Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Familiar Landscapes

I hit a deer on my way into work this morning.
The dog bit someone I was looking to have come in regularly to help with my mom.
$500 spent at the shop on Monday; Tuesday my truck threw itself into Reverse after a sudden stop.
I washed a brand new pair of "dry clean only" pants.
The clamp Scott purchased was stripped before he ever even used it, but not before he already had the plumbing torn apart.

NEVER a dull moment. But I've learned. I'm learning. I used to wonder why we always seem to take one step forward and two steps back, but I've come to realize it's not that at all. I could just as easily look at it as though we were taking two steps back and one step forward. Do we need to be so obsessed with progress? Whatever distance we travel eventually leads us into familiar landscapes. Our lives should not be about "getting ahead," or prosperity, or even succeeding in this world; our lives are a journey -- nothing more. On that journey we can choose to emulate Jesus and point others to Him, or we can choose to obsess over the direction we are taking, or have taken, or should be taking, or even, dream of taking. We can even obsess over the direction others are taking. In the end, we are held accountable for our journey -- not where we went, but why we went; after all, the "where" is more dependent on the "why", than the other way around.

I had a car accident almost three years ago. At the moment the other car hit me, I was singing along with the praise station on the radio. I almost lost my mind when I thought the other driver was fleeing the scene; but as I spoke with him, it was obvious this was nothing more than an accident, a miscalculation. I was concerned he would be cited, and even pleaded his case to the responding officer. I tried to make the whole situation as easy as possible for everyone involved: the other driver, the officer, the tow truck operator, the claims agent, my employer. Two months later, many rants on the phone and off, I was still fighting with the insurance company to have my vehicle repaired properly. And yet, I traveled that part of the journey much more easily than I would have, say, ten years before, because Jesus was and is my stronghold. And because of all the other less than appealing landscapes I'd seen prior to that leg of the journey.

Today, I was praying moments before I hit that deer. When the dispatcher answered my call I spoke as calmly and succinctly as I could, so he could do his job easily and effectively. I notified work that I'd be late. I spoke pleasantly to the officer who was forced to shovel deer carcass off a dark road at 3AM. I filed the claim as soon as I got home from work. I traveled this part of my journey with purpose. Not a purpose that whines about a deductible or the inconvenience of days without a vehicle -- though I know those things are a part of this journey, and I can't promise zero whining; I'm still flesh and blood after all -- but a purpose, a "why" that sees pointing to Jesus, living an eternal life, glorifying the kingdom, and trusting in Jesus as my stronghold, as its ultimate goals.

The "where"? Nothing but familiar landscapes, and that's ok; I'm getting comfortable there.

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