Thursday, after Bible study, Peggy, Kathleen and I went out to Brookwood for lunch and a little shopping. Lunch was delicious! I had butternut squash soup and shrimp and grits. After lunch, we spent quite a bit of time out in the greenhouse. I came home with some Impatients and more geraniums. Impatients like shade so hopefully they will like living in the shady part of the courtyard. Of course I intended to get those planted on Friday, but the day got away. Saturday, it was too cold. Meanwhile the Impatients were beginning to droop and not look so lively and beautiful. So I knew I needed to get them planted yesterday and did so after taking a Sunday nap. Believe me, I needed the strength to lug those heavy bags of potting soil around. Took a peek at them this morning and the plants are looking much better, almost as bright and lively as the day they were brought home. All that remains to complete the task is to sweep up the stray clumps of potting soil that didn't quite hit the target. And it is because of a trip to Target with Roy, progress halted and now a little clean up is left for today.
So, how's the Lenten thing going for y'all that are observing? I have to say the Lord has certainly taken me a direction I hadn't anticipated. Once in a sermon, our pastor asked, "who drives through Memorial or River Oaks and feels sorry for the people who live there in those big and beautiful homes?" Well, if he was asking for audience response, I would have raised my hand. There is just as much despair, loneliness, heartache, and disappointment in those homes as is in any other social strata. Maybe more. I was reminded of a tennis friend yesterday who lived in one of those big homes. I haven't thought about her in forever. They are quite wealthy and own beautifully furnished homes all around the country. Her godfather is a well known man in business and society. From time to time they would be called on to "fill in" at galas and dinner parties. She's been hit on by many famous leading men from Hollywood. They look like Barbie and Ken and people stop and take notice when they enter a room. He is a tall, dark, handsome Irish man and she is a classic beauty with blond hair. How fortunate that he liked to monopolize conversations. That way I didn't have to sneak a peek to look at him but could hold a constant gaze in rapt attention to take in all the handsomeness of this one man. I cannot tell you how many times a restaurant's buzz was silenced when these two arrived. Like I mentioned, I met her playing tennis. She had this incredible forehand and her style quirky and unconventional. The first few times you played her in tennis, she usually won. It was difficult to figure out how to respond to her shots. There was a lot of turmoil, sadness, insecurity, anger and undoing going on behind those beautiful doors and windows in that home, perfectly designed, perfectly decorated. There was one room in their house dedicated to hobbies and projects, in progress and unfinished. This room had shelves and bookcases that had been built to house and show finished pieces and any awards or recognition. The lighting in the room had been purposed to bathe these shelves and book cases in light for the perfect presentation. My friend in particular had many contributions to this room, but sadly there wasn't one completed project. In one corner, a gigantic loom, with a piece about one fourth completed. Canvases all about with just the beginnings of an oil painting or a bit done with water colors. Stacked to one side were all the accoutrement's that would be needed to show dogs, only she never showed or trained one dog. Her expensive mountain bike got more use out of the stack because it leaned against everything and maybe had seen only one or two miles out on the roads. I remember being in that room one time and she showed me photo albums of their children, friends, and family. Each album contained only a few pictures from each group. She told me that her personal relationships were not unlike her projects, she lost interest. Funny, she looked at me and said you know one day you and Roy will be in this pile. You all interest me now, but that won't be true forever. A room that had been designed for accomplishment had sadly become the room of incompleteness.
Now you might be thinking, what does this have to do with the price of tea in China? How does this compare to Lent? Why are you writing out this long boring story? Well, you see, the timeliness of potting plants and the delayed clean up got me thinking about that long ago time in life. Because of the incompleteness of my purpose and tasks assigned and given to me by the Lord. Now I know I have been made complete in him...Ephesians 3:19
"May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God" and thank God for this truth. No, I'm writing about the urgency I feel in my spirit to complete and be obedient.
In my heart I have a room just like my friend with things I have started and not finished. Study, meditation, prayer, reading, Bible reading plans (I get reminders all the time from the Bible app that I am way behind in my devotion reading) and all manner of spiritual disciplines and things. In my spirit yesterday, when I stopped mid project to go to Target, I heard, don't let your Lenten vow end up like the project room at _________ house. To someone with a low attention span, 40 days and nights is a long, long time. As I look around our home there are several projects we've begun but not completed. They are fun, good projects, not drudgery at all. Most things to complete really aren't difficult but only need attention. Same thing in those unseen projects of the heart. It's having the mind and heart set to see them complete, not for checking off a to do list, but to draw closer to the Lord during this season. A life designed to bring glory to Him can sadly become the life of incompleteness.
My friend was true to her words. Roy and I were added to the pile of photos. She had lost interest in us soon after and the funny thing is, once she lost interest, you were totally ignored. The last time I saw them was about ten years ago at a funeral. I came up to the group she was standing with and she acted as if I wasn't even there. No eye contact, no acknowledging any conversation I had with the others. Denying one's existence is a hard thing to experience. I think it is one of the cruelest acts that people practice and unfortunately I have to say I have done this too many times to too many people. Maybe ignoring was the one project she had really completed.
Oh and that forehand and quirky tennis game? It wasn't too hard to figure out after several matches. She handcuffed herself to that grip and shot, so you never hit the ball to her in her sweet zone. It disarmed the powerful forehand and if she wasn't hitting her forehand, you guessed it, she lost interest in the game.
So how is that Lenten thing going for me? Today and the days ahead the leading and the journey will be about completeness...all in Him. Oh and I plan to finish up a couple of projects around the house.