It’s been a crazy week. It’s been warm – then loads of rain the past two days. And when we woke up this morning, there was a covering of snow over everything. For all intents, it was the first snowfall of the season and definitely the first one of 2016. Since there was some ice on the driveway, the snowblower wasn’t going to be as effective as a good old fashioned shovel, so after breakfast I headed out to survey the situation.
It was cold – down in the low teens with a windchill of just over zero… The wind was howling and it surprised me as to how much of a contrast there was this morning from yesterday when we had rain all day. After dressing in all my warm gear, and locating boots, I quickly got the front walk up to the house done and then went down to the sidewalk. I was dreading tackling the driveway so I decided to leave that till last.
It didn’t take but several minutes for me to settle in and start thinking about the last year. For some reason, it has become something of a ritual with me to be alone with my thoughts as I shovel snow. As crazy as that may sound, I’m not one of those guys who listens to music or podcasts, or anything for that matter, when I am outside working. I just enjoy the solitude which is kind of strange because I am social by nature and yet, I don’t depend on music or news broadcasts or anything else when I am alone. Even in the car, I could do fine without a radio or noise of any kind except the sound of the engine. It’s my quiet time.
Today, memories flooded back about last winter, our first in the new house, when I had to figure out how I was going to plan the snow removal. You know, the wind usually comes from a certain direction and blows snow back over your work if you aren’t careful; and with our long driveway and bays for the garage, it can be tricky to make sure I’m not boxing yourself in with snow. But today was different – having learned all the tricks last year, I could just concentrate on my thoughts as I was working.
I noticed that I am in better shape than last winter. I didn’t tire as quickly and I attribute that to working out more and increasing my stamina. And as I paced myself, I thought about each member of the family. What has each person been up to and where are they in various areas of their lives compared to last winter? How is the health of our family – financially, physically and most important, spiritually.
I recently got out my old Greek text books with the intent of brushing up and getting my language skills back up to snuff. It’s been ten years since I finished most of my seminary language work and I can tell that I am slipping – after all those years of study I just can’t stand the thought that I am losing my edge. And in my own case, I know that I am getting older, but I don’t necessarily feel older. That’s something of an enigma. The twelve years we spent in our last home are but a fleeting memory and I find myself looking forward to the future and thinking about new business ideas.
I do notice that I miss my parents even more than I used to. It’s been almost 38 years since Dad passed away and just over 17 since Mom died. Janet’s folks have both been gone just over 2 years now and each year the reality of being the oldest living generation gets reinforced. This comes with an awesome responsibility to be a good role model for our four growing grandsons as well as our three children. As you can tell, it’s sometimes surprising to realize all the seemingly disconnected things that run through my mind when I am alone with my thoughts.
But without fail I always think about God. I take stock and try to assess how I am doing in my relationship with Christ. I think about things that Janet and I do to advance the kingdom of God on earth and look for ways to increase our support of those who are in need. I think about studying and re-reading the Bible. But mostly I think of relational aspects of my life. The verse for this evening is from the author of Hebrews. We are told, in Hebrews 3:1, “Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.”
My encouragement tonight is that we each have the luxury of assessing our relationship with Christ at any time. It just so happens that I usually do it when I am working alone. My prayer is that you will make wise use of the time that God gives you to be in communion with Him. It is a gift to have margin in your life and to live in a country where we are not persecuted for our faith; where we have the ability to make our own decisions about what we want our faith life to look like. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…