“A dog owns nothing yet is seldom dissatisfied.” Irish Proverb
Friday, May 20, 2011
Friday, May 13, 2011
The shirt draped over the fence for months, its color fading in the sunlight. As summer turned to fall, rain saturated the nondescript hue. Seasons changed, and the garment stuck like glue to the wood. After a year passed, the jokes began. “Hey dad, how long is your shirt going to stay on the fence?” Dad smirked along with us but didn’t remove the shirt. Through our kitchen window, we watched the fence begin to bend backwards like a person doing the limbo. It leaned until it broke, the shirt falling with it.
It’s not that Dad wasn’t a Mr. Fix-It Man; he was just too busy to complete the projects he began. Holding down a full-time job and being a full-time parent to three children kept him too pooped to even pick his shirt off the leaning fence. Taking kitchen doors off the cabinets took a fraction of the time it required to paint and put them back on. Consequently, projects remained unfinished.
I guess he was just too busy being a dad, coaching our basketball teams, attending our band and choir concerts, watching t-ball, volleyball and softball games, participating in daddy-daughter events and making pinewood derby cars with his son. Dad was the resident math homework expert and specialized in story problems which were my weak subject. He quickly became impatient with my confusion and almost shouted the problem. He seemed to think that the louder he read it, the more likely my brain would compute it. This rarely, if ever, worked.
Thirty years later, some things don’t change. My mom tells me that for almost a year, a cabinet door has been awaiting proper placement. Eventually, Dad will attach it, but it’ll be in his own timing. I married a guy just like that. He’s a fix-it-guy just like my dad, but he’s primarily a provider and a participating parent.
Several months ago, the canned lights in our bookshelf burn out. Hubby drives immediately to Lowe’s to purchase the products he needs to fix them. However, he soon determines that he needs something different to repair the lights which requires another trip to Lowe’s. The box of lights sit on the shelves for a month, then two, then three. I ask about the lights. “Hey, when do you think you’re going to fix those?” He doesn’t have time right then. I move the eye sore behind closed doors. Every so often, I ask about the lights—nicely, of course. He moves them back in his line of sight to remind him of a project still unfinished.
Other things seem to claim his attention: choir concerts, gymnastics meets, school carnivals, National Honor Society inductions, piano recitals, game nights with family. Meanwhile, the package sits, longing for the attention he’s giving to everyone else.
After months of no progress with the lights, I jokingly ask, “How long do you think those are going to sit there? I’m kind of tired of them sitting on that shelf.” I don’t understand why he doesn’t appreciate my comment. More days go by until one weekday evening, at 9:30 pm to be exact, hubby heads to the garage returning with the ladder. He sets it up and fiddles with some cords on top of the bookshelf, casually commenting on the exorbitant amount of dust accruing there.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Haven’t we all wished for wonder working power at some point? Hoping for life size Barbie dresses pales in comparison to being rescued from a crisis or a stinky season in my life. Wouldn’t it be nice if stores carried a magic potion that transported us to life without heartache and trouble? Life rarely happens exactly as we’ve planned it. Even our days are often replete with unplanned events. Just this morning lunch with a friend was moved back an hour and another appointment was cancelled. While this isn’t a catastrophe, many times life’s occurrences are. Tragedies can sideswipe us in the blink of an eye, a moment’s notice.
These Plan B’s as Pete Wilson calls them in his book titled Plan B, can either happen to us because of someone else’s choices or occur because of our own poor choices. Regardless of the reason, we must decide how we are going to react. Are we going to allow this situation to make us bitter or better? Most likely, these crises have the potential to bring us closer to Jesus, if we allow Him to transform us. The question is, will we let Him have access to our hearts?
Thinking we’ll travel through life with smooth sailing, following our to-do lists, is as likely as a year without rain in Seattle. I graduated with an English degree, planning to teach secondary students for the rest of my life. I taught for a few years and have been swabbing kitchen floors and doing laundry ever since. I never imagined I’d live anywhere else but the northwest side of the country. What am I doing in Indiana, where Hoosier Hysteria reigns, in a town I never even knew existed before 10 years ago? My plan also didn’t include getting divorced and being a single parent to two small children.
Many of us dream about a life of ease, with financial comforts, happy marriages and well-behaved kids. We work hard to fulfill our dreams, our plans, our desires, yet oftentimes neglect to commit those plans to God. Proverbs 16:9 says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” I like to plan my course; I just occasionally forget about God in doing so. I assume that God wants what I want for me. Yet, over the years, I’ve learned that He cares more about my character than my comfort.
It seems like God has allowed me to experience a lot of those character-building field trips. Going through a heart-wrenching divorce was the biggest by a mile. My plan was to stay married forever; divorce was never an option. But, unexpected circumstances caused such calamity that what I thought I’d never consider became a topic of conversation and then a reality. My dream shattered, my heart broken, tears flowing, I clung with dear life to my Savior, my Rescuer, my Protector. Psalm 126:5-6 says, “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.” I sowed a lot of seed during that period of time that reaped a harvest of joy years later.
Satan sought to destroy, derail and distract me with this tragedy, but God planned beauty, blessing and a bright future. I chose to believe in His goodness for me. There isn’t anything that happens to me that He doesn’t know about. A friend of mine once said, “It’s comforting to know that God knows my story. And, whether He allows something to happen or causes it, He will be with me. He must know I can handle it.”