Why and Who

14 08 2017

The two of us were in his shop surrounded by woodworking tools, piles of wood and several projects in various stages of completion. The man of her dreams and partner for life was in a hospital bed some 50 miles away after suffering his second stroke. The prognosis for a return to his shop and projects was not promising.

In retirement he had found a source of income to supplement a modest retirement check and they had been able to spend their days together in their mom and pop business, actually, more accurately stated, my mom’s and pop’s business.

The unfinished projects paled in comparison with the unanswered questions. We would finish the projects and deliver the cabinets and other items promised. The upcoming craft fair we could manage and the balance of the wood and tools would wait anticipating their master’s return to use or shape  into something of service.

However, the question was as present as a ticking clock marks the agonizing movement of seconds in a night of bad dreams. The deafening tick, tick, tick of the clock whose hands never seem to move and a dawn seems to never come.

Then she asked it. I must confess to being surprised by the question.

I had heard the stories of her father’s untimely death in her early teens, the struggles of the Great Depression, a husband away at war half a world away with a daughter to raise alone. I had seen first hand her hard work in a cotton mill, the garden and around the house; I knew she knew the harsh reality that life is hard. I also knew she was a person of faith; a faith that had sustained her in bleak times.

“What did your father and I do that was so bad that God would do this to us”, asked my mother.

I was taken aback at the thought that God would single her or my father out to visit some wrath on them and that she took it so personally.

My first response was one from the head. “Mama, there might be lots of reasons for daddy’s stroke; genes, diet, lifestyle and who knows what else but I don’t think God just singled him out to punish you or him. Sometimes bad things happen.” The words seemed to fall at her feet.

Grief was searching for meaning. That is the way life works.  Sometimes trying to make sense of the senseless makes one a bit crazy.

That conversation came to mind recently when  someone wanted to tell me how much she missed her good friend.

I gave all the right “head” answers. But the pain in her eyes wasn’t coming from the grey matter behind them. The hurt originated from about a foot below, from a broken heart. My words littered the floor like shredded paper.

Maybe a reason the head keeps asking, “Why” is to keep us from going spiritually and emotionally mad. If we could only make sense of it all. But eventually we come to the realization that is maddening to try to figure it all out. The most honest answer we can offer is, ”I don’t know. But I trust.”

I think the mind finds some freedom in that and I am sure it is of comfort to a shattered heart. I do not remember where I read this but it is written on my soul with indelible ink, “When you can not understand the mind of God, trust His heart.”

This is the heart of Jesus who wept at Lazarus grave, forgave and ate will sinners, lifted up the downtrodden, restored sight to the blind and gave spiritual insight to open hearts,  loved all, defeated death, and gave new life.

Life will surely leave us with a growing list of questions beginning with, “ Why”. So, in those moments, turn to the “ Who”, and trust His heart.

John Greenleaf Whittier wrote of God,

“I know not what the future hath
Of marvel or surprise,
Assured alone that life and death
His mercy underlies.

I know not where his islands lift
Their fronded palms in air;
I only know I cannot drift
Beyond his love and care.”

From where I sit, That is Good News! Praying for all to have closer walk with The Who of life as we wrestle with the Whys.

Agape,’

Rob

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Giving Up to Take In.

18 02 2015

Today is Shrove Tuesday, aka Fat Tuesday. Tomorrow Christians all around the globe will begin the Season of Lent. Lent lasts for 40 days, excluding Sundays.

In the tradition of cleaning out the cabinet of those food items I will abstain from enjoying these next 40 days, I ate waffles with syrup. I am also cleaning out my calendar as I am also taking my last look at Facebook for a season.

I am sure none of my friends will miss my occasional posts. I will miss keeping up with the dessert recipes and game requests (not really)! I will miss the pictures of friends and the comments of encouragement that often fill my pages. I am not sure how I will make it through Lent without Godvine or videos of puppies. 🙂

What I will not miss are  posts and repost that are less-than-kind. This Facebook experience has taught me that I have ” friends” that are very diverse.

IMG_1038appreciate each opinion, free speech and all – well… most of them. But I want a break.  I think I will just unplug.

The main reason is that I want to do something else with the time I spend on Facebook. I want to re-use that time, take on a new practice. Staying connected seems right. So, I decided to take on praying for my Facebook friends,  all of them. Note: While this was something I felt led to do,  an internet search revealed I am not the first to pray for Facebook friends.

Now before you think me overly pious, I have less than 250 Facebook friends. This is a small number in Facebook Land. I am not sure how this will work. Maybe I will get through the list once a day. Maybe it will take a week or more. I plan on praying daily as the Spirit leads and give the Spirit time each day to lead.

So, I guess I am giving up and taking on my Facebook friends; exchanging one medium for another.
Perhaps you might look at those friends listed on your page and join in this journey of prayer. It is not necessary to give up reading or posting to pray for those persons whose names pop up when you click the Friends tab. That just seems the right choice for me.

If you are willing to join me, please let me know by commenting.  Imagine what might happen if we prayed for our Facebook friends!  Think of the cultural, economic, racial, political, religious and a myriad of other divides we might bridge. Tell them about it, if you want. They may have friends they wish to pray for, too. Or not. Personal choice.

Wishing you a Holy Lent.

The Lord be with you. And also with you.

Let us pray….