I come offering to you a great question: “Is calling something a variegated hodgepodge redundant?” I ask this simply because today’s entry is just that. It’s all over the place. Honestly, it might even be called a reflection of what goes on in this head of mine, but I daresay I won’t go as far as to actually label it that. Even I don’t know what goes on in this head of mine at times. Now, on with the show!
An Update on the Hand
Well, my father is currently on a 4x-a-day dosage of 500 mg. cephalexin. Yay! Ahem. I find that vaguely humorous because, well… we treat our dogs with cephalexin whenever we are dealing with some sort of infection. Mildly ironic. Of course, we’re using fish-grade antibiotics bought on the dog show circuit, not pharmaceutical grade antibiotics. But still. Oh, and the painkiller? Hehe. It’s… Hydrocodine. Which, the common brand names are Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, and… Vicodin. Della, my mother, and I got a good laugh out of that when they gave him some in the ER. Those of you who happen to be fans of the television show House will understand why. Now we just need to get him a cane! Hehe. So… he’s down to a half-dose of said painkiller, actually… silly man. And he drove today. One-armed. Which, from what I gathered from hearing his half of the conversation he had with her over the telephone, evoked much shaking of the head and concerned commentary from my mother.
For the Love of Mondays
I officially enjoy Mondays. Strange, I know, when you consider that the vast majority of our population loathes and detests them. I’m not like the general population, now am I? I enjoy Mondays because I don’t get your usual days off. I get Sunday and Monday off, and Monday gives me the freedom of time to experiment, which I don’t really get a chance to do when working 8-to-5. This might explain why I grabbed lots of fun ingredients before leaving the orchard market on Monday, and then proceeded to scour the internet for a recipe that might vaguely excite me, when I was given a rather monstrous zucchini by my grandparents. So, dinner tonight should prove interesting, what with my attempt at making the recipe on the package of “Harmony Soup Blend” that I purchased on Saturday, and my further experimentation with Zucchini Parmesan. I wish that I had some feta on hand, honestly, to snazz it up a bit, but I don’t, so I’ll settle for bland Parmesan and mozzarella. Don’t get me wrong, they’re good cheeses, but I haven’t had feta in over a year. I’m beginning to recognize the symptoms of feta withdrawal that my system is going through. Parmesan and mozzarella are bland, not necessarily in taste, but in the mind’s eye. Psychosomatic, I know, but that’s me. Perhaps it is the one way in which my mother can manage to convince me that goats are not the incarnation of demons. Larry hasn’t exactly left a good impression on me. But I don’t know if you can make feta from sheep’s milk. Hmm. Another thing to research.
Harbinger of Doom
Well, for chickens at least. Or at the moment, for roosters. It’s 12:53, and I need to go and “take care of” a few things in the barn. Mainly, those irritating roosters that should have ended up in the freezer ages ago. But, my father is busy, and my mother … doesn’t do the “killing” part of “processing”. The unfortunate thing is that yesterday morning she said to me, “Your grandfather shot himself in the leg with a pistol. Your father impaled himself in the hand with an arrow. That’s it, we’re not letting you near any axes.” And this was before I told her I had been planning to dispatch the roosters today. Woops. Ah, well. Oh, this means I need to find my knife… hmmm…
Humility: Lessons from Piper and Willow
“Piper and Willow?” you ask? Why, yes! Of course! John Piper, and my mare, Willow. But not together. Willow doesn’t particularly care for trailering at this point, and John Piper is off… you know… pastoring a church, or something. But in all seriousness… one of the nice things about experimenting in the kitchen is that I can plug my laptop in and listen to a sermon. Or two, depending on their length. So today I listened to “Anxieties: To Be Cast, Not Carried” and “Ruth: The Best Is Yet to Come“, both from Desiring God ministries. They were both what I needed to hear, albeit for different reasons. I highly recommend listening to them – download ’em, play ’em on your laptop, listen to ’em on the way to work, put ’em in your iPod. I don’t care, just… give ’em a listen. I mean, you can read the summary page, but it’s not quite the same as hearing the full thing.
I gleaned some insights from both sermons, and I wanted to share them with you. I recognized the other night that my anger, my attempt at self-sufficiency, came down to pride. Big whoop, right? Just about everything comes down to pride when you stop and dig down to the roots. But Piper managed to expound upon that today in “Anxieties: To Be Cast, Not Carried” that really hit home with me.
