Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Ordinary and Sublime

Huge things are happening in lives around me. A very little boy has suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and is in Children's Hospital. It's awful. The family goes through such incredible strain. The emotional toll can only be understood by someone else who has gone through something similar. For the rest of us, the best we can do is to love them, pray for them, bring meals, take part in fundraisers, send cards, visit, or other small kindnesses. There are parts of this that we can do nothing about.

Sometimes it seems odd to be going about normal everyday things while some people are in the midst of such life-altering events. Sons go off to war, husbands die, children are hurt, jobs are lost, finances are stretched to the breaking point, and yet we register for school, buy socks, do laundry, fill ice trays... When I stop and think about Jackson and his family, I momentarily feel guilty, as if living my life denies the pain and tragedy this family is going through.

But if everyone were to feel the intensity of this emotional situation, there is no one they could count on for support or strength. There would have been no one to volunteer to help with the fundraiser this past weekend, no one to make meals, no one to be the shoulder to cry on.

So I am grateful that there is some sense of normalcy to my life right now. Going back to school and all the preparation for that takes my mind off of our financial problems and gives me something to look forward to. This is a positive step toward reaching lifelong goals, and eventually will make me able to make a better living, which will, in turn, make our financial life better.

Long-term goals are not promises for the future, but without them we are living a life with no hope. I can live the same lifetime without making any plans, striving for any goals, but that is stagnation. Stagnation is worse than death, it is the growth of putrification. Without forward movement--striving toward something, we become a smelly, molding pool of yuck.

I am moving forward. It kind of goes along with my favorite story about Abraham Lincoln. A contemporary of his said he was the only man he knew who became a better person the older he got. This has been a goal of mine for years. Better today than yesterday, better tomorrow than today. I can do nothing about the past, but I can strive to always grow and be better.

This is easier said than done. It means facing fears, and it means examining yourself to determine if you are getting better. It means facing your flaws, the times when you are unkind, when you are irritible with people who don't deserve it, when you are selfish, unjust, when you judge others unfairly, or when you simply think too highly of yourself. It means seeking to live without excuses (I'm sooooo not there yet.) It means guarding my tongue, harnessing my thoughts, seeking to use my time more wisely. All of these are rather lofty goals, but since they needn't be accomplished all at once, I strive toward them.

Anyway, today was church, worship team, women's ministry meeting, baby shower, and picking up books for classes tomorrow. A very full day. I put in 9 hours by 3:30. I'm beat.

I should probably get my clothes ready for tomorrow. I have to be in class by 8. I can't believe it. I finally get to go to school. I must go now.

Oh, and one last favorite guy at the local Starbucks, Ryan, is moving to Oregon. I will miss him. He is unfailingly cheerful and friendly. I will have to go in during the next few days to say goodbye. Wednesday is his last day. So if you get to the Starbucks at Flintridge & Acadmy in Colorado Springs, stop in Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, say goodbye to Ryan and tell him I sent you in. Better yet, call me and we'll go together!

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