Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Extra Ordinary

My Grandfather
My grandfather was an extra ordinary man,
extra special, extra funny, extra sweet and extra, extra grand.
Some people say John Bull was just an ordinary man.
He liked ice cream, baseball games, both family and friends.
My grandfather may not have been a movie star,
The President, an Astronaut nor travelled very far.
He was witty, very funny, sharp as a tack, never had much money.
When my grandfather was more than ninety nine years old,
He could tell you every detail, of every tale ever told.
It was a joy to see his hazy blue eyes and sincere smile.
I’ve never known a nicer man. He always went that extra mile.
My grandfather was so grand,
even if some people think that he was just an ordinary man.
If you put the extra in front of ordinary, do you know what you get?
You get my grandfather - John Bull, a very extraordinary man.

I was having a deep conversation the other day with a friend. We shared a few heart connectors with one another. A few tidbits of ourselves. Most women know what they are and you don’t get them at Tim Hortons. Tidbits are pieces of the center part of the donuts of our lives; the things dear to our heart. They are moments or events in our lives which mould us into the people we are and into the people we become. I’m sure when I was a child I was a much different person than I am now; perhaps a little more carefree, fun, innocent, with a touch of that Anne of Green Gable quality. Even the imaginations of Anne Shirley could not give a picture of what her or my future would hold. Life experiences do shape our character. I believe they are all a part of that great plan that God has for each individual life, now that I am on the down side of the hill as some may describe one who hits that half century mark. Does that mean that my life will get easier from here on out? After all, climbing the hill is the most difficult and tiring part. Going down the hill is a stroll. My fear is that I just might go a little too fast down that steep grade. It is impossible to put the brakes on time. Running the battery out makes no difference. The clock keeps ticking even though I have all these things I want to get done. Sometimes there seems to be an urgency to live life and get as much done as possible in one day. Dare I strive to the left or the right and get off the path I am on? No time to do that, it seems. The problem with going downhill too fast is sometimes something pulls out in front of you and wham. The brakes are on and we skid right into that obstacle. Repair damage – negotiate a good lawyer and have good medical-care. Not necessarily in that order. It does seem that time is moving much faster now then it did when I was younger. I don’t know if it is just me who feels this way.

I discovered something about myself the other day. I think it is funny and sad at the same time. I guess we must learn to laugh at ourselves and the sad things we discover about ourselves or else we would probably slip into a depressed state. I was almost there the other day. Then I called a friend to pray for me. I thought maybe if someone else prayed for me I would snap out of the funk I felt myself slipping into. Like I said, when you are already speeding down the hill and your life seems to be spinning out of control, sometimes we need a little help, a slap in the head, maybe some prayer, a cup of tea and even a little whine shared with a friend. (To express distress or complain) Well our conversation didn’t solve all the problems of the world, but it did make me stop working, sit down for the afternoon and just take in this friend’s company. Oh yeah, I almost forgot to tell what I learned. Well my day was full like many days seem to be lately. Don’t ask what I am so busy doing? All I know is that I fall into bed exhausted each night, my body aches from painting, gardening, cleaning, yard work and emotional drainage . . . When a friend called me up on this very busy day, I almost cried - feeling so overwhelmed. The last thing I felt I wanted to do on that particular day was drive to my friend’s house for coffee. Can you imagine? Instead of thinking of this gracious invite as a wonderful opportunity and a blessing to have a special time out, the thought of one more thing almost stopped me in the middle of that down hill slide. Then a light came on in my memory. I remembered back to a time when I was so lonely, and board that I only thought of myself and wanted to go out shopping or spend a little time with my friend. I remembered just how devastated I was when my friend told me; no she could not go out for coffee because she was so busy. Do you think at that time I understood her predicament? Not at all. Here I am seven years later trying to bail out my life boat which has that same huge hole in it. The water is coming in faster than I can bail it out. Believe me, I was a good and quick bailer when I was a child. Bailing the water out of our boats had to be done if I wanted the reward of driving down Cooks Bay like my hair was on fire. So the funny part was in me realizing what it must have been like for my friend years back. I love wearing hand-me-downs. Her shoe fits me perfectly. I couldn’t help but think what a jerk I used to be. Now, I realize why she didn’t want my burdened friendship vying for her time.

Don’t we all strive at times to do things we think need to be done? Isn’t there something deep inside all of us that wants things to be better? Do we have a need to do something grand as to give ourselves some kind of self worth? My friend asked me a very good question. I had to really think about it. “Why can’t we be ordinary?” she asked. Actually her question stumped me for a moment. My analytical friend made me think. Is there not something so peaceful about knowing that in our ordinariness, with Christ Jesus that it is enough? The simplicity of our individual lives is extra special and unique. In fact being ordinary can be extraordinary. I looked up into the sky and saw this eagle soaring high above us like it was being carried by the wind. I thought yeah, “Why do we have to try and be the eagle? Why can’t we be satisfied being like a sparrow? There is a song that comes to mind.

His Eye Is On the Sparrow

“Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come?
Why should my heart be lonely and long for heav’n and home;
when Jesus is my portion?
My constant friend is He.
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”

Thank you my insightful friend for the flower that sits on my kitchen table.
It is a reminder of the flowers in my life.