“The secret of humility is being able to cast your anxiety on God.” – John Piper
“There is a subtle thing here about thinking we can bear our own loads in life. The pride thing.” – John Piper
“How do you take – like a garment – your anxiety, and put it on God? I think the key is in noticing the two parts of verse seven. The first part says casting all your anxiety on Him, the second part says because He cares for you. And I think the key, then, in this “anxiety transfer” is trusting that promise. Trusting that promise. This is it it, now. This is as practical as I know to make it. I don’t mean general trusting, okay? Everybody in this room, almost, probably would say, “God is trustworthy. Or, God is good. God is able to do what He said.” Just, general kind of trusting. What I’m calling for, and what I believe Peter is calling for, is a specific kind of trusting, this promise doesn’t hang in the air. It’s connected to a command; cast your anxiety on the Lord because He cares for you. So you don’t just kind-of trust God in the abstract, and say, “Yeah, in general, God’s good. In general, He kinda generally works things out for you.” That’s not it! It’s this morning, when you wake up, with this anxiety, on this chest, for this 10:00 meeting, that’s what you’re trusting for. You say, God told me to let this go, and to put it on him. Then he followed that with this promise: I care about you. That must mean he cares about 10:00! Not fifty years from now, not in Heaven, merely 10:00, or 1:00 this afternoon, or Praying the Vision in fifteen minutes. Now there’s where the rubber meets the road! Can we do that? Will we do that? Will you moment-by-moment in your life take it in the moment of the trust, and say, “Lord, I know that You care about me because You said so, and I know that You are God and You dont let things develop without Your influence. And I know that You are wiser than I, and I know that You will work at 10:00, and I now let it go and lay it down. Help me.” Every day! Every day! Moment-by-moment!” – John Piper
That was the first lesson, see. Laying it all down moment-by-moment. I seem to have a bit of a problem with that idea. I don’t know, perhaps that’s an issue the entire human race can relate to, but whether or not it is doesn’t really matter anymore. I keep falling back into the mentality of, “Well, I’ve dealt with that, Lord. We can mark that off our ‘becoming-more-godly’ checklist, right?” If I’ve addressed it, it should be done and over with, right? Not so much. It’s a moment-by-moment battle. I can’t be “picking my coat back up off the donkey” as it were, because I’m going through a rocky spot. You know, to, ah… make it easier… for… the donkey? I mean, it’s not like, uh… it’s not like I’m afraid the donkey might slip… and, uh… like… my coat might fall off or something. I’m not concerned about that, I mean… come on! Heh. Yeah.
So the fun part in all of this was that Saturday evening, before the whole Robin Hood ordeal took place, I had been doing some ground work with my horses. I discovered that my gelding, Caedryn, is very teachable, very willing. He’s just clueless, that’s all. Fortunately, he picks up quickly. My mare, on the other hand… is a stubborn, belligerent… beast. And I say that in a most loving way. Because quite frankly… that’s me. Figuratively speaking, God’s asking me to do something simple because I’m getting ahead of myself – yep, just take a little step backward – and I’m throwing my head up in the air and standing firm while the trainer is getting in my space and the cue stick repetitively reminds me of what I’m supposed to be doing. She’s going to be a challenge to work with, and… I think God put her there for such a time as this.
Ah, I wanted to mention the other sermon, too, afore I headed to the barn! The other sermon… was really more of a reminder that there is more out there. A challenge to live a life of excellency – and a reminder that a life of excellency is not a straight line. To paraphrase Piper, it’s not an interstate highway through Nebraska – it’s a state road through the winding Blue Ridge mountains, full of precipices, road blocks, and falling boulders. So, a couple of excerpts from “Ruth: The Best Is Yet to Come” and I’ll be off!
“We are slaves to triviality!” – John Piper
“So our souls shrivel up, and our lives are trivial, and our capacity for great worship is dead. Now the book of Ruth is written to teach us that God’s purpose for your life is bigger than that. God’s purpose is to connect his people with something infinite. Something great. Something magnificent. For the Christian there’s always the connection between the ordinary – gleaning in a field, having a baby, coming back from a foreign land – just ordinary things? NEVER! For the people of God, there is nothing ordinary done in obedience to Jesus Christ. It is all cosmic; it is magnificent. God is preparing a demonstration to the principalities in the heavenly places of his own wisdom and He’s doing it in your daily lives, if you had eyes to see. So the word “glory” isn’t too big, my friends; it is not too big, it’s too little. It’s weak. It’s lame. I wish I had words bigger and better than “glory” to describe what our destiny is, and what the meaning of your Monday tomorrow is when it’s connected to the Kings of Kings and the destiny that He has for the world.” – John Piper
So, how about you? Are you living a life that’s so full of anxiety that you can’t face it? That you’re dedicating your time to the pursuit of triviality? Or is there a purpose to what you’re doing, how you’re living, where you’re going? What is it? How is it? Where is it?
Talk amongst y’selves, as it were. (Note: imagine a bit of a Brooklyn accent there, if you would, please.)