Saturday, June 11, 2016

Hide Our Lights Under a Bushel? No.

It's been almost exactly six months since I've posted anything new on this blog. Life has been keeping me pretty busy. I'm going to do a little stream of consciousness writing.

As we get older, there's this notion that things will get easier and slow down. I guess that can be true, but almost no one I know is experiencing a slow down. Instead, life seems to get busier. Of course, there are ways to say no to those optional events. That helps.

On the other hand, there are other events in life that come around the corner, face us square in the eye, and require our complete and immediate attention. Never mind that we'd already made plans to do something else. This new thing takes priority over everything.

The last six months of my life has been filled with the unexpected. I had to take care of my precious feline companion till his final days on earth. Saying goodbye to this friend of 14 years was difficult, but I knew that whatever was wrong with him was draining his quality of life.

Also during this time I had to closely oversee the needs of my elderly mother. After having lived apart from her for 28 years, I was given several months to visit with her a couple of times a week and make new memories. One of those memories was getting on an airplane together--including the aggravation of TSA delays (grrr)--and flying to Texas where she now lives.

And the best part of the past six, busy, months has been because of a wonderful man who has become such a blessing to me and my family. When I was not tending to the aforementioned priorities, I was spending time getting to know this precious man and making memories with him. He was there for me when I had to say goodbye to my kitty companion and he was there when I needed to move my mother to Texas. He makes me laugh, we have wonderfully deep conversations, and he makes me feel completely safe. He even stretches me out of my favorite comfort zone, encouraging me to try something new. I've tried foods I never would have before and I've even sung in Italian, in public! I've also made him sing karaoke with me in public! I'm so happy that God has blessed me with this man!

Today I had some extra time on my hands so I began thinking about life and how fleeting it can be. This morning I heard the news of how a young woman, a wonderful singer, had been gunned down by some man while she was signing autographs. It's just tragic to see a life taken so quickly. The headlines in the past few days seem to echo this sentiment. A young boy of 7 was killed while sitting in the safety of the back of his family's mini-van. A driver behind him was distracted and couldn't stop in time. Now this family has to deal with the loss of a young life. More tragedy.

I guess if I had to sum up the point of this blog post is that we do not know how much time we have on this earth and what it holds for us while we're here. I suppose it would be cliche to say that we should make the most of our life here on earth. It reads very much like a bumper sticker or a beer commercial. I suppose it is true, however cliche it may sound. I've lived life in the background. It's a somewhat safe place, but often lonely. I'm pretty certain God had bigger plans for me than that. My purpose on this earth is not to try to preserve myself, but to spread myself around and by doing so I'm spreading Jesus around. Since His love resides inside of me, it needs to come out and see daylight. I don't need to hide it in my heart.

All of this reminds me of a childhood song:

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Hide it under a bushel? No! I'm gonna let it shine
Hide it under a bushel? No! I'm gonna let it shine
Hide it under a bushel? No! I'm gonna let it shine
Let it shine, Let it shine, Let it shine.

I'm reminded of my theme verse for this blog, Jeremiah 29:11. I want to change it up a bit and look at the verse in a different paraphrase. When we memorize it or hear it the same way all the time, there's a tendency to gloss over it. Here's verses 10 & 11 from The Message:

This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s 
seventy years are up and not a day before, 
I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and 
bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. 
I have it all planned out—plans to 
take care of you, not abandon you, 
plans to give you the future you hope for.

Just as a reminder, this promise was given to the Israelites from God. God had a plan for His people. During those 70 years they would have to endure a lot. I'm sure they wanted to hide out and wait for someone to tell them when it was time to come out of hiding. Yet, God had a plan. It's an individual plan for each and every one of His own. And it's a plan for His collective people. He wasn't going to abandon His own. He also had a future planned for them. And these promises apply to us. Next time we're ready to give up or hide out, we need to remember God's words. "I know what I'm doing." Even when it looks like the world is going nuts and the election news is worse than the day before, God knows what He is doing. Just hang on and trust Him.

Keep reading this chapter on your own. The words are comforting:

12 “When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.
13-14 “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.