Page 261 was a Saturday filled with a mix of routine and special events. I woke up at a normal time and Susan was ready to get up and get dressed for the day. After I got Susan her meds and breakfast, I spent much of the morning catching up on some messages and correspondence related to the prayer ministry. Eventually it was time to fire up the pellet grill for our Saturday lunch tradition of mushroom bacon cheeseburgers. Once lunch was done, it was time to get ready for a busy late afternoon and evening with the potential of two events to be at.
The first event was the outdoor wedding of my niece and her now husband. After a rainy start to the day, the sun had broken through the clouds and it was a beautiful evening for a wedding. The sky was mostly blue with the occasional fluffy white cloud to provide what I call sky texture. Even though I never feel like I belong, I know that is simply the wiring in my mind messing with me, it was a good evening to be with family. I took my camera along and tried to get some photos without feeling like I was invading anyone’s personal space. Some of the pictures I took were easier than others and there were photos I would have liked to have taken that I just couldn’t bring myself to do. Eventually the setting sun drew my attention outside and I drifted into my comfort zone of landscape photography with no people involved. 🙂 Today’s photo on this page was taken of the setting sun shining across a field of soybeans. This photo represents the farm life I grew up with as the beauty of nature abounded everywhere we went and there didn’t seem to be much need to search for it. I eventually headed back to the wedding party and took some more photos before it was time to head for home.
As I headed for home and didn’t take the route that would lead through Bourbon, it was clear that Mary Jane had hoped we would stop by the second event for the evening, our 35th high school reunion. Not that it was actually the 35th reunion, because the class doesn’t get together on a regular basis, rather it marked 35 years since we graduated from Triton High School. I really had no interest in going as I am one who left high school when it was over and never looked back. There was nothing about high school that I have ever missed and I had never known how to be a friend or have a friend. I had married the one classmate that I had fallen in love with and the idea of a reunion with people that I went to school with but was afraid of because of who I am, didn’t seem that appealing. Yet for my wife’s sake, I headed east when we got to Plymouth and we showed up to a class reunion in progress. Susan was her usual charming self and Mary Jane made the rounds but I felt out of place as I only recognized the few people that I have seen occasionally over the years. It’s not that I was bullied in school or treated poorly, I was just so afraid of people that I never learned, or saw a need, to build friendships. After what seemed like hours there, but I’m sure it was a fairly short time, it was time to head home and get Susan to bed.
As I reflect on the day, I am once again amazed that God uses someone like me to accomplish good work for Him. Sometimes I know that He uses my specific wiring to accomplish His purposes and many times I think he accomplishes His purposes through me in spite of me. There are many days that I wish I could be more like a “normal “person — whatever that is. There are days that the internal struggles seem intent on eating me alive. The fear is obviously irrational because it is a fear even of people I have no reason to be afraid of. Yet the fear is also real — at least to me. At its worst, there is a sense that the fear and darkness will take over and whatever is really me will be lost forever. All of the internal struggles are often magnified by my share of “Job’s friends” who tell me I just need to trust God more, or I need to confess some sin, or because I keep facing dark and difficult times there must be a problem in my life that I’m not dealing with. While I believe Job’s friends meant to be helpful, they were so off-base in their evaluation of what was going on that they were not only unhelpful, they probably added to Job’s misery.
I pray that you and I develop good routines that honor God and give value to our family. I pray that we would celebrate the bonds of marriage with those who enter into it — but not just on their wedding day, but on each day of life they have together. I pray that we would find ways to stretch beyond our comfort zones without breaking. I pray that we would honor our families in ways that give their wants and desires priority. I pray that we would pay attention to the heart of God and the heart of people when we give advice.