Page 286 was a productive fall day. A very long day, so I’m once again not writing the day’s page until the next morning — but a very productive day nonetheless. I arrived at work a little before 6 AM to begin the morning prayer, cleaning and building prep and with the exception of a short break to pick up fuel for the lawn mower, and food for me, I didn’t leave the property until 10:30 PM. In between those hours, I was able to enjoy a day filled with a variety of inside and outside tasks — and even managed a few photos to start the day and a few near the end of the day.
As I pulled into the parking lot to start the day, the moon was visible through a gap in the cloud cover so I stopped on my way into the building to take a few photos and to thank God for the reminder of His presence and His faithfulness. As I did the morning round of cleaning, I talked with God about the upcoming day and asked for the wisdom to see it more clearly from His perspective so I would be better prepared to make the most of every opportunity. After the building was ready for the day, I took the time to write the previous day’s page as I caught up on messages and information I needed to be aware of.
By mid-morning I had caught up on the office work and it was time to head outside and enjoy the cool fall day from the seat of the mower. I suppose it is the combination of being outside where I’m surrounded by the beauty of creation, and riding the mower where the constant hum of the engine behind me blocks out nearly all distractions; but I don’t know of too many work related tasks that draw me near to God like mowing does. After a couple hours on the mower, I took a break to get fuel for the mower and fuel for me as well.
The afternoon was spent finishing up the mowing. Not only do I enjoy mowing (as long as I have a nice riding mower to do the job with), but that enjoyment extends to seeing the results of my work even as I am in the process of doing it. With each pass of the mower across the lawn, I can clearly see where I’ve been and what still needs done. Some things in life are like that, but others are not. Many of the tasks I do are more about being faithful and trusting God for a result that He will bring about in the right time — whenever that is. Investing our lives in people will occasionally have those moments when we can see the good results of our relationships, but more often we will struggle through the ups and downs of life with our choice to either be discouraged at so little visible progress or be encouraged that God is continuing to use us somehow in a task that we don’t fully understand.
Once the mowing was complete, the building was nearly empty again so it was time to start the prayer, cleaning, and prep all over again to get the building ready for Sunday. I had finished one end of the building by the time the sun was starting to drop over the treeline of the western horizon, so I took my camera outside to see if I could get some new photos of the building in the evening glow to use in our online presence. While I was outside taking photos, my wife stopped by with some meds my doctor had phoned in, so hopefully I will be able to return to some healthier sleep patterns once I get the brain chemicals that cause the severe anxiety symptoms brought back into proper balance. I’ve written at times about how my mind stores so many experiences and things in a manner that God uses to allow me to effectively teach and preach without manuscripts or notes — a down-side of that gift is I don’t have a way to fully filter what is stored so that it is only what is good and helpful from my perspective, everything seems to get filed away. A few years ago, about this time of year, I had my office broken into two nights in a row and that event took me downhill rather quickly from a mental perspective as I found myself in a strange combination of being unable to sleep due to severe anxiety attacks and unable to really be awake due to the lack of sleep. As a man, and as a prayer minister, I kept thinking I ought to be able to overcome this — I mean, no one was hurt and the things that were taken could be replaced. While that was true of the computers and cash and physical things, the internal things that were stolen weren’t so easy to replace, let alone recognize. Anyhow, long story short, I finally went to my doctor and learned about PTSD that is much more common than just what we hear about veterans having to deal with because of their experiences. Stress and trauma hits us all in unique ways and often even in unique forms, but it is something that ought to be dealt with honestly. From time to time since those events, I find myself sliding down a mental path that I know will not end well. Sometimes I can change that path through deliberate changes in my routine that seems to naturally restore the internal chemical balances. Other times, however, I find that I need help to change my mental path and right now happens to be one of those times when the help dealing with the anxiety attacks make it easier for my mind and body to get along and be restored. Well, not what I had thought I would write today, but maybe God will use it to help someone have the courage to get help for the struggles that cannot overcome on their own.
While I was outside, I looked down the empty field and saw a deer standing along the woods at the far end. As I made my way to a better, and closer, vantage point, I found this nice buck who appeared to be out enjoying the sunset just as I was. I was able to take several photos of him as he stood and watch the sunset then appeared to watch me. He would make a few deliberate moves as if he was going to disappear into the woods and then turn around to see I had taken it as a hint to leave or if I was still there. Eventually he did walk into the woods and out of sight, and I went back inside the building to finish the cleaning and prep that needed done.
As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:
- Knowing and/or feeling that you’ve accomplished something always makes a day feel better no matter how much time it took to do it.
- I’m not always the best judge of what I’ve actually accomplished.
- We could probably help make a person’s day by letting them know that we noticed what they accomplished.
- I find that I stay more aware of God’s presence when I stop and acknowledge it whenever I notice the reminders that He provides.
- Not only does my lawnmower need fuel to keep going, so do you and I.
- It is good to have some tasks that produce visible results quickly as they become the balance for the many tasks that don’t.
- God can, and does, bring balance to a person’s mind and body — sometimes He chooses to restore us with just a whisper from His mouth and other times He chooses to use the wisdom He has given to doctors and medical personnel in a wide variety of ways.
- Asking for help is not a sign of weakness — in fact it often takes great strength to do so.
- Our first request for help ought to be made to God but we must never neglect the help of others that He may direct us to.
- Some of our life stories are easier to tell than others. Often the more difficult ones have the greatest ability to help someone else if we would have the wisdom to share them appropriately.
- I am always filled with joy when it appears I am allowed the privilege of being invited to share the beauty of God’s creativity with some of His creation from the animal kingdom.