Saturday, October 18, 2014

Autumn. Fall. Any other name, might smell as sweet.

The genuine colors of fall.

Music wafting through the air,  like comfortable and familiar memories.

Books. Books that walk the tightrope between tragic and lovely. Books that open a chasm, a craving for words.

Smooth, rich, sweet honey. Dripping gently, soaking softly, sticking determinedly.

Cider thick with flavor and warmth. Comforting cider on the early-morning drive to work.

Sitting, whispering, talking, giggling with sisters home for a visit.

Autumn, the poetic and sing-song name. Fall, the casual and trite name. Connotation is incredible. Roses might smell the same even if they had an ugly, disagreeable name-- but would we approach them for the smelling?

Cleaning nooks and crannies, diligently. On a mission to avoid grading, avoid bedtime, avoid the busy next day.

But always the brisk air, the sky crowded out by clouds, the leaves cut off from water and falling from the trees. Expendable leaves. Always the sweaters and scarves, the thick leg-warmers and wool socks. Always the ticking of time, the predictable switch of seasons, the patterns. The patterns that, year by year, look a little new and a little familiar.

We know what comes next in this pattern: figid air, snow, Christmas.
But it's not here yet. Don't let this present pattern piece pass before squeezing out every single thing it has to offer.

Don't ignore this autumn.



Monday, September 29, 2014

Using your Eyes

I haven't seen a Blue-jay in months, until the other day. Because I hadin't been looking. Well, now I'm looking.
real-life sunsets

fall-shaped sugar cookies

Doctor Who magnets 

sewing project

a settled morning mist

Saturday, September 20, 2014

An Elijah Complex

Christians who feel like they are all alone in their convictions or their devoutness to God have the Elijah Complex. I've had it before-- and maybe you have, too. Or perhaps, ironically, I am all alone in this.

This Elijah Complex, this sense that you are unique in your level of commitment or concern, is not healthy for the body or for the soul. It leads to discouragement, a mixture of depression and despair, and complaints to others and to God.

Elijah had thought he was alone, too. He complained to God about it: "I've been so devoted to you, God! " I'm paraphrasing. " But these people, they threw you away, and killed everyone who stood up for you. Now there's only me and they're out to get me, too" (1 Kings 19:14/ Romans 11:3). God wasn't too impressed.

Not only is this complex unhealthy, it is a lie.
Sorry: you're not as alone as you feared/hoped.

Take a God-eye view of your situation and realize you are not alone, and be encouraged that God has preserved others, somewhere. In Elijah's time, God had preserved 7,000 others who had stayed devoted. The knowledge that you are not alone, that God has preserved others, even if you never see or meet them, and that he will in fact preserve you, too, leads to determination and endurance.

So don't give up. Listen to God's gentle whisper, and endure with confidence.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Simplicity

The simple life has its roots in obedience.

Our lives-- at least, my life -- gets chaotic when we pile up clutter. Too many things to do, think about, and fix. Too many irons in the fire, not enough focus. And a lack of obedience to God.

I've posted about obeying immediately, completely, and without complaint before, and I want to take it a step farther because I'm learning that obedience simplifies life.

I tend to try to think things through before I act on what God seems to be telling me to do. I try to think it through, to figure it out, even talk God out of asking me to do something so out of my comfort zone. Some of the time I do obey, and some of the time I miss the opportunity.

This summer I heard a sermon on Luke 17:1-19. This section is divided into four, and I usually read it as such. But this pastor connected the dots, contrasting the disciples with some lepers. See, Jesus tells the disciples to rebuke the brother that sins, forgive the brother that repents, and continue forgiving even if they keep sinning. Their response? "Increase our faith!" or, "I don't know if I can do that!". But when Jesus tells the 10 lepers to go show themselves to the priests, they go. And they still had leprosy when they went. But Jesus told them to do something, so they obeyed, even though it didn't look like it'd work. Yet as they went-- as they obeyed-- they were healed.

Our response to a command from God ought not be to theorize, to justify, to consider how to apply, to marvel at the impossibility of it, but to obey. Anything short of, "Yes, Lord," followed by obedience is disobedience.

And to determine for yourself that you have no alternative to obeying God's commands makes your life incredibly simpler because you know exactly what you're going to do. You don't have to come to each command and determine how exactly and to what extent you're going to obey, you just obey.

Now obeying God sometimes doesn't look like it'll work, or like it's worth it. I'm sure it's going to be difficult in the coming days and years, and many things won't make sense, but I'm determining to obey-- with God's help.

And you know what else? Not only does obedience simplify, it frees. I've heard it before, and experienced it, but I'm looking forward to living it.