Monday, April 30, 2012

The Backups and Overflows of Life....

Nothing tests the resolve perhaps as much as an overflowing, plugged up, stinky toilet. Except, maybe 5 overflowing, plugged up, stinky toilets....and knowing that you can't do anything but wade into the fray to overcome the disaster. Even tools fail at some point and then you realize that where you are standing is not clean, what you are wearing is now not clean and your hands will never be quite the same again. In moments like these, perspective is in order...I remind myself that somewhere in the world, someone is drinking water that is dirtier than the stuff I am wading through. Someone else will die because of disease from water that is more polluted than that I am reaching into. I do have a shower, disinfectant, chemical cleaners, a nice fingernail brush and so get the idea. The crisis passes, the moment subsides (along with the fluid level in the drain line) and the future begins to look brighter. Of course, there is concern for how to resolve the future situations that may bring a repeat of today, but those are easily handled when not sloshing water out of a plugged bowl of suspect contents.
So is life! In the moments of great crisis, everything takes on a crappy color and much is viewed as contaminated, worthless and headed for the drain. Nothing seems to work, effort is rewarded by further dirtiness in almost every aspect of life. But even in those moments, there are great lessons to be learned; there is great potential for improvement, both personal and in the bigger picture and there is great opportunity to rise above the situation and find the confidence that God is still in control; He has never left; He is not unaware of what we face. It didn't take long after preaching about "in whatsoever state I am to be content", from Philippians 4:10-14, to be covered in the filth of a plugged sewer, overflowing bowls and no seeming way to handle the effluent that wouldn't stop. But in those moments, realizing that this is just life; this is to be expected, it was easy enough to push through and finish the job at hand. In the end, the level went down, the fixtures cleared and the future hold promise of no more problems. My shower was working, the water was hot and the soap plentiful. A few dedicated moments with the brush and even the fingernails were no longer suspect. Tomorrow holds a new plan and hopefully we'll never visit this adventure again on a Sunday afternoon. This was an E ticket ride I can pass on!! So finding myself in the Pauline state of abasement....well, actually it was a bit of abounding too, in a literal term of "overflowing", I found the same solution that he teaches the Philippian church about; God is God, still and always. He's never not in control, and all is well within His capabilities...question is: "will I trust Him". And I say, yes I will, for I have no other options; His Will is my will, His way is the way I want to be headed. I cannot see solutions for many of the other problems that have arisen and continue to multiply or morph almost daily...but I know Who I will trust that it will be worked out to His glory and that is my Savior and Lord Jesus!! Not sure the parallel of this story will adequately answer how the "stuff" of life is handled; in the case of the referenced event, it is much just drains away an decomposes out of sight. Not so lucky with the other "stuff" in town....but who knows, maybe someday it too will be done and gone. Till then, one word of caution and advice; it doesn't do any good to add paper to a plugged fixture. You will only guarantee a more solidly plugged fixture, not a properly functioning device. So is life, adding cover paper to the dirty messes, just creates a huge stack of stuck, dirty messes! Happy Plunging!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Incredible Peace among Turbulent Storms

Having the occasion, and using it well, to walk under the shade of the tall trees, next to the mirror glass waters of the ponds, I was reminded that in spite the incredible stillness and beauty of the immediate surroundings, a storm still rages outside the gate. Yet the choice to remain inside the comforting peace I have remains mine. I can carry that peace outside the gate, and into the storm or I can choose to "forget" what I have just been blessed with and focus on nothing but the storms that wait. I have no answers for the storms of this life, other than Jesus and He allows me to chose what I will take with me. Will I focus on the blustery wind of other's hate and indifference or will I keep the calm that He has given me in full measure? Will I allow the minute glance of a former acquaintance drive me towards despair with memories of all that used to be and what will probably never again be?  These are the choices I must make, and make well, for they hold the secret of success or depression; of victory or impending defeat of spirit. 
I glanced down along the edge of the pond and took in the sight of a beautiful rainbow trout, hovering in the crystal clear water, waiting for his next meal. He has spent his fall, winter and now the beginning of spring with the same focus; to find the next meal, to stay safe and to live his life. He probably knows nothing of the stock market or the economic failures of the day. He doesn't know who is hating who or who is pretending; especially as he has never faced a fishing lure in his lifetime. His knowledge or lack of knowledge doesn't change the intensity of the winter storms he faced, or the amount of snow, or the temperature of the water; he just knows he is hungry and must eat. So it should be in our lives. God has given everything we need, and will ever need in His will and in His time. It is up to us to CHOSE to keep our eyes on Him, to feast at His table, to meditate on His Word and to keep His will as ours. So does this example attempt to reduce our intellect to that of a fish? Not at all, but don't forget that Jesus used the illustration of a sparrow to remind the disciples that if His Father could (& does) care for the sparrow, how much more will He care for us. The issues of worry require feeding...choose this day which you will feed: the worry or the wealth of a Father who loves you and the future of what is True, Noble, Just, Pure, Lovely, of Good Report, with Virtue and is Praiseworthy!! Meditate on that, child of the King!!