Church was full this morning. Everyone sat a little closer together. Everyone sang a little louder. There were more hugs, and more laughter afterward.
It all makes me a little sad.
That didn’t come out right. Maybe, I should explain.
The church is full because the teachers and professors are returning from their summer travels, their mission trips, their expeditions to expand horizons in their own minds so they can do the same for their students.
Hmmm. I seem to be making it worse instead of better.
I want to be very clear. I like the teachers and professors. I really do. It’s just that if they’re coming back, the students can’t be far behind.
Oh. That’s no better either, is it?
I love the students coming back, too. Really, I do. They fill the place with life and joy—optimism, even.
Let me give this one more shot, okay?
Their return (both teachers and students) means summer is almost over. Even the weather this week belies the calendar. Temperate days and cool nights have descended and rain has come back.
Oh, I know the summer weather will return with a vengeance. It always does in late August and September.
But, the thought is planted in my head and I can’t shake it. Summer is passing; already it’s nearly past.
And somehow, I feel like Alice’s White Rabbit clutching a pocket watch and muttering, “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late.”
I never did find out exactly what the nervous hare was worried about being tardy for, but still, I can’t help thinking I haven’t accomplished everything I should have.
I mentioned it to the Lovely Lady a few days ago and she reminded me of all we’ve done this summer. I listened to her list and I had to smile. We covered some ground—we did. But, I wanted to do more.
I suppose it will always be that way. A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, as Mr. Browning explained so well. But, I fall short so often.
I wanted to do more—and better.
I think of all the time wasted believing it couldn’t be done. You know—it. Whatever the new thing in front of me was.
I’ve never done this before. What if I mess it up?
I stood underneath the new ceiling fan with my son-in-law this afternoon and I had to laugh. He was bemoaning the fact that he has no confidence in working with electrical wiring. If he did, he would have a fan hanging from his ceiling as quickly as you could say downdraft.
I did. I laughed.
Man, electricity is easy! That over there—that’s what frightens me silly.
I jabbed a finger at the kitchen floor I am currently trying to cover with vinyl tile.
I’m not exaggerating, nor am I bragging. We purchased the materials for the job weeks ago. I stood for hours staring at the bare sub-floor before I could bring myself to even open the first box of tile.
Hanging the ceiling fan took half an hour. Less.
Yeah, but that stuff won’t kill you. The electricity could.
I laugh at his logic. He is right.
I like being in control. I enjoy doing things which make me look good to the folks around me. The problem is God doesn’t always give me assignments with which I’m comfortable.
When I want to stand in front of folks and speak of things with which I’m familiar, He tells me to climb under the house and repair the plumbing.
When I would rather repair a guitar with buzzing strings, He assigns me to pray with the man who’s just lost his wife of sixty years.
We waste a lot of time wishing He’d give us something else to do. I know I do.
I spend my breath—the breath He put in my lungs—attempting to convince Him I could be so much more use to Him doing the same things I’ve always done.
Moses said, What if they don’t listen to me? And God replied, Who do you think determines if people listen? Or see? Or speak? I will give you the tools! Just go! (Exodus 4:10-13)
Here we are again at the small end of the year. The hours of daylight are getting shorter.
And still, I stand and argue my case.
How much time I’ve wasted.
Is there still time? Yes. With Sam Gamgee’s old dad, I’ve said it many times—where there’s life, there’s hope.
It’s just time to quit stalling.
Get a move on! The light’s going!
With the thought that summer might be running out comes a renewed urgency. Not much time now. Falling leaves are just around the corner. Hot cocoa and all things pumpkin flavored.
To everything, there is a season.
I want to use the breath He gave me for the purposes He intended it for. Today.
What’s that in your hand?
It’s time to use it. You might want to get a move on.
The light’s going.
We are not as strong as we think we are.
We are frail, we are fearfully and wonderfully made.
And, with these our hells and our heavens
So few inches apart,
We must be awfully small
And not as strong as we think we are.
(Rich Mullins ~ American singer/songwriter ~ 1955-1997)
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
(Ecclesiastes 9:10 ~ KJV)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2017. All Rights Reserved.