Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Some weeks feel like blah

   Thank God for the challenging weeks! As Steve said the other day, some weeks seem to blend into blaahhh. There is that sense that one has survived, rather than thrived, stayed alive rather than contributed to the on going good of either society as a whole or the fulfilment of our personal plans.

   Is that the truth? Or is it an emotional perception that pervades our thinking and we start to believe the niggling thought that we are just a waste of space?
   Or is there a reason for those times when we feel unproductive and unsuccessful?
   We measure production and success on things achieved. We are, after all, a product of the twenty-first century where great achievement is measured in gold medals, rising share prices or 'A's on a report card. 
   Yet we as people we quickly dump our 'stars' when the media discloses some impropriety. We don't even bother to check if the story is true. We don't allow for the pressure that our adulation has caused, or the fact that they are now living daily in a reality TV show environment, caused by our fascination. 
   We jump up and down on our couches in front of our wide screens and complain about the standard they are setting for our kids. We condemn their loss of control as we bellow at our kids because we are too lazy to lever our own bodies up and walk the length of the hall to relate to our family members.
   Jesus said something about exposing the splinter in the other's eye, whilst ignoring the plank in our own. We don't mean to ignore it. We just don't even realise it is there.
   But I digress.
   What is success? As a Christian, how do I measure success? I don't believe that God meant for us to live under such a hard task master as that which we place upon our own shoulders.
   We look back on a week where I have spent much time sitting in my chair due to a back problem and Steve has seen doors closing, rather than opening. Is that a wasted week? 
   I must take time to look for the flecks of gold among the dust and debris. And I see many flecks. One friend has reported complete freedom from pain after I prayed, on the phone, for the stabbing pain in her shoulders. And today I sat and held hands with an old friend that I've seen rarely in the last 25 years and listened as she poured out her struggles. I've spend the afternoon with some of my grand-kids, sat with another friend who is house bound. As I dig deeper, I've appreciated the comforts of my home which I so often take for granted and I've been reminded what a great hubby I have as he did hours of ironing!
   But what about the 'to do' lists that aren't done? The clients that haven't signed up? The person that I missed  caring for?
   Firmly, I remind myself that my task is to forget what lies behind and press onward to my calling. My first task is to worship the King of Kings, to go after His Kingdom and then everything else falls into place.
   Yes, I'm glad I remembered that. I feel better now.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The Bud Takes a Risk

I love the quote, by Anais Nin
“And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
It caused me to think ….
When a bud is closed tight, it is protected from the wind and rain.  Its delicate petals and stamens are enclosed, safe from harm, bundled up tight and secure. But the pressure is building!  Some thing is pushing them, one against the other and gossip is that at the top of the bud, the protective case has split and some of the petals are being pushed out!
Some of the petals shimmered in excitement at the prospect of being free, of being able to move as they wished, of greeting the ‘Sun’ that they had heard so much about.  Others were more cautious – fearing unnecessary change!  Now the report had come back from the top petals that the sun was dulled, and they were being battered by the wind.  They were trying to get back in the bud – and all that was doing was increasing the split – and other petals were exposed.
One big petal was very quiet in all the ensuing discussion!  He knew he was close to the Sun now. He had waited so long! He pushed up and out with all his might.  He could see the split just above him now! 
He determined to try again. ‘I must get a glimpse!’  So he focussed and tried again.  He pushed and pushed and the pressure was too much for the bud and it split down the side.  The petal turned his eyes outward.  What wonder! What fresh air!  The smells! The perfume!  The possibilities!  The freedom!
 “It is wonderful, just wonderful!” He yelled to the petals behind him, Urging the to follow.  “Come on!  Let’s show the world how beautiful we are!”
“But, the risk!” The other petals weren’t sure. “Let’s stay here – it is more comfortable now the bud is split!”
Just then a little voice was heard outside.  “Daddy, come quick.  The bud is opening!!  Look at the beautiful colour!”  
“Can you smell the perfume?”
“No, Daddy, no smell!”
 “You will be able to smell it when all the petals are open.  It will be wonderful.”
The petals were all quiet for a few moments.  Suddenly they understood!  To bloom would eventually cost them everything.  But to bloom is what they were created for.  To remain a bud and die on the vine was unthinkable.  
“We must bloom.  We must all push together.  We must be the best, most attractive bloom.  Then the bees will come and sup with us, and though we die we will actually live forever!”

PS  A week later a satisfied petal lay under the vine, blown against the fence.  His colour was fading, but his perfume was still strong.  They had done well.  The little girl had admired them everyday – but more importantly they had opened themselves completely to the Sun – and the bees had come.  And as he looked up to the vine, even now he could see the swelling, just below the last few petals, that spoke of fruit, with its promise of new life.  Near him on the ground was a bud – it had never opened itself to the Sun.  The vine had dropped it to the ground as useless.  How sad to have never experienced the Sun – to never have reached fulfilment!  How thankful he was that the big petal had the vision and courage to lead them out!

Friday, 3 August 2012

I resigned to myself

   Yesterday I considered firing myself. I became so frustrated with my own inefficiencies. This staff member is a drain on our company. Her mistakes are taking valuable time. Get rid of her!
   Then I was challenged. God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. I also know the law in our country. Three warnings are required before I could replace myself. So I gave myself a warning in the nicest possible way! And came home!
   Why all this drama. I am the bookkeeper in our family's business. It only requires my attention about twenty hours a month. I'm good at figures, so it can't be that bad.
Problem #1. There are lots of other things that demand my attention, so I try to do the work in ten hours!
Problem #2. While I loved maths, I'm not good with detail. I'm innovative, creative. So I think of the fast way of doing things. I'm the queen of cutting corners. I coined the phrase 'Creative Accounting'. My accountant smiles nicely and works with me.
   But once a month a big crowd of angry figures gather together and demand to be reconciled! I clear my throat, use my most authoritative tone and tell them to all line up and behave. After all I'm the boss!
   But figures are a law unto themselves. They are not concerned about my position in the company! Instead of calling me 'Financial Controller' they call me to account!
   So we struggled and battled. They won again. I capitulated and fixed the errors that caused the angst. 
   Then I realised what I could do! I resigned to myself! Yes! I'm free. And now there will be no more errors.    But wait a minute. I'd have to train someone. That would take hours. 
   So I decided to stay. But I do have a warning!