Saturday, January 1, 2011

It's a Marshmallow World in My Mind

Happy 1-1-11! 

Here we are, once again, at the beginning of a brand spankin’ new year. But if you haven’t taken your Christmas decorations down, like me, it may still feel like last year hasn’t officially come to a close. Sort of a befuddled-between-years sort of thing.
Happens to me every year. 
Another thing that happens is my desire--and failure--to somehow slow Christmas down. Savor it more. Bake more with the kids. Do some special crafts. Take time to shop in a leisurely manner. (Yeah, not really living in reality, I know). Allow the meaning of ‘God incarnate’ to sink in a few layers deeper than the year before. 
But life happens. We seem to get plowed over with end of semester stuff. Good stuff, most of it. Rehearsals, recitals, and the like. Parties. Church. Travel. The line between Thanksgiving and Christmas gets blurred in a flurry of activities.
Inevitably, my nostalgic side wonders how I could have done things different, made more memories. The practical side argues that you can’t change things outside of your little sphere of influence. The visionary side looks ahead to the new year and says, “it’s a land of opportunity and you have a huge list of things to conquer!”. The cynical side reminds my optimistic thoughts that the list is the same as last year with a few more things added  . . . making it longer than ever. 
Last night we enjoyed a lovely New Year’s Eve party with some friends. Friends that are organized. The party was structured with time for fellowship sprinkled between times of organized fun such as: a Christian comedian, live music, building a “snowless” snowman, having devotions, communion, and fireworks. Within the course of the evening the hostess remarked that during the summer she made-over both of her girl’s bedrooms.

Wow. There’s not a room in my house that doesn’t have a project waiting on me to get my act together enough to tackle. Take my front door for instance. We got a new one about two years ago. It needs to either be stained or painted. I’ve gone to Home Depot and brought home paint swatches. Picked out some trippin’ red paint. I barely had the color picked out when I heard all sorts of awful things about Home Depot and decided to boycott it. I can get the color swatch matched at Lowes or some other spot, I assure myself. 
But, I haven’t. 
I still have a naked, boring door.
One of the speakers at last night’s party discussed the importance of setting goals. And writing them down. Seems there’s something sort of magical about making goals more concrete by putting them on paper. Gave some impressive statistics about those that are purposeful in setting goals.
A few years ago, I resolved “not to resolve” anything as far as New Year’s resolutions are concerned. Because all of my best intentions fall by the wayside leaving me deflated and defeated. Year after year. I’m convinced that unless God changes me, it ain’t gonna change. And I still believe that . . .
However, last night got me thinking. I tend to let life happen to me. I am a “go with the flow” sort of person. I will never be accused of being a Type ‘A’ personality. I see the big picture of what needs to get done but am fairly inept at nailing down the nitty-gritty details of how it’s accomplished. I work much better under pressure than under my own paced out plans. 
Probably because I never make paced out plans. 
But maybe it’s time for a change. It occurred to me that my best-laid ideas rarely get past the foggy-floating-around-notion sort of phase. Most of the time I think of things that need to get done when I’m in bed; not the most opportune time. Yep, better remember to get on that . . . zzzzzz.

Maybe it’s time to write some things down. I’m not talking about getting overly ambitious, here. I can be a realistic optimist. I’m not going to think that writing down “redo guest bath” will bring in the elves to make it happen while I sleep (devastatingly sad!). But maybe if I make a list with things like, “paint the door in the bathroom,” and, “buy some baskets to organize the shelves,” it will break the project down into doable steps that may actually allow me to redo the guest bath! Amazing concept! (And even if I don’t get it ALL done, anything is an improvement, right?).
So, how about you? Maybe you ARE a Type A personality and you need to have more fun? Hey, schedule it into your Daytimer--I know you own one!!! In the meantime, I’m going to breakdown the big picture into little puzzle pieces that I can work with. A little accountability will do me good. 
Feel free to tap me on my cyber-shoulder this year and ask how my list is going! Is it getting any smaller? Is it growing? Am I morphing into a Type ‘A’ little by little?
Whatever your goals, your frustrations, your dreams or needs, I pray God will bless you this coming year. May you have a heart of gratitude for the many blessings, of all sizes, that are part of your life. May you look at trials as opportunities for God to show His glory through you. May your relationships bring you joy! 
And may little elves come and do the dirty work for all of us . . . wash baseboards, dust tall ledges, touch up chipped paint and organize our closets . . .etc. (It could be a long, long list!).

At the Intersection of Creation and Evolution: A Dream

The alliterating story below is based on a dream I had several years ago. Please contact me for permission to reproduce.

Darkness devours me.

I am enveloped in emptiness.

Are my eyes open or are they closed? I strain against this shroud of night and still see nothing.

What is this place?

An image illuminates in front of me. A large, leafy tree streaks past and vanishes.

It deserts me to the darkness again.

In a moment, more images appear. A rapid succession of snapshots and thoughts clamor before my eyes and mingle in my mind.

I see seedlings. Several supple shoots have emerged before me and then swiftly stream away.

“The first trees on earth were not seedlings”, my mind observes. “They were not created as small insignificant saplings.”

That thought is rapidly replaced with a vision of a man.

He’s maybe 30; he is muscular and needs to shave.

He fades away.

In his place I see an infant.

A tiny bundle of pink skin upon a soft blanket flickers briefly in my brain.

“Man was created with age,” is the next statement I hear. “Adam did not begin his life as a baby, he began as a grown man.”

The voice seems like my own.

The thoughts do not.

Reeling before me now is a blur of rivers, forests, mountains and even layers of the earth. It is like a movie rushing rapidly before my retina.

The soundtrack of this epic is proclaiming a peculiarly plain concept:

“The earth was created with age. Creation and evolution are not in total opposition. There is a reason that science finds the earth to be quite old: it was made that way.”

Thoughts continue to tumble through my mind; pictures parade before me. I listen in amazement to what seems to be puzzlingly profound and yet rather apparent all at once.

“Adam was created as an adult. Trees and plants were made fully grown.”

I suddenly feel quite certain that, if I were to chop down some of the trees that had been spoken into existence, I would find a range of rings running through their trunks.

“The earth was brought to life with age built into it… just like Adam. He did not begin life as an infant. The earth came into being with what it would need to sustain the life that was created. It was old when it was young. The world was
made with maturity; it was also produced with purpose.”

These thoughts are thrilling. Why had I not seen this before? It seems so simple. Obtusely obvious. Had others not observed this correlation? If they had, why wasn’t it being candidly conveyed?

In the span of thirty seconds I have been ravaged by a radical revelation. I feel the weight of its worth resting on me; it is tantamount to tangible.

I am neither a theologian nor am I a scientist. I don’t claim that the ethics of evolution are completely compatible with the Bible’s account of creation. But certainly Science can come concurrent to creation and affirm our faith with facts.

Of course, the Omnipotent Originator of the Universe is exceedingly elusive to what our mind could ever envision. Above what science could ever extensively elucidate.

Accordingly, creation is confounding too. Each diverse discovery deems it more marvelous to grasp. Many scientists have reluctantly relented to the theory of Intelligent Design.

That’s why, alongside those facts, we also need faith.

Lying inexplicably at the intersection of those two essential elements is an exceptional endowment: the intermittent insight of our dreams.