Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Farther Along Than We Think

This will be a parrot-free post! Remember the name of this blog is "tentpegs"? It refers to the fact that we are on a journey from here to heaven and that we have a tendency to drive our tentpegs down deep, settling in, and acting like we are already home. I received a touching email from one of my members today concerning life, the universe, and everything. She had been deeply affected by the death of one of the most beautiful young ladies on the planet, Katie Kirkpatrick, earlier this year. Katie died the week of her wedding after fighting cancer for several years. She was prettier than most models I've ever seen and totally dedicated to her Lord -- heart, soul and mind.

Her friend wrote me wondering if Katie really understood the hymns she sang about going home to see Jesus. Then, she wondered, will I ever really be able to sing those songs and mean it? Why are we here anyway? How can we "give it to God" and still live up to our responsibilities? Why is it that God's plan doesn't always look right to us?

Let's review a vital statistic: one out of one dies. When we prayed for Katie over the last few years we asked God to completely heal her and bring her joy and peace. He did. He answered our prayers even though we didn't understand that her body was too broken to restore. He took her home and healed her there, wiping away her tears even as ours fell to the ground. Why? "We'll understand it all by and by."

We came into this world kicking, screaming, squinting, and swinging our little balled fists. We didn't want to leave the nice, warm, dark place we'd called home for months. It didn't seem right to have lights in our face, strangers hoisting us about the place, and somebody with scissors clipping off our lifeline to mom! After awhile we made peace with the new place, explored it a bit, and decided we'd stay here forever... only to find out that we wouldn't. Our bones got a little stiffer, God rearranged the hair on our bodies in rather embarassing ways, people started hiding our keys, and people started asking if we wanted the senior discount.

We look in the mirror and realize: we've peaked! We are never going to get better looking. It's over. You could Bow-Flex us within an inch of our lives and we still wouldn't look like the model on the box.

For most people, the last part of the journey towards God occurs in a dim fog, a slowing down of life and ability. For others it comes in a rush with an onslaught of steel at an intersection. For still others it happens with the slow drip of an IV and doctors making frowny faces. But the end always comes. For all of us, there will come the time to leave.

So how do we trust God during all of this? It is only fair to point out that He certainly trusts us! He lets us run off the leash. He sets us free. No robot children or Stepford wives for God. He loves us, gifts us, and asks us to stay close but like some beagle on its third cup of expresso we chase birds and butterflies and clouds as if we could catch them. He keeps calling us back, telling us to stay close, stay safe, make Him proud. It doesn't make sense to us at the time -- doesn't He see that bird? It needs chased!

Remember when you were a kid? Love didn't always feel like love, did it? Eat your peas, go to bed and, no, you can't watch that show. When you grew up a bit, you saw things differently. When you're a kid you deal with limited experience, limited knowledge, and limited perspective. We are all God's children and His perspective is entirely different from ours. We have to learn how to "trust and obey for there's no other way."

And we have to make sure that the tentpegs aren't rammed down like we are staying here long. Look at your life and possessions. If you can't burn it on an altar, it is a god. If you can't walk away from it for Jesus, it owns you.

Sing the songs about home and Jesus. Live each day realizing the words are real and so is the journey. Saddle up.


At 5/04/2005 08:56:00 AM , Blogger Arielle said...

This is the kind of stuff I've been learning since becoming a parent a year ago. It can be both humbling and awe-inspiring. =)

At 5/04/2005 09:59:00 AM , Blogger Steve Duer said...

I spoke about this last Sunday. I contrasted the memories we have about the home of our childhood with the fact that earth is the home of our spiritual childhood. We aren't to "settle down" here. We have another home waiting for us. He promised!

At 5/04/2005 03:27:00 PM , Blogger Alnot said...

We had a saying in the infantry that was very similar. "Time to ruck up." As we lifted our ruck sacks onto our backs and got ready to move on. I just turned fifty and due to long term health problems have had to apply for a disability pension. Something I have been too busy to acknowledge until now. Life moves on quickly indeed.

At 5/04/2005 08:52:00 PM , Blogger Dee O'Neil Andrews said...

Having experienced a heavy burden of physical infirmaties the past two years, and still enduring some right now, I have come to a much deeper place in thinking about these things than I had in the past, although, I've long thought about them.

I certainly don't have all the answers, but as to the question "How can we "give it to God" and still live up to our responsibilities?", I think we ALL do it by living one day at a time.

After all, today - right now this minute - is all that any of us have and the sooner we come to that realization, the better off we are spiritually speaking.

Not that it's easy to do, mind you. It's been my experience that it's taken a really LONG time for me to reach the point where I know, without a doubt, that if I were not to live for one more moment in this life, it was but a transient journey, anyway, and I was finally in my final - and eternal - home.

Not that I want to go off now and leave those I love so much here without me, but as you so well point out, Patrick, "the end always comes. For all of us, there will come the time to leave."

And, you know what? I truly thank God for that certain fact in my otherwise fragile and deteriorating physical body.

At 5/04/2005 09:12:00 PM , Blogger plucky said...


At 5/12/2005 02:04:00 PM , Blogger Cheetah, the cheetah said...

After spending a long weekend with grown daughters and a grandbaby, I have to see that I'm farther along than I think. I am grateful that I wrote so many moments on my heart knowing "this" moment will never come again. It's the best advice my own mother ever gave me.


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