Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sorry, We're Closed

I’ve been remiss in writing, again.  I’ve been in somewhat of a funk the last few weeks, partly because of sickness, partly because the wacky weather.  Here in the desert we are in the middle of monsoon season.  Usually we look forward to this time of year because it brings much-needed rain – but this year we haven’t seen much of it.  Instead, we’ve been “enjoying” record-breaking high temperatures.  Yuck.

I don’t think it would affect me so badly except for the fact that I’ve become very spoiled for my lovely sunshiny days.  I shudder to think that the places I lived before coming to Arizona could sometimes count the number of sunny days in a month on one hand.  I’ve come to love the rain here (yes, us crazy desert dwellers really do go out and stand in it, my kids think it’s the best thing to play in!), but partly because it’s so rare.  This monsoon season, we’ve had a lot of cloud cover and dust storms, but not much rain to show for it.  That bugs me.  After all, if it’s going to be cloudy, it really ought to do something with it, right?

It kind of feels like the way life is right now.  My kids have started school again, soccer season begins next week, and suddenly my life seems like an unending circle of the mundane.  I know, I signed up for this – but when life gets grinding, it’s hard to see the bigger picture.

The other day on a local business, I saw a large sign: Closed for Summer.  Now, remember that we’ve had almost 30 days over 110 degrees this summer.  People don’t like to stay here when it’s that hot, and all our “tourism” happens in the winter, when it’s beautiful and non-snowy.  So lots of businesses cut down their hours and some, obviously, close altogether.  It’s kept me thinking, though.

There are so many days (weeks, months) when I wish I could hang out a “closed” sign.  Sometimes, I just want it for 5 minutes!  I am the type of person who has spent 20 years learning the hard way how to say no to people, and feeling I have to do more to be able to live up to others’ expectations.  But sometimes I wish it was so easy as to say, nope, sorry, I’m closed today.  To ditch my “responsible reflex” as a friend puts it, and go do what I want instead of what’s on the schedule.

When I am in the midst of these kind of funks like I’ve been experiencing for the last couple of weeks, I have to give myself something to look forward to.  But more importantly, I have to keep my eyes firmly fixed on Someone else besides myself.  I have been given the role I have in my own little world by the Creator Himself – who am I to ask for more, unless it is to glorify Him?  What a great privilege and responsibility to do what He has asked me, even if no one knows it but Him!

I’ll admit, sometimes I have to just keep repeating that to myself – it’s not an easy concept!  But knowing my family and responsibilities are given by Him helps me put my life in a better life, even when it’s a little rough.  And knowing He sees and knows – and more importantly, cares – gets me through a whole lot along the way.  

Monday, August 1, 2011

Everything Changes

I got to talk on the phone yesterday to a dear friend.  She left our town over a year ago, and though I’ve been able to see her a couple of times in the last year, soon she will be leaving for another country.  I’m so proud of her and her family, taking a major step in their lives and following God’s leading to be missionaries in Africa.  But I am selfishly wishing that they weren’t going.  Of course, I also selfishly wish that none of our kids (and I mean my other good friends and I as well) would get any older, because it causes change and separation.  And that we wouldn’t grow any older either (I mean, hey, while I’m dreaming of impossible things…).
 I’m afraid more than anything else I guess.  I don’t like change much – I like my lists and schedules and plans.  Even if I know God must snicker at them sometimes.  I don’t like that my kids may not remember their friends when they come back in 4 years.  And the phone call yesterday reminded me that phone calls won’t be easy or often from another country.  (makes me glad for internet – at least I can keep up with a blog and FB!)  So that call yesterday was more than just a conversation – it was a wonderful surprise and a treasured time. 

 Thankfully, it also reminded me that the relationships we have here may change, but our Father does not!  Praise God!  His love and care for us does not change, no matter how old we or our kids are or where we move to  - even when we don’t reciprocate!  He remains the same, yesterday, today, tomorrow.  And he wants us to have that relationship with Him, even – and maybe especially – when our lives change constantly around us.   I’m glad that something in my life remains constant.  In a world filled with change, it’s good to know He doesn’t.