Midpoint Musings

Midpoint Musings

Friday, October 18, 2013

Today is the First Day of the Rest of My Life

This morning, I am pondering all the first days of ones life. Birth, first day of school/college and graduations from the same, marriage and first child, first career, second career, third career . . . well, I need not continue. 

Today is another first. The dream job for which I worked so diligently and which I loved has ended. Mind you, it actually ended two and a half years ago when I was "demoted" from full-time to one-quarter time. I suppose it could be said that I actually still had it--after a fashion, but it was not the same and I fought in my spirit tooth and nail, so to speak, to convince myself it was okay. Yesterday, I surrendered, and so today is the first day of the rest of my life. Am I fearful? A little, truthfully. 

But I recall that a little over 10 years ago, I and two other Seton Catholic School teachers attended a"New Teacher Retreat" sponsored by the Erie Catholic Diocese (during what was another first day of my life). Our presenter, the headmaster at Cathedral Prep in Erie, PA, a certified Steven Covey "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" workshops (based on the book of the same title), instructed us to write our life mission statement. My mission statement was that I was first, a nurturer/minister and that I was second, a musician. I said that music would always be my vehicle for nurturing and ministry no matter what form it took. That mission is still true whether I am teaching, singing songs to grandchildren, teaching them lessons, playing music for church or sharing it with my family here at home.

                     I don't know about tomorrow. I just live from day to day. 
                     I don't borrow from the sunshine, for the skies may turn to gray. 
                     I don't worry o'er the future, for I know what Jesus said, 
                     And today I'll walk beside Him, for He knows what is ahead. 

                     Many things about tomorrow, I don't seem to understand,      
                     But I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand. 

                     I don't know about tomorrow, It may bring me poverty; 
                     But the one who feeds the sparrow, is the one who stands by me. 
                     And the path that be my portion, may be through the flame or flood, 
                     But His presence goes before me, And I'm covered with His blood. 

                     Many things about tomorrow, I don't seem to understand,      
                     But I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand. 

                                                  "I Know Who Holds Tomorrow" by Ira Stanphill,    
                                                   Copyright 1950, Singspiration Music

Here's to all of your first days. Feel free to join me in my journey and offer your thoughts.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Difference is the Reason

People often say, "There is a reason for everything." It's a helpful little philosophy when confronted with the unexpected, or things or events that are unacceptable, hurtful, impossible, or a sudden loss or injustice. If we say, "There is a reason," it makes things feel better. We don't have to look it in the face today, we can postpone the awful reality a little while longer, at least until we can come up with a more meaningful philosophy.

Lately, I have wondered if many times there is no reason, that some things do not happen for a reason. Some things are ridiculous, ill-timed, shocking, and completely unsettling. This is reality, after all. We of faith would say it is evidence of living in a sinful world, after all, how else can we even fathom the nonsense, the discord, the plotting, the attacks and even killing.

Lately, I have also wondered how hollow it must sound to offer sympathy or condolences to someone who has just lost a loved one by saying, I am praying God's comfort for you, because many people would question why God didn't just spare them in the first place. Is He some kind of torturer? 

In spite of a lifetime of faith, quite often I find myself at a loss for explanation. And in such times, I often say that the difference between people of faith and people without faith is that we have our heavenly father to comfort us and help us through the bad stuff. But even that sounds silly to the hurting individual. There are tears and anguish this side of glory, that seems to be a fact.

Some recent events in my personal life are undermining my good nature and optimism right now. I feel as if I am being hurled into stormy waters. I am questioning whether or not I'm worthy of anything, a career, people's trust, financial stability . . . People of faith would say that's where God wants you, depending on Him totally, that without Him and without His Savior, Christ, we aren't worthy. 

All I know is that in the midst of some of this I heard from a former student who attended our beloved Christian school years ago. I heard that my teaching made a difference in his life, and I wept. I could not believe the timing of it, a message from God to comfort me, evidence of God's love just for me. 

A couple of weeks ago I said to my mom in regards to the grandchildren living with us and my ministry to my own family, "I just want to get to the end of my life and know that I counted, that I was faithful, that I made a difference, that I 'fought the good fight.'" She assured me I was making a difference. But then, she's my mom. 

What I have concluded is that I don't have the luxury of asking this question right now. I only have this day. I only have the decisions I will make this day. My only option is to walk by faith and not by sight. My only option is to do what is in front of me, what God has put there for me to do. And that's all. So enough of the philosophizing about the unknown. Enough of expecting God to be a magical-make-it-all-better being. It just seems counterproductive, because as I sit here writing, I really have things to do, and one thing I know, I don't want to get to the end of this day and find out I didn't make a difference.