Tag Archives: lent
When coughing, sniffling and feeling overall yukky, just sitting in a chair and watching your preacher on TV (plus a few others), a few movies and a couple of your favorite TV shows seems like a very good idea.
Have I mentioned that I hate being sick?
I had all these plans for the weekend. A weekend in the high 50’s, bright sun, Carolina blue sky and perfect for getting those early spring clean-up/planting chores on the road to completion – not to mention a few lazy turns on the patio swing.
Have I mentioned that I really hate being sick?
So – here I am on a totally “nothing accomplished at all” Sunday night, drinking my cabernet, munching on a cracker or two while a warm cat sits on my lap loving me in her own special way.
That is when it happens.
In the sweetest way ever.
I laugh and
Sit down in the middle of doing nothing
Until I realize –
I may not have accomplished anything this weekend,
but He accomplished a whole lot in me.
We just need to…
Be slowed down.
Slowed to a bumpy stop…
And notice how broken our path has become.
Coughing out the gunk that has accumulated,
Blowing the stuffiness that clogs our thoughts,
And looking up
It’s not our world or our plans…
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”~Jn 3:16-17
I’m still blowing the gunk out of my way,
Rubbing Vick’s on my feet,
But somehow –
Feeling a whole lot better as I look at my hiking shoes.
If I don’t quite get those shoes on tomorrow,
It just means I have another day.
Another day to be still.
Another day to listen.
Another day for my Father’s voice to speak.
Another day to be loved unconditionally.
Despite my broken path,
Despite clogged ears,
Despite my near-sightedness,
Despite my whining.
I am His.
Can’t say I love the way He knocked me off my path this weekend, but as a teacher in this world, I understand teaching methods that work the best often are the ones that force us to find our knees and lean on a Rock in a dark garden. A Rock that is ever so much stronger than we are.
It is what it is. We are a stubborn lot, afterall.
We just have to remember the Voice that continues to seek companionship as He wait to walk with us in His garden.I may still be coughing, but His voice caught my attention. I will get to tending my earthly garden eventually. The yard will get cleaned eventually. And Shadow-Spooky-Sparkle will – eventually – get off my lap so I can get up and go to bed.
This broken path can be smoothed and straightened.
This cold and brain fog will dissipate in the Sonshine.
His WORD, love and grace is eternal.
Easter is just around His corner –
We just have to roll away a few stones.
“Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
Guard the bed that I lay on.
Two to guard and to pray
And me to wake at break of day.”
[personal photo – Golden book of Hymns, c. 1950]
Advent lights are all put away for now. Spring is supposed to be in the air, but right now – not so much. The gas log are on, the small heater is pumping out heat and my hands are curled into the sleeves of my sweatshirt…when I’m not typing. Feels like I should be putting candles in the window instead of taking them out of the window. Errrr….
Cold weather makes me very lazy. All I want to do is curl up with a blankie, a book, and my babies…well…not all the babies. Big Lab girls cut off the circulation in my legs if they sit on my lap for more than a minute or two. Luckily, Shadow-Spooky-Sparkle cat wanted to cuddle tonight, and I could tuck my hands under her for extra warmth. Awwe….
I really shouldn’t be whining. After all, when there are earthquakes in Colorado, snowstorms north and east of us, tornadoes to the south of us, I should be able to handle a couple of nights in the mid-30’s. Errrr…
“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”~Matt 26:41
Sometimes I just have to remind myself to get up and move in the Awesome Spirit of GOD instead of being content to sit in the Whining Spirit of the World. So tonight I took myself back to the piano. Played some of my favorite songs and hymns, letting the melodies and the memories swirl around me like a warm blanket. Awwe…
“[The Lord] loves, and cares, and sympathizes, and understands, and seeks, and saves, and forgives, and helps, and encourages, and walks by our side… taking care of us in life when we can’t take care of ourselves.”~W. A. Criswell
The Advent lights may all be packed away. There may be a deep chill in the air. There may even be storms wreaking havoc on all my horizons. But – and this may be the “Awwe” part of this “Fat Tuesday” insight so read this slowly:
GOD’S GOT THIS!!
