I feel a Crack Coming On….

Human emotions are complicated.  You never really know what is lying just below the surface to make someone decide one thing or another.

I’ve noticed that quite often, I decide I know – when the reality is – how can any of us really know what is going on in someone else’s head?

I have a theory.  It comes from observing and listening and bungling things up for a very long time.  If you see someone who is acting rude – chances are that person is very insecure, or afraid.  If you see someone act like a snob, and down right unapproachable, chances are that person is acutely shy.  If you see someone acting stubborn, putting a wall up, and shutting down – chances are they are broken-hearted.  No, really, this isn’t just my eternal optimism talking.

You don’t have to be broken-hearted about lost love, there are plenty other things to be broken-hearted over, and I mean plenty.

The problem is, if we all shut down because of our broken hearts, there isn’t going to be any moving forward, there isn’t going to be life.  We might expect the other person to do what ever needs to be done, but what if that person is shutting down?  What if that person needs support?

I recognize how I am made, my personality type.  I took one of those tests from a book called; “Discovering your Strengths”.  Only problem is, my highest scoring trait isn’t very helpful when push comes to shove.  My greatest strength according to the book is “responsibility”.  This means I want to do the right thing at every turn.  What does that equate to?

This means, I am bound to be alone a lot.  If I am not careful, my “responsibility” could turn around and become – resentment.

This is why it is important for me to hang on very tight to Jesus.  If I can’t be sure what the other person is going through, and I don’t want to assume, and step on toes, I can always ask Jesus for help.  Quite simply, “Jesus, how am I suppose to proceed?”

Here is where it gets really painful.  Don’t get me wrong, having a faithful friend in your corner is the best thing you could ever have, but He is always going to ask you to do the hard stuff.  “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem the other better than himself” (Philippians 2:3 KJ21).

 So, yesterday, now, and forevermore, I need to move through life with my heart in His hands.  There’s that little word “trust”.  It is only five letters, but it packs a punch, because trusting often means suffering in silence, oh yes and holding the bag.

The bag that has the smiles in it, and the tender voice, and the soft response, and the understanding song, and the hand pats, and the open arms, and the prayers, and the tears….

Sometimes being a Mom, and the oldest sibling isn’t what it’s all cracked up to be.  Wait a minute, maybe it is – I feel a crack coming on right now.

The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:17 NIV).

Change the Message to Fit the Problem, or …

There’s a bird singing a rather complicated series of notes outside my bedroom window.  It’s not the melody that has captured my attention and stirred me out of bed, it is the consistency of the intervals.  I can count to five between every whistle, almost as if the bird call was an automated drone.

I want to be like that bird, granted I want to write many melodies, not just one.  But I want to be consistent!  I don’t want to quit seeking the truth, and living the truth.  I want to be faithful.

That bird call takes faithfulness to a whole other level.  I don’t think God expects me to stay in one place, just like He doesn’t designate one branch for that bird to sit on the rest of its life.  Thank God I don’t have to sing the same song, in the same key, every five seconds, but I do want to get the message right.  I want to say the same thing for as long as I live.

That’s where life can get really tricky, when life gets hard.  Many times we are tempted to change the message to fit the problem, or we can ask God for help and decide to be FAITHFUL.

Dear God,

Out of your great love for us, please give us the strength to be faithful.

 

Two Words to Live By

There’s a kidney-shaped blotch of glue residue on the left side of my brand new “Blanco” kitchen sink.  The plumber forgot to glue the sink in place when he mounted it the first time.  It was almost as if I knew something would happen when he came to finish the job the second time ’round.

Every time I play my black shiny “KAWAI” piano, given to me by my Father, I see the enamel chip on the right arm where the piano tuner dropped his tools, even after I asked him to keep his tool box on the floor.

There is a rather large set of scratches where someone I love, moved a chair across our cherry hardwood floor, that took some very dear friends of ours, along with our amateur help – one whole weekend to install.  Did I mention we saved over seven years for that floor?  Every time I vacuum and polish the floor I see the Grand Canyon.

Years ago, the mark on the sink would have sent my heart down the drain of despair – for weeks, possibly months!  The piano chip would have inspired a very loud “Anger Sonata”, or worse yet – the sound of silence!   And the grand canyon on my hardwood floor would have been hammered down on my friend’s floor, out of a need for retribution.

But lately, when I am reminded of the imperfections around me, my emotions don’t flinch about them, or the dear people who were unintentionally a part of them.  I flinch about my own flaws, every last one of them.  But only for a second, because God keeps his promises.  He is changing me.

Gone are the days of my rage over a broken vase, that my sister and mother spent hours to repair.  I’ve long since repented of that, and left behind my coat of shame.  And the grace that I should have shown then, is the grace that is shown to me every day,  and the grace I choose to live by.  The grace of God.  People make mistakes, I make mistakes.

There are two words to live by – forgiveness and grace.

 

 

Should We Dare Expect the Joy Without the Sorrow?

Who am I that you are mindful of me?

I’m not the first to see the thirsty scorn your living water.

I’m not the only one, to wrestle or to question,

the mysteries of life, our groanings under heaven….

I just learned a couple of days ago that my song “O Morning Star” is on the shortlist of finalists, in the Word Guild Awards, Write Canada 2014, under the best song lyric category.

This song is very personal, they all are, but this one in particular, because it was written to prepare and equip for an agonizing time, for me, my family, and our church family.

Our daughter had come home for a sick day in November to let us know that a friend of hers had just lost her mother, after a long battle with depression and insomnia.  We were heart-sick, racked with tears and pain, but not without hope.  Our daughter brought her friend home shortly thereafter during a snow storm and we were all able to hunker down by the fireplace and hear the young lady tell us all about her mother.

A friend, and mother whose children were around the same ages as mine, had just been diagnosed with cancer, and aggressive kind.  Her family, and our church family as a whole – were devastated, but not without hope.  She died a week before Christmas, and her funeral was held just days before our Christmas Eve service.  Never has Christmas been so sacred or more meaningful. It was as if she was giving us a special gift, a reminder.  After all, that is why Jesus came to a manger, to identify with our sorrows, and sufferings, and eventually put an end to our eternal death sentence, by dying on the cross, then conquering death on the third day.

I had found out on a snowy Wednesday before Christmas that my brother was not recovering as we had hoped he would, from his stroke and related ailments.  I stood before a judge just five days before Christmas begging the Judge to grant me a warrant to get my brother further help.  The Judge granted the warrant but the Doctors would not comply.  We tried.  Did we fail?  Maybe, but….

Who am I that you are mindful of me?

Should I accept to dare expect, the joy without the sorrow?

You are the Holy One, my peaceful revelation.

The certainty of death is swallowed in salvation.

O Morning Star, you are life and light unto my soul, and still I sing….

©Cindy Palin, October 2013

The interesting and profound revelation is; this song was given to me right before any of the above mentioned, happened. Almost as a foreshadowing of what was to come.  I sang it throughout the months of November and December, as well as at our friend’s funeral, and felt God’s comfort and assurance through the journey.  He is  my Morning Star, and He is light and life unto my soul!