April 2008

Lisa has been after me to read a series of books by Jan Karon regarding life in a small town in North Carolina called Mitford. The stories apparently are centered around the life of a bachelor Episcopal priest who shepherds a small congregation in a fairly idyllic town. When she first broached me with the idea I kept putting her off…but like most of the times in my life I eventually said ‘yes, dear’ and did what she wanted. And, as usual, she was right.

I’m enjoying them tremendously. I find them warm, humorous, comforting, faith-affirming, and challenging. It’s a nice way to spend a few hours each week. Maybe I need to listen to her a little more often. (I’m sure she’s told me that before, too.)

Has it ever happened to you? You know what I ‘m talking about. You start a long term project with all of the best intentions.

You organize everything…get the materials you need…set is all in order…and, for some unknown reason, the follow through just doesn’t happen. The smoke of the expedient often obscures our view of the important. I fail to make it happen the way I had purposed it to.

It’s not that I didn’t want to…it’s just that I allowed other things to become enough of a priority to keep me from finishing the project I had laid out. At my age you think I’d have this licked.

It’s just one more item that I need to add to my list of ways I need to improve. Now if I could just remember where I left that list….

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5,6

In some ways trust is a difficult concept. Most of us, at one time or another, have been burned by someone that we trusted.

Enemies are not the problem. They can’t betray you. You know what to expect from them. You know not to trust them or, if you do, you trust them to act like enemies. You know where their loyalties lie - and it isn’t with you.

It’s when you let someone close that you open your self up to potential betrayal. The hurt and cynicism that many of us have felt often has a valid basis. Someone that we loved and trusted hurts us deeply - a knife in the back couldn’t hurt any more.

The motive for their action usually involves self preservation and selfishness. Sometimes it’s not that want to hurt you - it’s just that your well being and happiness is less important to them than their own. You become expendable to them - and that does hurt.

Often times it’s not the actions of those we’ve trusted that hurts us. It’s the inaction and unwillingness to take a stand along side us. I truly believe this often causes the deepest hurts of all.

The overriding problem is that have developed confidence in someone who is fallible and imperfect. We need to realize that our trust and faith needs to reside in the One who is infallible and perfect - the One who won’t let us down. And we need to learn to forgive those who’ve failed us in time of need…after all, their only human.

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

My little girl turned 12 today. It’s a strange feeling watching your baby grow up. There’s this odd mixture of pride, dread, hope, fear, excitement, and pause.

You’re excited about the possibilities they exist for their future and the have pride in seeing them develop into human beings with strength of character and force of will. You see them completely, including their weaknesses, and you understand the areas of their personality that you want to see developed more completely.

You live in fear for what might happen. I believe that one of the worst feelings on earth is that feeling in the pit of your stomach because you know that things will happen to them over which you have absolutely no control.

When they’re little you feel the the responsibility of controlling every aspect of thier life. You protect them, feed them, clothe them, and do whatever it takes to keep them warm and happy. You pick their clothes, their food, and their friends. You work to be sure that their educated properly, exposed to the right influences, and have all of the opportunities that you didn’t. You struggle and sacrifice to make it better for them and pray that you’re doing the right things.

Then, as they grow, it hits you that their world has become bigger than you and the area over which you can exercise control. They have developed their own friends, habits, and interests. In effect they’ve become their own person and are making their own choices. You have to watch them make their own mistakes and suffer the consequences for their actions or inactions. You hurt because, with your experience, you can foresee some of the hurt that they’ll experience and you want to take it away but realize that there are some lessons you can’t teach…but they will just have to learn on their own.

I love you, baby. I’m there for you now…and, Lord willing, I’ll be there in the future. But no matter what - I really do love you.


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