When You’ve Realized You’ve Lost It

How often do you lose something?  Misplace or simply forget where you put that item?  Or has someone moved it? You tear through your possessions, hidey-holes, and seek out corners you haven’t graced with your presence in years?

Sunday, my beloved decided the ceiling fan, purchased last spring, would finally be installed in our living room.  As he dragged in the ladder and assembled all expected tools, he asked, “Have you seen that silver box I sat on the kitchen counter?”

“What does it look like?”  I scratch my head, mentally rummaging through where I might have placed the piles of nuts, bolts, wadded scraps of paper, etc, that land on my kitchen counter after he comes in the door.

“Well, it’s yea tall and yea wide.”  (This is oilfield-ese for:  the dimensions of anything  from the size of a roll of electrical tape to a 20 foot tank battery.)  With the benefit of descriptive hand gestures, I translate the box is 3 inches by 3 inches.   Of course, it  must be found. It is a critical piece, the base for the fixture to attach to.

“When did you set it here?”

“Well, I brought it home from the hardware store, probably two weeks ago.”

I had to have had the most dumbfounded look.  A lot has gone on in my kitchen in that time period.  Not only normal use, like fixing meals, but when our grand baby came to visit, half the town trooped through.  And, remember the little cousins, who created all sorts of masterpieces with the home-made play dough I cranked out to entertain them?

The kitchen is our home’s hub—you can’t just lay something down and expect it still to be there two weeks later.

The kicker is: This isn’t our first rodeo.  Yep, it’s been repeated  for over 30 years, but thankfully, the occurrences have tapered off with time.

But, guess who is guilty as well.  There are times I gallivant through life and set God on the counter.  I blaze through my days with courtesy prayers and great intentions to get back to Him at a more convenient time.

Then, when I slow down and sort through the chaos, I panic, expecting our relationship to pick up right where I left it.

But, the stuff life is made of has cluttered me up during my furlough, requiring me to back up and humbly seek Him with all my heart before I can sense the attachment to Him.

Nevertheless, He is always waiting—ready for me to miss him enough to come flying back—hoping the frustrating occurrences will taper off in time.

So how amazing is his love? –Always yea high and yea wide.

But when he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.  Luke 15:20

photo credit: http://getsocialwithamy.com

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“You Are So Not Cool!”–So Not Crushed.

 

When’s the last time you were informed that you weren’t cool? Or un-swagalious, as I hear in the halls of the Jr./Sr. High School.

For the first time in over a decade, I’m back to roaming the halls as a para-professional.  A helper to those who need a little extra attention.  If a hand goes up, I try to help–if I can get 32 year old cobwebs sucked out of my brain’s dusty corners.  Besides these kiddos are much farther down the learning road than I was at their age.  With teacher edition textbooks in hand, I try to re-learn  to pass the information on in a way they will understand. I highlight, encourage, and try to relieve their frustration.

But I won’t serve up the answers Ala Carte.  Nope.  That wouldn’t help them understand what is being taught.

One student, a master at scrappling for answers however he can, tries everything to sucker me in.  I am in awe of his skills and have no doubt he will figure out life–maybe just not the conventional way.  The other day, I was anticipating him trying to slip me a 20 for the study guide key. He’d found himself on an isolated information island.  No lifelines, no phone-the-friend-sitting-with-one-chair-between them, no under the table options.

Only me.

As he tried to exhaust every facet of his charm, I painstakingly explained to him how this and that worked together, and pointed him to tap into his vast storehouse of common sense to land at the solutions.

Finally, in frustration he blurts to a buddy, “Mrs. Long is not cool.  She won’t give me the answers.”

I laughed an evil little chuckle, “I have four kids, that for more years than you have been alive, repeatedly tell me that I’m not cool.”  Finishing in my best staccato robot voice, “Your powers are useless against me.”

Though highly disappointed, he understood and even grinned a bit.

