tables

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system:

  • an organized set of doctrines, ideas, or principles usually intended to explain the arrangement or working of a systematic whole 
  • an organized or established procedure 
  • harmonious arrangement or pattern

There are systems in place which govern our lives.

We may not be aware of how many established systems ground us.

Many are not of our choosing like the traffic system full of

stop lights and rules of the road.

Others we decide how we would like to arrange our

time and space:

make the bed or don’t,

drink coffee or endeavor to  be caffeine-free,

partake in daily breakfast or obey stomach

pangs by mid-morning,

exercise regularly or not.

These daily tasks are part of a routine, a pattern

which makes up a life system helping to

bring order and rhythm to our moments.

On Saturday Carl and I sat across from one another at our table.

He had showered after his Saturday morning basketball game,

Caleb had bid farewell to a sleepover pal and I slept as long as possible

and made the bed 🙂

We sat with cups of coffee and tea.

I tend to need more stuff and scattered before me were

a Bible, a study, a journal,

a few other books and lots of pens.

Carl had the huge book you see pictured above.

theology: the study of religious faith, practice, and experience;
especially :  the study of God and of God’s relation to the world

We have sat at this table hundreds of times.

We have consumed countless meals but regularly

we have come to this

table to spend time in God’s word,

to be anchored in our faith,

to find guidance,

comfort,

to learn lessons

and to seek truth.

When I snapped this picture, Carl was unaware because

he was immersed.

He was recalling and recounting his theology.

He was allowing himself to sit before God and

gather his system of beliefs at eye level.

Because some days hope seems a farther reach

than a week ago.

A week has passed since Carl’s sister Vickie died

so swiftly and without a whisper of warning.

We sat at the table to recover our systems and cling

to our theology.

The system we have surrendered our lives to is belief

in God,

the Creator,

the Sustainer of life

and the glue who tightly adheres all our crumbling bits.

We have learned to keep our hearts and ears open this week

and discovered abiding comfort.

It’s been found in the “crowd sourcing” of Facebook.

We’ve seen it in the way family and friends love us in their

own special blend of thoughtfulness.

The pages of Scriptures where we landed

these past days have encouraged us that one day Christ will

wipe away every tear and there will be

no more death,

no more caskets,

no more sickness

and no more crying.

(One day.)

We heard words declared from a video describe the

sounds of the cries of death in a hospital.

We remembered.

(God knew.)

Last Sunday we exchanged our church seats for ones in a hospital

but this week we resumed our  pew dwelling  and these were the

first words uttered by our pastor:

“This week, you might be facing a scary time.

It could be the day before a memorial service or a graveside service…”

God knew sitting in pews could never protect us from last Sunday.

But He promised to remain no matter where we sat,

be it a table,

a pew

or even a hospital.

So we rose from our pew

and sidled up to the Table filled with the knowledge that

Jesus bore all our sufferings.

We chew and sip at the Table’s edge because He

is acquainted with sorrow and joins us in our aches

and pains.

Each table has become a place where God hears the

splash of tears upon our cheeks and dispatches

His comfort and often it is through others.

We all have systems.

Whatever system you have in place,

I hope it is effective when life quakes.

I am realizing it is very simple,

there is belief and disbelief and each

is a theology.

Whatever your theology,

I pray it brings comfort

and hope in any season.

This week has shown me when

hard events come we still brush our teeth (good thing),

we make our beds,

we make French toast, steal an extra

piece of bacon, pet the dog and

clean up our messes.

Mostly.

We also hug and kiss a little more.

We say I love you and catch ourselves when

we realize our system has been to rush past

each other in a blur so instead

we stop,

capture one another’s eyes

to affirm our affections

and glory in our mutual comfort.

 

two given fridays

 

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It’s been a nervous-queasy-pit-of-the-stomach-heart-thumping patch of time.

When the Friday sun dips deep into the horizon’s bed,

I will have witnessed two celebrations of life with

collections of people I love and cherish.

Assemblies of people compressed with mourning and gratitude.

The ache is palpable when you surrender those who have

entered the gated confines of eternity.

My mind has been stacked high of thoughts and reflections.

and captivated that in this instance,

the celebrants are two men who lived

strikingly different lives.

To my emotions there is no difference,

only an abiding sense of loss.

One with a cannot-be denied personality and a uniqueness of thought.

A brilliant civil engineer and my father’s best friend.

A life defined and magnified by a multitude of life roles and positions.

My uncle ran the corridors of life with a small footprint many would say.

His impact may have not been scattered abroad like most

who charge through this world.

He may have not had acclaim or an ever-growing list of followers

on social media

but to our family,

to those who loved him,

he embodied a precious life.

The ripples of his life may have only created a few concentric circles

but they changed the surface of the water.

My mom and her now only living brother locked in an embrace before a

sunflower laden casket will forever remain

the most lovely and tender of etched images.

I suppose neither one wanted to be the first to release the other,

breaking a spell of suspended reality,

knowing Felton’s days had been fully counted

and redeemed.

Two men.

Two lives.

Each one mattered because they were precious to us.

Whether footprints softly melted by the shifting tide

or ones immortalized in cement,

every life leaves a priceless imprint.

Look into the faces of the people you love.

Dare yourself to look upon the people who cross

your path,

you know the ones,

the ones without shiny exteriors

and who the world would say possess

puny significance.

Boldly and graciously send a smile towards them.

Your face can remind them of their worth

and today’s blessed existence.

While you are stretching your face muscles,

aim a grin at the super sparkly earth dwellers too.

We are not promised tomorrow.

Spread love today.

It’s the best way to make every

given day,

a celebration of life.