A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces. Ecclesiastes 3:5
My need for order makes it unlikely that I’ll ever embrace the opportunity to “scatter” stones. I’m more likely to arrange them in neat piles or rows depending upon their size. I’m even less likely to choose to be far from embraces. The human touch is extremely important to us all and I can’t imagine ever situating myself far enough away from my fellow humans to preclude hugging.
As I composed that last sentence, the image of my mom an hour before her passing came to mind. She’d drifted into a coma the day before. Her time among us could be counted in hours. That night, I couldn’t bring myself to leave her. It was forty minutes after my sisters had left when I realized the error of my ways. You see, when our mom received her terminal diagnosis, she was very specific regarding where she would spend her last days. The underlying message was that she had no intention of breathing her last in any of our homes. She couldn’t bear to leave us with that memory. My presence at her bedside had obviously interfered with my mom’s intent. After kissing her one last time, I drove the thirty-minute ride home. Ten minutes after I’d arrived, the phone rang. My mom had taken her leave.
Sometimes, we need to leave the proximity of those all-important embraces. There are some things which we must attend to alone.
Patient God, nudge me when it’s time to embrace those you’ve given me to love. Nudge me a bit harder when it’s time for me to step back and allow you to take care.
Thus says the LORD:
Lo, I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
The things of the past shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
I occasionally engage in bouts of purging. This entails my waging war on a cluttered room, closet or drawer. When I find things which have not been used in the recent past, I box them up in short order. When I hand these items over to the volunteers at my favorite charity, I receive an amazing sense of freedom in return. There is something very liberating about letting go of things from our past which do no more than clutter up our houses or our lives.
I decided early on this Lent to spend time with God every day. I am pleased to share that I have kept this commitment more faithfully than I thought possible. Each time I sat to spend a few minutes with God, I had to let something else go. Sometimes, it was an unnecessary chore that I let wait for another day. Sometimes, it was unnecessary worry that I set aside, hopefully for good. In the process, I have managed to let go of some of the clutter within me and to find renewed joy inside and out.
Lent is meant to be a productive time which leaves me closer to God and closer to my best self in the end. Perhaps my Lenten efforts will be most fruitful if I continue this de-cluttering in the process.
Loving God, you create newness with every opportunity you place in my path. Help me to create newness as well by dispelling the clutter that keeps me from my best self and from you.
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build.
Change is difficult for me, especially when my established routines prove to be helpful to all concerned. “Why change what is working?” I often ask myself.
The problem is that I don’t always evaluate what “working” actually means. Is the status quo simply maintaining my peace of mind or is something positive actually being accomplished? Is adhering to what I am used to adding to the quality of my life and life around me or is it allowing a musty fog to blur the wonder left to discover?
Change is difficult for me. Still, discarding a bit of what I’m used to may bring healing to my restless spirit.
Loving God, give me the courage to let go of my routines and to embrace the opportunities which lie ahead. Be with me as I muster the courage to take that first step.