Saturday, December 29, 2007

Try to Measure That

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Last night we had another family gathering- this time with my oldest brother and his family, and my older sister, Kris, and her husband and her "son", a little white pekingese named Milo. Other than his little puddle on the carpet, Milo was a perfect little gentleman, and Harry was a galant host, allowing Milo to play with his toys. Add in chocolate cake and mixed fruit pie, and it was a sweet evening of family fellowship.

Now it's Saturday. It's the calm before the storm. New Year's Eve is Monday. All resolutions need to be considered and formed by then. I'm not working on this tomorrow. Tomorrow is a day of rest for me- and I don't want to be mentally grappling with anything other than which book I'll read, and what kind of tea I'll make, as I settle in for a quiet afternoon.

So today is the day for Work, for reflection on the past year and serious consideration of what I am aiming for next year. Notice I say aiming and not what I am going to "accomplish". I'm not so sure that this year I will have measurable resolutions.

I can hear the outcry of the purists who say unless you can measure your goals and pursuits, you can't tell when you achieve them. I can see their point- but it's only a point of view, not the total picture of truth.

The truth is we live in a society that measures everything and thrives on productivity, numbers and noticeable achievements. The Church at large has fallen into this frenzy, I think. But what about all that happened in the heart of a person, in a circle of praying saints who held hands and wept together over someone's trial or sickness? What about the times when we sit with someone, listening to their pain, throwing away all recognition of time? Should the Church quantify such giving of the heart? Can you quantify the growth of a soul learning to trust, learning to run to God?

What I have to deal with is not the direction the Church at large is going in. That is not my responsibility other than who I am in the Church at large. I have my own little boat to row, and even at that, I often put the oars in the boat, lie back, and let God's current of love take me for a while- take me on a journey I do not know where I am going. I think of Anne of Green Gables, lying in her rowboat as it filled with water, journeying down stream, thinking of herself as the Lady of Shalott when really she was just a young silly girl in a sinking row boat. But oh, the journey she was on, for a while. (And handsome Gilbert did save her at the end).

The last time I knew I was on a journey to an unknown destination was when we sold our dream house we had built, packed up the car and the truck, and moved down south...not knowing where we were going. Literally. That was over three years ago, and I don't know what I would quantify about that experience. But what I learned through that adventure into the unknown changed my life, changed my heart and affected my mindset.

My best friend,Mu, wants me to write about this journey I took, that year we walked deliberately into the unknown for some very known reasons. I am hesitant to write about that year, much less dwell on all the reasons we took that journey to God-only-knows-where. We were at the end of ourselves, out of fuel for our dreams, low on courage and encouragement. We were too widely known by family and people in our suburban area, yet nobody really knew the hurt and the hope we carried within us. We needed to get away. We needed to go someplace and find out how to "see" again, and how to perceive God's moving in our life, how to hear Him anew and hope anew.

Ever since that year, ever since our return back to New York, we have been quiet about all that changed within us. It is not easily quantified and categorized. What happened to us and in us is something mysterious and amorphous- I don't know how you would tally it all up.

This past year, 2007, was a year similar to our year down south. I can't really say I accomplished anything significant and statistically spectacular. I didn't even become physically strong or muscular, like I had wanted, because I got sick with Mono this past spring. I have only now started to feel normal again. I am eying that stairmaster and am readying to get back on it, for twenty minutes a day, minimum. But other than that one quantifiable pursuit, I have nothing else in mind for 2008, ...not yet.

I am open to dreaming, though. I am counting the cost you must pay to have a dream. You have to be open to hurt, be open to surprises, be willing to work, but more than that, be willing to feel like God sent you down a river without oars, your heart pounding fast with dread and delight. But then you hear God whisper in your ear, "I will show you the way to go".

Think about God's leading, His grace for the journey, His surprising resources when we are at our end. Just try to measure all that. I, myself, wouldn't know where to begin.


Angie said...

Oh Lauren, that was beautiful and so well put. I have an unknown destination ahead so this really touched me. I'm climbing into my row boat.

BTW, so glad Harry had a little friend and I'm not surprised at all by his hosting ability.

lance said...

Thank you. Your words encouraged me. I longed to buy a new house for my wife but now we have sunk into a situation where all of our down payment money is gone. I love her so and she deserves better than I can give her. May you guys have arrived where God wants you to be. I struggle along now with my little oars wondering where God is taking me.
Happy New Year!