Monday, November 19, 2007

Surrender's Serenity

As Jim astutely surmised in his comment to my previous cryptic post, I have been struggling with some issues with my job. Mercifully I am on vacation this week, and was able to take advantage of some of my 45 accrued sick days last week, so I didn't act on my "feelings" and instead spent a lot of time in prayer and reflection.

Amy's parents have been attending one of the programs offered by their church which deals broadly with the topic of addiction - although it certainly could apply to alcoholics, drug abusers, and the like - it really is for everyone, to help them understand how we all can be led astray not only by substance abuse but even by our best intentions. I say that in part to clarify that Amy's folks aren't standing up saying, "Hi, my name is Bernie and I'm a ________aholic," but also to explain why they sent us some of the literature from the class. I found myself leafing through some of that material the other morning at about 1 a.m. when I couldn't sleep because my thoughts were overwhelmed by concerns about my recent work woes, problems involving some of our friends, a great deal of self-pity, and - after a while - almost anything else about which I could think to worry.

It was good timing.

The readings helped lift many of the burdens I had placed upon myself and reinforce what I already know, but too often forget, that I'm not in control - God is.

When I surrendered to that reality, I was immediately at peace and, I might add, soon afterwards soundly asleep.

This week Amy and I will be making a brief trip to Dallas to be with my "eclectic" family - the odd little group of people whom I'm actually not related to except by the binding ties of love we've established over the years. It could be hectic, it could be wearisome, it could be an unnecessary strain on Amy's could be a lot of things...if I let it. I don't plan to allow that to happen, because I'm not in control of anything except how I react.

Keeping that truth at the forefront of my thoughts I believe will make this little road trip restful and enjoyable.

Hopefully maintaining that perspective will provide a guidepost for a far longer journey as well.

Therefore, this may be my last post until after Thanksgiving - I should be working on making the house presentable since we have some overnight guests coming in later today whom I haven't met. I know God is in control, but so far He hasn't volunteered to vacuum and I would prefer this family's first impression of us not be dominated by concerns that their immunizations are not up to date. So, I need to wrap this up.

I don't know what tomorrow will bring in terms of health, work, finances or anything else. If I were psychic, I'd be in Vegas. I do know that when I turn over my "worries" about such matters to God, I am immensely unburdened.

I know there will be challenges, but there is a great deal of serenity in knowing that I am never facing those challenges alone, nor could I.

So I am thankful for much this Thanksgiving. The blessings of true friends, the reminder that sometimes we have to loosen our grip if not unleash our hold entirely on relationships or things or jobs in order to understand their true value, and foremost I am thankful for a loving and forgiving God who has blessed me in so many unexpected ways, including the relationships I have developed by my odd little writings in this undefined space of digital gadgetry.

May God bless you this Thanksgiving, may He keep you safe, and may He allow you to partake of the feast of awareness that you are free from all worries by the faith and foundation of His abiding love.

Grace and peace my friends...I am truly thankful for each and every one of you.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. - Psalm 119:105


Sorry - one, postscript. The photo at the top of this blog is one I took many years ago of a little shack not too far from our home. Today the story behind the home that stands behind that little shack is in the local newspaper along with a photo which unfortunately they didn't publish in their on-line edition.

Luckily, I happen to know the photographer...Thao, our most recent "Upper Room" family member.

You can see that photo in a higher quality and some other shots she took of the property on her blog - you'll need to scroll down to October 30th. Thao and I talked about that shack after she had taken the pictures and she mentioned she knew she had seen it somewhere before. I mentioned my blog was a light bulb moment :) We hope to have time to visit Thao and her parents during our brief pilgramage to Dallas this week.