The Whistler's Dream

Everybody needs a dream...
Mine is to go to Oklahoma and play whistles for The Pioneer Woman. (Having been invited, not in a "creepy stalker" kind of way, for the record.) Heck, I'd play in a pup tent in the backyard for the joy of the cows and critters. What can I say? I'm a fan.
Everybody needs a dream...

Random Fluffy Foto!

Random Fluffy Foto!
Writing in bed, and Beka editing by ear. Really. The ear typed some letters. Really.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A few "daily" observations

Life changes. Constantly.

I didn't say these were going to be profound observations...

So, I'm constantly trying to figure out those changes. In life.

I didn't even promise coherent observations, just for the record...

I'm wondering this morning why the Lord seems to delight in making sure I don't feel stable. (Do I need to pause here for the usual snickers, chuckles and eye rolls relating to "Cal" and "unstable?" Let me know... Thank you...) He brings things into life, things that would (at first glance) seem to be great opportunities for income, meaningful work and a chance for me to feel less "lost" and more like I "belong."

And as fast as those things come in, they go right back out again. Temporary gigs, part-time participation. Never enough to allow me to put down roots and settle, but just enough to leave me clueless and confused as to what the HECK I'm supposed to be doing in this world.

(My counselor, who I honor and appreciate, would correct my wording here - it's not what am I supposed to do - the phrase should be, what do I get to do? Not obligation, but freedom to enjoy what the Lord has for me in any given day. Obviously, I don't quite get it yet. But I'm workin' on it...)

Am I saying that my Father delights in leaving me twisting in the wind? No no no no. Alright, so what then?

Thus beginneth the observations...

1) The Lord has been repeating a lesson over and over to me... give us this day what we need for this day. He used a sermon from Pastor Craig to point my attention in this direction, and since it takes a long, long time to get my attention and even longer to keep it, He's been steadily nudging me along until I finally get the point.

And that is?

That all I need for today is what He supplies today. Tomorrow? Nope. I can plan, speculate, consider, schedule, accommodate and prepare. But what I need for tomorrow will come tomorrow. Not today.

Which means...

2) He will be faithful to provide for the day's need. Every day. He will not fail, He will not forget, He won't go off on vacation and leave me stranded. He will provide. Every day.

Now here's the kicker...

3) I can't receive what I need for this day if I only see Him once a week. This was the one this morning that really smacked me alongside the ol' noggin.

I'll openly admit that a daily walk with God is a huge struggle for me and always has been. I can spout Christianeze all day, quote little pithy phrases from songs and verses, and know all the lingo to be accepted in Christian circles. But a daily passionate walk with Him? Not so much.

But I know He wants that for me.

How can He give me everything I need for this specific day if I only see Him once a week? Show up on Sunday, back my van (if I had one) up to the door, load up a week's worth of supplies, smile, wave, and say "see you next week!"

Anybody else feeling like they just got smacked with a 2x4 upside the head? Yeah, I feel your pain.

So, a little of the mystery becomes plain...

I feel unstable (snicker, grin, guffaw) because I don't come to the One who gives stability each day, to receive what I need today to be stable today.

I don't feel like I belong, because I don't come to the One who gave all that I could belong to Him.

I don't know what I'm supposed to do (or get to do) because I need to talk to the One who gives my agenda for the day.

I feel lost because I only get a map for today's journey.
I don't get the whole road atlas with expanded views of major cities - just the route for today. And if I never come and pick up today's map, I have no direction.

One thing this temporary job has taught me is how bad a "regular" job is for me, mentally. The "get up, go to work, come home, repeat" thing so clouds my mind that I lose sight of all of the small graces and everything that He is weaving together all around me. Other folks are more noble than I and can handle these things without losing sight of the One who holds it all together.

Me? Not so much.

(And no, that's not just an excuse for my in-law's when they wonder when I'm going to actually go out and get a "real" job. At least, I don't think it is... If it is, it's not a very good one, really...)

My daily existence, my temporary sojourn, no chance to put down roots? It keeps me aware of Him, right here, right now. What is He working on today? Where is His hand so clearly moving today? And how can I point to Him today and give Him the glory for all He is doing, for everyone, everywhere?

My job? To be faithful and wise with what He trusts me with, so that we can live within the means He provides. Don't hoard stuff - get rid of it. Keep things free and open, because I never know where He'll be sending me next. Be a faithful husband, a loyal friend, a willing servant. Be ready to go wherever, do whatever, and be exactly who He asks me to be.

And daily, every daily, receive what I need for this day. Resources, purpose, direction - everything necessary for what He has in store.

Father, give me this day what I need for this day. Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Familiarity Breeds Mundane

So, I've been doing this temporary gig. Job. Thing. It's been both fun, and good for our bank balance (if you know what I mean). Some steady work for a few weeks, helping to pay off Big Blue, the new trike on the block.

