Monthly Archives: April 2011

You Still Lack One Thing

I’m starting to think of this as “my rich young ruler” moment. (Luke 18:18-30)

The rich ruler asked Jesus “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Mind the commandments, yes, but Jesus said to him,“You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

For the ruler, the ‘give up’ was his money. For me, “Wendy, you still lack one thing. Give up your physical capability.”

It wasn’t mine in the first place. Why do I hold fast to it? Because it’s who I am. My capability, my coordination, my physical nature was what I had to give. Without it, who am I?

I’m not sure you ever truly believe that surrender is the only way to salvation until you are completely surrendered.  And Who can do that completely? Who would do it willingly?

When we sat on that tarmac headed for Ft Lauderdale and the flight attendant went through the emergency instructions…”in case of a water landing pull the lifevest from under your seat and…” In that moment I was at the total mercy of the pilot and the crew. There was no way I could save myself.

I surrender.

Advertisements

Surgery Day

Soon to join the ranks of the disabled. (Well, have been since April 9th, but I’ve been in transition) Dis-abled. That ‘can’t’ again. But this is temporary – though kind of a marathon -yes. I’ve always been an endurance athlete; this is just another event. But the winner isn’t the one that finishes first. The winner crosses the line – from dis-abled, but healing (whatever that means) to abled. May involve adaptation, changing the way I do things.

Lynn writes in an email “My identity is entwined in being physically able. Even my ‘IXRSIZ’ license plate.” This is so true. Now, who am I? Who will I be?

I am just grateful that the wheelchair that awaited me when i got off the plane at the airport was not my own personalized one. Just borrowed.

Something about this time and space between injury and healed. Where I am prevented from moving parts of me. Instructed to rest. In the process of being healed. I’m doing nothing. God’s doing everything. And still, He loves me.

Do we disable God when we insist on doing rather than letting Him do?

I have to thank Jim Anderson who wrote the “fasting” portion of the Lenten study. My stomach is growling up a storm. Clear liquids for 24 hours since I can’t eat anything past midnight and my surgery isn’t until 1:00pm Nothing at all after 9am. Good thing I had some fasting practice. My emptiness will remind me of the space He is meant to fill.

Last Supper for Me

Just had the “Last Supper.” No more solid food before the big day.

Many praying friends have sent well wishes. I am lying here trying out the cold and compression pack we have rented for the jumpstart of my recovery. It does hit the spot –

Funny, I examined my hamstring earlier. Tried to find the recoiled pieces. Can’t feel them any more. Either God has already knit me back together OR the ham tendons have started healing into their new location. Oh dear. This surgeon may have his hands full. Or be feasting his eyes on an Easter miracle.

What a time!

Treading Water

To my Pastors…

Just a heads up. I think it extremely unlikely (there are miracles after all) that I will actually be able to be at the confirmation service. Ironic, isn’t it?  Currently, Scot plans on bringing Olivia. It will be a bit awkward for him, but how very like God to shuffle the cards when things seemed so…comfortable.  I imagine Olivia will be stalwart, on the outside.

I am just doing a bit of treading water trying to keep my head above the surface on this one.

Trusting Him in all of it,

Wendy

Shelved

I sit on the front porch with my bum leg up on the facing chair. It is Easter, a beautiful warm spring day. But I am ‘at work’ on finishing the Lenten spiritual disciplines booklet. Didn’t mean to exactly. Just read through Sunday’s an d the Upper Room – 2 different versions of the Easter story. I have just been to church (thanks to Lynn and Phil for driving me!) and I backtrack to the Saturday “Bible reading day.” I had missed because we were in Bradenton with Dan and Julie. Saturday was the 3rd story. the 4th was in the COGS devotional – written about by Rob.

So, I have read all 4. Just start to make some notations. Thoughts really. a sort of running dialogue. I’m not sure who is speaking. the words are just there.

  • You will be still and I will come there to you
  • After this, all will be by Your strength. My muscles have no strength to move. They’re not attached. Not just weak. They’re useless.
  • Short-changing Me?
  • The lame shall walk.
  • You are my handiwork
  • I knit you together in your mother’s womb.
  • I will re-string you like a beautiful instrument. Your sound will be amplified, on pitch and stand the test of eternity.
Through no fault of your own, you have become disabled. If it was your fault, you’d feel guilty and responsible for your repair, recovery, rehab and return to strength. You have no blame here. You went where I sent you, did what I told you. And now I am giving you a new story to tell and doing so many other things you won’t see until we go along.
Do you believe I will make this the best thing that ever happened to you?
What did I pray for that God is answering this way?

