—they were in town on their way home after the Christmas break. Clearly, visiting with them for a couple of hours was more important than anything else on the list that plan. By the end of the day I had done a lot—but only completed half the list – but instead of being ”put out” and stressed because of the things that didn’t get done I was at peace because I realized that I wasn’t in control of circumstances and (by and large) I felt I my response to the choices placed in front of me were based on listening to the master’s call rather than my own selfish will.

I find this is a difficult thing to express without sounding trite, preachy or self-assured—but I do believe there is something real happening in my approach to “planning my day” –I pray it will continue). I titled this post January thaw because that is what we are experiencing. It has been a very unusual December and January so far. In late November - early January we got a lot of snow and it seemed like we were in for a major winter. Then just before Christmas we had a short thaw and a couple of days of rain. Then we had snow again and it had accumulated to around 2 ft (75 cm) on our lawn –with healthy snow banks. Since last Friday is has been above zero and raining a lot—and this morning our yard is bare.

I don’t know if this strange weather patterns are part of global warming (although I suspect they are) but they certainly make changes in our living patterns. It is difficult to know what to wear when you are going outside and difficult to plan for trips. I see these changing weather patterns as a metaphor for our lives as we grasp what it really means to surrender to Jesus, It is out of our control, it will have a variable patterns, sometimes change is imperceptible, sometimes it seems dramatic, we can resist it effects by hunkering down in the comfort of our homes, our cars and other buildings, we can complain and be frustrated because it isn’t what we expect or what we want or we can seize the opportunity to live our lives no matter what comes by adapting our clothing and our activities to suit the weather. It was strange having a raincoat and umbrella trying to avoid the downpour as we walked to a neighbor’s house for a New Year’s neighbor hood gathering last evening but it was better to do that than to stay home.

I haven’t been doing much “blog-hopping” recently but I did receive an email from my niece Lene and she has started a blog mostly to post pictures of her 2 lovely daughters (Click HERE)

Well, I have to finish getting ready for our trip.
God Bless


preacherman said...

I am glad your thawing out.
It is warm here in Tx.
Near 75 yesterday.
I hope and pray all is going well with you brother.
In Him,
Kinney Mabry

Neva said...

Safe passage my brother!

Glad to see you are all well!


ROD said...

Oswald is one of my favorites.

Dee O'Neil Andrews said...

Missing you, Charlie!

Much love,