Days

The days are getting longer again ūüôā

It has been said that Hemingway, Picasso, and Van Gogh kept journals.
(They were also fairly solitary individuals – did they choose to be?)

I suppose there’s value in jotting down our thoughts and reflecting on our actions. Otherwise, the days fly by and one day, we might wonder why we are how we are. Or forget what we were like.

Our parents and teachers told us to write first. To improve our language, spelling, and grammar?
It’s a beautiful art. Words. And the ability to have them under your command. The gift to convey your thoughts.
(I don’t have it, but I like the practice. Wordiness is frowned upon most days. But I love them. Besides. One day, if you live long enough, you will lose this – the command of words. So use them while you still can, I say!)

Onto the main point then. This week… quite a few conversations that made me think.There isn’t room to share them all, so the others will come later. The list of 1.

  1. Act. And don’t expect.
    • As people, there is a¬†limit to our ‘niceness.’ You can be ‘nice’ to a certain point – depending on the recipient, the length of time fluctuates. [1]
      After this point, you will fatigue and expect reciprocation or learning on their end. This doesn’t always happen, and it’s easy to come to frustration.
    • This made me think of service as a Christian. There are certain ministries and certain people that you think, ‘If I do invest this time, then this should happen, and then it will pick up and progress.’ Or ‘If I do this, they will see the example and follow and it’ll all be good.’
      But it doesn’t always happen. And sometimes the complaints trickle out. I’m sorry to say that this has been happening more often lately. But a friend and I had the chance to chat briefly this week, and we agree that, in order for us to grow through service, we ought not act or serve with a mindset of comparisons (‘I’m doing this, why doesn’t s/he do something, too?’). We thought about¬†Jesus in the years of His ministry, how He repeatedly chose to serve as a servant, the slow progress/growth of the disciples, and how He continued to serve all the way til death.
    • There is nothing we do now that is comparable to what He has done. Any ‘suffering’ we go through is minute. Can we not serve then, for a little while longer and pray for more grace, patience (and much love) for our brothers and sisters then? And perhaps these will slowly take the place of comparisons and complaints.
    • It made me think of this stanza in Rock of Ages, Cleft for me [2]:

      Not the labors of my hands can fulfill thy law’s commands; could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow, all for sin could not atone; thou must save, and thou alone.”

    • There was nothing we could do that makes us good enough to meet God’s standards. There is no service that makes us good enough, no zeal/passion that makes us better, no sadness/solemness that makes us holy. There is NOTHING that we can do that makes us worth more to God.
    • BUT. He chose us anyway! There are days when we feel like our service makes us more deserving or better, but how wrong to think this.
    • There isn’t much I can add to this, but for forgiveness. And for re-examination into the heart for service… to slowly remove any desires for glorifying self in service through waiting and relying on God.
      And to bring burdens to Him in prayer rather than empty complaints with words.
    • For more patience, more faith, more joy, more love… Until my heart is in tune with His.

So to end with Bliss’ hymn which puts my thoughts into better words, ‘More Holiness Give me’ (1873)

More holiness give me, more strivings within.
More patience in suffering, more sorrow for sin.
More faith in my Savior, more sense of His care.
More joy in His service, more purpose in prayer.

More gratitude give me, more trust in the Lord.
More zeal for His glory, more hope in His Word.
More tears for His sorrows, more pain at His grief.
More meekness in trial, more praise for relief.

More purity give me, more strength to o’ercome,
More freedom from earth-stains, more longings for home.
More fit for the kingdom, more useful I’d be,
More blessèd and holy, more, Savior, like Thee.

sdg.

[1]¬†There is this quote about ‘niceness’ is the absence of characteristics, but ‘kindness’ is by choice – repeatedly. I’m paraphrasing poorly, but interesting quote to look up.

[2] http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh361.sht

[3] http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/m/o/r/moreholi.htm

Suppose…

SUPPOSE¬†/s…ôňąpŇćz/ ¬†¬†verb
  1. Assume that something is the case on the basis of evidence or probability but without proof or certain knowledge.

Childhood eagerness age

Context
Came across these two quotes today… Can one simultaneously wish to be younger and older? If so, does this mean that the age one is now at is one’s ideal age? (Pointless thoughts, of course. Age will come, whether or not it’s welcomed.)

I suppose the similarity between these two quotes is the sense of certainty. Children abide by rules, and there is a comfortable certainty to rules… Youthfulness and curiosity that seems to know no end.

With curiosity (and age) and a bit more thinking, comes the realization that most things in life are not certain.
But with age comes understanding: You learn when to speak, when to fight (for…with…sometimes together), when to move on, when to let loose, and when to finally let go. To acknowledge the truth of certain adages (e.g. ‘if it’s yours, it will come back’), and to wonder if you’ll ever live to understand some others.