Ponderings His WORD…
Feet walking His path…
Following His Light…
Singing His Praise.
“…And I’m going there to see my Saviour,
to sing His praise forevermore.
I’m only going over Jordan,
I’m going home; I’m going home.”~“Wayfaring Stranger” 1935 [google images]
“HE can turn the tides and calm the angry sea.
HE alone decides who writes a symphony.
HE lights every star that makes the darkness bright’
HE keeps watch all through each long and lonely night.”
The wonderful thing about having the house and time to myself is digging into some of my stacks of sheet music and sitting down at the piano. The fingers are not so limber these days. The mono-vision contacts sometimes cause a blurry second or two as I turn a page. The voice is not consistent – some days good – some days cracky – some days not there at all. And yet – once the fingers begin the familiar chords, the body relaxes and joy radiates from the inside out.
“HE still finds the time to hear a child’s first prayer;
Saint or sinner calls and always finds Him there
Though it makes Him sad to see the way we live,
HE’ll always say “I forgive”.
The other night, I stumbled across one of mom’s old songs. It was in Reader’s Digest Faith Songs, but it wasn’t the same as I remembered. The harmonizing power and sequences were missing from that digested form. So I got up and started digging into a stack of sheet music that I hadn’t pulled out in years. Songs my mother sang. Songs I played for her when she sang at different venues. Songs I played so often that I could see the cover page in my mind almost 60 years later.
“HE can touch a tree and turn the leaves to gold.
HE knows every lie that you and I have told.
Though it makes him sad to see the way we live,
HE’ll always say, “I forgive.”
This is also the time of year when I begin pulling the candles out of the windows and putting them away until next Halloween. The batteries have been slowly dying as if they have known all along that Lent is almost here. One candle a day until the windows are bare. A rainy week makes it even bleaker as night closes in, and the windows no longer flicker their meager light into a world that grows darker and darker – in more ways than one.
“HE can grant a wish,
Or make a dream come true.
HE can paint the clouds,
And turn the gray to blue.”
Rabbi Yeshua knew Darkness well. HE knew his children stumbled in darkness. HE knew they also trembled in darkness. But fear not – HE also remembered the beautiful world that HE had created. The world that was meant to be full of Light for the children His Father loved beyond compare. So HE prepared the world for this darkness. HE presented His lit candles to shine in eye-windows of His People’s world, and then offered them to all the people who wanted to light a candle in His name.
Light in the face of Darkness.
Light that reflects on all it touches.
Light that shines even brighter with His Word.
“HE alone knows where
To find the rainbow’s end.
HE alone can see
What lies beyond the bend.”
Before HE touched the tree, He knew the end. HE had already looked around the bend as HE shined His Light even brighter.
I tried to remember that tonight as I removed the first candle from my windows and later as I sang this old song. It is still raining and not a star in sight. Darkness has gathered and hovers close as I walk the dogs one last time. My feet stumble a little. My trembles curl my toes in my shoes. I feel His sadness within my own tonight. And yet – I fear not – even though HE knows every lie, every dark spot in my life, HE has already seen around the bend. His Grace lights my steps and I do no fear.
HE has already prepared us.
HE has presented the Light.
He has put down the Darkness.
He has pour out His Light upon us.
“HE can touch a tree
And turn the leaves to gold.
HE knows every lie
That you and I have told.
Though it makes Him sad to see the way we live,
HE’ll always says, “I’ll forgive.”~Songwriters: Jack Richards / Richard Mullan
For the past few months, we have not been able to figure out why the dogs go crazy when we let them out at night. They run into the side yard and start barking. The youngster, torn ACL completely forgotten, runs into the woods and comes back with the biggest smile on her face.
