I love the first day of a new month. February has gone – no more F’s! – and although it won’t really be “March fourth” until Friday, the nice new page of my calendar has some promising entries. I even feel some unaccustomed interest and energy rising after so many weeks of hibernation! By the end of the month it will be Spring and the clocks will have done their annual leap forward, those daffodil buds in my garden will be in flower and there may even be some more sunshine. We will be looking back over 10 whole years since moving to Loughborough and Martin will be about to complete his last weekend on call before 2 months off… We will all welcome the spring flowers and a bit of warmth this year, after such a long, cold winter. Its funny how snowdrops and crocuses are such carriers of hope 🙂
I live my life in sections. I can no longer look more than a few months ahead, nor plan holidays a year in advance; equally I am not yet so peaceful (or resigned!) that I am able to think about nothing more than the present moment; ‘the power of now’ continues to beckon, but only after I have settled the activities for the week or organised the next trip away! Summer is way over the horizon for sure, but if I can see just a little way down the road I feel reassured. It’s like having to tidy the house before I can sit down on the sofa or tidy my desk before I can start on the ‘to do’ list! At least it gives some sense of control over the family timetable, even if it all has to be changed when we get to it (I hate that!) Strangely my brand new glasses have given me excellent reading vision, but the distance is blurred until I get them adjusted!
But my husband doesn’t call me the ‘air traffic controller’ for nothing! As well as avoiding in-flight collisions and crashes, my planning is also about having something to look forward to – in the same way that we are starting to look forward to Spring – and about making the most of the time.
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom” Ecclesiastes 9v10
The wise man who wrote Ecclesiastes had seen it all and it all seemed meaningless to him: it all ends in death, there is no profit in being righteous if one only ends up in the same state as the wicked. It is flawless logic – if you don’t take the resurrection and last judgement into account. This verse is a warning, ‘there is no time like the present!’ – when death comes the invigilator will say, “put down your pens”! But I also like what it says about the four key qualities that make up life: ‘working, planning, knowledge and wisdom’. He doesn’t say love or joy – though they are emphasised elsewhere in the book, mainly in a ‘make the most of it while you’ve got it’ sense; but here he is talking about purpose. I find I agree that my working and planning – as well as accumulated wisdom and knowledge – are the things that give my soul nourishment, like eating a good meal: I love it when a plan comes together!
Not everyone has such a tidy (petty?!) mind – and this may be a little OCD! – but its about finding patterns and making sense of it all, about being led by peace and doing the right thing, about living life ‘with all my might’. As Ecclesiastes also says, and as I have said before, ‘for everything there is a season’… So with my antennae up I am hearing the call to march forth!
It’s not really my idea: the Lord brought along a few invitations that all landed in this month. The first one is actually on Friday March 4th. I will leave the house and drive a few hundred miles to go to a conference – something I used to do a lot, but have not wanted to do for ages. But Spring stirred in my heart and I thought I would go and have a look at the garden, see if anything is growing… “I want to serve the purpose of God in my generation”. But I only want to go in ‘Presence and Rest’ (Exodus 33v14)! If He is going with me, I will go with Him. I’ll get to see some old friends and find out what’s happening beyond my own little world. Maybe there’ll be some new doors and connections – maybe I’ll wear myself out – but it is purposeful and a bit exciting 🙂 Later in the month I have a whole week filled! To think I used to live like that for quite a few years up until the end of 2008 – exhausting full-time networking and prayer meetings… I think I got older and wiser! I’m very glad the plans for March include seeing dear old friends again as well!
Meanwhile Sam-son, the cause of my respite, has managed to wangle an early scan. He wants to see if the meeting with the energy healer a month ago actually did anything. He feels and behaves differently, for sure – despite overdoing it somewhat and ending up exhausted this weekend. This morning he was singing at the top of his voice and then spent an hour drumming this afternoon – wow.
He has been told and believes that he is going to get better… so of course he really wants some proof. Hmmm – despite our prayers we’re not sure what to think about that! His consultant doesn’t usually consider ‘energy healer assessments’ adequate reason to re-scan and didn’t think they would do it only 2 months on from the last one, but lo, a phone call, and he goes to the MRI unit on Friday March 4th. I don’t know how long it will be before he hears the results – he is cool about it; probably the worst thing he could hear this time is ‘no change’. Then he will be back on the offensive again, no doubt: “I’ll kick cancer’s ass!” It is hope that keeps him going…
Lord, You are faithful to us. You give us hope and purpose, help and support – and the promise of life to come. As a close friend of mine used to say, ‘there is always a way through with Jesus’. There are open doors to march through into a new and broad place; there are doors to gently test and timings to wait as well. One of my oldest friends (see Sister Death) cannot even look forward to Spring this year as she waits out her last weeks: bless you Helen, I know you are reading this. It is so hard to say goodbye to this life, but Jesus is holding your hands just as George is holding Sam’s hands in this picture and you will soon step through into His house: that is our eternal Hope. It is precisely because our lives here are uncertain and temporary that we have to do the ‘working and planning’ and attain to the ‘knowledge and wisdom’ while we can.
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23