December 19, 2007

Christmas Correction

Sunday is my favorite day, even though it is my battlefront day. Sunday I have to fight the enemy on emotional and spiritual levels. Sunday is usually a 15 hour day for me. It is exhausting but exhilarating. In the midst of frequent disappointments, many mini-crisis, people problems, and sermon bloopers, there are those glimpses of God, of the kingdom breaking through, of the miracles of God occurring in our midst.

My Sabbath is Monday. It’s a different kind of battlefront. I have to battle not obsessing over the lower than hoped for quality of my sermon, the people who were absent, the problems that arose Sunday that will have to be fixed in this coming week, and the tiredness of body, soul, and spirit.

So it’s nice when things go well on Monday, but when they don’t, it’s tough because my reserves are so low. This Monday life was not fun. What should have taken an hour, took six hours, and cost me big bucks.

I had just had the boat mechanic working on our 1995 20’ Wellcraft Open Bow Boat. I went to fill the boat up at the fuel dock. It was running so smooth on the way over. After spending $4.00 a gallon on 40 gallons of boat gas, I was ready to have a relaxing cruise.

I pulled away from the dock and the boat died. I was floating helplessly in the water as I tried for 30 minutes to get it started. I began rowing the long distance to the nearest boat dock. When I was half way there, the Lifeguard boat came and pulled me to the dock.

I tried calling my boat mechanic with no luck. What was I going to do? Meanwhile the precious hours of my Monday were disappearing faster than the money in my wallet. I thought to myself, “Nice Christmas gift!”

The boat dock was deserted and so I just sat there trying to get the boat started or reach me mechanic. The call of nature arrived and I made the short walk to the restroom at the marina. In a somewhat obscured area on the side of the bathroom I saw a refrigerator box. There was a man carefully adjusting the box just right…I realized that he was preparing his cardboard “home” for a long winter’s nap. It looked as if he was happily anticipating his time of rest.

When I came out of the restroom he had pulled the box top closed. Beside the top was a huge black plastic bag, that could have doubled for Santa’s sack of toys if it wasn’t so dirty and lumpy. His entire home was in one cardboard box and one plastic bag.

There I stood in my tiredness, frustration, pity party grousing at the injustice of Larry’s world…and all the time I had a beautiful ocean view home with a festively decorated Christmas tree, and sparkling Christmas lights on my house, and a mailbox full of cards from friends and family, and a sweet stereo filling our house with Christmas music.

A chuckle started at my toes and kept rising until it escaped softly out of my mouth. Life is all a matter of perspective. Your expectations determine your contentment. He who is content with little has a continual feast. My grumpiness seemed so self-centered and trivial standing there near the "refrigerator box man" that I had to laugh at myself.

The best Christmas is found in unwrapping what I already have and enjoying that with a childlike wonder...fresh and new and grateful. That was my Christmas correction.

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