Sunday, January 31, 2010
Sunday Afternoon Tea
My ponderings this week... other than how I appreciate my pillow and living room sofa as I nap off and on... have been many. Too much time on one's hands tend to lend themselves to thinking and it can be quite important to guard thoughts as one would lasso stray sheep or cattle... bringing them into the corral of thankfulness and grace... out of that part of our mind where such ponderings can stir long enough into fear, depression, and a cranky spirit.
I've mentioned before that... aside from the Psalms... one area of Scripture I return to quite often are the Letters to the Churches in Revelation. I can recall many years ago, reading through them and wondering why they were not talked about more from the pulpit (although since then I have heard excellent teaching). I love Scripture which tells us precisely what makes God happy and sad and angry and (hmmm... now I can see where I get emotions)... especially proud of us.
However, I believe for me these past years the most important lesson learned from these ancient Letters came in the words... "and he who overcomes". Life is not always easy, even in the best of circumstances. He who watches over our way knows we have something to overcome... to come over... the trail will be rocky and uncomfortable and at times we'll have to climb over great obstacles and forge through floods and stumbling around that which stands in our way to finishing well... He knows and He tells us in the ancient Letters that He is watching. To him who overcomes He gives... rewards.
St. Paul described life as a race and as he was coming to the end of his own time on this planet, he said he had run his race and finished well. He wasn't talking about a sprint. No... the man who began his life murdering the Faithful and ended it as the all time greatest missionary... he would tell you life is a marathon. Sometimes there are days and even entire seasons of life when we run on flat roads and the way is easy... and then we hit the hill(s). I have heard stories from those who ran the Boston Marathon of being fine until they hit "the hill".
One of the lessons learned (and there are many) from reading the writings of those who came before this generation... whether in literature such as I've been reading this past month or the biographies of the men and women of God who walked in past centuries... is an understanding that the road is difficult... more than our present day society and theology often preaches. They understood there is much to overcome along the way.
Rather than holding our breath and stomping our feet and telling God we're not going to play by the rules of a fallen world (as we think suffering is for someone else but not us), we can hold on to God's promises in the Word to either cure us, feed us, provide for us... or give us grace to walk the path. He wants us to understand it is not Heaven, yet... we are not Home. I think Christians in past centuries understood that more than we do these days.
As for me, my desire is to remain faithful even when there are days one must stay on the sofa with fatigue and at times... pain. It has taken me awhile to learn to accept these days and use them for what they can be... a time of reading and planning and thinking and pondering and having pen and paper handy to write down ideas.
I will come away from this past week, not only with a "to do" list of those household chores which did not get done... but new recipes to try which were gleaned from a cookbook and online, a couple of decorating ideas, plans for the spring garden, and books read which fed the soul... hours spent thinking of creating beauty instead of that which was not being accomplished.