Five Minute Friday: Fly

Fly

Gentle Reader,

A bit of business: There will be no new content – Facebook page, newsletter, posts – from June 10 – June 16. I’m headed to the coast to celebrate 12 years of marriage. I thought about scheduling some things, but then I’d have to get online to share those things via social media, and I really, really want to be completely unplugged for a whole week. More than that, I need to be unplugged for a whole week. So I’ll catch you on Tuesday, June 19, for some chit-chat about The Beatles.

Kate says: fly.

Go.

I hate flying.

I was 16 the first time I hopped on a plane. The ride was less than an hour, but I was pretty sure I was going to die. My dad told me later that all the color drained from my face and he was concerned that I would pass out. All by myself, in a tin can of terror, surrounded by people I didn’t know who might want to talk to me. It was terrible. I buried my head in a book and prayed that nobody would notice me. And that the engine wouldn’t catch fire.

Several years passed before I flew again. Chris took me to Alaska to meet his family. When we arrived in Anchorage, we had to transfer to a small commuter plane to get to his hometown. (By small, I mean seats less than 20 people). The crew left our luggage behind because the plane was too heavy due to a load of fish – and transporting the fish was way more important than me having pajamas. As we barely skimmed over the tops of trees and narrowly missed crashing into mountains, I was again convinced that death was immanent.

The worst, by far, was the 17-plus hour ride to London. Do you have any idea how freaky it is to fly over the North Pole? All kinds of existential questions assaulted me – Who am I? Why am I here? Can polar bears jump high enough to reach the plane? What time is it when you’re standing at the North Pole? I’m going to die, aren’t I? Add in a screaming baby and a husband who needs to stretch his legs and can’t and I was not happy, in any way.

But then…

The destination is reached and the horror of flight quickly fades. It was worth pushing through the fear to visit my aunt and uncle for a week, worth meeting Chris’ family, certainly worth visiting Buckingham Palace.

I think that applies to life, too. Sometimes it sucks. It hurts. It’s scary. But for those whose faith is in the Risen Savior, the destination will blot out all heartache over the journey.

Stop.

Signature

SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWSLETTER, REST STOPS ALONG THE WAY. PONDERINGS AND PUPPY VIDEOS DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX EACH SATURDAY(ISH).
Advertisements

Five Minute Friday on a Monday: Return

Unknown

Gentle Reader,

I was cranky last week. Anvils hammered in my head. Had a “crying mad” moment over something. Opening the laptop to chat with my blogging buddies simply didn’t happen. That’s life, I suppose. And so, this late entry.

Kate says: return.

Go.

I haven’t shared much about my attempt to read through the Bible this year. There’s the fear of sounding prideful – “Well, look at what I’m doing…” – and the fear of somehow jinxing the project – “Well, I told them about it and now I’m three weeks behind so I suck.” And to be real: I didn’t read my Bible last week. As stated above, I was in and out of a wicked headache and what I was feeling kept me from reading. Because that’s a spot that Satan loves to press; I’m feeling angry, condemned, so don’t read Scripture because that will make me feel worse because God, in reality, probably doesn’t like me very much.

Yes, I still struggle with that. Not as much as I used to, but I’m not yet free. I’d like to claim that I was, but does the world really need another liar?

Anyway, I’ve made my way to Job’s story, which I love. Many hate this book because there are no answers. We don’t get to know why God allowed Satan to wreak havoc in Job’s life. We don’t get to know why God chose to test his servant like that. Job is a mystery to us and we don’t like it. We want to be able to unravel the strands of human responsibility and Divine movements. We want to be able to say, “This is what and where and when and – most importantly – why.”

And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

– Job 1:21 (NKJV)

That’s a profound statement. This man has just lost everything. He doesn’t know why. He maintains his innocence and his devotion to God. He puts up with his probably well-intentioned but ultimately idiotic friends spouting hot air at him. In the end, he encounters God, who gives him no answers, instead expressing His majesty and sovereignty. In short and amazingly simple language, the message of Job’s life is: We don’t always get to know.

Will we keep trusting God?

Will we return to Him, over and over?

Stop.

Signature

SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWSLETTER, REST STOPS ALONG THE WAY. PONDERINGS AND PUPPY VIDEOS DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX EACH SATURDAY(ISH).

