Tuesday, September 28, 2010


More and more lately I've become increasingly aware of how negative I tend to be.  Constantly, it seems.

Whine whine whine.

Complain just as much.

Sometimes people tell me I'm too hard on myself.  Maybe that's true.

But I complain so loudly in my head that I can't always distinguish between what I've thought and things I've actually said.  So maybe said people don't know what a downer I am.

I caught myself doing it again the other night.  Not directly complaining, but negative comments that pointed to what I really meant.

I've even been accused of complaining when I was actually just telling a story.  Ouch.

Kinda feels like negativity oozes out of me.

I'm trying to work on it, trying to be more aware of how my words are presented and of my attitude behind them.  It's hard work.  I'd so much rather complain.  It's easier and more fun than holding my tongue.

Philippians 2:14 cuts hard:  "Do everything without complaining or arguing."

I do it a lot anyway.  But I'm working on it.  For those of you around me all the time...I promise I'm trying.

Friday, September 17, 2010

His Comfort

Sorrow abounds all around.

I think of a young mother who lost her baby, a young wife who lost her husband, a young woman who lost her father.

I think of them.  And I pray for them.

I ask God to comfort them.  In my disconnected sympathy, I equate comfort with "no more sorrow."  No more pain.  All calm and serene.

I want it to work that way.  I want God's comfort to mean all the bad things are gone.

But it doesn't.

One is still without a child, one without a husband, one without a father.

No amount of comfort will bring the lost ones back.  I don't know how that can ever feel ok.

I stlil pray for comfort.  But what I need to know is that comfort does not mean absence of sorrow.

It still means pain, but with peace.  Grief, but without despair.  Deep, bleeding wounds, but with hope.

It means He holds them while they hurt.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Running the Race, Keeping the Faith

I'm a loner in life.  I like to do things by myself, for the most part.  Don't get me wrong - I like to have friends and time to hang out and relax.  But when it comes to accomplishing something...I prefer to do it without help.

Maybe that's the control freak in me coming out.  Letting someone else help me might mean the job isn't going to get done quite right.

Or maybe sometimes I'm too afraid and proud to ask for help.  Don't want to appear weak and incompetent.

I've been training for a half-marathon, now a mere five days away (yikes!).  And I've been training by myself.  The main reason for doing this feat alone isn't so much the "control freak" part as it is the "freak" part.  Just about everyone I know around here would rather jump into a frozen lake in February than run thirteen miles.

So for the past twelve or so weeks, I've been training on my own.  Up before the sun, even on Saturdays, trying to get this non-runner body in enough shape to endure a final two-plus hours of pavement pounding.

But this weekend, I stepped outside my bubble and ran alongside a friend in a 10k road race as we each flung one foot in front of the other on our path to next weekend's finish line.

Jennifer has also been training for this half-marathon, and she was gracious enough to let me run with her Saturday morning. 

She wasn't gracious enough to slow her pace to make it easier for me to keep up.

And I wasn't about to admit that I wanted her to slow down.

So, for six-plus miles (that felt much more like twelve), I pushed myself to keep pace.  Around mile four, as I was panting and sweating all over the place, I thought how the journey of a Jesus-follower was much the same as what I was experiencing.

It's much easier for me to run my life-race in my own way, at my own pace.  But it is so very necessary for me to come alongside other Christians - younger ones to spur onward and encourage, and more mature ones to seek guidance and encouragement for myself.  I prefer to be comfortable, but it's more important for me to be pushed.

And so I continued to pant and sweat, trying to give this race my all (because isn't the purpose of a race to run in such a way to get the prize?).  Then I finally heard Jennifer say the sweetest possible words:  "Let's finish this together."

She continued to spur me on, even as we rounded the last bend, silently encouraging me to pump my now-numbing legs even harder for a solid finish.  How glad I am that I didn't decide to give up and let her run ahead of me while I settled for my own comfortable pace.

We each finished with the exact same time, with a pace that surprised the wet socks off both our feet.  We finished with a deeper sense of camaraderie, and satisfaction of a job well done.

And I finished with a new awareness of the need to push myself to keep step with those in faith who are stronger than me.  Because when I finish I want to hear the words, "Well done."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Therapists Make Good Plant Killers

After being away from the world of blog for so long now, I would expect this post to have all kinds of deep and heartfelt thoughts oozing all over the page.

I would be wrong.

But in the midst of an incredibly busy week at work, accompanied by many hours of overtime, there was a moment of funny that had me giggling pretty good.

Last fall, someone dropped off a cute but scraggly-looking plant at our office.  It was housed in a cheap pink plastic thing with a capacity for only a handful of dirt.  The plant was of the viney nature.  We sat it by a window and cared for it all winter.  Every few days, when the leaves would start to turn yellow and fall off, we'd notice it was getting a little thirsty.  So we'd splash it under the sink and watch it perk up again for a few more hours.

This little plant had gusto.  It would grow leaves and by now would probably look like a full, long, leafy viney thing if we'd have watered it often enough to keep the leaves from falling off.  Instead, it always had about five or six inches of vine, and two or three leaves at the end of each vine.  Sad, but cute.

One unfortunate day a few weeks ago, I saw this little plant resting in one of the trash cans.  I made no small noise about the atrocity of this discovery.

"Who threw our plant away???"

One of the gals 'fessed up.  "I did.  Just look at it.  It looks awful and it's half-dead and should've been thrown out a long time ago."

Well...true...but still.  It wasn't completely dead.  Yet.

I didn't want to take it home, but knew it's fate was sealed if it stayed in therapy any longer.  So I walked it across the hall to home health and asked if they wanted a plant.

Turns out they're the ones who gave it to us in the first place.

So I took it to the cafeteria to join the forest of huge exotic overgrown plants that sit around the room.  I figured the little guy could at least make some friends and be watered on a regular basis.  I sat him next to two other extra large potted specimens.  Together, the three looked kinda like two elephants and a mouse.

I forgot about the plant until earlier this week, when I was eating lunch and happened to glance at the floor by the window where he was sitting.

Apparently, everyone else agreed with my co-workers that the plant was not worth saving.  I was the only one who cared.  This is what I saw:

Poor little guy.


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