Archive for the ‘waiting’ Tag

Prayer why?   Leave a comment

I know, in our culture praying is often presented as an excuse to not take any action.

But that’s not what we see in the bible. Over and over, people call on God. That’s prayer. The Bible is full of prayer itself, in the Psalms and quoted elsewhere, and in the New Testament, we get a plethora of encouragement to pray. And of course, as you probably already know, even Jesus prayed. He’d get away to pray, and when he was facing his final hours, he cried out to God for mercy and for some other way. That’s prayer.

So it follows that there is not only a reason to pray (maybe opening our hearts more to God and being led by him) but there is a purpose.

Sometimes we’ll see the answers. And sometimes we won’t. So often we won’t know the purpose. But what we do know is that God wants us to talk to him, tell him everything, thank him for what he’s done, and ask him humbly to take action where only he can take the action. The amazing thing about all this that follows logically is that our prayers are part of what God is doing. We don’t know why or how that could possibly be the case, since it’s not like he needs us to accomplish his perfect and loving will, but he asks us, encourages us, even commands us to pray and work with him. Pray without ceasing, as we go about life. All of this means, he’s hearing and responding to our prayers, and they–make–a–difference.

Our prayers are part of the plan. They do good when we can see the outcomes, and even more when we can’t. We can’t know exactly what part of the plan they are, how we are praying with the Holy Spirit and in alignment with God’s will, but the panoramic view of history says we’re part of God’s plan.

Of course, I’m not advocating inaction for needs you see that God calls you to step up and answer. Not at all.

I’m just saying: don’t underestimate what your prayer is doing. From what I can see, it appears it is the foundation upon which God’s work in us and in the world rides. “If you remain in me, and I remain in you, you will bear much fruit, for you can do nothing without me.”

Posted January 10, 2021 by swanatbagend in prayer, waiting

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Why Else Do We Live?   Leave a comment

I wrote about this quote from Cry, the Beloved Country six years ago.  It still makes its way into my thoughts as I think about the next thing to do and what God wants me to do today.

So far of quarantine I can safely say I’m one of the non-fans.  Some people I know, most of them introverts, or at least people who are tired of the rat race, have enjoyed the opportunity to be home and do projects they want to.  Creativity and peace have been unleashed.  Then there are those of us who liked our routine the way it was, who have been disconcerted as trips, get-togethers and even regular routines have been cancelled.  Of course we have all been saddened by the news of people who are fighting COVID-19, and grieved or frustrated by the once in a lifetime events that didn’t happen.

But in the process of trying to keep a routine going, putting together what are we doing today, when the options have been so much more limited, I’ve come back to this phrase.

Some of the things we have done included trying out a lot of new trails in the Parklands (this was in the spring before it got hot), reading a book together in the evening, grocery shopping, volunteering in two different places regularly, and enjoying a family movie night with Coke and popcorn every Saturday.  I also invested time in reaching out to people I knew might need some encouragement.  I sent gifts to my nephews.  I offered help to people I knew who couldn’t get out safely.  In short, in a time of very limited options, I have worked to make a life.

Life is pretty simple these days.  I take care of myself.  I take care of others.

But then, why else do we live?

Posted July 30, 2020 by swanatbagend in community

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Waiting   Leave a comment

Did you ever consider how much of life is spent waiting?

I don’t mean in the drive thru, in the check out line, after the child’s activity for him to get his belongings together.

I’m talking the other waiting.

There’s waiting for something to change, or waiting while you’re working on a project, in school, waiting to reach your goal.  Waiting for a reason that you can’t control.  Waiting for someone to get better, or for you to get better, or for someone you love to change.

Waiting for COVID-19 to die and for us to get out of our masks and into each others’ arms.

Waiting is an art form, and I haven’t mastered it.  Today more than ever one wants to know how to wait well.

Living in the present, alive to the current moment, is ideally balanced with waiting.

We wish.  We hope.  But sometimes not.

Posted July 24, 2020 by swanatbagend in reflections, waiting

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Chronic or Acute   Leave a comment

Chronic struggles bring with them a dual challenge.  Acute situations naturally call out for support and practical help.  And they should.  But a chronic situation is just as challenging.

The first reason why it’s challenging is it’s dealing with whatever it is, disease, physical disability,  pain, learning challenges, mental health issues, all of the above.  You have issues that either aren’t curable or that you haven’t yet found a cure for.  You remediate as best you can if there is no cure.  You have ways to cope, or you sure enough are seeking them.

And there’s no particular end in sight.

People in this situation have to find a way to face the non-endingness of it.  It’s a cruel thing to face, and I believe this is especially true in our culture, where health and wholeness is worshiped.  Beauty and prowess are it.  If you were to believe the images we are saturated with, you’d think it is possible–if you just do enough.