Five Minute Friday: Pause

Pause

Gentle Reader,

I don’t know how people go through life without dogs. Two little, fat, four-legged old men follow me around the house all day long. What are you doing?, they say, tails wagging. When will you take a nap so we can nap? Can I help (by getting right under your feet)? Is that cheese? Can I have some? Rough paws and soft fur and sandpaper tongues and snoring and belly rubs and sitting right next to me, pressed against my legs, because they just want me to know that everything is okay and we are safe.

God made plain His existence when He created dogs.

Kate says: pause.

Go.

This unnerving video made the rounds this week:

Those sounds will probably haunt your dreams tonight. You’re welcome.

Many have pointed out that this video is illustrative of many internet conversations. Everyone screams, nobody is heard. I’d remove the word “internet” from that sentence. How often do you come away from talking with someone with the sense that you haven’t been listened to at all? That the other was so wrapped up in making a point or defending a position that he couldn’t see any validity in what you were saying?

It’s frustrating. Depressing.

In order to listen, we have to pause. Stop our mouths from running for just a moment (a Herculean task) and really let someone else’s words break into our minds. We may not agree with what they’re saying. We may even disagree so strongly that the less refined versions of ourselves would body-slam that person. But we have to pause. We have to give others the respect of hearing them out. Because we want it. We want to be heard. We want to know that others will take the time to listen.

Practice the pause in conversation. Lean forward a little. Pay attention to the words, the tone, the body language. Ask for clarification instead of making assumptions. Remind yourself that you don’t know everything and you can always learn from anyone with whom you interact. Give people the space to speak.

Because you need it, too.

Stop.

Signature

SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWSLETTER, REST STOPS ALONG THE WAY. PONDERINGS AND PUPPY VIDEOS DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX EACH SATURDAY(ISH).

Five Minute Friday: Secret

Reach

Gentle Reader,

It’s been a month since I last participated in Five Minute Friday. Missed the chat tonight because I put off exercising until 5:15 p.m., which I rarely do, because as much as I hate mornings, I hate exercising at night even more. As often as I’m able, I roll out of bed, slide my feet into my shoes and get the job done. The sweaty, annoying job.

So. Anyway.

Kate says: secret.

Go.

I am not a health nut.

When I talk about my exercise schedule or the way I have to eat (which is pretty much vegan at this point), some assume that I’m an amazing gym rat or that I spend my days crafting fabulous, quinoa-based recipes. No. Not at all. Not true.

What I am is a lazy junk-food addict. I love Pepsi, chips, cookies, Arby’s and bacon. I don’t like getting up and doing burpees or hefting weights above my head. I want to binge-watch Netflix all day while sitting in a barrel full of Doritos. I want to take as many naps as possible. I want to become one with the couch. If I believed in spirit animals, mine would be the sloth.

So what’s my secret? How did I manage to change my diet? How do I keep up with the exercise?

There is no secret.

Taking care of our bodies to the best of our abilities falls under the realm of stewardship. We don’t own these flesh-tents. God made them. They belong to Him, just as our hearts, souls and minds do. Being the humans we are, we easily slide toward laziness, as I do, or toward obsession, spending hours and dollars crafting the “perfect” body because we hope that a beautiful outer package will fill the inner void. Neither is healthy.

Stewarding our bodies really is as simple as “eat less, move more.” We don’t like hearing that. We want the quick fix. We want the diet fad. Having to make deep, lasting lifestyle changes? #nothanks

So if there is no secret, and the route to success is truly simple, why is it so hard? Why do I (and maybe you) have so much trouble aligning our attitudes, thoughts and desires with the actions we know we must take?

Because we forget the spiritual aspect.

…let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

– Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)

This verse is eschatological. Paul draws us to keep our eyes on what lies ahead, knowing that serving Jesus now is worth every effort and toil because in the end we will receive the great reward of being with Him, face-to-face. There is a broader principle, though: sowing and reaping. In verse eight,

…he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

– (NKJV)

Again, eschatological and broad. We have everlasting life by “sowing to the Spirit,” meaning placing our faith in the saving grace of Christ. But the kingdom is not just “then.” It is also “now,” within us, by the indwelling of the Spirit. We are to live as people who see things differently, who comprehend a new reality.

So I pray, Jesus, help me. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to make a salad. I don’t want to do push-ups. You’ve got to enable me to do good. You’ve got to empower me to listen to the Spirit instead of myself. 

And He does.

Stop.

Signature

SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWSLETTER, REST STOPS ALONG THE WAY. PONDERINGS AND PUPPY VIDEOS DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX EACH SATURDAY(ISH).