How many times have I worked harder at sliding around the hard lessons God has put in my life, than simply buckling down and letting him guide me through?  And to think He’s even provided me with the Teacher’s manual, sometimes opening it to the exact highlighted passage I needed. Why, oh why do I not learn this?

I can tell you: When we depend on ‘us’, oh my stars, why wouldn’t we give up and try securing solutions wherever we can pluck them from?

But when humbly focused on Him, Psalm 119:92-93 says “If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.  I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life.”

Lord, thank you for your love and patience in dealing with our hard-headed ways–your powers never useless against us.

Photo credit: http://images.zaazu.com/img/Cool-cool-shades-composure-smiley-emoticon-000322-medium.gif

You’re As Young As You Feel. Wanna Feel?

Going into Jones Drug Store meant being greeted by a joy filled character named Marge.  Her raspy Okie accent never failed  to rattle out a good hearted chuckle from even the sourest customers.

 Like clockwork one day, a particularly stuffy gentleman came in, complaining of yet another malady. She countered  him with “You’re as young as you feel,” and then stuck her arm over the counter, “You wanna feel?”   From his expression, she was sure he suffered a stroke between the Lucky Tiger Hair Tonic and Jeane Nate’ cologne displays. 

So, how old do you feel?   Is it defined by a date on the calendar?  Or is it the promised aches and pains that come with age?  Is it the cute little neighbor boy that is now the father of a senior in high school?  Or for folks, like me on the brink of the half-century mark, the greeting of the AARP card in the mail?

Last Thursday I arrived at the 50 year mark, that I was convinced a decade or two ago, would be impossible to hit.  The Grim Reaper surely would target me, and if not him, at least Arthur Ritis. 

But instead this season is the best kept secret around.  I love this gig!  I find myself saying “Why not?” a lot more to things I’ve shelved on life’s layaway plan for eons, and  I’m cooler with being the individual God created me to be. 

And why sweat the small stuff anymore?  It’s not worth the effort and only breeds more problems.  The dash of well wrestled wisdom is a great consolation prize. 

Now there’s still a bushel basket full of molding and shaping that needs done. And I’m definitely learning what an intricate machine this body is, but in the end this life will onlybe a vapor.  A poof.  Why not smile and rest in the one who knows our days?

John the Beloved, that disciple who insisted he won the race against Peter to Jesus’s empty tomb, was actually the winner of another race.  As his brother’s in the faith journey were quickly being picked off–one by one—in the most gruesome fashions, John had to have wondered when his hourglass would run out.  Come on, Peter was the Rock, unshakable.  If the anchor of the gang was expendable, then the title “Beloved’ wouldn’t mean when it came to surviving.

Instead, God snapped his fingers in front of John’s eyes, capturing his attention with a glorious plan to come.  Always a disciple at heart, John adjusted his focus and probably wore out a Patmonian Thesaurus or two, trying to encapsulate the mind blowing vision God trusted only him with.  

Old, grizzled John, who Christ’s foes shelved on the exile layaway plan. Oh my, what an unbelievable stroke of genius. 

A specifically seasoned vessel to pass on a faith altering revelation.

So the next time I’m working in sophomore geography class and the topic lands on Mt. St. Helens, I can’t get blue because those kids weren’t even born when it blew—nor was the teacher! 

I can proudly say I’m older than a world transforming volcano.  

No matter what our age, do you suppose that’s why God keeps us around?  To transform the world with the eruption with His love?  We’re as young as He wants us to be.  If we are willing to embrace His attitude.

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.  Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.  Psalm 90:12,14

PS- For the record, AARP forgot me!  Crack me up!

 Photo credit: http://1271292044_a-happy-thebeautybrains.com

Special note to all of  you who read the blogpost last week.  After hitting Freshly Pressed, it brought in 1132 reads (and counting) in at least 13 countries.  Talk about greatly humbled…and an extra special God-kiss since it all transpired on my 50th birthday.