Mistakes: The Domino effect. And what to do after?

stop.

“The worth of a man must be measured by his life, not by his failure under a singular and peculiar trial. Peter the apostle, through forewarned, thrice denied his Master on the first alarm of danger; yet that Master, who knew his nature in its strength and in its infirmity, chose him.” – J.A. Froude

Having one of those days where one thing goes wrong, then another, and the cumulative effects of these errors make everything feel heavier that it is. It makes you wonder if you’re good enough for anything. And the weight of tomorrow – where you have to go and fix everything, apologize, and double the effort to ensure your team that it’s fine – seems heavier than you can bear.

Quotes calm me. Usually by taking the focus off myself and seeing that wiser people in the past have gone through something similar, and I can now glean this wisdom. So I did a google search. But it didn’t help. Most quotes tell you that disappointments are expected. That failure is a given. That mistakes should be accepted  – celebrated, even – because it’s what you need on the road of success. And YOU are the solution to all your problems. And people who don’t appreciate/celebrate your mistakes aren’t worth your time, actually.

Wow.

My dear friends. Can we blame anyone who does not have access to the Bible if they act the way they do with politics and desires to impress men or take sides if this is all they know? And worse. Do we do the same?

So often I think if I didn’t have the Bible as a guide, how lost I would be!
I can’t phrase a proper answer, but these passages helped me. I hope they help you, too.

We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. |James 3:2

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. | James 3:17-18

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. | Joshua 1:9

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! | 1 Corinthians 10:12

In the end, we answer to God and not men.
Whichever way you choose to fix the problem, I hope you do it in a way that pleases God.
Some thoughts: Is it honest? Or is it prideful? Does it harm someone else (e.g. bad-mouthing, would you speak like you did if all parties involved were present) in the process? Your testimony in this: Could it be used to lead someone to Christ? Does it show the love that God wants?

Much to learn.

SDg.

Moments and Memories.

There are roads that mark the end:
Tire tracks on fresh snow in the rear view mirror as we pull away from winter retreats.
Two muddied tracks on grass in our rear window as we drive out of our campsites.
And in the summer, always, the purple sunsets out the side window on our 10-hour drives through the interstate – the scenery reflected in our car windows, and with our eyes closed, in our minds.

No amount of photography courses will help you get this right. You cannot capture the light, the shadows, the colors.
You cannot keep the memories. The songs may keep the moment for as long as you play it.

But who you are now comes flooding back the moment it stops.
We tread lightly with those we used to know, trying to keep the shells of whom we were, hoping that keeps the status quo long enough for the next trip.

That was then. And where do we stand now?
The excitement (though were you ever as excited as we were?) is kept in check now, for fear of disappointment and lack of reception.

We tried with more. Fancier boats, better food, brighter lights and locations.
But more is never the answer.
It’s not the ‘what-s’, but the ‘with whom-s.’
The grown-ups couldn’t see this.

We were children, after all.
The siblings we wished we had.

Swinging on monkey-bars, running through sprinklers in the lawn, watching the deer visit at dawn, singing the theme song from the Titanic off the top of our lungs.

Summers. Family.

And now, we are them. Grown-ups.
Are we too old for this now?
Can we find the childlike whisper of excitement that was summer again?

Until then.

https://quotationmark.wordpress.com/2011/06/

Four years ago, almost exactly.
I never did say it.
You left today.
In peace, they told me.
And when I see you again, it’ll all be over.
The strains and struggles of life.
“You’ll wake to find all your battles fought. And you live in victory.”

I never did share with you. That was the last time we spoke.
I saw you yesterday. You couldn’t see me.
And today, you won’t.

I don’t know. Do we live for the living, the dying, or the dead.
The words we live by, the models we follow, the voices that guide us.
Whose are they?

We let so many days go by, refusing to think, refusing to care.
Thoughts come by, words come out. Mostly meaningless. Even this.

You always wanted to listen. Always had a project.
So often I’ve brushed past invitations and said, ‘another time.’
I couldn’t find the energy or passion to meet yours.
I thought we ran on different planes.
I didn’t see how our lives could connect.

Always feared people who cared too much. Too quickly.
Maybe that’s the thing with thinkers.
Slow to warm up. Slow to trust.
The coldness is the first front but the rest is trying to catch up.
Doesn’t work well with first impressions.
We spend the rest of the time trying to make up for it.

