The red-headed lady that raised me is at work once more. Oh, I know she’ll never actually say the words again, but still I hear her voice in my head.
Don’t change horses in the middle of the stream.
The old adage has been passed through several generations since Abraham Lincoln popularized it as a campaign slogan in 1864. He used the word picture to convince a divided nation to keep him as president during the Civil War. It still means basically the same thing today as it did back then.
Don’t make drastic changes in the way you are achieving a goal while in the middle of that activity.
Have you seen the movies where they show the driver and a passenger in a vehicle trading places as it careens down the highway at high speed? The result is usually a little scary, and somewhat humorous, but almost never disastrous.
I wonder if anyone reading this has attempted such a maneuver in real life? No, I don’t mean on an empty stretch of highway. I’m thinking about during rush hour, on the busiest freeway in Los Angeles—or Dallas—or Atlanta.
Anyone? Anyone at all?
I didn’t think so.
No one in their right mind would try that foolish shenanigan under those conditions. No one.
It has been on my mind for a few months, so I mentioned it to a few select friends the other day. Well, it was actually a few friends and acquaintances on Facebook. I realized the Lovely Lady and I have owned and operated our music store for thirty years this week. It’s a long time to do one thing.
I mentioned it and my friends rose to the occasion, sending notes of congratulations and praise.
I may have taken the praise too much to heart.
Today was the first day of my thirty-first year of owning and operating a music store. I don’t know what I expected. From the congratulatory notes I read about the first thirty years, I suppose I wanted to think the hard days were behind me. Everybody loves us and will do what is necessary to insure our lives will be easy from here on out.
There would be no more fussy customers to make happy. No more sticky problems would arise. I’ll never have another unpaid bill to be concerned about.
None of those was true today. It was a day of struggle and of problem-solving. Exactly as nearly every day of the previous thirty years has been. Customers didn’t receive their orders as expected. I had to take back a guitar a customer had changed his mind about. There is a large payment due to a vendor tomorrow, and no surplus of funds in my bank account today.
Nothing has changed. We face the same challenges, the same necessities. It would be easy to despair.
Reality continues on apace. We will deal with that reality in precisely the same way we have always attempted to do so.
I said the words to a young man as I tied strings on his classical guitar today. He is wondering what comes next for him, hoping to achieve dreams and plans for his family. I’ve said the words before to my readers, relating my conversation with a wise man many years past.
This is my place of ministry. These are the people I am called to minister to.
It’s not a church. It’s not a foreign country. It is where God has placed me. For now. The interactions arrive as they will, sometimes at the lazy speed of a country lane, sometimes at the frenzied pace of a crowded freeway at rush hour.
I am resolved that I will not change horses in the middle of this stream.
With that reminder, I hear the voice of the red-headed lady once more.
She wasn’t much for dancing, my Mom. It was frowned upon in my family and church in those days. That said, she grasped fully the concept of being faithful and committed. She wanted her children to do the same.
I understand how I got to the place I am today. As I look back over many years of life, I see many influences. I do.
But, I know beyond any question Who brought me to this point.
I’m planning to keep dancing with Him.
There are numerous other tempting companions here at the Dance. I see many I know who are changing partners, not necessarily suddenly. Little by little, over time, they have been drawn by promises of other rewards—other pleasures.
The end of the Dance is not going to be a happy time for them. Their new partners will never satisfy the expectations they have. The disappointment will be profound.
The dance of life continues. The steps are sometimes intricate and complicated, taking every bit of concentration I can muster. At other times, all I have to do is follow the lead of my Partner.
If I step on His feet and of those around me, patiently the steps are explained again. Never, not once, have I been sent to sit against the wall and wait until I can do it better.
The dance is not over. There’s still time and room for as many more as will come. The invitation is open. The Host still says come. (Revelation 22:17)
The music is starting again.
I know who my Partner is.
The same One who brung me…
Nothing shapes your life more than the commitments you choose to make.
(Rick Warren ~ American pastor/author)
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
(Revelation 22:17 ~ ESV)
Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
(Revelation 2:4 ~ NKJV)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2015. All Rights Reserved.