Monthly Archives: September 2012

What Would… Grandpa Do?????

Last night I picked my daughter up from class and on the way home we stopped at the grocery store. We loaded up what we needed and then made our way back to the car. As  I was unloading the cart I could hear what sounded like someone in near hysteria. We shut the hatch and as we came around to the front of the car I saw her. She was one row over and one space down from us. She was crying, talking to someone on the phone. All at the same time I heard the baby in the back seat crying but also the woman sobbing – “I had $ 90 in my wallet… now it’s gone. I don’t have enough gas to get home. The baby’s diaper needs changed…”

That was all I heard as we both closed our doors. And we sat for what seemed a long moment and with a quick word, my daughter walked around the car and gave her $ 20 to get home. It was over in a minute or two. She wanted to get our phone number to repay us but my daughter said “no.” We were driving away before either my daughter or I had thought much about any of it.

But as we drove away I found myself thinking all kinds of thoughts. The first thing that came from my mouth was “Grandpa would have helped her.” And my daughter agreed. It’s funny isn’t it — of all the thoughts tumbling around in my head what percolated to the top was that we did what my dad would have done? He would have, too. He probably would have done more than we did now that I think about it.

I thought, too, I did it because I would want someone to help my daughters if one of them were crying in the parking lot without enough gas to get home.

And I realized, too, that I hope my daughters or son would say so their fellow traveler in the same spot “My dad would have done that.”

In some strange way in that moment I realized that my grieving over my dad’s death in May of 2011 was in a different place. I wasn’t sad, I didn’t miss him (although I do miss him all the time) — I was glad for my dad, for his life, for his generosity, for his quiet way of doing amazing things about which almost no one knew or cared. But they were things that changed people’s lives.

I hope somehow that $ 20 changed that young woman’s life. I don’t know if it will. Or did. But I realize that God works in these ways – through and in people. My faith goes back to a man who lived thousands of years ago named Abram and in whose life God intervened in highly personal ways. My faith is in a person whom the world respects as a great teacher and some see as God’s revelation and His son (as do I).

I think my dad would like that I got all of that out of  that moment in a parking lot. And I like that I know that, too.

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Robbery

I have been wrestling recently with a season of life that did not end well nor as I expected or hoped. Truthfully it was terrible. Among other things I grieve because the decisions of others put me in a position where I was robbed of a year of one of my children’s lives. The details aren’t important – the sense of being violated, cheated, and robbed is. 

The post-traumatic season in which I find myself now haunts me with the need to forgive. I want justice for what was done to me and to my family… I want restitution for what was lost… I want things to be made right.

But nothing can un-rob me or my loved ones. Not forgiving robs me of the peace, the joy, the happiness that the current season of life is bringing. Not forgiving doesn’t only rob me of something in my past – it robs me of something in the present and the future. 

Today I came to the realization that forgiveness begins the process that robs this past pain instead of it robbing me. It robs those memories of their control over me. It robs those feelings of the ability to fill and mar my life in the now. Forgiveness robs those whom I hold responsible from having any further influence in my life. Or control over my future.

I am working on this forgiveness stuff. Jesus’ words that sound so simple (for instance, ““If you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Matthew 6L14 CEB) also carry such power. It is not easy to forgive. But unforgiveness robs me of my own opportunity to experience forgiveness from God and others.

I am going to keep working at being the robber of the past’s power. Today that robbery is forgiveness.

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The Other January

Author Gretchen Rubin recently released Happier at Home which details her search for a happier home life. She began this journey in September which she calls the new or other January. She’s right you know. September is like a new year for most of us. Think about it – new school years for kindergarteners through graduate students, summer schedules change to regular ones, the weather turns (ok not so much this year but you get the point).

Today is not just a new day – it’s a new year or at least a new season.  While we acknowledge this rhythm in the church do we grasp its power?  God is always renewing and this is the perfect time to embrace it. When others are sensing this shift in the calendar we have an opportunity to share that God makes things new every day:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
 (Lamentations 3:22-23 NRSV)

Ask God to show you where renewed mercy is at work in you, in the church, and in the community. Live into that newness during this season that seems about ending when in fact it is a new thing that God is doing. 

 

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