One of my friends came over last night and as we sat outside, kitties started appearing at our feet. One, two, three – We petted them and enjoyed their company as we talked. Later, I remained outside for a little bit and started counting again. There was a herd of kitties.
Our yard was a kitty amusement park.
You see – I haven’t taken down my last Christmas light that shines into our woods. It is one of those star projectors with dancing red and green lights. They roam all over the trees, bushes, shed and grass right off our porch. Hubby and I enjoy watching those silly lights bounce around. Apparently, the kitties do, too.
So last night, I spent some time watching kitties run hither and yon while pouncing on every light they could see. Laughter gurgled. I closed my eyes and let the little kitties tamp down the sadness of our broken world and resurrect that peace that the Shepherd always brings.
It is in the little things, right?
“He made everything beautiful in its time.”~Ecc 3:11
Prayer doesn’t come easy for me. Since I was little, I haven’t felt like I am good at it. My mind skips around to everything under the sun except being still. It even as the audacity to yak at me when I already told it a thousand time to shut up because I need to listen. Even after reading tons of – alright – maybe not tons – – but quite a few – devotionals on how to pray, I still end up with a stumbling tongue and a frustrated head.
It is then – in that choice moment – that I start giving thanks.
Thanks for a stumbling tongue that makes me work a little harder.
Thanks for role models in my life who can string pearls as they pray.
Thanks for the WORD who lifts me up from my bruised knees by His grace.
Thanks to the Holy Spirit who groans – probably with a chuckle at how often she has to jump in for me – speaking the words I cannot find.
Thanks for a millisecond of quiet from my brain every now and then when I can hear My Shepherd call my name.
Thanks for a Savior who carved my true name in the palm of His hand and cradles me when there is sadness beyond explanation.
Thanks for the little things.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”~Phil 4:6-9
Tiny black notebooks don’t stay tiny for long. Just like all other baby critters, a notebook can grow with a life all unto itself. Stuffed into whatever corner of light found in my varied classrooms, that tiny notebook flourished. Over the years it became stuffed with teaching ideas, notes from students, a few stories/poems that students gave me to keep, very few pictures, and even fewer pieces of my own writing (believe it or not, this writing teacher needs to write with her students), that notebook grew into one larger version after another.
In other words: one glorious treasure chest of memories.
Not sure what started me on this journey today. Had no plans to dig into this particular treasure chest. After all, my room is still cluttered with enough stuff that I need to organize from my mom’s last box of memories. But there I was my hand resting on a black notebook that had been stuck totally in a back corner of my photo closet with no other explanation except that a breadcrumb had landed on it and caught my eye.
I sighed and pulled it out. Papers stuck in between pages fluttered to the floor, and I laughed. What else can you do when there is some paczki sitting in my fridge on King’s Day or Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras or Carnival or whatever you want to call the day before Lent? You stuff your face with one kind of sweetness and fill your eyes with another kind – sweet memories.
One of the things that fell to the floor was a Peanuts cartoon. Linus holding his blanket. Bossy Lucy sitting in front of the TV. A sigh hanging between them. I remembered this cartoon and a note from a student back in 2000 saying they thought of me when they read it. I smiled and I sighed.
“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.”
It is the beginning of Lent. The symbolic remembrance of a singular journey. A day when a young Rabbi arose before daybreak to walk into the darkness. A custom that started his day and ended his day. A whispered prayer that started and ended each day for him and all the generations of Jews before and after him.
“She-ma yisrael, adonai eloheinu, adonai echad…”
Hear O’ Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One…
Alone time with his Father before he woke the others. A time of reflection. A time to look deep within himself and out over the countryside that waited for his first step. And somewhere deep inside me, I think, he smiled, took a deep breath and sighed.
The Father knew what was in the heart of his son on that first day. That day when Yeshua turned his feet towards Jerusalem. He knew the humanness that pulled at his first born. He knew the atrocities that lived in the heart of His other children. He knew of the love and repentance of others. And – perhaps – like His son – He, too, breathed deeply and sighed.
