Saturday, October 05, 2019

Lost Things

The thing about moving every 3-4 years is that there are hidden griefs beyond the obvious ones. Obviously, we grieve when we spend the first part of a move grieving the loss of friends and familiarity from the previous place we lived and trying to find our place in our new home. Then, just about the time we’ve established good friends and found our way around and it has begun to feel like home, it’s time to move again, and we go through that whole grief process again. Then when you get to the new place, you have to push on and jump in and meet new people, because you don't want to walk around bleeding the hidden grief all over the new people, you have to move on and be present here and make this place home and embrace all the good things and great people you get to know here. 

I’m going to be a little raw and admit that I am still struggling with this move.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m older this time and my kids are older and we’re kind of on the way toward being almost empty nesters, or what, but I am fighting like you wouldn’t believe against a gray depression and lack of motivation to really jump in and get to know people here. I’m doing it - I’ve joined the church choir, I’ve been to my first middle school band boosters meeting and I’m planning to sign up to help with an upcoming band event soon, and we are looking into joining the church as soon as we can.  But, with leaving both boys behind at college in Texas, I’m struggling a bit with the beginnings of the empty next on top of having to start all over again in a new place, after leaving a place we weren’t ready to leave.  I have to admit, I’m having a hard time with my emotions this time.  

What brings this up today in a fresh way is that I’m dealing with one of those hidden griefs of moving as often as we do - that fresh knife-cut wound when you realize something else that had a lot of sentimental value that should have been here, somehow isn’t here.  As we finish going through the last of the boxes and realize, “Hey, I haven’t seen……” and we go looking and can’t find that thing. There have been several things like that this time.  We know for sure that our University of Florida diplomas and some precious art work and photos that were packed with them are not here, and we have a claim and a plea with the moving company that stored our stuff to please find those boxes. They aren’t worth any money that the company could pay us, really, but they are full of irreplaceable sentimental value, and there's a catch in my throat every time I consider we may never get some of them back.  And today, as we’ve been going through the last of the bookshelf boxes, it seems that my “Omnibus” magazines - the creative writing magazine from high school where I was on staff - seem to be missing also.  My husband says we will find them.  I’m feeling less sure than he is, but I appreciate his understanding of my tears.

I know that this is just ‘stuff.’ I know that in the grand scheme of things, these are not really important things. But, today, right now, it’s one more opening of the wound of the grief of moving again.  This move has absolutely been the hardest one we’ve done yet.

BUT, I will still sing, and I will still praise, because through it ALL, I know that God is good and He has placed us here at this time for His purpose.  In some ways it’s been a great move.  My daughter has had the smoothest transition she’s ever had with a move, and has already made some good friends at school and at church - people who are truly glad to see her when she comes down the hall. That is priceless. And just living here, in this particular place, we see all kinds of opportunities, especially for one of our sons - because of some connections we’ve made here, he will be getting an awesome scholarship and we can foresee some wonderful internship possibilities.  And we have found a great church, where we know that in time will feel just as much like home as any other church we’ve been members of, because these are fellow believers who love Jesus, just as we do.  I love the choir already, and we’ve been invited by some sweet people in our Sunday school class to an informal fellowship tonight.  God is so good, and He always, always provides abundantly for His people.  I know that as I keep my eyes on Him, He never changes and I am His. He will heal my broken heart, and help me to let go of things that should not hold my heart too tightly, even when I feel that renewed cut at the realization of one more lost thing, and for that I’m thankful.  

Isaiah 26:3-4
"You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you, 
because he trusts in you.
Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock."

Psalm 34:1
"I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth."

Psalm 34:18
"The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit." 

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

"Away for the Day"

2 Timothy 2:23 
“Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.”

2 Timothy 3: 1-5 
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.  Avoid such people.”

I’ve been reading 2 Timothy the past couple of mornings and these passages stuck out to me today.  To me, they pretty well describe much of what I see on Twitter - especially, “Christian” Twitter, to be brutally honest.  It seems like lately Twitter is becoming a more and more toxic place to hang out. “News” stories are posted as fact before all the facts are in, meaning that the original story often is NOT the true reading of what has happened, but by the time the retractions are printed, it is a bit too late - the first, misleading impression is already planted firmly in people's heads. There is a lot of incivility in interactions, too. So much arguing over things that are better not argued in the Twitter or Facebook space, because it’s really not designed for reasoned arguments. Anyway, most of the heated debates I see do not seem to be all that edifying, and are usually more unhelpful than anything. I know I’m being vague, but I don’t need to throw out specifics here.  If you’re on Twitter and Facebook at all, you’ve seen these kinds of things. And the conspiracy theories on various and sundry topics, oh dear.  Wowza. Not a wise use of time or mental energy.

I find that I’ve been, once again, spending more time on Twitter and Facebook than is probably helpful, and reading 2 Timothy today, with the warning - “Avoid such people,” I got to thinking it’s time to take a breather. 

My daughter’s middle school has adopted a policy this year that they call, “Away for the Day.” Basically they have asked all the students to either leave their cell phones at home or at least turn them off and put them in their backpacks and lockers during the school day. I’m thinking that may be a wise course of action for me, too. So, I’m thinking that after I post this, I could very much benefit from an “Away for the Day” policy regarding my use of social media. Just today I’ve already seen a difference in my attitude, as time I would have spent scrolling through Twitter this morning I actually spent reading a book that is ministering to my soul, and spent some time in prayer that was desperately needed, and wrote this blog post, something I'd like to do more often - write blog posts, hopefully thoughtful ones, that is.  

So, I’m thinking “Away for the Day” will be a good thing to try for a while. And maybe, just maybe, I may need to clean out some of the voices I follow on social media and ‘avoid such people.’ I’ve already started purging my Twitter feed a bit.  

Happy Wednesday!