Archive for November, 2010

Watching

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Sunday evening the favoured football team (my favourite!) lost.  This was the last game of the season, the finals!  To get this far was exemplary.  To lose was disappointing.  But as this province is fond of saying – “there’s always next year.”

Monday and Tuesday I have been watching books.  In an attempt to get some final cataloguing done I’ve slipped into a basement where the books are housed.  At any spare moment.  My calculation says that I should be done in less than 10 hours of work.  My only problem is that I find sparing that many hours means a week or two of time.  But soon the tedious work will be done.

My other watching regards our son’s next holiday season.  We’re not sure when that will happen (he’s on board a ship working in stage management).  Perhaps for Christmas.  Perhaps not.  We’ll just watch to see what happens.

It’s as though the whole idea of the Advent season gets put into my daily life.  Anticipation, wondering and hope fit into this season.  And so, I’m learning what that means in new ways.

I wonder what the next area of watching and waiting will be?  Perhaps that blizzard that I hope will come each year (but never really does), will materialize in the next few days.  Or not!

We’ll see.  Keep watching!

The end in sight

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Since March I have been on assignment. 

Tim Crump, a friend of mine, asked me to prepare his books and help to sell them.  This was not a selfish request.   This was a request given on his death bed. Before his passing he added a codicil to his will, requesting that I complete this task on behalf of his estate.

I have taken this seriously, while trying to accomplish this task along with my regular tasks in life.  Until this past week, this seemed to have been a task that just grew.  Over 3,500 volumes were to be found in his library.  Even with scanning equipment I was often only able to catalog around 50 volumes an hour, sometimes fewer.  And the hours proved to be few as well – life can be crowded!!

So, this past week I put a push on.  And now I can see a finish line approaching.  Probably only 12 hours of cataloguing is still needed.  My goal is to finish before the year ends. 

At that point the family will be given opportunity to pick books they would like for their own libraries.  Then we will sell the remaining volumes.

I feel privileged to have been given this task.  And now, as I see an end in sight, I’m glad that I will be able to honor Tim’s wishes.  These are the tasks that love calls us to, and lovingly done expresses the godly task of loving our neighbors.  To those who oversee Tim’s estate, thank you for the opportunity!

Long days?

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

I suppose every day has 24 hours.  And every week 7 days.  And every year 365 days (other than leap years!).

So why is it that we say – that was a long day?

I suppose there is a toll that stretches the minutes internally within ourselves.  A heavy hearted day means that the minutes weigh upon us, slowing us down.  A light hearted day means laughter puts a bit of helium into our steps, raising us above our problems.

Days that are longest can be either heavy or light.  When we are criticized, minimized, categorized, marginalized or even just laughed at, our steps getting longer, and our day stretches interminably. 

“Burdens are lifted at Calvary,” is an appropriate phrase from an old hymn our parents used to sing.  In that situation, we place the burden of our day on Jesus.  Easier said than done.  But when done, when we accept that we are burdened and that we cannot carry it all ourselves, somehow just even speaking out a prayer that shoves the burdens Jesus way is helpful. 

A few days ago I prayed for someone whose burdens frightened me – only Jesus could truly understand them!   I’m not sure that we solved all the problems, but we headed in the right direction. 

Reposition the burdens of your long day.  Sleep well!

Conferences on the way out?

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

So, I’m sitting in a network meeting and the facilitator says, “Do you think conferences are on the way out?”

Good question!

The idea was that we are overloaded with information and we no longer want just another binder to take home.  Personally, I’ve lost my desire to attend conferences for information sake. 

I don’t mind going to network with others.  I don’t mind going if there is an action objective designed to impact our world.  But just for information? 

And with that in mind, I’m examining the advertisements of various magazines to see what is happening.  So far, there is still a strong conference base.  But for how long? 

We’ll see.

Discussion on evil

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Our Family Bible School class touched on an interesting topic.  The origin of evil. 

Usually these discussions arise out of a passage of Scripture.  In this case we were in James, chapter one.  The passage focuses more on God not tempting anyone.  This is not a statement on the origin of evil.  But people’s thoughts immediately raced backwards.

And so, our intern is to review the area of the Lord’s Prayer that talks about “and lead us not into temptation,” from the perspective of the original Koine Greek.  That was a good start.

But sitting with a group watching the Western Final of the Canadian Football League, some of the same discussion arose again.  And again, the answer was illusive.

In God is no evil – by definition.  In the Christian view of God, God is good and no evil dwells in Him.  God created the universe, including angels and humans.  And somewhere, evil had entrance.  

The discussion came to that point and then there was all sorts of divergence.  You can literally read libraries which touch on the matter of the origin of evil – from philosophical texts to works of fiction.  We will not solve this overnight, but I believe it is important to strengthen our faith by exploring the tough issues – but also to leave space for faith, admitting that there are mysteries which we will never solve.

Snow fall

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

This has been one of those years where fall seemed to stay around.   For a while.  For the longest time.  Until today.

Snow appeared on the sidewalks, the windshields and under my shoes. 

The funny thing is that I really wasn’t expecting snow.  I guess I had convinced myself that we would skip winter and go straight to spring.  A wildly weird thought, but somehow almost plausible in my thinking.

I was not ready with boots available.  I was not ready with an electrical cord for my car’s block heater.  I was not ready mentally.

And so, as the snow falls, I am changing my mind.  Repenting.  Getting set for the next few months.

And here is my prediction.  Lots of snow.  Lots of shoveling.  Lots of comfort food and sitting around the “fire”. 

Actually, I’m rather looking forward to it – now that my mind has changed!!

How we see things

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

My mother-in-law just sent a birthday card to her great grandson – our grandson.  He gladly received the card which had been sent by snail mail.

The fun is in the trip to the post office, the realization that there is something for you (at five years old), and then $10.00 included.

Great Grandmother felt $10.00 was so little.  A five year old felt this was more than enough.  I’m so glad that the little we do can be accepted with such enjoyment! 

Thanks, mom, for the treat you have given to Christopher.

Rehearsing eternity

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

From Joni Eareckson Tada interview in Christianity Today, October 2010, p. 33:

Every time we go to sleep, it’s a rehearsal of the day when our eyes will ultimately close and we wake up on the side of eternity.

The land down under

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Or, at least that’s where Lafleche, Saskatchewan is in comparison to where we live in West Central Saskatchewan.  For the last few days I visited my mother, two sisters, a whole bunch of seniors out for a potluck, a coffee row gang at the local “Merchandise on Main” and gas station attendants on the way down and back!

When all is said and done, the days were refreshing.  My wife sent me off with her blessing – in fact, with her insistence.  When life becomes too hectic she knows that I need to just get away.

And away is where I went.  Take a look for Lafleche on your map.  450 people.  Centered in the middle of nowhere.  A small lake nearby.  Fields aplenty.  Town spirit.  And not much else.

But somehow you’ve got to love it!  And that’s just what I did!

What I don’t know

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

A quick quote from Leonard Sweet in his book, “Out of the question, into the mystery”, p. 167:

The one thing I am sure of when I get to heaven is that I will have to edit my theology.