Two sighs united in eternity. Two hearts beating in two different realms. A Father – – A Son singing notes that could not be expressed in words until the Holy Spirit harmonized with them. A single note with all the harmonics of the universe blended into one focused purpose. A trinity united for one purpose – Grace began its journey toward Jerusalem in that breath – that sigh.
Valentines Day seems to be the perfect day to start Lent. Whether we give something up or give something away or give of ourselves to others, Lent is an active choice of Love enacted in life. A time to set our sights on Jerusalem, take a step into the darkness and pray for strength to walk forward in a timeless sigh towards Grace.
“And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.”~Rm 8:26-30 [google image]
Today I ventured out into the world beyond our quirky house. Seeing as how Hubby doesn’t like to grocery shop, and my slight flu/cold/whatever virus was somewhat better, I ditched the comfy clothes and headed out to see if the world-beyond-our-neighborhood had changed.
Lucky for me – it had not, and I found plenty of good food with relative ease. Not so lucky for me is I was really, really tired when I came home and have felt kind of crappy ever since (so much for the virus being completely gone). Lucky for me, I will get good night’s sleep and wake up feeling even better.
Like usual, when I am tired and wanting to crawl into a fetal posture to recover but can’t because I’m still 20 minutes from home, I distract myself with mind explorations of things that have been at the back of the filing cabinet of consciousness. Like: I wonder what it was like for Yeshua in those missing years.
It is one of those questions that has been around for a very long time, and I’m sure that I’m not the first one to ponder it. The first time I remember thinking about it was in my pre-teen bedroom. Beside my canopy bed was a night stand. On that nightstand, sat a tri-fold cardboard “stain glass altar” that I made one year in Summer Community Bible school. In front of it, I set my childhood Bible. And – at some point or another – I found this verse.
“But Yeshua was growing in his stature and in his wisdom and in favor with God and the children of men.” ~Lk 2:52
And here we are some 55+ years later, and I am still wondering and trying to picture it. We know he grew in stature. Did he have best buds that he hung out with after he worked all day with the wood? Did they laugh and joke? Hang out somewhere and eat? After all it said he grew in favor “with the children of men.”
Was it irony or a mystery that his hands grew strong, calloused, scarred as he worked with wood? Shaping it. Sanding it. Spending time to find the beauty that it held inside. Wood that would eventually bare the stains of his blood and hold the nails that pierced those same hands and feet?
Did he find the pleasure that a fur-baby can bring in this life with nearby shepherds or a dog that cuddled by his side at night? Did he laugh with his family daily? Did he shake with grief or indecision when his earthly father grew sick? Was he tempted to stop it? Did his family ask?
Did he dance at weddings? Sing while he was working? Pray constantly? Lay back in the grass on a Sabbath and rest in blessing of the day? Play jokes on his younger sibs or friends?
We know from his experience at the temple when he was 12 that his wisdom was manifesting even at that age. Did he continue to debate with the rabbis in Galliee? Did people seek him out even before he declared his ministry? Did he struggle with illness, fear, love?
There are so many nuances to life. Yeshua – a name that comes from the base word, yasha, which means “to save, help, defend, preserve, to make free, attain victory, heal, or bring to safety”, had many nuances. He was God. He was man. He was born of woman. He experienced life with all its complexities, sorrows and joys.
Love wondering and someday – I hope to ask Him, face-to-face, but tonight – I think I am saying prayers, curling into my pillow and putting all these questions out of my mind. Because – like David – I know:
“I waited patiently for the LORD;
He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
He set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the LORD
and put their trust in Him.” ~Ps 40:1-3
It is 21 days till Easter. 21 days of a journey left. 21 days to follow a path. 21 days till the stone exploded, breaking the binds that tethered it to an earthly kingdom and releasing the radiant light of Grace from the spiritual kingdom.
For the past few weeks, I have not written much. Instead, everyday I have been reading, walking, observing, writing, praying, and drawing a small inked cross on the inside of my wrist. I didn’t think of this idea myself. One of my favorite authors has been doing this on a regular basis for a while now, Ann Voskamp. She talks about it in her book, The Broken Way.
