January 5, 2017
Perhaps you’re like me in some way! I know, I know, you’re NOT like me in most ways. Thank God! You probably don’t have your personal “blankie” that you still sleep with even though it looks like the dog chewed on it…for years! You probably don’t pronounce the days of the week with an ending syllable that sounds more like “dey” instead of “day.” And…I’m being vulnerable here…you probably don’t sleep with one sock on (usually the left) and one sock off!
But there is one way that I’m guessing you have been walking in the same footprints as I have the last few days. When I write a personal check I am still in the 2016 mindset. I’m having a hard time transitioning from the 6 to the 7. Even when I dated today’s blog post I began with 2016! About the time February rolls around I’ll get the hang of it…maybe!
Maybe you’re one of those that has his/her total act together and you’re able to change your life situations as easily as a Mustang stick shift. Plus you’ve never had a cavity, or anything below an “A”, have low cholesterol, can build that piece of furniture from Ikea without using the directions, and don’t snore!
For the rest of us, however, there are certain things in life that change that we struggle with. The calendar year is one thing, but, quite frankly, I am a creature of habit. I almost always get the Pike Place blend coffee at Starbucks, sit on the same stool for about the same amount of time. Even though I am a retired pastor it still feels weird to not be preaching on a Sunday morning (I do speak 2-3 times a month!). It feels really weird to have my Saturday nights freed up and not be honing the Sunday message.
For me routine is comfortable. Even going to Sunday morning worship is a comfortable routine for me…and it’s okay to be involved in some things that are comfortable and comforting. Life has enough twists and turns to it, plenty of gut-wrenching times that are discomforting and disconcerting. God doesn’t expect his children to be masochists who go looking for pain. Comfort is a part of the journey.
There will be things that I encounter this year that will cause my insides to tighten up, uncomfortable changes that are necessary and unwelcome news that bring me to tears, but I walk ahead with the One who walks close beside.
I write these words at a time that my dad is in St. Mary’s Hospital in Huntington, West Virginia. He’s had a tough week. He ’s also 88 with a history of heart episodes. As a family we know that he could live another few years…or not live to be 89 in mid-June. We are thankful for what has been, but we know that “tearful change” will come someday.
A year ago I changed from being a pastor to being a “retired pastor.” In recent months I’ve changed from being a retired pastor to being a substitute teacher who does pulpit supply. I was ready for the first change and, like a kid finally tall enough to ride the roller coaster, excited about the second.
Figuratively speaking, some days I prefer the calmness of the “Lazy River” ride, and some days I’m pumped for the heart-racing Magnum at Cedar Point. In other words, some days I just want life to be the same as it has been, and on other days I’m ready for a new twist and experience. Some days I just want to sit in Starbucks and drink four cups of coffee (free refills, mind you!), and other days I’m ready to take on a class of bouncing first-graders.
Change and challenges will come whether I’m ready for them or not.
That reminds me! I need to change the furnace filter when I get home! There…that’s probably another way you’re like me!