My mother’s kitchen table has not looked like it does now in over three months. But today, it resembles much how I remember it. An organized mess of paperwork, files, and office supplies. My father never cared for a traditional ‘home office’ set up. Instead he preferred to “set up shop” in the kitchen. Close to the food and close to his radio. Talk radio and coffee during the day. Rock-n-roll music and martinis by night.
I sit at the kitchen table as I complete his 2014 business year. Stacks of papers, ‘Shovels and Rope’ album as my soundtrack, and an endless supply of coffee. I understand why he liked the kitchen home office set up. It is pretty convenient. I retrieved the calculator from his drawer for my next task. A second nature move because his calculator has been in the same place forever. In the story I am telling, the calculator is kin to the Santa hat or salmon blazer. It was part of Dad.
I hit the button to begin crunching my numbers. Blank screen. Again. Nothing. Punching buttons with no response from the most trusted calculator in the world. I did not know whether to laugh or cry. (I really did not want to be spooked by a stupid calculator. Oh Lawd, am I going to be one of ‘those people’?) It did, however, unnerve me enough to ask my mom about this historic math machine. She said my grandmother, his mom, gave it to him circa 1973! (An expensive purchase in those days and she thinks it was a birthday gift for dad.) They had even recently laughed at how that calculator has been the most handy household item over the years. Same drawer. And we all used it. Well apparently not anymore, because it was absolutely no help to me today! I deferred to my phone calculator. (Perhaps it’s my administrative work history, but I like the clicking and sound of buttons!! The iPhone does not give me this satisfaction.)
I could not be more thrilled to close out 2014. It has been a very important year, but it has been the hardest and darkest year of my life to date. I think reflection is important for growth and development, and there are so many lessons to be learned from my experiences, my own actions, and the attitude of my heart from this year. However, I believe it is much more important to look forward. You cannot change the past, and no we cannot ‘calculate’ the circumstances of our future. Life happens. And life can come at us pretty hard and fast. What we can do is determine how we react to it. And our ‘reaction to life’ is a result of who we are at our core. This, I believe, is something tangible we can work on. Not a mathematical equation, but a seeking and yearning to be sanctified daily. ”So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)
Over the last couple of years, I have actively been pursuing living more intentionally. NOT an overnight change, but a gradual pulling and tugging from the Lord to shape and mold me. Small things and Big things: reading more books, prioritizing relationships, purposeful friendships, listening for God’s voice more, and setting fitness goals. These pursuits have not come without failures. I have beyond fallen short of God, people I have loved, and myself. I have kicked and screamed along the way, been distracted, and completely fallen off course, but God in his unfailing love and grace does not stop pursuing me. (or you either, my friends!)
The time we have on this Earth is PRECIOUS! AND SO VERY SHORT. Yes, we were created for Eternal Glory and Peace in the presence of our God, but God would not have created us to live on this Earth if it did not have meaning.
"My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."(Galatians 2:20)
Our salvation in Him is the freedom that we are NOT our old selves. We have been made new in Him, so why not live that way?! Oh, how I have lived in the comfort of habits and ‘default dorothy’ with the excuse of “well, that’s just me.” No! We have been made to be changed. May we embrace it.
"But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self,which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." (Ephesians 4:20-24)
I shared a good conversation and a fancy craft beer with a dear friend a few nights ago. (She has been responsible for imparting much wisdom in my life, including the taste and world of beer.) She talked with me about how walking in obedience to Christ can often feel uncomfortable and unlike us. As it should! It’s not our default. It is the opposite of our flesh. But that should not stop us. And failing should not cause us to quit. Friends, we can punch that fear in the face. And when I say ‘obedience’ I am not merely speaking of rules and regulations that are often associated with the Christian faith. Yes, the Lord gives us commandments, but I am speaking of an attitude and renewal of our heart and mind. A ongoing human process. Time will inevitably pass, that we know. It is what we do with our time that matters: who are we and who are we becoming.
So I gear up for the one night of the year where I can justify wearing all my sparkles(who am I kidding? I can justify sparkles on my workout tops), I have a hopeful anticipation of 2015. Sure, I am ‘resolutions’ girl, and I probably always will be. But, it’s not about losing weight, reading a bunch of books, or completing a marathon. It’s about how we approach, walk, and live during the process. The daily. The intention. I pray my 2015 will be better than 2014, of course, but not just in circumstances. I want to live and love God better, and gosh love others much better, and to be perfectly frank, love myself better. I want 2015 to reflect better than 2014, just as I want 2016 to reflect better than 2015. Renewal.
I can’t help but think of another calculator in my life. It sat on my desk for the seven years I worked for dad, and it had been there before I arrived. It had been my co-workers desk calculator and her name was written at the top. My father put a post it note on the bottom once that stated, “Borrowed by: J Boyd Camak, Jr. on weekends” It was a joke that lasted for years among the office staff. When that desk became another co-worker’s space, dad printed her name on top. And in recent years, as I moved to that desk, he again, replaced the name with mine. People changed and time passed, but that calculator stayed on that desk. The life God has given us is a gift. He gave His life so we can live ours. Wow.
So, friends, our gift of life here and now really is “borrowed time.” Do we really want to waste it, sweet friends?
I wish you all a very Happy New Year! #hello2015