At first, I wondered why she would do this. What possible difference in a spiritual walk could a tiny, inked cross on a wrist do for anyone? Yet, during this Lenten walk, I have noticed a difference. A difference that – perhaps – is more on the inside of me than the physical ink on the inside of a wrist. However, true to my silly Gemini self, that ink is often different colors. One color layered on top of another on some days. Other days, completely washed away by the blessed business of the day.
There is a path just down from our house that our neighbors have given me permission to walk. The dogs and I love it. There are no cars or even so much of the sound of cars, lots of smells, lots of deer prints, and I’m sure a few snakes in the grass that I hope I never see. (Lucky for me, the dogs always run ahead of me.)
As the temperatures warmed, the grass began to appear until it has become a green carpet that pulls us forward every time we walk. Trees and tall grasses from a not too distant past line its edges. Occasionally, a fallen branch from a recent storm also lie beneath our feet waiting to trip us up. Further up the way, there are other vestiges of an older life as well. Man-made reminders of that which was: large trees around a yard of a small deserted cabin, a log shed, horse-pulled tools now covered by weeds, a small, empty water trough.
As always, I wonder about the people who walked these lands before me. Indians, slave, indentured servants, landowner. I wonder and in some weird strange way, find myself praying for them as they walked these lands.
The cross on my wrist catches my eyes as I switch the button on the camera in my phone. For a minute my breath catches, “Baruch Hashem Adonai,” I whisper, “Blessed Be the Name of the LORD.” Koey sniffs the scent of something and is off running. Ryndi rolls in the leaves and tall grass for the umpteenth time. All, just reminders that this world is temporary, and all our education, ownership, accomplishments are -eventually – just “dust in the wind”.
Baruch is the Hebrew word that means “to bless”. It also means “to kneel”. When God sent His Son to walk a footpath on this earth, He knelt in front of all humanity. He squeezed the limitless into a limited body. He folded His greatest sacrifice into His greatest blessing and laid it on the path for all to find.
Easter. Grace. Salvation.
“Therefore strengthen your hands and set your shaky knees firmly. Make straight paths for your feet, that the lame member may not fail, but that it may be healed.”~Heb 12:12-13
My knees don’t bend so well anymore, but there are times when I force them because I can’t imagine not kneeling when His presence is so close. Tonight, it is warm in our house. The cross on the inside of my wrist is faded and fuzzy. My eyes are hurting as I try to hold them open for a few more minutes. It was a warm day in NC and when you have a bit of a fever, the house feels even warmer. But – it has been a blessed day. A day to sacrifice a little. A day to sleep a lot more than usual. A day to whisper a few more times, in thankfulness for these 21 days, “Baruch Hashem Adonai.”
Today was the absolute, perfect nap day. The book I am reading was almost finished. The dogs were already curled up on the sunny deck. Me? I thought about going out and curling up in the sunshine, but it was just too chilly. High 50’s and a consistent breeze are really not conducive to a restful nap.
I usually don’t take naps during the day, but a cold has been trying to grab hold of me, so I didn’t go anywhere today. I slept a little later this morning and decided to pamper myself with essential oils and sleep. After all, if the dogs could do it, so could I. I traipsed around the house, but we don’t really have a sunny window area, so I just curled up in my chair.
Luckily for me, I can fall asleep at the drop of my eyelids. Often, short prayers will dash past my lips, blips of stories might also drift through or perhaps, or a lullaby of songs may carry me off to sleep. Today, just the notes of a song did the trick. No words. Just notes. When I woke up, the words of that song had made their way to the forefront of my mind.
Stretching, I sat up and realized it was the first Christmas song I had ever learned that sang me to sleep and woke me up. However, it was not the first verse that most of us sing routinely, but the last verse that was singing through my mind.
“Be with me Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay….”
