Sunday, August 31, 2014

New Day

Today is one of those new days. You know, the first day of . . . . whatever. They always start out a little different than ordinary, everyday days. You wake up earlier anticipating something new. Not altogether sure what the day holds, or the week or the month. Your mind is full of possibilities balanced by uncertainty.

The sun shines the same. Not really hazy, not really clear. The birds and the crickets sing the same song. The squirrels chase as if it’s a normal day, nothing new.

But to you?  It’s a new day. The first day of whatever.

Monotonous sounds are fresh today. The cacophony of a city morning  sings a little nicer today. Every chipmunk is cuter. Even the cars seem happier as they drive along to here and there leaving you behind. The train whistle blows as if to announce, “Hey!  It’s the first day!”  Even that makes you smile a little brighter.

Regardless of all that stays the same, something is definitely new in this day. It’s going to start a new season, a new path, a new direction. The air bristles with the static of hope and it charges your actions. You may wear the same clothes you wore last Monday, but they feel different. You might comb your hair in the same fashion, but it looks nicer. Your yard even seems to notice that it’s a new day and has painted a new layer of green on the grass while you slept.

Fresh, clean, clear, new.

You look for a plane in the sky with a banner that says, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”  You 
know it must be there. Everyone knows, don’t they? 

Today is a new day.

Revel in the hope. Drink deeply of the promise. Mark the calendar.

Today is a new day.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Summer 2014 Wrap Up

At the end of a project or an event there is always a Wrap Up Session.  It’s the time for reviewing, re-visiting, criticizing, praising, tweaking the reasons for success or failure.  On the agenda will be things like What Went Right and What Went Wrong and Ways to Improve and Things to Repeat. 

Today my brain is in Wrap Up mode.  Me and Jesus have been meeting all morning to discuss this summer’s projects and events.  Subpoints on today’s agenda under What Went Right include Deep Conversations, Meaningful Connections and Solidifying Relationships.  Under What Went Wrong in big, bold, CAPITAL letters are LESS FAT AND MORE FRUIT!  Thankfully flight weight limits will only apply to my baggage and not me.  I might be left behind. 

Truth be told, though, if joy added weight I would be extremely over every limit!  I have reveled in angelbaby kisses, stories and laughter.  I have drank deeply of friendships new and old.  I have been immersed in moments with God until my skin feels saturated.  Family and friends have poured love into me this summer and I feel valued. 

This summer is very interesting to me.  It’s as though my being away has made me realize even more the importance of people in my life.  That’s odd to someone who is alone most of the time.  For many years I drove to work alone, I lived alone, I walked alone, I shopped alone, I ate alone.  If I spent any time with anyone it was on purpose.  Apparently, those purposeful times of connection connected me with strong ties.  The kind of ties that need only an afternoon to tighten, strengthen, freshen.

The conversations I have had this summer were all over the map!  Politics, religion, overcoming deep sadness, sharing great happy moments, God talks and family memories.  Words and phrases danced around topics from every viewpoint.  It was captivating.  It was heartbreaking.  It was uplifting. It was transparent. It was real. 

Someone asked me once where I like to vacation.  I realized I didn’t have a favorite WHERE, but lots of favorite WHO to vacation with.  Time spent with someone invigorates me.  And so this summer I have VACATIONED with almost all of my favorite people.  I didn’t get to see my sister face-to-face, but we chatted randomly many times about everything and nothing.  I woke almost every morning to one angelbaby face or another.  My relationship with my daughter-in-law grew exponentially when she opened her house, and her heart, to me.  I enjoyed normal, every-day family time with my sons.  I strolled, drank coffee, shopped, pedicured, cooked, cleaned, sat in the sun with amazing friends in many different seasons of life.  We cried some, laughed some, intellectualized some. 

In conclusion I find I don’t mind being alone, but I am glad to not be alone, too.  I have looked deep into the eyes of myself through my friends’ views.  I have seen doubts removed, watched fears subside, and built courage while the summer slipped away.  Bridges were built and tended many times over.

All of this has strengthened me.  I am resolved to do more, be better, stretch further to share Jesus with someone in Moscow.  I am convinced I am compassionate enough, grace-full enough, loving enough to get the job done.  A difficult life has given me strong resources to draw from and I am ready to give. 

The summer in America is quickly wrapping up.  The hours are counting down.  I am looking forward to this school year.  Amazed by all God has privileged me to experience.  Full to bursting with happy memories. 

Ah, excuse me, back to the business at hand. 

The Chairman has a final statement:  It is determined this summer vacation project has been very successful.  We will repeat all events marked with a smile beginning next June.  Those marked with tears will be reviewed on an ongoing basis to determine advancement of healing.  Prayers of gratitude and notification of needs will be ongoing.  This meeting is adjourned.

It’s time.  Let’s write this next chapter:  Moscow – The Second Year.