Too early mornings

26 09 2012

To be honest, I don’t want to be blogging right now.

It’s 3:00 am and I don’t want to be thinking deeply.  I want to be sleeping soundly!

At this particular hour, I don’t want to be examining the condition of my heart or contemplating the condition of my soul.  No.  I want to be sleeping.  That’s what most healthy people are doing at 3:00 in the morning.  But not me.  I’m wide awake, tossing and turning, and now . . . writing.

Why?

Well, the reasons isn’t important.  What’s important is what I’m going to do about it.  What’s important is what am I going to do about wanting to controls things that are beyond my control?  What am I going to do about my unwillingness to let go of things?  What am I going to do about my frustration, my anxiety, my anger?  What am I going to do about my unforgiving heart?

I counsel people on how to deal with this stuff all the time.  And I can even preach a pretty good sermon about letting go and moving on, about forgiving, as I long to be forgiven.  So why can’t I do it?  Why are these kinds of feelings still lurking just below the surface, erupting when I’m tired, and bursting out when I’m the least bit anxious or overwhelmed?  Why, when I’m least prepared to deal with them, do they seem to take complete control of my soul, and lead me down paths I’d prefer not to go?  Why do they make me so sad, so restless, so . . . angry!  And of course, why do I allow them to keep me up at night?

Sometimes, I remember the words of the Psalmist and  . . . lift my eyes to the hills, or Peter’s challenge to cast my cares upon him.  Somtimes I can remember Christ’s call to love my enemies and to pray for those I’d prefer to hate.  Sometimes I can remember the things I’ve learned in yoga, and will breathe in goodness and grace, and breathe out anxiety and anger.

But other times, most times if I’m really honest, St. John’s dark night of the soul lingers too long, and morning comes way too soon.  And that’s when I find myself lying here, wide awake, and waiting, with angry thoughts and bitter feelings, with a heavy heart and a weary soul.

I’ve been told that joy comes in the morning.  I’ve preached that!  But maybe for me, right now, that’s not true.  Maybe for me, right now, it’s too early for joy.  Maybe for me, right now, I just need to . . . wait.

So . . . that’s what I’m going to do.  I’m going lie here and wait.  I’m going to pray and breathe, and . . . I’m going to allow myself to be angry – for just a little while longer.

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Bob-Boy Baker

11 09 2012

Bob -Boy Baker — that’s what my aunt called me when I was growing up — “Bob-Boy” because “The Waltons” was her favorite tv show; and “Baker” because she once came to visit us and I happened to be in the kitchen baking a cake. (Still not sure what that was all about because I hate to cook!)

Anyway, Auntie — as we call her — is now 93 and she doesn’t really even know who I am anymore. But I’ve been thinking about her a lot lately, and missing those ‘good ‘ol days.’

Auntie is my father’s aunt, my great-aunt, and my kids’ great-great aunt. And since she was only married for a very short period of time and has no children of her own, growing up we were the only family she had. And she was with us all the time — taking us to hike ‘the devil’s hole’ along the Niagara gorge, to Niagara-on-the Lake for ice cream, or to some crazy church concert so we could ‘get saved.’ It was always fun to be with Auntie, and she taught us all kinds of things — some of which I will never forget, and some . . . well, some that it might actually do me good to forget. She was quite religious, and while I doubt my faith would be what it is today were it not for her, some of her ideas were . . . well, can I say crazy?

But I still miss her. And I miss those childhood days when I was surrounded by family who loved me, and shaped me, and taught me about life and living.

This Sunday I’m preaching from 1 Peter, and talking about the importance of the church being one of the few places left in our culture where intergenerational interactions are still valued and celebrated.

Diana Butler Bass, in her wonderful new book titled “Christaianity After Religion” writes, “The Christian community is one of the few places on earth where those who represent the full scope of human life, literally from cradle to grave, come together with a singular motive and mission.”

We all know that the church is far from a perfect place. It is flawed, and in some places, tragically. However it still remains a place where young and old still come together — to worship and sing, to eat and to serve, to play and to pray. It’s one of the few places left where a child whose grandmother lives miles away in another state, can find another ‘granny figure’ to pick him up and hold him. It’s one of the few places left today where the second grader who doesn’t have any cousins nearby, can find a high school kid to kick a soccer ball with after church. And for me, at least in the church I currently call home, it is still place where I can be known by young and old alike, and where together we are still learning about life and living.

Sadly, it’s too late for me to let Auntie know how much I love her and how grateful I am for the mark that she has left upon my life. But there are countless other ‘Aunties’ out there, and they’re waiting to hear from us. They’re waiting to love us, and to teach us, and to care for us. And they’re waiting for us to reach out and love them — to thank them for the marks that they have left upon our world.

So if you don’t have an Auntie in your life, start looking for one. And the place to start looking?  Well, how about that church — the one around the corner, that you’ve been meaning  to check out for months. Go and try it. You might actually enjoy all that is going on there. And you might just meet an Auntie . . . who will change your life.