Friday, October 24, 2008

P4E.091 A Fork in the Road

It feels so much like I, personally, and we, as a country, are standing at a fork in the road...

There's many expressions for this place. A "fork in the road." A "pregnant pause." Standing "on the brink." "Hanging in the balance." "Holding your breath." "Look before you leap." The "suspense is killing me." I wish I could "see what's coming around the bend." I'm "waiting for the other shoe to drop." It's the "calm before the storm."

It's that place where potential energy has built to a climax and we're "filled with anticipation" as to how it's going to be released. Everything seems "on hold," waiting for some known, or unknown, occurrence to trigger or precipitate action.

I / We are approaching what could be an epochal event which, I believe, will mark the start of a new era. I can feel the anticipation of it. With regard to the country, it seems plain that around half of the people will be disappointed and the other half will be elated with the outcome. What will we do with that disappointment? What will we do with the exultation of success? Personally, there is an anxiousness that will not go away until that precipitating event occurs. It's a place of great expectations and great anxiety.

Charles Dickens opened his classic "A Tale of Two Cities," about the French Revolution, with this famous line:

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way."

That's the way I feel right now. Like I'm standing at a fork in the road. Should I / we go left? Or should I / we go right? High or low? In any case, I / we will soon stop "sitting on the fence" and "either fish or cut bait."

Only time will tell...

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." The Apostle Paul to the Romans

Guard your heart, Kim

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

P4E.090 Perspective Redux

Sometimes problems that look big ARE, in fact, big.

On September 1st, a friend's son woke up "to realize he could not move the left side of his body. He has developed a tumor in the front right side of his brain. The tumor caused major brain swelling and a stroke which is what led to the paralysis. He began to re-gain some use of his body and the doctors were waiting for the swelling to go down before going in to remove the tumor. They put him on assisted breathing to help him relax to make the swelling go down faster. He has also been heavily medicated because of the tremendous pain in his head...(He) is only 24 years old and is very healthy. He does not drink or smoke or do drugs. He works very very hard to provide for his family. He is scheduled to get married on Sep. 23rd. Doctors say that working 100 hour weeks and planning a wedding is the ammo for the tumor and trigger for the strokes."

I saw my friend last Friday. His son is still in the hospital and his condition has gone up and down since the initial stroke. He has been fully aware of some very painful procedures that have had to be performed without anesthetics. My friend shook my hand, gave me a hug and thanked me for all the prayers. He seemed so strong and up beat. I had to swallow hard to keep the lump in my throat down and blinked away tears that started to form.

I know that they say that God gives you strength to endure hardships and that at a certain point you realize you have no choice but to go on. I wonder about myself... My two older sons are right in the same age range, 23 and 26.

For now, I continue to pray for my friend's son, I say to myself "There, but for the grace of God, go I," and I try to keep my own problems in perspective. I'm going to Christ to keep from feeling overwhelmed and to remain strong for those closest to me who are counting on me.

God help me.

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."

Peace, Kim

Thursday, October 9, 2008

P4E.089 Perspective

"He's got the whole world in His hands
He's got the whole world in His hands
He's got the whole world in His hands
He's got the whole world in His hands"
Traditional Spiritual

Over the last few nights, the Moon appears to be losing the race with Jupiter across the southern sky. A few nights ago, Jupiter hung beautifully just above the half Moon. A few nights later, Jupiter appeared to be "preceding" the moon and last night Jupiter was far ahead of the Moon as they made their way from east to west in the southern night sky.

I say "appeared" because these nighttime observations and the words we use to describe them are based on one perspective, as we "see" them from the Earth. Looked at another way, the Moon and Jupiter don't "move" across the night sky, they come into and out of our view as the Earth turns.

To us, the Moon looks much larger and brighter than Jupiter. Yet, Jupiter is approximately 64,000 times bigger than our Moon. It looks like a pinpoint of light by comparison to the Moon because it is over 1600 times further away from the Earth than the Moon is. Neither of these heavenly bodies "emit" light, they are both reflecting light from our own Sun.

Because of the distance from the Earth to the Moon and from the Earth to Jupiter we are actually seeing a reflection of light from the past. It takes the reflected light only around 1.2 seconds to get from the Moon to the Earth. But, it takes over 43 minutes for reflected light to get from Jupiter to the Earth. So, we never see the "actual" relationship between Jupiter and the Moon at any given moment.

Why do I bring this up? The stock market in plunging, the economy is worrisome, there's war, and there's an important election coming up. I'm searching for new tools to address my anxious nature so that I don't continue to disappoint those closest to me. I know that answers lie in His Word and Creation.

I'm realizing that I have a microscopic, singular, point of view on my problems and worries. If I could only learn to get out of myself and move away from my circumstances and see them from a different perspective, I wouldn't be so consumed and affected by them. Being able to see my circumstances in 3 or 4 dimensions would put them in a different light. Maybe the problems I see as "big" are really small. And, maybe those that appear "minor" are, in fact, huge. Maybe all of my problems and worries are small when I consider the One who made and is saving me.

"Do not be anxious then, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we clothe ourselves?'" "…But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Matthew 6: 31, 33, 34

Peace, Kim

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

P4E.088 Disappointed

"Something is not right with me,
Something is not right with me,
Something is not right with me,
How was I supposed to know?

Something is not right with me,
Something is not right with me,
Something is not right with me,
Trying not to let it show..."

Cold War Kids

Have you ever disappointed a loved one? Have you ever known that you were performing below a loved one's expectations and then had her point it out? What was your response? I wonder if it was like mine. I felt defensive. Yes, even though I knew I was underperforming, I was defensive. Even though I knew I was wrong, I didn't like it when my wrong attitude was pointed out to me.

That's how strong the flesh is. I was mulling it in my mind. I tried not to let it show. But, Gwen caught it just the same. She asked me if I was mad that she had told me she was disappointed. Busted! I sighed and said, "No, not mad. Discouraged." I could understand and maybe even deal with Gwen being mad at me for underperforming. But, disappointed! There's no quick fix for disappointment. There's loss of trust and respect. You don't earn that back overnight. It felt like I'd lost a costly battle and it was going to take a lot of energy, effort and time to win back hard fought ground.

It is going to take a lot of energy, effort, and time to win back hard fought ground. But, I know that the prize is worth it. I can win back trust by being consistently trustworthy. I can win back faith by being consistently faithful. I can win back optimism by being consistently optimistic. I can win back hope by being consistently hopeful. I can win back respect by consistently earning respect. I can win back encouragement by being consistently encouraging. I won't give up.

I also know that something is not right with me and that I need help to overcome my melancholy ways. I'm committing to getting that help.

I want to make sure that I don't come off as someone who's "getting it." I truly am going through a trough in my attitude, marriage and ways. It's been a rough last few months. I am always profoundly affected by work and money issues. Personal issues get compounded by work and money issues. I'm asking for your thoughts and prayers. Thanks!

Peace, Kim