The dogs came running in from the deck. When I looked at the clock, I knew why they were bouncing and smiling at me. It was supper time and heaven forbid, if I am ever late in getting it into their bowls. As they munched away. I started preparing our human meal for the evening as I sang the words softly to myself.
“Close by me forever and love me, I pray…”
The nap was a good thing. The blessing of the song was the best thing. I’ve been thinking about it all night and wondering why it was that song and that verse. Lent is generally a time when people “sacrifice” something they love in honor of what Christ “sacrificed” for all of us. Last year and this year, I’ve kind of walked away from that.
I’ve been reading a book by Anne Voskamp, The Broken Way. In one chapter she quotes an Auschwitz survivor and author, Viktor Frankl. Man’s search for the meaning of life become clear when it “…points, and is directed to, something, or something other than oneself…by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love.” p.92
Such a perfect description of Christ’s journey on earth. Every step He took for three years was devoted to pointing exactly towards how to find our meaning for life. We were created in His image. A Father who completely empties His bucket out for those He created. A Father who continues to seek the lost sheep. A Father who sent His Son to point the way.
“Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care…”
So this Lenten cycle, I am trying to pour out my bucket for those who have been placed in my pasture. Writing letters to shut ins. Giving time to others. Crocheting more prayer shawls for those in need. Scrounging change out of the dusty corners to share with groups that I admire. Praying more than I ever knew was possible. And still, there are a couple of other things I want to try, but until I do them, they are just ideas, and I haven’t really emptied my bucket.
Lent is a time to direct our steps just as Christ directed his steps towards Jerusalem. I’m not sure where this journey will lead me. I’m just focusing my steps day-by-day. Today, they led me to a nap, a Christmas song, and bouncing, smiling dogs who are now curled in their beds. Hmmmm….I think it is time to join them an listen to my lullabye one more time.
“And take us to heaven to live with Thee there
And take us to heaven to live with Thee there.”
The winds pushed through the warm house carrying the constant, varied notes of the multiple wind chimes that encircle our quirky home. When the hail began to pelt the tender plants trying to arise from their winter brokenness, the fearless labs suddenly wanted to be under my feet. Thunder boomers gave way to brilliant flashes, and I looked outside at the early darkness.
The ashes of a day drawing to a close.
The period of time when a man pulled his mantle about him and began the final portion of his own days on earth. He knew what lay ahead. Perhaps not the exact ways, hows or wherefores. After all, He was still a man, and it was imperative that the perfect lamb be a lamb of this world in all ways The Spirit of the Father rested within the mantle of Rabbi Yeshua’s shell for the past three years and he pulled it physically and spiritually close around him as he turned his feet towards Jerusalem.
The Holy Spirit of God on earth – outside the tent of the temple – inside the soul of a man.
The storm has passed by our house tonight. The wind has gentled and only an occasional note blows through my open window. The fearless girls have drifted back to their beds and the ashes of my day are dwindling down to just a few tiny pieces.
As always I wish I could have been a bug on his shoulder, a child at his feet, a flower that he picked to give to a friend. To hear. To see. To sit at his feet. To feel his hand on my head as he prayed for a field full of seekers. A rabbi full of wisdom and the Spirt of His Father.
The Bible describes some creations that surround the throne of God praying and praising continuously. I used to wonder, ‘Wouldn’t that get boring?’ Wisdom whispers, ‘Wrong’. And I laugh. There is evolution in all things. Learning. Sharing. Praising. Knowing.
When the perfect lamb walked towards Jerusalem, he understood that the curtains would be torn and the outer doors of the court would open on their own as a testimony to all who had eyes to see and ears to listen. No longer would the Spirit of the Father be separate. No longer would they stand outside the golden doors waiting for priests to open them. No longer would a curtain separate them from the Holy of Holies.
Rabbi Yeshua wore his mantle and talked to the disciples of things they did not understand yet, but they would. He did miracles that they could not do, but they would. He told them to be salt in the earth, and they would. He talked about not faltering, and they didn’t. He talked about sharing love, and they went into the world and changed it forever.
