Friday, October 28, 2011

Don't waste it

Tomorrow I'll get back to the Beatitudes, but it's been a week since my heart scare so I thought I'd post what I've been pondering in the days since.

I've had a lot of opportunities to tell people about last Friday this week. Phone calls from all over, conversations with nurses, doctors, and even random clerks who had no idea what the answer to their "how are you doing?" would bring.

  But a couple of things stand out.  One is that everyone is afraid of anything involving the heart.  It just seems to scare the bejeebers out of people the moment the story begins. I must be honest, though, and tell you, that the large part of me never actually thought I was in any kind of danger.  I just couldn't imagine it.  It seemed like a whole lot of hoopla for nothing.  Like, what did they mean I couldn't get out of bed to go to the bathroom? Were they kidding me?  And why on earth did I need that oxygen in my nose?  Seriously, I wasn't that sick, just in a whole lot of pain. People, relax.  That was how I was feeling.  After all, I'm young. YOUNG.These are common feelings, I've been told. Very common in the situation. And again, I think they are ways God protects us. Every thing seemed so normal at the time, in one way. Beve sending out copious texts, making witty cracks, the nurses commenting that we'd clearly been married a very long time, etc.

When the inevitable questions are asked, like, "Did you think you were going to die? and if so, how did that feel?" my answer is, not exactly.  I never actually thought about it that way at all.  For one thing, I was in too much pain.  I realize that sounds counter-intuitive, but it's just the truth.  However, once the pain let up (thanks again, nitro!), a couple of thoughts did cross my mind that were heaven-related.  One was the idea that perhaps I'd soon be able to talk to my dad face to face and that we'd get to worship Jesus together. I could even imagine it, with him singing in his slightly-off-key voice. The next thought that came to mind was that this was something I wanted very much. And then the thought that what I wanted very much would be very difficult for my siblings.  Yes, my siblings.  Not my children or Beve.  I think God firmly put a wall around my thoughts and feelings about Beve and our kids because that would have done me in.  I could bear to look at the loss I might be for my siblings--and know it as a loss, and even feel it--without it even hurting me.  The only way to make sense of these feelings is to understand that God was present. Because thinking about such moments in the abstract has always felt a whole lot sadder than it felt when I was in it. I didn't feel sad, scared or even worried, only aware and even looking forward. 

So take heart, friends, the Comforter will be entirely engaged with you when you are in the scariest moments.  And I am convinced that when the time comes that He comes calling us to the other side, He will be close to our hearts and never once leave us.  He'll be holding our hands all the time.  I know that more this week than I did last.

But in the week since, I've been re-energized for life.  I don't mean that I'm out running marathons.  Actually, I've been as tired as a baby, taking naps each afternoon, recovering slowly but surely.  But spiritually there's new life in me.  A new sense of presence and passion and... well, and "What do you want to do with this, Lord?" is the way I put it to Him one night in the shower (I don't know about you but I do some of my best praying in the shower, especially when the house is full).  His answer was quick and to the point: "Don't waste this!" Don't waste this.  He'd done this thing for a reason, and, like with all that He does for us, it's purposeful and meant to extend His Kingdom.  Don't waste this.

Now bear with this analogy.  This morning I was reminded of some old pictures of my childhood home.  There are some taken before it was finished.  My siblings and I are climbing on the frame in a few of these pictures.  Later the house figures in family photographs for over 32 years.  That's how long my mother lived there. Then, because it was too large and full of too many memories, she sold that house.  But every time I think of it, am back in town and happen to drive past it, I'm a little sick that someone else lives there.  That house still feels like it belongs to our family.  Not only was it designed and built for us, but it was lived in and loved by three generations of our family.  What has been changed in it actually hurts viscerally. Makes me a little crazy, to tell you the truth, though I know (I'm not stupid!) I have no rights to it now.

What God has been reminding me about my life is exactly this truth.  My life is not my own.  He designed me. Built me. Created me just as I am for HIS purpose. I am His workmanship, Ephesians says, created for good works. In other words,  He lives in this house I call my life.  I gave Him that right 40 years ago.  And what happened to me last week was His giant wrecking ball on the places that I've tried to create rooms of my own to what belongs to Him.  Or put walls up within myself to keep Him out.  This is HIS life.  Don't waste it.  He intends to do something with His life in me, and I'd better be ready.

I don't know what the next phase of my life will look like.  I'm still in the pondering mode here. But I am convinced that He will make that as clear as a heart attack (to be punny), but I know this, I'm not going to waste it.

PS. By the way, the new look of the blog is courtesy of my older daughter, though I took the picture one summer evening of our beautiful Bellingham Bay.

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