06 December 2011

Compared to what?

Remember as kids making claims such as, "our car is so old" or "these clothes are completely out of style," or "we never get to do anything fun?"

Today I had the pleasure of meeting with a former school mate--actually a classmate of one of my sisters--who contacted me because of her experience with a car crash several years ago. She lives within 15 minutes of me and we are facebook friends. Perhaps with any significant experience, it helps to associate with those who have similar encounters. The conversation flows with more mutual understanding and includes fewer lengthy explanations. Yet there are intuitive moments of deep connection. Freedom flows from such connections. What a healing, grace filled gift!

Two things especially resonated with me today. As she recalled her own accident, she said, "we see God in all the small things. He is in the small things. Of course he is in big things, too, but how many of those do we really have in our lives?" It is the multiplied consistency of ordinary, small and faithful moves that continue to build our trust in this powerful, ever present God. I needed that reminder.

Secondly, she reminded me of some of her own coping patterns for fears and fragile moments. For me, right now, driving in the rain provokes vulnerable and frenetic fears absolutely unfamiliar to me, almost to the point of complete panic. I know this will lessen and subside. Her experience led her to recount scriptures and phrases of such certainty that she offered them as an offering and declaration in her desperate moments. My methods pale in scope and depth. But her challenge and encouragement ring in my spirit.

In my memory of these childhood complaints, an offered response was sometimes, "as compared to what?" That is part of what I heard today, too. Things may not seem that great. Things may seem bleak. Fingers of despair creep into view.

But perspective and comparison shape new constructs and remind me to be thankful in even the smallest things. Compared to oodles of people, my life overflows with rich and abundant blessings. I expect moments of fear and discouragement, despite the acknowledgment of blessing. But I know God will grant the grace to move beyond fear and return to thanksgiving and trust.

21 November 2011

Hypothesis forming

I cannot prove this, but I desperately want it to be true:
Dogs need to be part of the kingdom of heaven.

They heal. They amuse. They sometimes frustrate. They accompany. They comfort. They beg. They play. And in the case of our dog, I would be remiss to not mention, they poop and pee.

One of the things I appreciate most about our dog is that he does not complain. When he is under the weather, he might not eat as much, but he does not whine or even really moan about anything. He still wags his tail. He still goes for walks.

I also appreciate how he keeps me company. He sits beside me and tends to follow me wherever I go. Yes, he is a bit needy sometimes, but for the most part, he simply is present and wants to be near me. As a result, his listening skills are also top notch. Really. An occasional interruption if he sees a squirrel or cat, but that is it. He simply hears what I say. He keeps advice giving to a minimum, too. It's remarkable.

Probably my favorite thing is how he greets me when I return home. He is ALWAYS waiting for me at the door and is always happy to see me. What a fabulous homecoming.

Yes, this dog, and probably yours, too, is an extension of grace in the midst of a sometimes cold world. I hope they are part of the kingdom of God to come, too!

14 November 2011

no easy answer

When I was unemployed a few years ago, it challenged me to respond to the question, "what do you do?" I began detesting meeting new people, which, is quite out of character for me, and imagined ways to avoid the question, much less the answer, at all costs.

Currently I am developing a similar aversion to the question of how am I doing. People mean well. It is a courtesy question, I know. Sometimes we do not even really spend the time to hear the answer. The easiest (most palatable?) and most acceptable reply is "good" or "okay." And whether people would admit this or not, I think people WANT that response. I do.

In my mind, really, I desperately want to be okay.
And for the most part, I am okay.
But there is a part of me that is off.

It is the part of me that absolutely panics when I pass another car, wondering if my car will swerve and nick even the slightest section of the car I am passing. It is the part of me that perspires because another car is speeding up to pull ahead of me only to brake and I anxiously wonder if my car will actually brake on time. It is the part of me that crumbles and cries because B mentions test driving another car and I realize again that "my" car is probably lost to me forever.

I am more comfortable when people are okay, or good. And honestly, I am more comfortable if I can honestly say okay or good myself.

But for now, I am not there. And I am going to have to be okay with that in order to move closer to "normal" if such a destination even exists! Yet another lesson in the time grace takes.

03 February 2011

Not gone yet

BLOGGING....I miss it!! If there was a way to blog by transmitting my thoughts from my car to the printed page, this blog will be updated daily. And perhaps there IS a way...but I do not have the capacity or technology to do so. Suffice it to say, I am blogging, constantly, in my very head. But I am not taking the time or using the energy to update it here. Obviously!!

In the category of best.gifts.ever, I will brag to say that last year, my dear husband gave me my favorite Christmas gift. It was the "izoom" pass for the toll road. That may seem pathetic, but on my drives from Indiana to Michigan and back again, it is a lovely thing. AND, it works when we go through the Chicago area tolls, too. I love it.

This year the favorite gift will become obvious as I share this story.
Last weekend we experienced tremendous snow and cold, again. It was very lovely, though, despite the frigid (for Indiana) temperatures. As I neared home, I dodged to avoid some ice/snow/car debris. I successfully missed one, but, alas, completely ran over the second deposit. This was literally a block from home.

An hour after I had returned home, as I walked back into the garage, I noticed that my tire was flat.
That is where my Christmas gift came into play. B called AAA (because he gave me roadside service for Christmas). AAA came and pumped up the tire. We scurried on the road to firestone where they determined the tire could not be saved. However, I had insurance on my tires. My only expense was paying the $11 insurance on my new tire.
Although I was sad the road debris "ruined" my tire, the Christmas gift, and the insurance on the tire, made for a potentially expensive day to turn out just right! Thank you B, and thank you Papa!

Now, that is grace!!