Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Mammas and The Pappas got it right.

These short end-of-the-year days always make me feel hyper reflective. Perhaps it's the long stretch of hours after the sun goes down, or all of those year in review specials on TV. Either way, I am compelled to plot a new life for the coming year with an unrelenting drive like in March of the Penguins. They just kept pressing towards the spot where they always bred, stepping around their dead frozen friends and leaving food sources way behind. I'da stuck near the food if ya know what I mean.

But why this time of year? Why not obsess over renewal, say, in February? For Chinese New Year? Maybe it's because it doesn't feels like the death is fresh in February (instead we're well into the mourning period), but in late December it's easy to imagine the year circling the drain since all of nature seems to be.

So I buy a new planner and diligently fill in all the blanks. I never buy one of those refillable planners because I know my attention span may not make it past the Spring bulbs, more or less for years to come. Plus, it's exciting to buy a new one and I've found the selection of planners is pretty thin at Chinese New Year.

I am wildly uncomfortable with schedules yet enjoy writing events in my new planner, including events I do each week, as if I'm so busy I might forget. I will honestly write in "Church, 11 a.m." on Sunday morning just to put something on the page. But usually I forget to write down appointments and stuff, so I'll write it in after and then check it off as complete. I live a small life it would seem.

This year I reread the Chronicles of Narnia and was transfixed by the way Lewis wrote God into all of nature. It helped me visualize how nature yearns for the world to be made right and how if we Believers were to stop praising the goodness of God, the rocks would have to take over. (Luke 19:40) So right now, even as trees are stripped of their leaves and shrubs frostbitten melt away into mush, they are waiting for God to renew them as He always has. Oh crap. A sycamore tree has more faith than I do. Deep in it's roots are the memories of how God has always renewed no matter how bad the winter got. I can't seem to even remember how God helped me avoid that car accident yesterday.

Yet I am built for renewal as much as a pansy or a slime mold. My cells renew every six months, I am not the same as I was yesterday. (Totally stealing from Donald Miller here. Thanks buddy.) So why do I insist on believing that nothing ever changes in my life? And that this sliver of time is my only chance to lay the ground work for 2010? Maybe it is because I am built for renewal that I seek it. But no matter how I rearrange the trappings of my life, the ingredients remain the same. And let's be honest, they always will. I got what I got. The Creator of the universe, the Author of all things good choose me for this gig. Who am I to complain? It's not like He doesn't know what He's doing.

God is good. All the time. Because THAT is His nature.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

With deepest regrets...

I do apologize for my two month absence from this blog. Lame, I know. Much has happened and nothing much has happened. Just know my computer decided to take a prolonged nap (until I can afford to fix it) and so my access to the internet has been inconsistent. That is however a cheap excuse to cover the fact that I haven't wanted to blog. Mostly it's been a matter too little time and too much coming at me all at once to sort my thoughts out.

So why blog at all right? It's not a requirement in this post-modern world,is it? No, but I wonder if I might not have been benefiting by writing about my spiritual walk. Since I am feeling rather adrift from God right now, I thought I'd see if this helped.

Tonight, while driving from city x to city y (about 45 min) I was thinking about this past year. It was rough. If you recall, I had some drama with that atheist guy. My sister informed me today that his ex-wife and mother to his 7 yr old daughter died. That got me to thinking about the situation. It's hard to have compassion for someone and want to be kind to them without getting into that whole mess again. Even more so, how hard it must be to lose a parent with no hope of ever seeing them again or even knowing what will happen to you when you die. (Pray for your enemies, right?)

That lead me to think about my maternal grandmother who is failing physically, for no known reason. She knows Jesus and I think is anxious to finally get to see him. I can't blame her, sometimes I feel the same. She's been a major force in my life and I am not ready to go through the process of losing her.

I did end up going on mission to Kenya. I have virtually no idea how I feel about it, to be honest. God IS good, and was very very good to take me there. I just don't know how to feel about the spiritual aspects of the mission. It left me with a lot of doubt and confusion. I've had trouble explaining how I feel about the trip, especially since people had such high expectations, but the closest I've come so far to understanding what happened is this: the closer we grow to God, the more we realize how very far we are away from Him.