First couple of weeks, it was the honeymoon. New routine, new stuff to learn, new new new. Getting up at 3:45am - new and exciting. Riding the trike up Leonard Street at 4:30am - new and VERY exciting. Getting the groove of running a shift live 6am to 10am - new, exciting and a little scary.

But now we're beyond the honeymoon. 3:45 snoozes its way into 4:15, the trike gets left because it's raining/too cold/too late 'cause I didn't get up on time; making an egg sandwich moves over to a dash through McBreakfastWorld, which is not the best choice for me; and because I'm getting used to the mechanics of the shift, I relax and don't sweat the details as much as I should. The bright shiny new starts to fade into the background, and instead of being different and wonderful, it all starts to look the same.

The mundane. Where everything gets reduced to sameness. Instead of seeing the small graces of God's hand, painting the bright colors of His presence all through each day, they get lost in the grey of "life." I lose my awareness of how He is so active, each day, each hour, each moment.

I said to Vicki, I feel directionless, pointless, and have no idea how I got that way. As always, time to get out the iPad and keyboard, get to writing, trot things out there to see the patterns, identify the truth and the lies, and refocus.

The only thing that's changed in the last few weeks is the addition of the temporary job. It's not going to be around all that long, but it is a litmus test of sorts to see how I respond to something like this in my new life and my new body. I haven't had a "regular" job since I was laid off in 2006, so Vicki and I have been interested to see how I would do with this.

First observation: I'm more than capable of holding down a job, physically. I've stepped up to the demands of this gig, including the very early schedule, and done well with it.

(In fact, once it ends I'll probably stay on a morning schedule - I seem to do well being up early and going to bed early. I'll probably sleep in until, say, 5am, but I'll stay on this side of the day.)

Second observation: I'm a much nicer employee and person now than I ever was when I was working full-time. No surprise there - when you become Tabula Rasa, everything changes. A lot of old crap got left behind with the pounds and, while some of it tries to climb back aboard, the Lord provides the strength to toss it off when it tries to grab on.

OK - so if everything seems to be groovy, what's up with feeling directionless? The only thing that I can make of it is that as things become routine, the mundane clouds my eyes, blinds my senses and blends everything together. It's like a wagon that's traveled the same path over and over. The ruts in the road are worn so deep that the wagon couldn't turn to a new direction if it wanted to. Just the same deep grooves, over and over.

So? That's life, isn't it? Go to work. Come home. Earn daily bread. Keep your head down, nose to the grindstone, hiney to the... something. No one gets to just flit around, thinking, writing, dreaming, and observing. Who has time for that? Got to get out, make a living, keep going, provide for the family, GO GO GO GO GO GO GO!

Believe me - I get that. The guilt and angst I've wrestled with over the past years that I wasn't contributing anything to our family financially tore a hole in my heart that I'm still filling in. (ok - the Father is doing the filling - I'm just holding the shovel.) Having to rely on Vicki's paycheck alone, while feeling that I'm just sitting around, spending resources and bringing in none? That tears me up. And still would, had God not intervened and whispered to me,

"My chains are gone, I've been set free..."

So, here's the refocus... I'm never allowed to just wander through a day, never looking around, never really seeing. When God has brought such grace into your life, remaking you from the inside out, you can never just wander through a day and ignore all He is doing.

Well, you "can," but you shouldn't. I shouldn't. I can't.

Lemme 'splain. I don't mean to sound churchy, hyper-spiritual, judgmental, preachy, condescending, holier than Swiss cheese, or anything else along those lines. But God has made it so clear what He has done for me and why. I've been given this gift for a purpose - not out of obligation, like He expects me to pay Him back for it, but He has remade me in every way for a reason...

My direction, my point, my purpose is to be a signpost. I point to myself and I point to Him. I say to any and all, "Look! Look what God alone has done. Look at what He can do in one life, for someone who does NOT deserve His grace, who has NOT earned His favor, and who is NOT worthy of His attention. See how He still is in the miracle business, as He has always been. Look at me, not as an example (good heavens NO!) but as a recipient of unmerited, unrestrained overflowing grace from the hand of our Father."

"Now look in the mirror, and see someone who is a recipient of that same grace. I am no different than anyone else - God loves all of His children without reservation. And His hand moves in all of our lives every day, every hour, every moment. Look around and see Him weaving and molding things together - His hand on all things at all times, nothing out of His grasp or falling out of His notice."

"God moves. Right now, right here."

Father, thank You for showing me what I was missing. Thank You for the gift of a job, however long or short it lasts. Thanks that You already know what will come after it ends. And thank You for showing me that whatever I am doing, the routine of a daily gig or the endless variety of whatever You bring my way, I have to keep my eyes out of the ruts in the road, and up to You. I can't point to You when my eyes are down on the mundane in front of me. Lift my eyes to You.

"I lift my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth." (Psalm 121:1-2)

Up to the hills, away from the mundane, up to You, every day, every hour, every moment.