The second reason is that difficulties are not and cannot be supported in the way they would if they were acute.  If the thing had an end, it would be more obvious to know what to do to help it get to that end.  You’d see the steps that could be taken and how a community could help.  But if it’s always there, it’s harder to be supportive.  There comes a time when it’s hard to know what to say or do, because the struggle still goes on.

For those with chronic problems, it goes on.

So it’s a gift when love also goes on.

Posted February 20, 2020 by swanatbagend in health, mental health, waiting

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Misery Loves Surprises   Leave a comment

The misery that you worry about is not the misery that comes.

It never is.

Most of the time, the things I worry about don’t actually happen.

Sometimes they do, but most of the time, the hard things are not the things I was expecting.  They are the things I wasn’t looking for.  I thought somebody would get injured or sick, but instead, my husband lost his job when I knew he was well liked and the economy was booming.  I thought I’d have to put out the fire, but instead I got a flood.

There will always be hard things.  They are just part of life in this world.  Others have suffered; I too will suffer.  Others have lived right on, as Wendell Berry says we do in those times; I too will live right on.

So I have decided that when I find myself worrying about the challenges ahead, and when I start feeling the dread and mess of possible outcomes, I will remind myself of this.  Yes, difficulties that make me feel miserable will come.  They always do eventually.  But I am going to chose not to imagine, in advance, what they will be.

The misery you worry about is not the misery that comes.

Posted November 15, 2017 by swanatbagend in waiting

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It’s Gonna Get Better   2 comments

I am thinking now that I have probably spent most of my forty-eight years waiting for something to get better or be fixed or come to pass, on the assumption that when it did, everything would be in place and I could go forward with my life instead of being in wait mode.

What I’m thinking today is that my mistake was thinking there would ever be a time when every aspect of my life was perfectly aligned and all working the way I desired.

I guess it’s natural to resist when things don’t go as we want, and to work to make them better, and to take action to achieve a dream or better outcomes.  There’s nothing wrong with fixing what’s wrong.

Where I get tripped up is thinking that there will be an end point I reach solely by my power, where finally, nothing is wrong.

While I devoutly wish for joy and happiness and safety for all people, and let’s face it, especially for myself and my dear people, that is not going to happen.

But.

In the meantime, there is much happening I’m going to rejoice in.  It’s not perfect, but it is good.

I don’t have all the energy I want, but I’ve got enough to do what I need to do.

I don’t have all the success I want, but I in general, I like my life and have meaningful work to do each day.

I don’t have all the health I want, but I’m still able to go out and about, do fun things like take the family camping in Florida for spring break, as long as I pay attention and take care of myself.  I can’t do everything I’d like to or dreamed of, but there are many things I can do.

I don’t have all the money I want (amazingly–what about you?) but I have more than enough for myself and every good deed.

I don’t have the perfect life for my kids that I want, but they warm my heart with who they are, I thank God for the opportunities they have, and I thank God that they are in his loving grip.

I don’t have all the friends I want, but there are people in my life who are good, and I thank God for giving them to me.

I don’t have all the time I want, but I have–now.

 

It’s his job to direct circumstances and move the world forward to perfection.  It’s mine to live in the gap between the future and the current reality.

Posted April 10, 2016 by swanatbagend in waiting

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Waiting   Leave a comment

We took the kids and went to serve as a family at an urban experience workday today.  The church is partnering with a business to renovate some apartments downtown and provide affordable housing and space for city missionaries.  We had never done anything like this or rather I hadn’t, since Greg has done Habitat work in the past.

But being inexperienced, while we thought we were arriving on time for the second shift of the day, it turned out that they were serving a midday lunch to a large group of young people who had served in the morning.  Since we’d grabbed lunch before we left and we thought it would be simpler, we waited in the car.

We ended up waiting about an hour.

The really silly thing is that my ten-year-old handled this delay more gracefully than I did.  I even had a book to read, and he didn’t.  He and his sister hung out and laughed about different things in the back seat.  He was still good to go hammer nails out of old trim an hour later with no complaints whatsoever.

And me?  I didn’t complain out loud, but I was just about at the end of my rope at the end of that hour.

there are so many other things I could have been doing with this time.

I wonder if I have attention deficit disorder sometimes.  Maybe that’s why this is so hard.

why didn’t he contact someone first so we could know when we were supposed to arrive?

and what happens when we finally get in there, the kids will be tired before they start…

and more thoughts of that nature.

But I was absolutely wrong.  They were good to go.  So much for the superior patience of the 47-year-old mother.

Posted November 16, 2014 by swanatbagend in waiting

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