Saturday, December 31, 2011

Long Time Ago

Cousins Embrace
March 2011

Proverbs 27:17
"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."

"For the Sake of Old Times."

These first words (loosely translated) are from the famous poem, "Auld Lang Syne," written by Robert Burns, set to the poignant melody of a Scottish folk song, and used as an indelible anthem in many English-speaking countries to usher in a new year.

It's natural at the end of the year to take stock and reflect upon its triumphs and failures. Thoughts of loved ones also drift into my mind.

"Auld Lang Syne" starts with a rhetorical question: Should old friends be forgotten and never thought about again?

Those  words immediately focus my thoughts on those who have impacted me. People who influenced me, and now through either time, distance, or death, have faded away.

The poem contains an image of friend linking hand with friend as they "take a cup of kindness yet for auld lang syne". 

I would love to link hands with my old friends. To have another minute with them for the sake of "old time" is a strong desire.

However, I must wait until another day for that treat. When my days on Earth are over, I have faith I will see these loved ones once more.

For now, Faith, Family, Friendship--these are the three items I need most for the new year. 

This evening, for the sake of all my days which have gone before, I bow my head and give grateful thanks for my life and all the days yet to come. 

Happy New Year!
Lord, thank you for your grace, which has given me new life in you.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Light Without Pain

God's Light Shines through the Dark Woods
May 2011

2 Corinthians 4:6 NIV
For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

After three years of postponing the inevitable, I visited the eye doctor today.  Although my eyes had not changed much, my lenses are so scratched I am hard pressed to see straight.  Reading has become a chore, and as I have a fresh semester of sophomore papers facing me, I figured now was the right time for new glasses.

In the course of her examination, the doctor dilated my pupils.  I dislike this part of the visit as my eyes take so long to recover.  Even covering my eyes with sunglasses doesn't help much when my eyes are fully dilated. 

Daylight is so brilliant I have difficulty focusing on the world around me. Instead, images distort as light attacks my vulnerability. The world is so illuminated I am pained by all I see. I shaded my eyes with one hand in order to drive.

When I arrived home, I collasped in my recliner, closed my tired eyes, sunglasses still on, and napped.

As I rested, I thought about the intensity of ordinary sunlight when my pupils are enlarged.  Then I wondered what it would be like to see my Maker in Heaven. 

God is Light and Love. However, I suspect His light will be the kind that radiates without burning.  I believe it will illuminate but not overpower.

For several hours today I was unable to complete simple tasks because of my light sensitivity.  However, I feel certain God's Light, although much brighter and stronger than the sun, will bring peace, not pain.
Thank you, Lord, for your Light and Love.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Promise of the Bulb

My tree may look dead, but it is overflowing with hope and promise.
December 25, 2011

Romans 15:13 NIV
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Last week I glanced at my Bradford pear tree as I walked past it to the mail box. Most of the branches are barren, yet a good number of stubborn leaves are holding on in spite of the lateness of the season.

I noticed several dead leaves littering the ground. However, as my gaze rose, I was surprised to see the branches weren't barren after all.  Sturdy bulbs dotted the limbs where leaves had flown away. The promise of new life hung on every branch.

Then I remembered a hymn I love.

"In the Bulb there is a Flower" proclaims the hope and promise of  life in apparent death. Where I see emptiness or inactivity, life takes place. When I feel lost or abandoned, newness awaits me.  God alone sees the potential and the beauty of my life yet to unfold.

Allison told me tonight she has a feeling 2012 is going to be a great year. Like her, I am hopeful the new year will be better than the last. 

However, whatever may befall, I trust God will see the beauty in both my triumphs and disasters and lead me through all life's seasons.
Dear Lord, Thank you for the promise of life after death.
             "In the Bulb there is a Flower"

In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree;
In cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

There’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody;
There’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future; what it holds, a mystery,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity;
In our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity,
In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Is it Cold Enough Yet?

At Times I Feel as Hot as the Sun

Isaiah 46:4 NIV
"Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you."

John sighs from his reclined position on the couch and asks, "Lori, do we really need the air conditioner on?"

"Uh, no!" I lie as I jump up to turn off the air before he can see how low I have set it. After all, it is in the 50s outside. We probably don't need the air set at 68.

The thing is, this past year, John and I've reached a parting of the ways.  I'm hot ALL the time. He's cold-natured. This can't be good for the next decade of our marriage.

My students complain all day about my cold room. A male colleague next door to me shivers whenever he steps in to talk to me.

However, I'm comfortable. I wear summer shirts and still sweat. If I weren't at work, I'd probably be in shorts and sandals as well. I can't strip naked in my classroom, but I can turn the temperature down as much as possible when there aren't any students in there. (The Energy Czar at school prevents us from lowering the temperature past 70! Of course, the Czar is male!)

John and I play cat and mouse with the thermostat.  When he isn't looking, I lower the temperature a couple degrees. When he finally notices how cold he is, he turns on the heat.

I'd always heard older friends complain about how tough the change of life was on them; however, the only problem I have is I'm on fire all the time.

I'm thinking about looking for people with palm fronds to follow me around and fan me around the clock. There's a shortage of jobs in America; I wonder how much it would cost to pay someone to keep me cool?

I keep praying for a cold winter freeze, but I don't tell my family. John couldn't take a cold winter.

It's been about 22 years since South Georgia saw snow. If I get my prayers answered, I'll be making snow angels all day long this Christmas.
Dear Lord, I don't mean to sound too desperate, but PLEASE let us have a white and cold Christmas this year.