Tuesday, January 1, 2019

If you lost a key, too!

“I can’t find my keys,” I called to Jerry as I searched through the sofa cushions.

“Did you look in the sofa,” he called back.

“That’s what I’m doing.” Yet, no keys.

Not in the sofa,  under the sofa, on the kitchen counter, in my office, under the car seats, or any number of other places including the trash bags I retrieved from the outside cans and plundered through. Mercy. Losing the keys should have been a clue my life was running a bit out of control.


I went to church that night where my little buddy McCoy offered to pray. “Oh Holy God, please help Miss Beverly find her keys. Amen.”

Later as I left church, my young friend Landry said, “Maybe you’re just not supposed to go anywhere right now.” We laughed but something about what he said grabbed me, like there was a thread of truth in the hyperbolic statement.

McCoy’s prayer worked and I did find my keys a few days later. In retracing my steps, I remembered I'd stopped at a grocery store. I called and sure enough I'd left them there. Don't even know how.

The morning of the dress rehearsal for the symphony chorus I sing with, I woke with something. I couldn’t even describe it. I didn’t have a fever, so I pushed through the weekend, but whatever that something was went into the next week. On the Wednesday I was to drive to Atlanta for a high school football state playoff to join Jerry who is the chaplain for the team, I knew I was weak and my breathing a little labored. I could have watched the game on TV, but no, I went. On the two-hour drive, I started wheezing, and by the time I reached Atlanta, it was so bad I knew I would not be able to walk from the parking garage to the stadium. I turned around and drove straight home to my doctor’s office.

It took another two weeks, an urgent care visit, an asthma specialist, and a whole lot of medicine to get things under control with my asthma worse than it had ever been. Frankly a little scary. Then two days after I began breathing easier, I developed vertigo, an unrelated issue. Then there’s the matter of the rib that’s moving because I coughed so much.

“Maybe you’re not supposed to go anywhere,” Landry said. Well, I haven’t been anywhere much for quite a while.

I’ve just been here thinking about the post I wrote a few weeks back about being a quart low, and wondering  how I did this againwore myself out that I became vulnerable to all kinds of stuff. Instead of a quart low, I think my oil pan has been leaking. The word hypocrite has dogged my heels because I guess I have done exactly the thing I said I would not do.

The words of someone else who struggled with this come to mind, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:15-16). Amen, brother Paul. I want to slow it all down and enjoy the moment more, instead I ramp it up, taking on more than any human can do. Because of that, I not only missed that state playoff game to which I had so looked forward, I missed the play I help write and direct at church, I missed my writer’s group party and I missed just being with a lot of folks.  

I am contemplating what drastic changes I’m going to have to make so this doesn’t happen again. I can’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. This has been years in the making. Years of adding just one more thing to my list--good things. Wonderful things. That's why I need the wisdom of God. I’m wondering if you’re reading this and seeing yourself in these lines. I’m thinking yes, because of the response I got after the quart low post. We love doing all the stuff and making Christmas special for others, but there has to be a way to celebrate Christmas without getting sick.

“. . . slow down and breathe tonight. Let the goodness and mercy that follows you every. single. day. of. your. life.—no. matter. what.—why not slow down and see how the goodness catches up to you? ‘I don’t have to work for the coming of the Lord--I don’t have to work for Christmas. The miracle is always that God is gracious. I always get my Christmas miracle. I get God with me. That’s really all I have to get for Christmas, and He doesn’t keep any truly good thing from me. Because the greatest things aren’t things! Jesus is all good, and He is all mine, and this is always my miracle—my greatest Gift!”

So, here’s to the New Year. It’s going to take more than a plan for a different result. It’s going to take a revolution of slowing down and seeking His presence most of all. And this doesn’t just have to do with Christmas. I can throw the hurry switch on a moment’s notice. I’ve never been a good slow person, but I’m going to learn. Somehow. Someway.

Of all the keys I’ve lost, maybe this key of slowing down is the one I most need to find, so thanks McCoy for that prayer. It meant more than you knew.

Slow down with me, friends. Blessed New Year!

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