Friday, April 6, 2018

More than a moment

It was Dr. Seuss who said, "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." We pretty much like how things begin, but we often feel let down when they end. I know that is the way I approach vacation times - happy that the day has arrived to embark on my adventure; then the final day comes and I must begin the journey back to "normal". Some projects begin the same way - with great gusto and good cheer; then end with a few bumps and bruises, tired muscles, and a sense of a little let down to be completing it. I wonder if we approach some of the moments in our lives with Christ in much this same manner - seeing a closed door behind us as something to mourn rather than to smile about 'because it happened". There will be bumps and bruises along the way sometimes, but remember...we grow by falling and getting up again!

Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should. (Psalm 90:12 TLB)

Our days are few - we must make the best of each one. Life doesn't just 'happen' - we aren't just abandoned to whatever happens without any apparent reason. Even those things that seem to escape reason have a purpose; although that purpose may not be understood some times. The other day I took my daughter to the airport for one of the first flights of the day. It was an early flight, so we anticipated being at the airport about one hour early would be sufficient. We judged leaving 1.5 hours before the flight would allow the 30 minutes travel time and enough time for her to take her time to get to the gate. Well, you guessed it - - - there was a huge traffic issue on the freeway and we were caught in the middle of the muddle. We sat on a two mile stretch of the journey (our last leg of it, mind you) for an hour waiting for traffic to clear from a huge roll-over accident at the specific exit we needed in order to get to the airport. In fact, we were trapped with no way of escape, for there were no other exits. 

Sometimes we feel trapped by what our days bring to us, much like we did in that traffic jam. The minutes just ticked by, the flight came closer and closer to take-off time, and my daughter's peers all sat at the gate awaiting her arrival so they could begin their journey that day. The truth of the matter is that she arrived at the door of the airport 18 minutes before her flight, somehow made it past TSA security checkpoint, and to the door of that flight just as they paged her name for the last time! But...the lesson of the adventure is not the ending, but rather the beginning of this journey. You see, as she loaded her stuff into the car, I was ready to pull out and go, but she needed to talk for a moment with her husband, delaying our start that day by just a few minutes. The cats stood ready at the open door contemplating an escape, and she needed to remind him to herd them back into the house just in case they scurried under her parked car without him noticing.

That simple delay seemed like an eternity as we sat on that traffic clogged section of freeway that day, but 5 minutes earlier might just have placed us in the very spot where that out of control driver created such a mess and sent innocent people to the hospital that day. As we waiting for what seemed an eternity, I knew we were being taught a lesson. The lesson? God holds our lives securely in his hands. As traffic began to clear, we all began to move - picking up the speed as separation between vehicles began to increase. As my speedometer approached 45 mph, we were suddenly cut off from a vehicle to the left of us, crossing two lanes of traffic, cutting across the gore point into oncoming traffic exiting the freeway, and we were run off the road, narrowly avoiding a collision of our own. In a blink of an eye, our vehicle veered off the road, avoiding all other traffic around us, and we were kept safe from what could have proven to be the permanent delay in my daughter's adventure that day.

Sometimes we set out with one thing in mind, but come to the realization the journey will yield something quite different. We saw miracles that day - both in our own lives and in those lives around us. We saw provision that day - both in delivering us safely to our destination and in allowing that flight to be delayed ever so slightly for air conditioning repairs! In those moments, stress levels rose to high proportions, but in equal proportions God's peace overshadowed us. I simply turned to my daughter and spoke with the peaceful assurance of God's control of the matter and said, "You are going to make your flight." We started well, but I think we ended better. We might have wanted to cry with the let down of it all being over and her being safely on her way, but we smiled in the peace of knowing God's hand was clearly in each moment of that early morning's adventure. Maybe you are there today - feeling a little let down at the end of your adventure - don't look back and mourn, but smile with the assurance of having experienced the teachable moments! Just sayin!