Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My Cup Runneth Over

My Cup Runneth Over

Things are REALLY busy at work right now. I work in a school system, so there is an end in sight. The trouble is that there is a limited time in which to accomplish the legal requirements. So, I have made a schedule to make sure that all of my legal responsibilities are performed within the given timeframe. :) That felt good. Knowing that it was possible, and that there was a plan to follow which would lead to a successful conclusion.
That was Friday. Since that time, new legal requirements and responsibilities have been added. No fault. No person to blame. Just a part of the “business” I am a part of these days. The schedule that had room for a few short breaths now does not have room for eating, much less catching my breath. :)

I envision a tea cup. One that’s functional with beauty, and maybe even a hint of elegance. It has bright colors and floral designs painted on it. I imagine it with milk in it. The milk is up to the rim of the cup. It is close to spilling, but hasn’t broken the barrier of overflow. (Viscosity comes to mind, it that the right principle?) Then, a drop of milk is added. Balance is maintained. And another drop is added. No overflow. Balance maintained with greater effort. Another drop added. The boundary is visibly at the edge of the cup………
Soon, the cup will be drained for a time and the legal requirements and responsibilities will not demand my energies and attention.

An overflowing cup of joy is wonderful. An overflowing cup of grief can be cleansing. An overflowing cup of responsibility is no way to live! There is no room to pick up the cup and enjoy the contents. There is no room to add a little sweetener. No room to mix up the contents with a little stir. No room to share with a friend by pouring into their cup.
Please, grant me the wisdom to keep my cup of life’s responsibilities full, but with room for enjoyment and flexibility!! :)

Breath of Life in an Unlikely Place

Breath of Life in an Unlikely Place

Where we live, today(originally written on 4/30/09) was a day of testing for the students. Part of my job today was to help monitor the administration of the 8th grade science test to a group of students who find learning at school to be very difficult. The administrator read the test to them to help them be more successful and show what they truly know about science.
And, there, I learned something new. Now, you should know that I love science of most kinds and found the questions fun and interesting and educational. (Did I tell you I’m a bit of a gweeb? :))
One of the questions was, “What is the purpose of respiration?” My mind answered, “…to help us breathe.” My answer was not one of the choices. One of the choices was "to provide energy." Hmmmmm. And then, Genesis came to mind, and I could see the lump of clay in the shape of a man, and I could hear God providing the breath of life……to provide energy. That is what we are. A ball of energy contained in a body. At an earlier time, it amazed me to learn in science that we are electric. We are energy. We contain energy. We contain the Breath of God. Our bodies are merely vessels for this amazing source of life….of energy. :) Several pieces of the puzzle came into place and made a whole picture.
Sometimes the energy rises in me so powerfully. It wants to fly, to be free, to do, to love, to make better, to make a difference. Music seems to “talk” to that energy in me, like they are almost of the same stuff in some kind of way.
So, I can choose with my energy three avenues. I can waste it, I can spend it, and I can invest it. And I can choose those three avenues on two planes-physical and spiritual. I think I will make more conscious choices and ask for help from the Giver of Breath. :) I want my “song of life” to sound beautiful and to be useful and helpful.

Thistles in the Yard

Thistles in the Yard
Ponderings and Musings about Some Lessons of Life

In Granny’s yard, there is a wet spot. It had begun to grow a thistle forest. I don’t mean any small forest, either. Some thistles were taller than me and thicker than one finger. As you know, thistles proliferate very well. So, there were probably about 100 thistles in the front yard in the period of about 2 weeks. We all saw them, and commented on them. Digging up thistles seemed to be a very upleasant job. It seemed to have no rewards. However, if someone didn’t do something, the yard would be overtaken and the problem would be bigger and worse. So, I took a shovel in hand on Saturday and began to eliminate the thistles that I saw. It didn’t take very long, really. Only about an hour of time spent to render the yard thistle-free for the current moment. I fully expect to have outcroppings of thistles for a while as some had seed and freely shared their seeds when I removed them from the life-giving surface of the earth. There were rewards, though. It’s an analogy really, a story. A combination of new and old paths of learning and growing within me crossed and bore fruit. :)

Our lives and hearts can be like a yard or a garden. We plant things, let things be planted, and let a few areas grow wild. Sometimes there are thistles in our hearts and lives. If we don’t do something about them in a timely manner, then soon we will have a thistle forest and no other growth. Our beautiful spots will become weeds.
Sometimes thistles in your yard affect your neighbors’ yards. (I currently think of family and those under the same roof with you, but the idea can be expanded further.)
When you see someone with a beautiful garden of life, you know that work goes into it. Work goes into development and planning and maintaining. When you stop maintaining, weeds and thistles will eventually overtake other plants. .
Talking about who should or could or didn’t does not remove thistles. Time, labor and a shovel will do the trick every time. :)
You can use poison to kill the thistles quicker, leaving more time for other endeavors. However, your use of poison will have long-term effects on the soil, the water, and future residents (both human and animal).
You can receive a well-manicured lawn as a gift, without any effort on your part. If you do not invest effort, it will not remain a well-manicured lawn indefinitely.
We have a choice as to the kind of life-garden that we want to develop (or not) and to live within.
Our children’s hearts get thistles placed in them. We can weed their garden and show them how to tend their garden, or let the thistles grow and create destruction.
God is trying his best to do the same for us.
And what does God say are the thistles in our lives and hearts? Jealousy, arrogance, acting unbecomingly, seeking our own, becoming provoked, taking wrongs suffered into account(unforgiveness), rejoicing in unrighteousness, sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like…(loosely borrowed from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and Galations 5:19-21)
Sometimes we keep re-planting our thistles!!!! We’re used to seeing them there. What would life be without them? That’s how our family operates. Etc., etc., etc…. Fill in your own excuses here. :)
Thistles don’t usually grow very well in healthy soil. And what does God have to say about healthy soil? It produces patience, kindness, rejoices with truth, bears, hopes, believes, and endures, loves, joyfulness, peacefulness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (also loosely borrowed from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and Galations 5:22)

Imagine the kind of lawn or garden that you want your heart to become. It will grow into your vision, with some help from the Master Gardner. :)