Sunday, June 08, 2014

Sunday Afternoon Tea - My Bucket List is rather small

"May I a small house and a large garden have;
And a few friends, and many books, both true,
Both wise, and both delighted, too."
Abraham Cowley, "This Wish".

Sleep was just beginning to arrive last night, almost before I finished my evening prayers, for the steady rain outside the bedroom window acted as a lullaby.

It always does.

But the sound of an incoming text from where the cell phone sleeps each night, perched in a rose patterned fine china saucer, told me someone was talking to me at this late hour.

I must admit, my curiosity got the best of me so I attempted to read the text without the reading glasses.  The above picture was what I saw (this one "borrowed" from my son's Facebook account as I only have a flip top cell phone).

Below it was the statement that he had just finished kayaking in Trillium Lake and was now on his way to hike the foothills of Mt. Hood.  Right... just what a mother wants to read before falling off to sleep.  ;)

He has been on a business trip to Seattle but made arrangements to fly out of Portland so he could see his best friend, who recently moved to that area for a job offer.  I know climbing a mountain has been primary on his "Bucket List" for awhile, even if he will not be climbing far.

So... this morning I showed the photo to my husband who sighed and said that is on his bucket list, too.   Along with skydiving, parasailing, and a few other ridiculous adventures.

I reminded him of his age and the fact he has broken his collar bone already within the last few years.  That is what wives are for, you know.  It reminds me of Grandma Walton when she would shake her head and say, "Old fool".  But I digress...

This all got me to thinking about the difference between stomping one's foot in anger at God for their limitations... or accepting them graciously.  Now, I know there is a place for faith and I am always amazed and astounded at God's provision of finances, health, friendships, mercy, grace, etc.

But most people who live the real world have challenges and everyone has limitations.  No human has unlimited time, money, or energy.  We are a finite people who will not know infinity until we take off this earthly body and step into Eternity.

I do struggle with limitations at times.  It certainly sounded a bit snarky when I reminded Hubby that my current "Bucket List" was to be healthy enough to keep up with the house and garden.  Everything else is the proverbial icing on the cake.

But in truth, as I have progressed through the stages of chronic illness... the beginning of which is denial... I have learned the Truth found in the following Scripture:
I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.  Philippians 4:12 NASB
My theology is such that I truly, unwaveringly believe God is in control of all aspects of my life.  I don't think anything happens without Him knowing.  Now, I know some things may happen due to my neglect or making the wrong decision.  But I also know he "makes all things work together for my good" as I pray for His will to be accomplished.

I learned long ago the need to temper one's expectations with both faith and reality.  For instance, I push myself beyond what I think I can do at times.  Like when I travel to spend time with my daughter and her family.  Or when I felt horrible yesterday morning but went out to the garden to weed and water and trim and cut some apple mint for sun tea.

But I also give myself grace, knowing there are things I cannot push my way through. 

So what am I saying?  It is essential to our joy as well as our walk with God when we accept the limitations He allows in our lives.   Accepting comes a lot easier these days for two reasons.  

The first being that I have lived long enough to experience the Biblical progress of "Faith, Patience, Experience, Hope".  Because I have seen too many times that His answer to prayer was "no" but the end result... after long periods of waiting which may have involved stomping my foot and shouting at him... the result was often a good thing.

The second is this, when I accept the boundaries, then I can enjoy the blessings.  There is something about the limitations of health and finances that cause one to be fully thankful for what they have.  If that is our choice.

For you see, if you allow bitterness for what you do not have to permeate your life... you cannot possibly find joy in what you do have.  It is impossible to please God when you are shouting at him (even if it is only internally) that something is obviously wrong with Him because He has not answered your deepest desires.

Sometimes His answer is yes.  Sometimes it is later.  There are times in our life when His answer is No.  He always has a reason, even if we do not understand given our finite minds.  Do not let bitterness take hold or an unthankful heart become your new normal.  It is not Heaven, yet.  

Someday your deepest loveliest desires will all be met... or perhaps He has something even better on the horizon.  After all, the Word says He has planned something far beyond what we can ask or think.  Even for those of us who are really good at asking and thinking!



I like your balanced perspective.


Vee said...

Beautiful writing, Brenda. I understand your bucket list quite well. Love thinking about Christopher doing these wonderful things and I was really happy to read that he made a point of connecting with a friend. That speaks volumes about him. Hope that your "old fool" gets to realize some of his dreams, too. And it goes without saying that my prayer is for you to feel much better and to be able to tend your garden and home.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post and thank you for your blog. You are a blessing. :)

Ann said...

Oh my ... what a wonderful and timely post. I, too, deal with chronic pain from fibromyalgia and have learned to make the best of my limitations (although I am blessed with periods of healing). My oldest son who passed away a year ago this Father's Day was beset by many physical and mental challenges all of his life but he handled it with great patience and faith that God had a plan for his life and that in the Kingdom God would have something wonderful and useful for him to do. I learned to pray for his healing and to rejoice when there was just a respite of good health for him. He very seldom complained about what he called his "little life" since he often could not do very much and I learned a great deal about patience and faith as I walked with him through all his difficulties. I miss him terribly but I know he is at peace in the presence of the Father and he now has no more pain or sorrow or tears. May God bless both you and your husband with His healing and His peace.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I needed to hear that.

A lot of youthful dreams and wishes aren't very realistic and God was wise to say no.

Nadege said...

What can I say? You words have truly blessed many today. Just this morning I was shouting at God "internally" and moments later fell upon this post. Thank you yet again for reminding us that God truly is in control - you know not how many people you have blessed and uplifted today.

This will be posted on my fridge this week "when I accept boundaries, then I can enjoy blessings".

Meg said...

I couldn't help but think that God told His people in the desert to gather only what they would need for that day!

Mrs.Rabe said...

I've never really made a bucket list, though I got to go on a trip to Scotland last year that was part of my Dad's bucket list. I guess on my list would be a trip to England!

I'm praying that you're health will level out here soon and that you will be ready for your trip this summer! Those are the kinds of things to look forward too!

Good, good words, Brenda!


Marge said...

That was beautiful, Brenda. I love that Abraham Cowley quote.

ellen said...

As an Oregonian I loved seeing the picture of Mt Hood on your blog today. My husband and I were just at Trillium Lake last Saturday. I also love reading your blog.

Nana said...

Dearest Brenda;
Oh my, how do I tell you what a wonderful and blessed post this is! The Lord really has his hand upon you, even tho it may not feel like it. Do you realize how many people you bless with your blog? Many, many blessed souls have found peace and understanding thru your words. I pray you will find the health and strength to attend to your little space on this earth. May God bless you and yours. With much love and lots of hugs, Nana

Heather LeFebvre said...

A very good encouragement. I'm working through the limitations of having this thyroid disease and I feel like this year it has had me very low and now very high and I do not like the ups and downs. It sure does provide an opportunity for sanctification and I am working on accepting the fact that I might just have this struggle for a very long time......