As the Perfect Lamb made his way towards Jerusalem, he knew that the ashes of the sacrificial fires would be blown into the annuals of His-story and used only as a reminder of his last journey. Dark ashes spread across the forehead. Dark ashes that speak of an ending. Dark ashes that show the remnants of a dying former life before the glorious birth of a new day – a new covenant.
Tonight as I wash my face, I will remember. I will pray.for understanding. Pray for miracles that are yet to come. Pray to be salt. Pray that I don’t falter. Pray that I continue to share love and change the world in His holy name. Blessings!Be!
“Look at my servant, whom I strengthen.
He is my chosen one, who pleases me.
I have put my Spirit upon him.
He will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout
or raise his voice in public.
He will not crush the weakest reed
or put out a flickering candle.
He will bring justice to all who have been wronged.
He will not falter or lose heart
until justice prevails throughout the earth.
Even distant lands beyond the sea will wait for his instruction”~Is 42:1-4
“As I’ve gotten older, I realize I’m certain of only two things.
Days that begin with rowing on a lake are better than days that do not.
Second a man ‘s character is his fate.
And, as a student of history, I find this hard to refute.
For most of us, our stories can be written long before we die.
There are exceptions among the great men of history,…
but they are rare, and I am not one of them.
I am a teacher… simply that.” Wm. Hundert, The Emperor’s Club
I haven’t written for awhile. Craziness of moving. Unpacking boxes. Finding new homes for old familiar treasures. Walking the land. Planning unseen gardens. Waiting.
It is often harder to wait than it is to do.
After watching an OSU victory in March madness, hubby fell asleep, and I decided to watch a 2002 movie: “The Emperor’s Club”. I’m glad I did – it got me out of my tired funk of moving this, picturing that, wondering if I will ever see the top of my desk – seriously – ever again. Instead, it got me thinking about the Teacher who guides my life.
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” — Proverbs 19:21
Students swarmed around me as the spring sunshine warmed the top of our heads and the breeze blew dust in our eyes.Their stories bouncing off my ears as I tried to keep track of 60 moving bodies and monitoring the drama of the day so it didn’t escalate into warring factions of tears and anger.
From the beginning monologue to the ending one, Wm. Hundert (Kevin Kline) got me thinking. It will probably keep me thinking. I took a break this past month from teaching. I haven’t written birthday blessings. I haven’t gone out of my way to listen to those around me. I haven’t invested myself in what I am supposed to do – teach.
El has a way of bringing wisdom to the forefront of my mind when I am in open rebellion and taking backward steps. It is Lent, yet here I was,doing what comes easily – straying into old habits of procrastination and excuses that I was so good at in my youth. I guess old ways never truly leave, they just wait to re-emerge in our weakness.
In this fourth week of Lent, the bowl I had wanted to fill with all my talents sits on my baker’s shelf – almost empty. My Bible has gathered dust of a different kind this past month and my heart is so heavy that I just sit on the path with my head in my hands.
Which brings me to the final monologue of the movie I watched tonight. “The worth of a life is not determined by a single failure or a solitary success…” Teachers are not perfect – save One. Yet – even He allowed us to see His weakness. His sadness. His tiredness. His sweating of blood. His prayers. His total surrender to the holy will of the One who loves us best. [Matt 26:36-56]
A Teacher – in all ways – simply that…
Sometimes we fail. We fail ourselves. We fail our students. But part of a true teacher’s journey is to share our failures as well as the successes. We tend to think we will look weak if we share those things that are not perfect. However, we learn from empty bowls as well as from full bowls. And if we are lucky, we gather the wisdom stones that we tripped over, push ourselves into a standing position or at least to our knees, and begin our forward journey once again.
“However much we stumble,it is a teacher’s burden – always to hope that with learning, a boy’s character might be changed.And, so, the destiny of a man.” Wm Hundert, The Emperor’s Club