I have been watching this sweet couple of tufted titmouses building a nest in our front bird house. They leave together. Fly to the same tree. Collect some bits and branches in their beaks and snuggle back into the house to make their home, temporary though it may be, their nest. Nesting. And that is just how I feel. Soon I will be out of commission so I am busied finishing up and putting away and to rest the things I won’t need for a while. I’m a bit teary to put my ‘Play with the Spirit’ notebook away. Shelved. That was what I thought Lent would be about.

Disclaimer – Writing from the Future

At this point in the blog I must insert that I am transcribing entries recorded in my journal, but doing so from several weeks in the future and post dating them. The problem is, I am inclined to insert observations from the future into these former writings.

This blog will appear, ironically, on the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter.

Given my human tendency to see the past through the perspective of the future (whether I realize it or not) when I have already lived it (and especially when it is more hopeful), I’m wondering:

  • How must the disciples have felt on this black Saturday? Totally defeated. All was lost. Certainly the Jesus story wasn’t worth telling. How ironic this is called to my attention today.
  • How did the writers of the New Testament keep from writing their future perspective into their recounting of events some 30-60 years past?
  • If they had written this hope into the history, it would not read the way it does. There’d be more, ‘well, don’t worry about that because it’ll all work out’ or ‘ what he meant by that was.’
  • It only has power because somehow they wrote from the future with present tense recall of the past. They left things unresolved, until the resolution came. If they did what is tempting, and seems to be human nature, inserted the extra info they had, the stories would have lost their power to teach. They would have answered the questions for us and left us without any work to do.
  • They would have jumped to the Happily Ever After and that would have left us unprepared for the ‘and she took a bite of the poisoned apple.’

Happily Ever After

And Happily Ever After does not equal None of this Ever Happened. God offers equipping in what we are going through so we might be prepared for the Ever After.

Lord of On the Way to Well

Our church has been participating in a Lenten study on Spiritual Disciplines using a curriculum the small groups team wrote. Today’s challenge (which I wrote) is to journal a dialogue with Jesus. This follows onto a previous Friday’s challenge to “open your messy places” to Him.

Lenten Study Book, Bible, and Pen

I am sitting in the coffee lounge of our elaborate Orlando hotel. This is the dialogue I record. I am in black. Jesus is in red.

Lord, you are looking well.

I am

I’m sitting her broken. For you. Did you do this?

Your body, broken for me. No, my child. I would never bring pain and suffering to you.

But there is pain. And I’m suffering, mostly on the inside. Oh, what a road I have ahead of me.

I know this road.

I was working for you, Lord. I thought so anyway. And now look at me. I can’t. I can’t I can’t.

But I can. I can do all things. Between us is the cross (T).

What are you doing in this? Can I know?

I’m teaching you to trust. To be patient. I’m showing you how I love even those who can’t.

I know you’re here. You keep facilitating my circumstances. Timing that’s perfect. A rainbow even now in my sunlit spot. But everything is so hard. It’s exhausting. I hate having to ask for help with everything. To be dependent on someone for everything.

You are dependent on someone for everything…Me. Your mind knows this. Now, you know what this feels like. I have allowed your disabling so you can see just how able you are when you’re totally dependent on me. Do you believe I can still work my will in you without your help?

This was pretty extreme, Lord.

You are an extreme case.

That’s what I’m worried about. That I am this bad. That you needed to resort to this.

Easier, a camel through the eye of a needle, than a rich man. This one thing: not, sell all your possessions…give up your capability.

You didn’t give me a choice. One minute I’m whole. The next, I’m broken.

If I’d let you choose, would you have chosen this?

Never.

This is what I require. To walk humbly with your God. I will make you well. Your wholeness will be because of me.

Thank you Lord. I want to be well. What do you want me to do while I am getting well?

Now you’re talking. I am Lord of ‘on the way to well.’

Well?

Smart alec. …Take each moment and let it be mine.

Did you just do that? Shine a rainbow on my messy things card?

Yep. What of it?

🙂 I can’t even see the words because I’m struck dumb by the colors.

Aha. Now we’re talking! I make all things new. (and beautiful, of course)

Show off.

Who could I be showing off for? I’m my own audience of one.

Good point. Then it’s just for me?

Yes. That rainbow over your messy places is my signature. Our covenant. You have opened these places to me. These worries. Your insignificance. Your trying. Your anxiety. Your self-sufficiency. I know all of this about you. I have taken it all, today, upon myself. It is no longer yours but ours.

But – I will fall back into these things. It’s the way I’ve been for as long as I’ve known me.

Yep. You will. and you have. Just keep passing me the pail. (dirt) I have prayed for you. That after you fall, you will turn back to me, and strengthen your brothers and sisters.