Did you know that?

I wish we had a few more conversations.
Time is such a cheap excuse.
There never is enough of it. Never will be.
One lesson then: I’ll try not to make this mistake again.

A little bit from you. Care not because you desire for something in return.
Care, because there is always value in the other person.
There will always be value in a life.
And how much greater, a life in whom you’ve had even the smallest part to change.

This was not for pity (Pity is too shallow an emotion)
It’s a call to understanding.
At the very least, acceptance. Until we can understand.
At the very core, love.

We’ve always known you’ve touched lives by living.
By shattering every barrier and hurdle thrown at you.

By living, you’ve changed the way I viewed imperfection.
A selfish view on burdens turned into one of life’s greatest gifts.

If mine was joy, then yours was exuberant joy.
I won’t be able to share this with you now.

Then again, I would have given this to you in writing – I would never be able to say it.

So we’ll keep it here. In writing.
You’ll be missed.

Price quote…

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” – Henry David Thoreau

At my new work site is this poster board with a new quote and picture that changes daily. I had not noticed the board until this week, when the quote above was posted beside the picture of a beautiful china vase.

It makes me want to put this up in response:

“Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours.” – C.S. Lewis

Does what you own become more of a burden than an enjoyment?
When you did not own it, did your want for it create a hole? And after possessing it, did you come to realize that the item did not fill said hole?

How silly.

Don’t you know that all you have is on loan?
Naked we came, and naked we will return (see Ecclesiastes 5:15)

All belongs to Him, and to be content with what we are given is the lesson (1 Tim 6:6-10… 11 for goals).

One of my greater fears is not being up to par with my peers.
Part of this is the sense that I’m missing out on something.

And with this notion, I strive to do more, work harder, excel in more.
Some of this is a natural love for learning and improvement – the sense that I’m changing and moving forward. An ambition that’s driven partly by love of learning, but also by fear.

But through this quote, I am reminded, again, that in all my striving, until I give it all to Him in faith, I will never have peace. I will continue to search no matter what I’ve achieved. They will not truly be mine.

There is so much of self and such a great need for change.

This is one of the strangest concepts. Losing to gain, dying to live.
But ‘our lives should not make sense,‘ right?

One day, I hope the motivation to do will be for a greater goal – greater not because of its importance or recognition by others, but because it is in response and obedience to a call (great or small, here or elsewhere) – and for this motivation to drive out all fears.

SDg

Objects of permanence

‘Object permanence’ defines a developmental stage infants need to reach in their understanding that “objects continue to exist even when they cannot be observed (seen, heard, touched, smelled or sensed in any way).”
‘Permanence’ defines “the state or quality of lasting or remaining unchanged indefinitely.”

As children, we learn that things are, even when we do not see them. This is partly mental development and memory. But I also wonder if it is our understanding of the object. We understand its characteristics, and that it will be there even when there are no signs to say so.

On permanence, thinking lately that there is so little in our lives that is permanent.
Our youth, our beauty, our wits, our jobs, our finances, our successes, our statuses, our pride, our possessions, our accomplishments, our friends, our families, our health, our lives.

There is nothing on that list which cannot be touched, and changed. Nothing that we can keep.
That made me a bit sad.
At the same time, I realize the truth of the matter is that nothing on that list will solve any of my problems.
Yes, sharing with a friend – or a significant other – may ease the burden, but as much as he wants to help, he cannot take away the sorrow.

But there is one that remains.
The love of God towards us.

It’s greater than the love of man and woman in marriage – which wavers with good and bad days. And at best, ends as one part draws his/her last breath.

But His is Permanent love.
Undeserving love.
Grace and mercy.
Strength from which we can draw when we feel inadequate.

Two hymns we sang tonight helped.

HYMN ONE: O Teach me what it meaneth
(Excerpt) …And teach me, Savior, teach me
The value of a soul!

O teach me what it meaneth,
Thy love beyond compare,
The love that reacheth deeper
Than depths of self-despair!
Yes, teach me, till there gloweth
In this cold heart of mine
Some feeble, pale reflection
Of that pure love of Thine. – Lucy A. Bennett

HYMN TWO: Thy way, not mine

(Excerpt) I dare not choose my lot;
I would not, if I might;
Choose Thou for me, my God,
So I shall walk aright. | Horatius Bonar

(Looking at my past few posts, I see how often I have been wandering and searching for other things, and they all lead me back to this. To Him. And by grace I understand more than I did yesterday, and am, once again, led back here.)

