At the beginning of every school year, I tell this story:
Monday, June 28, 2010
At the beginning of every school year, I tell this story:
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Chris Rice has a song that is called Life Means So Much. This song and the phrase Seize the Day have been the running through my head for the last few months. Perhaps I am thinking about life more reflectively and intentionally because I turned 30 this year. Or perhaps it was the discussions my 5th grade class had about making each day count. My roommate likes to say, "Life is short." It is. 3 years ago my childhood friend Bonnie passed away after a year battle with cancer. She was 27. She had a tumor removed in October, got married in December, and passed away the following October. Bonnie was very passionate and very ambitious. Every single time I talked to her she challenged me with something. She taught me to ask questions, to dig deeper, to search the Scriptures to find the truth for myself, and to take God out a box and believe He can do much more than I could ever ask or imagine. She taught me to believe, to pray believing that He would answer prayers and to believe who He says He is. Bonnie was goal oriented. She and her husband had plans to earn enough money to be financially stable so that they could travel around the world and educate people about the Lord. In fact, I remember one conversation we had about life goals. She told me she had written 50 life goals and challenged me to do the same. So I did--some are little things like learn to make my grandma's pie, make a quilt, have my own garden, learn to play the guitar, write more music, and others are larger goals such as getting my master's degree in education, adopt kids, be a prayer warrior, take counseling classes, minister to inner city kids, own a home that is open to guests and visitors all the time, and have a large family. All those goals are of course subject to the Lord's plans, however it has been good for me to take several of these goals and pursue them. Two of these goals have to do with running. The first was to run a half-marathon. I ran my first half marathon a week after Bonnie died. The entire race I kept thinking about Bonnie and her rock solid faith during her battle with cancer, and that helped me run that 'race' with perseverance as she had done. The second goal was to run a marathon. Despite my history of plaguing injuries, I decided to sign up for the Twin Cities Marathon in October and am excited to run for a cause--World Vision. Kari has been a great friend and running buddy the last three years. I have watched her run 3 marathons and can't wait to run one with her! As Chris Rice says,
The customary rhythm and flow of my house is generally accelerated by the morning ritual. Among other sounds heard is the rapid patter of feet as each of four kids awakens with a fresh sense of urgency in their bladder. The youngest races to the closed door, clasps his hands in prayer and with eyes squinted knocks adamantly upon the door. It's available, I say from my vantage point in the living room. With a shrug of thanks and relief he enters and relieves himself. To the believer all things are worthy of prayer, even the little things like "oh dear god let the bathroom be vacant now because it's always a crap shoot in a household of 6 with only one bathroom and 3 older siblings." While praying for water closet relief does not nearly rise to the threshold of "oh dear god please allow me the provisions to feed my children today" it is born of the equal faith that some one is listening. Moving beyond that inquest in the journey of faith takes a bolder step that says, not only is someone listening, but that someone will answer. And perhaps the boldest step of all is the belief that not only is someone listening, beyond someone has an answer, to the last cosmic leap that someone can actually respond with action to my plea. There was no one to answer my son from behind the bathroom door, only I, with my perfect vantage point could do that for him.May I have the grace to ask in faith of the One who has perfect perception today.
What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.
While on a trip to Haiti many years ago I happened to mention to one of our more pensive leaders that the banana tree bears fruit only once and then it must be cut down to allow for a new plant to grow in it's place. He appeared somewhat nonplussed by that new information and we bumped along the rutted road for another 30 minutes or so. The monotonous hum of the engine grinding was suddenly broken by our pensive leaders declaration, "I've got it!" and now all ears are trained on him. "We have but one life to live and then we die, that is the message of the banana tree." While not terribly profound to the rest of us in the truck, this thought penetrated our leaders heart; he has one life to live and then he dies. One life to make an impact, one moment in time to do fantastic things. He returned home to walk both coast to coast and border to border across the United States for causes he believes in and last I heard he is in the process of walking around the world. Walking, walking, (as opposed to walking to the train station and putting 4 or so hundred miles between me and the last trail walking) as in putting one foot in front of the other walking. That is a lot of miles and a lot of making good on his understanding that we are given but one life to live and then we die. One other unique thing to the banana tree is that each tree produces live offshoots that can be cut from the mama tree re planted, producing a new plant and a new crop of fruit. I have but one life to live to reproduce what is good and desirable in me, by God's grace may I produce both fruits and shoots.