I did fall.

And I’ve picked you up. Been carrying you. Do you think I will drop you?

No. This is just the worst. I keep thinking about what might go wrong. A wound in the butt. Lying in bed. Not being able to roll over. Needing someone to dress my butt wound. How humiliating!

Humility is the last thing we will work on together.

Is there another way? I mean, you could miraculously heal me and…

I could. You’ll just have to wait and see. remember the time and patience thing?

Lord, I love you.

Wendy, I love you.

Can you help me remember that this goes before everything else?

Just see the rainbow. I made it especially for you. It’s my greeting card for you. I’ve blotted out all your transgressions. Your sin is no more. Can you believe this?

There is nothing to worry about?

There is nothing to worry about.

Thank you, Lord. What do I do now?

Go and make disciples in my name.

A name above every name. Help me edit my words so they are yours.

Done.

Lord, let me be Fit2Finish.

You’ll be in for the PKs.

That goalkeeper doesn’t stand a chance. Can we turn him to our team?

Now you’re talking.

Messy Places, just for the record

  • Fear of not living up to “my” potential
  • Short-changing God
  • Time
  • Trust
  • Following blindly

Day 2 Day

This week has felt like a series of last meals. I feel like a convict sentenced to be executed. But I am eating like a queen.

It’s a slippery time. Exhausting. Even a regular vacation pace is too much for me. Mostly I lay in bed and feel the explosions of every muscle cell in my back and shoulders. I have an abiding appreciation for wheelchair athletes. And my little golden retriever Rosy who has had terrible hips since a pup.

Crazy dreams, when I can sleep. Forty stray dogs let loose from my house. Why do these times super-charge our imaginations?

Day to day. I wondered how I would make it. And this is how. I stumble upon little reminders that someone is looking out for us.  A timely reservation. A parking spot opens right in front. The mailbox just at the spot we disembark. I would have forgotten to mail the letter I wrote to my friend who just lost her mother. The casual conversation in the elevator. The 30 minute wait becomes 5 minutes.

Today, we depart for Orlando but stop to see Rose and Dick Healander in Neptune, FL along the way. It’s been 20 plus years. Dick had moved here during bankruptcy proceedings. Now, his health is quite compromised. Rose is as spunky and vivacious as ever. Her mother lives with them too. One of Dick’s sisters is visiting.

Rose tells me that hardly a day passes that she doesn’t think of my mother. The tears threaten. I evade. It’s easier. We sit and chat. Well, Rose holds court. Her mother sits quietly, 92 years young. When she does pipe up, she is so funny. Questions are sent in Dick’s direction, but no one waits the time it takes for him to respond. I feel a kinship with him. The imposed slowing. The world not waiting.

The visit is short. Rose and Dick walk us down the driveway. Rose goes ahead with me. “It’s been seven years,” she says. She is no longer holding court but speaking from her heart. That is a long time to assist your spouse as he declines.

Dick gets the mail as we leave. He waits at the end of the driveway to wave as we pull past. I wonder whether i will  ever see him again. “God bless you” were the last words we each spoke to the other. I remember a man so vibrant and full of life. Always with a deal going and a golf-game pending. “I don’t do much of anything now,” he said.

Life can be so very hard. Things we don’t choose have a way of making us bear them.

Don’t Tell Mr. Purdue

Random musings in somewhat random order — I am creeping out of the anesthesia coma:

  • Leg looks like grandmas, or a purdue chicken thigh
  • Living on clementines and water
  • Enforced rest/stop makes one SO look forward to starting again. This flies in the face of our ‘usual’ way which is layering one thing on top of the next, not aware of the effect of our ‘addiction’ by piling on:
  • as opposed to employing effort, celebrating the joy of success, resting ‘on our laurels’ and then igniting the next effort this way:
  • I woke up Scot 3 nights in a row to help me to the bathroom (The 1st time he siad I shouldn’t have had all that water to drink. Uh, may I please mention all that IV fluid and the meds that have left me parched?)
  • can’t do the stairs well
  • need help with everything!
  • I’m at my caretaker’s mercy. What incredible sacrifices they are making. they don’t demand (or even ask) much.
  • Scot sees the church being the church.
  • Lots of lettuce for Olivia’s ride givers. Scot likes having this available so he can give back.
  • Kathie brought ice cream. Our little secret.
  • I’m a little less helpless each day.
  • My first PT is April 29th. 3 days post surgery. Mery Bertrand. everything is passive and range of motion.
Confirmation is tomorrow. Olivia won’t be any less confirmed if i don’t come. she wants me there. I don’t want to draw attention to myself – either away from the confirmands or to her, which would be SO embarrassing for her.