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Monday, January 8, 2018

All the New Beginnings

If you want to read about the beginning… and the beginning… and the beginning…  Go ahead and pick up the daily office, today.  I’m going to throw some vaguely related comments into the mix, based on the Psalm on this first #MinistryMonday of a new year.

Psalm 3:3 stood out to me, specifically, as the engine of my vehicle cut out twice on my six minute drive to work, this morning:

“But you, O Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts up my head” (NRSV). 

It was the part about lifting up my head that really got me…

I’ve spent some time, in the past, writing about the people who have often surrounded me and held up my arms when I couldn’t (and I’m going to return to that a little bit with this post), but there was something significant to me when I also stopped to think about how sometimes God is the only one available to us, and it’s a good thing God is willing to lift our heads… even when we would rather bang them on the steering wheel and give up:

This picture isn’t from today… 
 It’s not even the same vehicle…
But it does give you a look into parts of my life:

So here’s the short story.  I drove the crappy van to work today, because the good van has a broken window.  I kid you not.  You read that right.  The good van is the most broken at this particular moment.  My husband took that one… ya know… to deliver the mail…

I’ve been thinking about how important it is to me to have a reliable form of transportation—and why.  When I was growing up, my dad worked out of town a lot, and my mom didn’t drive much (read this, never over 35mph, so this severely limited the number of roads on which she could safely travel).  Getting places was a real challenge until I secured the coveted driver’s license at age sixteen and a couple of days (I don’t remember how many days, but I was seriously ticked that I didn’t have that license in hand at 12:02am on my birthday)!  I was very blessed to have a new, leased car (Dad worked for Chrysler), and I took off in that Dodge Neon and never looked back.  The freedom to get where you need to go is exhilarating!

I would, however, be remiss if I neglected to mention that there were many people in my life who came alongside me to take me places until I could get there myself.  Parents of my friends would pick me up in all kinds of weird locations (like the Burger King parking lot, since there was a back road through a subdivision that led there) in order to help me (mostly) avoid walking on roads with too much traffic for pedestrians (minus that one time I walked down M-59 to secure my high school course schedule)!  The year when the school district couldn’t afford bus transportation for the first few weeks was a challenge, because I had to depend on neighbors who were older and so much cooler than me, but I survived.  People from church would drive out of their way (by many miles) to get me to worship services and events.  And of course there were grandparents who jumped in whenever they could.  I never forgot any of that and did a fair share of chauffeuring others as something of a “pay it forward,” before that was a thing.

But to this day, transportation issues stress me out!  I want my super reliable vehicle to always work when I need it to.  I do not want to be stalled on the side of the road when it is still dark out.  Is that too much to ask?


Today this has me thinking about what I really need.  Realistically, I got to work with a little bit of patience and engine revving.  I’m safer and more privileged than the majority of the world’s population.  I’ll probably have ‘the good van’ back with a working window before I have to drive a long distance, but if not; I’ll rent something. 
John 1:5, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (NRSV).

Even pre-dawn, my headlights worked…

Still, this underscores how deeply our experiences matter, and so do the experiences of others.

I wonder what resources I currently have that could meet a need that someone else has, even if it’s more of a perceived need than a verifiable one (note to self: humanity survived without vehicles for most of history). 


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