Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Speed Bumps

I've often heard it said that the anticipation of something can be more stimulating and enjoyable than the actual event. Sometimes I think SUMMER is the greatest example of that in my life. Each year I spend the waning months of winter planning what summer is going to look like. I list in my mind all the things I want to accomplish; all the ways I want to enjoy "MY" summer. In those dark and monochromatic winter days "summer" looks like me, sitting on a chair in the 73 degree sunshine WITH a good book WITHOUT bugs or distractions.

Summer as a child stretched on and on in a seemingly never ending parade of empty days, hours, minutes it was my responsibility to fill with activities of my choice.

...Not so much summers these days. I admit to adopting a surly, completely anti-social attitude of late, frustrated by the constant egg timer ticking in my head reminding me that Michigan summer is short and slipping through my fingers and the plethora of obligations that drag me away from that winter dream of doing "nothing". Clearly I needed a change of attitude. I stood with a pout, arms crossed tightly across my chest until God threw afew "SPEED BUMPS" into my life to grab my attention.

The first "SPEED BUMP" came in the form of a large cherry tree outside our sunporch.On a calm, sunny day it was shaking as though weathering a wild wind storm. Closer examination revealed an amazing thing. The tree was FULL of Cedar Wax Wings plucking cherries from the tree branches as though competing in some sort of contest to see who could snatch and gulp most, fastest. I've only seen a couple of Cedar Wax Wings in my life. Here was a whole tree full of them right outside my window! A gift for nothing more than slowing myself long enough to wonder why the tree was shaking so...

But, we move on with all haste from these little "miracles" in our lives to the next tantrum over what seems to be an imperfection in our day. My next "SPEED BUMP" more effectively stopped me in my tracks.

Scooter, our sweet little dog very suddenly went from not being himself to obviously very ill. We were able to bring him to the clinic right away. The Dr. took Xrays and examined him but could not put his (very experienced finger) on what was happening. He sent us home with a couple of medications to treat the symptoms we had described. Scoot grew worse that night and I was truly surprised that he survived to morning. He stopped eating and drinking and a return Vet visit resulted in him spending a night and part of a day in the animal hospital to be re-hydrated and undergo more testing....which resulted in no better...still no diagnosis. We knew we would NOT go the route of a neurological consult at MSU. He is beloved but we are practical. So, he returned home on special food and four medications, still a very sick dog. The plan being that we would love him to pieces until his "quality of life" deteriorated to the point that we had to make THE difficult final decision. This episode stopped my life long enough to make me realize how I have been thinking of our two little dogs as something of a nuisance of late, and also how dear they truly are to us. We almost had to lose Scooter to appreciate how big a place Scooter and his fluffy sister, Idgie hold in our hearts. Which inevitably makes you realize HOW MUCH MORE IMPORTANT are the PEOPLE I am taking for granted in my life?

Slowly, day by day he has returned to his old, "normal" self. All the angst (and we won't mention the gobs of money spent at the Vet)... and we have no idea what the problem was....but we come away SO thankful that he is enjoying life with us and we with him again!

The third "SPEED BUMP" pinned me down for nearly two days in a row. Nasty, nasty storms went through our area . Violent thunder and lightning for a steady hour and a half the first night left people amazed at the amount of rain that fell ....until the second day when three storms "trained" their way through the area dumping "Once in a hundred year" amounts of rain which put "us" on the national news with washed out roadways, flooded basements and downed trees and power lines. We came through unscathed. Only a small amount of food pitched when power went out at the lake. A broken tree branch. A microwave oven zapped in the storm miraculously ( for one who is not technically inclined) reset itself.

"What I am trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving." Matthew 6:32 ( The Message)

Relax and Rejoice in what God is giving....Respond in gratitude for all He gives!

The Holy Spirit is ALWAYS tapping me on the shoulder, trying to get my attention, opening my eyes to what it really important around me.When I insist on ignoring Him and forging ahead, His "tapping" gets ever more persistent. How thankful I am for His never ending patience with my stubborn spirit! How foolish of me to be irritated by these things that are in fact blessings in my life..opportunities He places in my life hour by hour, day by day for HIS purposes, not mine.I am resolved to pay attention to that "tap". I truly want to CHOOSE to live life spontaneously, more in the moment, watchful for His assignments to fill my days, hours, and minutes.