Monday, September 19, 2011

Change of Season

Sometime this past summer I made a vow that I was going to enjoy each season as it was.  I was going to try to not complain about the heat of summer or the cold of winter, and would attempt to refrain from lamenting about fall being the harbinger of winter.  Come to think of it, the only season I didn’t really complain about was spring, for it was getting warmer, the days were noticeably longer and all was fresh and new.  So here I sit writing my thoughts regarding the end of summer in Maine and the onset of autumn.

My mother commented the other day how the hummingbirds had left even though the weather was still quite balmy.  She figured that it had to do something with the change of the light and length of day.  I would tend to agree with this as my drive to and from work is a bit more challenging due to the position of the sun, a tell tale sign of seasonal change. 

Whether it was the change in the angle of the sun or something else, this week in particular heralded change for me.  I began to long for the comfort of a pair of jeans and the warmth of a hoodie.  I made heartier food, although I will confess the cravings started 2-3 weeks ago when I went in search of winter squash and potatoes.  This week however I sought the comfort of soup and whole grains.  I made coffee this evening, preferring something warm to drink to the icy, sweating glass of Kool-Aid that had been drink du jour for the past two months.  When I crawled into bed last night the warmth and weight of my comforter wrapped up to my chin coupled with a chill on the tip of my nose made me smile.  I had come to love autumn!  I won’t lie; I continue to be concerned with having to drive in the snow and oil bills.  I still do not like being cold and suffering with cold feet all day today was distracting, but these past few weeks did not fill me with dread as they had in previous years.  Rather, when the cold front moved through the other day, I was filled with anticipation like a child is filled with anticipation just before Christmas, I was going to be able to wear heavier clothes, eat warmer food and curl up under a blanket with a good book.  The past week has had pumpkins, apples and Vermont cheese dancing in my head.  I am longing for colored leaves and crisp morning air. 

As autumn arrives I am thankful to be a New Englander.  I hope to savor each unique moment of the season: the harvest, the warmth of blankets and heavier clothing.  The beautiful sunrises and sunsets I will witness since the sun rises later and sets earlier.  The sense of awe I will have watching the leaves don their final beauty for the year, as the earth prepares for its winter rest and the trees, having shed their leafy mantle, stretch their bare limbs to the sky waiting to receive the first snowflakes.  I wish for everyone that in the midst of our daily lives we do not crave something other than what we have, failing to take time to appreciate each day for what it is, for it is “the present.”

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rebuilding Walls

I had a few experiences this week that has caused me to pause and think about Nehemiah, the re-builder of walls.  As some may recall just over a year ago the company I worked for closed suddenly.  As I searched for God’s will as to where I should do for work, God provided three biblical examples to guide me.  The first being Daniel (praying for favor in the eyes of the new King); the last being Jonah (go to the Ninevites or to the belly of the whale.)  The story behind those two names is something for a later date or you can email me to find out the rest.  The third name given to me was Nehemiah; re-builder of walls and here in lays the rest of the blog.

Had you asked me fourteen months ago what the name Nehemiah meant to me I would have replied, “I believe God wants me to be a restorer of broken walls.”  This was the attitude I entered my new employment with, I was there not only for paid employment but to re-build broken walls.  This is not written in a boastful manner, I don’t consider myself to be any “great” Christian rather it was the attitude of a servant that simply sought to do what God wanted me to do in the place HE had chosen for me.  I’ll not lie and say that for the first few months I questioned whether this was my final destination or simply a bridge to something else.  But when nothing else came it became apparent that at least for the foreseeable future, this was where I was to be.  As time went on I became acquainted with my coworkers and saw there was a place and a work for me there.  There were individuals who became important to me and relationships that were being built.  I found happiness in where I was; a place, I am jokingly reminded by others; I did not want to be, fast forward to the present.

Recently, as I was driving home from work the thought came to me…God has used my job and my coworkers to restore some of my walls.  Those who were the Ninevites to me had become Nehemiah.  The place that appeared so desolate and bleak had become a place of restoration.  Although I was hesitant and reluctant, God placed “Nehemiah’s” in my path to rebuild and restore what others had broken and burnt. 

As always I have to ask, what further can I learn from this, how can I apply this in other areas of my life?  First, there are times and places we chose not to be, but in obedience (or desperation) we go.  It is in those places that God can meet us.  Secondly, those who we think we are sent to minister to, often end up ministering to our un-recognized need.  I was of the belief that I was to go and be an encouragement to others, yet in just over 24 hours I recognized others being an encouragement to me.

What were the experiences, you ask??????  Those are not important for they were simply everyday occurrences that will mean nothing to anyone else.  The people who were involved will remain nameless for they were simply acting as they always do.  That is the beauty of being a Nehemiah; you don’t know when you are one.  Our words and actions are stones and we live life one stone at a time.  We can either cast them at others or we can place them row upon row restoring what was once a wasteland into a beautiful city.  Oh, may my life be one of construction and not destruction.  God, bless those who are Nehemiah’s to me by simply being who they are.