Sunday, July 19, 2015

Proceed with caution: re-reading a journal

In the predawn darkness, I unearth a journal, written during our the last year in Seattle. I stashed the book in the bottom of the office cabinet as we moved into this house.

I open the journal to the first blank page and write and write as though gasping for air. All the ideas I've held in. All the feeling I can't say aloud. It feels like ... relief.

Then I flip back through our last year of travel and shedding a familiar life. I've recorded my fears and my hopes for the future. My sadness at leaving the family - parents, children, grandchildren present and future, and friends. Will we be forgotten? Will we lose touch? Will our feet land on the ground?

A loose page flutters in the book so I pull it out. On one side is a checklist for W, building out the basement of our home. I titled it, "BEFORE DECOR: W'S JOBS": kitchen counters, dining cabinets, painting, install the bathroom sink and mirror.

On the other side of the paper is a list of things I am giving away or selling: books, food, chairs, a table, teapots, artwork, candles, a toddler rocking horse. I remember the items on the list as though I'm touching them again. Letting them slip between my fingers so I can open my hands and heart to Indonesia.

If wishes were horses,
then beggars would ride ... and
this Oma would get to hug her grandchildren
I've also written down the furnishings I need to finish out the basement. I will find them on Freecycle, Craigslist, and at IKEA. [When done, we have a lovely livable space to enjoy for 9 months.]

In the journal I read my grief at what we are leaving behind. But also anticipation for what lies ahead.

Here in Indonesia, the next weeks are crammed full of opportunities and obligations. But this morning, I pause in a house empty of guests.

I regroup. Mourn. Laugh. Plan. And I write. Always write.

God is faithful.

Read more:
*The Lord will bless his people with peace. Psalm 29:11 NKJV

*Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 ESV

*Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1 ESV

*So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. Ephesians 2:19 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Most precious Lord and Savior, give us the faith of a child to see your light in our lives so that we might experience and share your peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.

C. S. Lewis: from Mere Christianity
We begin to notice, besides our particular sinful acts, our sinfulness; begin to be alarmed not only about what we do, but about what we are. This may sound rather difficult, so I will try to make it clear from my own case. 

When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious one is some sin against charity; I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stormed. And the excuse that immediately springs to my mind is that the provocation was so sudden and unexpected; I was caught off my guard, I had not time to collect myself. 

Now that may be an extenuating circumstance as regards those particular acts: they would obviously be worse if they had been deliberate and premeditated. On the other hand, surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? 

If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.

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