So then, with age, there’s a certain comfort in this resigned rest.

Until then, there will be uncomfortable uncertainties with every choice we face.
[There are encouragements that I wish I could write here. But words that do not come from the heart, but from the mind only, sounds hollow. So cannot post them at this time. Maybe when I live and understand them someday.]

Why this? 
I was speaking with a friend earlier about values in life. We work and invest much time and talents on these tasks we’re given. And our joviality seems rather attached to the successes in our work.

At some point, we seemed to even have attached our worth to the results of our work.

Sometimes we work to exhaustion, neglecting time for food, friends, and family.
Should we not work hard? But to what end?

What are we supposed to want then, from this… from work?
Breakthroughs and recognition? To know the job was done to the best of our abilities? To know it will last beyond us?
Reasonable hours and a reasonable paycheck?

To go home and be satisfied (Ecclesiastes 5:12)?

If you could spend the rest of your life doing anything (and money wasn’t an issue), what would you be doing?
[Yes, it’s certainly a luxury to do what you love. But you can find joy in whatever tasks you’re given, too.]

There are days when I’m especially thankful that I belong to Christ. Because these questions will otherwise spiral into (intriguing but) pointless philosophical nonsense. But as Christians, we know the answer is there. (How wonderful to have the Bible!)

Some answers

Philippians 2:14-16
Do all things without complaining and disputing,
 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

(So here we are. be thankful that you have work – and to continue in it as your testimony before men [shine.]. Know that happiness does not lie in the work alone, and in a fallen world, there will be pain and injustice. But our joy and hope isn’t here anyway. And keep holding on, keep ‘shining,’ and keep running until that Day.)

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.  For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.

The funny thing is, for most of these posts, I come with questions that I can’t answer.
And by the end of the post, it ends with an answer – for which I’m surprised and thankful.
The circumstances have not changed, but the understanding – by His grace – is slowly growing.
Not because I’m good or steady, but because ¬†‘He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.’ |1 Thessalonians 5:24.

SDG.

Loose ends.

Look farther than this.
Look further than this.

A compilation of thoughts, conclusions, and plans.

Initially, there were plans for a post before this, about new years’ resolutions and how one of the (very few) good things about January birthdays is that you have a second chance/reference point¬†for new years’ resolutions.

But all of it means little – this regular self-reflection, self-improvement.
What good is it if your end goal is to draw others to you?
Simply to feel understood? And through understanding, to feel loved?
I fear it makes us a bit more vain…dwelling on these temporary feelings.

What then? What is farther? What is greater?
Our time here is so short.

Recently, I’ve realized that my work and my profession is to provide comfort.
Food – beyond the necessity for nourishment – is to provide comfort (nourishment for the soul?).

The field of dietetics has its origin in home economics and nursing. Both of which are caring professions.
And so I have learned what it takes to make a home comfortable (plates, cutlery, towels, bedding), the history and science behind comfort foods, balancing nutrients in the meals, food rules around the home, nutrient needs for different ages and stages (children to the elderly), etc., etc.

In all this, I suppose there is an underlying (or unspoken) desire that one day, I will have all this.

Of late, I am seeing that this is very… short-sighted.
I am trying to tie up the ‘loose-ends’ in my life.
And in completing this, I may find eventual happiness.

(How strange… how we equate one thought with another.)

But there is so much more.
Not for comfort or success, but this world that is lost.

Recently, we have seen turmoil and unrest around us.
Our time… we never know when it is our last.

There is so much more to be done…
That to seek and settle for comfort alone seems so short-sighted and trivial.

Not to say that there is no beauty in the comfortable cycle of family life.
I will always admire a mother’s ability to provide comfortably for her family.
For hands and feet that never stop until her children are snug and sound asleep.

But to seek that as an end.
Or to feel incomplete without it… That’s where we can go wrong.

Can you keep your eyes on greater things – on heavenly things?
Not to seek another for provision of comfort for ourselves.
Not for social ladders and accolades.
But someone to work alongside of during this short time on earth.
To toil together and to encourage each other because the work will be hard.
But it will be worthwhile.

And in the meantime:

  • For grace as I walk¬†each day (on my own, or otherwise),
  • For wisdom and tact in every trial,
  • For love (and strength) to drive out doubt and envy,
  • For faithfulness and vision when the work seems more than I can bear, knowing that I am here for a reason and not just for myself…
  • To reflect You and to touch and change lives as You would
    …through my travel on¬†these short paths… until it takes me to You.

So for all this, remember me – not for the other things (skills, talents, or accomplishments that will fade).
In this, help me be accountable.

As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor‚ÄĒthis is the gift of God.¬†For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart.|Ecclesiastes 5:19-20