If you have been finding, as I have, things that you thought were pillars in your life – the ‘things of permanence’ – begin to change… If you are starting to doubt and see the inadequacy of yourself and things that you have depended on, I hope you will keep looking until you find the answer – the One who is unchangeable.

SDg

If.

Hudson Taylor once said,

“If I had a thousand pounds China should have it- if I had a thousand lives, China should have them. No! Not China, but Christ. Can we do too much for Him? Can we do enough for such a precious Saviour?”

This week, I’ve stumbled upon a few blogs and had a chance to read through some. One common theme runs through most of them. The seeking of a path. For direction, for fulfillment of goals, aspirations, dreams, or duty. It is both pain and pleasure – to have freedom (of sorts) to choose any path, and yet to walk in uncertainty.

Having read HT’s lines again, I tried to apply it. If I can dedicate all my time, resources, and efforts into one area – one purpose – what would it be?

I’m blessed to have a few old friends whom have grown up with me. And we continue to meet up over the years. In a recent meet-up, we realize that we’re more or less in the paths we’ve set out to take. Completed the studies we needed, pursued the careers we’ve wanted, began to possess some things that mark adulthood (cars, houses, etc.), some are farther in terms of growing their own families than others.

But in terms of satisfaction, can we say we’re satisfied? Was it what you’ve imagined it to be like, I asked.
We weren’t sure.
We’re looking for something to tell us, You’re here. That’s it. You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. You can stop looking and continue in this work now.

Tonight, I don’t have any answers for you. I don’t have insightful thoughts about what you’re supposed to do.

But, from speaking to older generations, the choices and decisions don’t stop with age.
It gets easier, in the sense that you have more – or different – obligations that limit your choices. But you will continue to have to choose. And it may be for more than yourself.

But one thing I know.
I don’t want life to go by doing busy work that don’t amount to much in eternity.

I hear so many people go to work and go home exhausted, they live chasing after things that never really matter (another vacation, another certificate, another mortgage to own something else).

But we know there is more!

How I long for passion for work like HT’s (or Lottie Moon, or Eric Liddell, or Jim Elliot, or William Borden’s: No Reserves, No Retreats, No Regret)!
I found encouragement, again, in Psalm 130.
This time in a hymn by Martin Luther, covered by Michael O’Brien in From Depths of Woe I Raise to Thee.
(Relatively new version, so I couldn’t find a good audio version for you off youtube).

Beautiful words, and true, regardless.

From depths of woe I raise to Thee
The voice of lamentation;
Lord, turn a gracious ear to me
And hear my supplication;
If Thou iniquities dost mark,
Our secret sins and misdeeds dark,
O who shall stand before Thee?

To wash away the crimson stain,
Grace, grace alone availeth;
Our works, alas! are all in vain;
In much the best life faileth:
No man can glory in Thy sight,
All must alike confess Thy might,
And live alone by mercy.

Therefore my trust is in the Lord,
And not in mine own merit;
On Him my soul shall rest, His Word
Upholds my fainting spirit:
His promised mercy is my fort,
My comfort, and my sweet support;
I wait for it with patience.

What though I wait the livelong night,
And till the dawn appeareth,
My heart still trusteth in His might;
It doubteth not nor feareth:
Do thus, O ye of Israel’s seed,
Ye of the Spirit born indeed;
And wait till God appeareth.

Though great our sins and sore our woes,
His grace much more aboundeth;
His helping love no limit knows,
Our utmost need it soundeth.
Our Shepherd good and true is He,
Who will at last His Israel free.
From all their sin and sorrow.

(At the moment, I continue to enjoy caring for older adults and providing enjoyment through food. And if this is my call for the rest of my time here, I think that would be alright. It reminds me of Lev 19:32 – to honor the elderly. It’s something missing in our generations, and I’m happy to be able to promote this work. But I do wonder, sometimes, if there’s something more I’m supposed to do. Time to go use the resources we’ve been given: Scriptures and prayer!)

If you’re reading this, and have any insights to share, I’d love to hear them 🙂

Take care for now.

SDg