Friday, March 14, 2014

Sabbatical again (on purpose this time)

For several years I’ve made sporadic efforts at resuming a consistent effort at blogging. Last year my “excuse” for  this failure was  the fallout from heart surgery in February.    

This year I don’t have any real reason other than a lack of  discipline to make this an important part of each day. 

Recently, I had been musing on the question of whether my “close encounter with death” had  resulted in any permanent changes in attitude and behavior.

I have concluded that there is very little “dramatic” change – probably because, for many years,  (in general) I have been pursuing  the idea  described in a blog post a couple of weeks ago that

“We should not wait for (or expect)  a major event to cause changes that make our lives better change to fully live"  because  Christ gives us the ability to change to live fully in whatever circumstances exist in our life."

I have been aware for a long time  of a number of “deficiencies”   in my attitudes and behaviors that have limited  my relationships and ability to break free  from my worldly nature and  be transformed by the renewal of your  (my) mind, that by testing you  (I)may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2

I have  (through faith) been making  efforts to allow the transforming nature of the Spirit work on me.  These deeply ingrained behaviors do not die easily and there is often  a lot of “2steps forward – 1 step back” and even on occasion “1 Step forward – 2 steps back”. Of course, significant “trauma” can serve to bring these things into focus and provide a renewed commitment to change  but, if dramatic change were “easy”,  it is likely  I would already have made those changes. 

So I conclude  that  there is no “Damascus road” change  in my attitudes of behaviors.

Having said that  after 1 year I  see the following  “long term” changes

1.     I am less obsessive about my failures to follow through on “big ideas”. For example, in the past I would beat up on myself and neglect other important things to chase a “dream” such as developing a “meaningful” blog  with connections to a  community of bloggers with a similar focus and  writings that had  meaning and worth to a group of readers.  And in this obsessive pursuit I would in fact  fail  and the  ripple effect of neglecting other things would  create a huge depressing ring of failures.

Today I can accept I’m simply not ready to do that and let it go until such a time as I believe I am ready to  dedicate the time needed and in doing  that I am remaining more focused on other important things and reducing that sense of “never getting anything completed”.

2.   I am more prone to depression and procrastination. I don’t know whether it is a lack of energy as a residual effect of the surgery (in which case  this may  get better); the  long, brutal winter (in which case spring will help) or if it is the other side of the  coin from point 1 – namely, a bit of “what’s the use”; I can’t do all the  things I dream of so I’ll just sit around and read and play games because those give immediate “wins” (but in the long run are depressing way to live).

In any case  I’m going to take a "sabbatical"  “sign off”  for an indeterminate period. (and I hope it doesn't mean that I'll take this a permission to just lie around :))

 This is a change since previously I've  more or less just stopped without any acknowledgement that I was doing so .

Perhaps at some point  I will  see a way clear to  dedicate  time  to a “purposeful” blog and will resume again

God Bless "until we meet again"

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Change is a process

A little over a year ago I  had open heart surgery to replace  a “badly stenosed” aortic valve. 
In  the past three weeks,  I have been  reflecting on "how has this changed me?". (or has it changed me in any significant way?).
So far the  conversation has been pretty erratic.
I started with the question(s)

  1. Has this  "near death" experience has  resulted in any significant and permanent change in my life. 
  2. Why or why not?
  3.  How does this relate to the changes we might see in the lifes of those who - through faith -  are seeking to have their lives transformed by the Spirit (cf. Rom. 12:2)   Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind
So far I really haven’t addressed those questions.
Instead I’ve stated that this  “life event” has  renewed my  a desire to  live by 3 key principles

  1. I will live today in the moment.
  2.  I will live today as if it were my last day here on this earth  and
  3.  I will dream and plan today for tomorrow because  
(“Today is the first day of the rest of my life; I will rejoice and be glad in it”   (cf. Psalm 118:24-KJV).)
I’ve  talked about  the types of change (mostly negative) that “people” often experience post surgery
I’ve  referred to a U-Tube video  by Scott Hamilton describing how  health problems have  brought him to a deep(er) faith and trust in God.
I’ve reflected  on a  statement by a friend of mine to ask the question
Do we   need to wait for a major event to cause changes that make our lives better change to fully live" or  does  Christ give us the ability to change to live fully in whatever circumstances exist in our life?
I have asked “Have I changed?”  (and concluded that  there hadn’t been much)

And last time I reflected on the “Serenity Prayer” and Change.
I have done this  “review”  for my own benefit – as a way of trying to  put  some structure and purpose into this meandering “stream”
As a colleague at work used to say to me when I  rambling on  pursuing a bunch of ideas  "all at once"   “Charlie – is there a caboose to this train?” 

(In fact I guess I’m asking is there even a train?”   I hope so – we’ll see.)

One thing that I was reminded of is the saying "Change is a process not an event" -- and so perhaps the "train"  (change) needs some "tracks" (process) before it can be  put together in a meaningful way

God Bless