MK's Meanderings of the Mind

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Meandering about taking risks

Much Meandering of the mind… about taking risks

If you walk in the garden without your shoes on…
Don't be surprised if you get bit!

If you never wear gloves…
Don't be surprised if your skin gets tough and leathery.

If you always wear thick, protective gloves to keep your hands "soft and supple"…
Don't be surprised if you can't pick up a dime, or feel a kitten's soft fur.

If you hoard the last piece of chocolate cake…
Don't be surprised if it no longer tastes very good when you finally eat it.

If you never try pronouncing a word in Spanish…
Don't be surprised if you never become fluent in the language or become best friends with a Spaniard.

If you never introduce yourself to a new person,
Don't be surprised if you begin to feel bored.

If you isolate yourself from others,
Don't be surprised if no one ever gives you a surprise birthday party… or knows when you need help.

When our adventuresome son, David, was in high school, he told me that I wanted him to read about life, not live it. I was indignant! … til I was realized he was right. I want my children safe all the time… However, I think our desire for excitement is God given for without the risk takers we would never make giant strides in our society, in our medicine, in our faith. He wanted us (maybe just some of us??? No probably all of us!) to enjoy living on the edge a bit. But is difficult for a protective parent to allow our children to experience danger.

Knowing when to protect ourselves and our families is tricky business at best. We caution our children to stay out of the sun without sunblock, then wonder why they want to spend all day in front of the computer.

I often forget the example God, through His Son, gave us for letting our children live life to its fullest. I want everyone safe and sound. As Ben so ably taught in the sermon on Sunday, God wants us to know it all, sorrow and joy, dark and light, empty and full.

I've discovered that asking for God's guidance helps me when making decisions about living my life, and while He sent me challenges in my life's garden, He also expects me to use the mind that He gave me… He wants me to be a good steward of the blessings He sends. Wear the gloves, but not all the time. Is that His message? I'm not quite sure…. Consider Jesus and the disciples in a boat during a storm. My inclination would have been… forget the fish, just get back to land! But the message He sent was in the storm itself. Look at Him, trust Him, all will be well.

On Sunday, I asked that prayers be said for a good friend's grandchild. Little Christopher was born 3 months too early. He weighed 2 pounds 4 oz .and for a day or so was holding his own. I knew he would be okay, but I had fear for his family members. Saturday we got word that he had a serious brain hemorrhage and Sunday afternoon, he died. Christopher was and is okay. His family is in sorrow, but report they have experienced much love in the midst of their tears. The family gave permission to take him off life support so he could live a free life…. At their expense - the loss of a child. Witness the cross. Great risk for God, great gain for us.

We don't always have to be taking giant risks to see Him, to feel Him, to learn about Him. In the big risks and in the small, His creations teach us about living a full life - and I am sure that is The Plan. It seems that on the days that I feel the most in tune with Him, I find myself walking barefoot in the yard, just so I may feel the dew on the grass….

I think we all will have questions about risks and gains, safety and danger during our time on this earth, but I don't think He wants our questions and our fears to overcome our willingness to be risk takers. So, while I walk barefoot in the garden, I have learned to listen carefully for low flying wasps or watch for those sneaky little fire ants.

God made those, too…… I wonder why?

More Meandering of the mind… about music

It occurred to me one morning that God is directing an orchestra,
not just a series of solos.

Our lives,
interwoven together,
create an entirely different sound than when practiced individually.

I am certain He is with us during our own private lessons,
but unlike us,
He knows the overall score
and knows exactly how our sound will fit it.

A single part that often sounds "un-melodious"
or uninteresting
or even off-key
may provide just the structure needed to carry a piece through in a rhythmical way
or provide the dissonance necessary to keep a piece interesting.

(If you've ever played a tuba or a french horn during marching season, you know exactly what it is to play nothing but ompahs
or _tah, _tah, _tah, tah, tah's on and on and on…very dull indeed to practice!)
But when played with the group, those of us playing those strong droning notes enable the marching members to feel the beat strongly.
It wasn't until I was an adult that I understood the reason for my single note soliloquies.

I've discovered on occasion one of the great joys of life -
catching a phrase of the orchestra as a whole,
hearing how my part fits in with the rest of the players.
Perhaps it is God's gift to me,
a reward for my practicing,
or perhaps ….
it is simply that I came in close enough to the Director
to hear more than my single part.

Like our music,
I suspect our prayers,
may create a symphony of sound, not just a cacophony of noise
when we say them in His name,
with His will in mind.

The Composer, the Director appreciates my willingness to practice,
for it adds to the beauty of the piece.

My prayer today is that I will not be lazy in my practice sessions,
not just a clock watcher, waiting for my practice time to pass,
but rather a true musician,
working to play to the best of my ability,
according to the score I was given,
ever mindful that my part is very necessary,
but not the entire symphony.
What a relief! (I don't have to play all the parts!)
What a challenge! (The orchestration requires my part… however, odd it may sound!)

Meandering of the mind… about life's lessons

Some lessons of life's we seem to have to learn over and over. I’m not sure if that is because we forget what we've learned (which is certainly a possibility in my case!) or if it is because the lesson is not one we wholeheartedly embrace. One of those things you know, but would like to change….
So here's a couple of lessons I of which I have yet to fully learn or promptly remember:

The purpose of life is not to enjoy it…. it's about the pilgrimage. It's about the learning we need to do along the way. A friend reminded me the other day of the book, "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden." No matter how many times I am reminded of that fact, I still keep looking for a "thorn-free" garden. I want an easy life, not a journey requiring hard work and vigilance ('course then I wonder why I'm bored on a Sunday afternoon with nothing going on but a football game or a nap on the couch.)

Among those lessons I simply would like to change is the one I fight most often. I still get angry over injustices. Rather than learning to adjust my life to them, I rail against the fact that “Fairness is a myth".
I expect all to be treated equally.
I expect my life to deliver what I give. If I never hurt you, then I think it is only fair that you never hurt me. I expect safety, kindness, and honesty from all. And I get exceedingly unhappy when I am disappointed to find danger along the way, or mean hearted or dishonest people.
My plan: If I try to “play nicely with others”, I expect them to "play nicely" as well. It's part of my perfectly planned life. How dare God not protect me from those elements that create havoc, or people who can and do hurt me! I thought He loved me! No, life is not fair….
I may still have to be reminded of that fact, but in truth, the older I get, the less shocked I am by the lesson and the more quickly I rally from the blows of injustice.

But, I also have to be honest myself and tell about something else that happens on the pilgrimage: Sometimes the unfairness swings in my direction. I get something good I really didn't deserve. I find a secret passage to a journey's destination. I have a gift fall into my lap, one that makes my journey easier or reminds me that some days the lessons learned on the pilgrimage are not all difficult or unpleasant ones.

I suspect that if life really were fair, my life would be far less pleasant. If I had no lessons to learn along the way, I suspect my life would be far less interesting, and my understanding of God would be far more shallow.

Ah, life's lessons… can't live with them…. Can't live without them.