Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday’s Essay – Not Nearly

Below is an essay that I sent to those on the Cove Presbyterian Church e-mailing list. You can hear a podcast of this essay by going to the Cove Presbyterian Podbean page. 

If you find this essay helpful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.

Our God is truly gracious and merciful. And we can find great hope trusting that our eternal destiny is in his hands. And I thank him every single day that in spite of all the reasons I give him to not do it, I believe that the creator of the universe loved me before he laid the foundations of the earth and he showed me that love through Jesus Christ, something in which I can have faith because of the Holy Spirit. Now all this makes up the core of my faith, and it’s incredibly important to me.

There are other times when I appreciate the little things that God does for me, and I’m talking about those little messages that remind me that he is indeed my heavenly Father and I’m his child. And I’ll tell you, I experienced one of those messages this morning. And it’s something that just might be helpful for all of us to remember either when things are absolutely falling apart or when we’re convinced that we’re on top of the world and God is lucky to have us on his side.

Now, I said it happened this morning. In truth, it really started last night. You see, last evening, before he left his Cub Scout meeting, Tucker Smith and I were having our usually conversation about my snapping turtle, Buck. And as the Smiths were leaving, Tucker said, “I’ll see you Saturday.” And since I couldn’t think of any reason I’d be seeing him on Saturday, I asked why, and then Debi said, “At the Blue and Gold Banquet.” I could feel a cold chill crawl up my spine. “What time on Saturday?” “I think it’s 3:00 to 6:00.” “No.” “Yes, I think so.” The chill became a deep freeze. “I think we might have a conflict.” And as she left, Debi said, “I hope you work that out.”

Now, I admit, this was a nice thought, but I had no idea how. You see, I was sure we had a birthday party, that I hadn’t put on my calendar, the exact same time Saturday afternoon. And I’ve got to tell you, that really threw me for a loop. You see, I’d been taking some pride in believing that I was handling all the changes around here pretty well, but this was a problem. And even though I could have sworn I put the on my calendar, clearly I hadn’t. And so I called the mother.

And as it was ringing, I knew exact what I needed to do; I had to find another place for her party. And that might be possible. I mean, if the party was small, as most are for children, I just might be able to put them in one of the rooms in the Education Building, and the problem would be solved. The mother answered. I explained the situation, took responsibility for the confusion and asked how many would be attending, praying for ten, maybe fifteen at the most. She said, “About sixty.” Holy Cow; sixty; that’s not a party. That’s a banquet. I was scrambling for something. “Well, let me check some of the rooms in our other building, for space.” “Will there be enough room for three small bouncy houses.” Holy Cow again, bouncy houses. “I’m sure we can make it work.” “Can you send pictures of the rooms so that I’ll know how to decorate.” “Absolutely, and I’m so sorry about the mix up.”

I went over to the Education Building. Of course, there are kids in every room, because the Children’s Academy was in session. And as I was taking the pictures, the children were posing and the teachers were hiding. And thanks to two incredibly wise staff people, we figured out how to make this work. You see, although the scouts needed all our tables for their banquet, I just might be able to scrape together enough for the party too, especially if some of the party guests were little children. PTL, I might survive this. And so I texted the mother the pictures, with this message: “I’m sending pictures of some different rooms that might be used. We have some small tables. How many children do you expect to attend?”

Now that’s where I stood at 10:07. And to get a flavor of this exchange, below are the texts send by her and me:

Her: Ok so I can decorate and put food and bounce houses in the first room and use the kids rooms for activities.
Her: Maybe 20-25 kids
Her: Up to 30 maybe. Not sure of an exact number.
Her: Are the rooms next to each other?
Me: Yes.
Her: Ok I will make it work. Thank you.
Me: Actually, given all the toys, it might actually be wonderful. Thank you for your flexibility.
Her: Np we will make it work. We can check it out and figure everything out Tuesday at Girl Scouts if that’s ok with you.
Me: Isn’t the birthday tomorrow?

I go back to my calendar. I was right; I did enter it, because there it was: Sunday, March 6, from 3:00 to 6:00. I revive the texting thread:

Me: I’m an idiot. We’re fine. The birthday is March 6.
Her: Yes, it’s March 6th. So we’re good to go?
Me: We’re good, and I have officially lost my mind.
Her: Haha. Ok well that’s good news. Thanks so much. Take a nice vacation. You’ll be ok. Lol

Now, that’s what happened. And as a person of faith, I believe God has a lesson for me to learn, one that may be more profound than being more careful when I check my calendar. In fact, it just may be a lesson for us all. You see, when we feel this sense of panic because everything is coming apart at the seams or when we think the harmony found within the universe is due to us, I think it’s crucial for us to remember that we’re probably not nearly as smart or important as we think we are.

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