Page 272 was a Friday so the day began early and ended late with an incredible amount of variety packed in between. There was a light rain falling when I left for work, so no stars were visible to light the night sky this morning. Knowing it would be a long day, I had considered taking my kayak to work with me to use during a morning break, but the early rain made me decide otherwise. By the time I had finished the early round of prayer, cleaning, and building prep, the rain had stopped and the dark clouds had been replaced by a scattering of white, wispy ones. I set up a time-lapse recording of the sunrise, then finished getting the building ready for the day.
Once the building was ready, I retrieved my camera and then took my wife’s car in for an overdue oil change. While I waited for it to be done, I took my camera and went for a walk along the river near downtown South Bend. It was a beautiful morning along the river and I came back with more photos than I would have thought possible for a short walk. One of the stops I always make along this section of river is at the memorial statue honoring firefighters whose service to the community cost them their lives. I don’t know the families of any of the names listed on the accompanying plaque, but it reminds me to be thankful for the men and women who have served, and serve today, in an occupation that could well ask them to give their life to save that of another. Today’s photo was taken during my stop at that memorial site as I prayed for both friends and strangers who walk into situations that everyone else is trying to run from. Being a servant is often a thankless job and it appears that in today’s political climate, being a public safety servant makes it even more thankless. So, today I prayed with gratitude for those who serve and I prayed that God would help me to make the most of opportunities to express that thankfulness. I prayed for protection, courage, and honor to surround all those who serve. I prayed for a change of heart — both in those who serve and choose to do wrong, and in those who condemn without considering the heart.
After my walk and prayer time, the car was finished so I took it back to work where I spent some time focused on the sermon for Sunday. The outline for Sunday is CHILD, and I think the title of this sermon in the Living as the Lord’s Servant series is, “Whose CHILD Are You?” — we’ll see. 🙂 By mid-afternoon, it was time for lunch and a break before beginning the evening round of prayer, cleaning, and building prep to have the building ready for Sunday. So, I picked up a sandwich and headed down to Potato Creek (without my kayak) to do some walking and take some photos. The wind coming across the lake was steady and cold so I was happy to not be out on it in a small kayak. The clouds, however, were beautiful and looked like I should have been able to reach out and grab hold of a few of them. With the brisk wind coming off the lake, I was thankful I brought a jacket and was motivated to keep moving. Even in the changing seasons and the different appearances of the lake, it seems I always find plenty of scenes that capture my attention enough that I feel compelled to both shoot the photos, then share them with others.
After my walk, it was back to work to tackle the evening shift tasks that needed done. When I arrived at the building, a couple of the guys had begun to set up the chairs for Sunday, so I jumped in and helped them get that task done. I am thankful for volunteers who do much to help with so many behind the scenes tasks. Like many behind the scene tasks, this is one that few notice those who do it but everyone would be quite aware if they didn’t. The rest of my evening was spent cleaning toilets, sweeping, washing glass doors, mopping, taking out trash, and a variety of other “get the building ready for Sunday” tasks. At one point I took some trash out and noticed a few deer had gathered to play on the playground, so I asked them to wait while I got my camera so I could take their picture — and they did. By 10 PM the building was ready for Sunday and my work was done for the day. As I walked out the front door, I noticed a deer standing in the front drive under the street light so I dug a camera out of my bag and took a few silhouette photos before heading home and calling it a day.
As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:
- For a writer, a day full of activity often means a rather full page in this daily journal.
- Things change, sometimes rather quickly, and how we adapt is often determined by our attitude about the change.
- Being “rained out” of one activity in life doesn’t mean that you can’t do something meaningful even if it is different than your plans.
- We ought to not only honor those who have given their life serving their fellow man, but also those who are willing to do so.
- I am thankful that God doesn’t judge me based on the actions of the “worst” of people who do similar work as I do — he looks at the individual heart.
- For some reason, it seems like it is easier for our nation to look at a group and label them based on the visible actions that we don’t like rather than on the visible actions that we do like.
- We would be better people, and a better nation, if we spent more time publicly praising the good that is being done and did more of our critiquing in private ways that are more likely to result in change.
- When I know I have a lot to do, I like to take breaks with God so I stay refreshed.
- Serving can be a thankless job but you and I have the power and ability to change that — find someone who is serving today and thank them!