Trappings of Junk

20140516_095511A plastic bag is stuck in my elm tree. It’s too high for me to reach it, and I’m way past the days when I shinnied up the bark of my favorite tree and journaled while talking to the birds. I’m not climbing up there to pull it down.

I don’t know how to get this nasty old plastic bag out of my tree, so I’ll have to just wait until another Kansas storm blows through and somehow unfastens it from that particular branch.

But I hate how it spoils the beauty of nature – that white plastic in the middle of all those beautiful green leaves and the occasional crimson of my cardinals. I hate how the manufacturing of our plastic world has ruined nature’s purity.

I wonder if God also hates how we have ruined his lovely world. Black smoke pours from factory chimneys and discolors his turquoise sky. Tin cans litter mountain streams. Junk food clogs up the arteries of his most prized creation, the ones he created on the sixth day and declared that we were, “Very good.”

The junk of our sins that we so easily invite into our lives destroys trust in relationships and casts dark shadows on generations of children. Addictions, murder, gossip – all these and more create a blight on the purity of God’s plan and keep us from living the abundant life our souls crave.

Yet we can’t seem to do anything about it. Just like the plastic bag in my tree. Our cruelties to each other and our weaknesses within ourselves keep waving at us a reminder that nature and life is not as it should be.

We wait for the next storm and hope it will somehow release us and make everything all right again.

Sometimes I grow so tired of all the trappings of junk. It’s easy to lose hope when I recognize the root of evil traipsing across my television and spot it in myself as well. There but for the grace of God go I.

Reverend G reminds us how fragile life is and how quickly it can change. “All human beings live with the same predicament. We occupy our bodies, our workplace and our homes until God says, ‘Time’s up. Come home.’ Then a bullet rings out or cancer swallows the last healthy cell or a blood clot races to the heart and we’re done.

“The only way to focus on life and not lose hope is to remember that each day matters. Live in the current moment, which occupies an undetermined number of minutes. Smile, hug our loved ones and bless God by serving him every day. Then when that bullet, that cancer cell or that blood clot knocks on the door—we’re ready to leave.”

So I guess that’s the answer to my plastic sack problem and all the impurities of our world. Trust God to make it right some day, to blow through our world with his powerful grace and purify everything.

But in the meantime, do my best to keep my corner of the world clean, to serve God every day and bless others by sharing the hope he shares with me.

©2014 RJ Thesman – “Intermission for Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/1l4oGoo

 

Finding the Light

During Christmas break, I sit in Mom’s house, a mile away from where she now lives in assisted living, an experience away from her new existence within the world of Alzheimer’s.

Shadows play against the wall. Sunset in Oklahoma still wins as my favorite part of the day.

I once climbed my special tree on the family farm, perched alone with my journal in one of my favorite spots, a nest of branches and limbs that held me safely as I watched the turquoise sky that framed the wheat field turn into a frame of orange and red.

Now within Mom’s house, I worship the creator of a new sunset as it changes a taupe wall to a natural painting of shadow on light.shadows of plant

The shadows grow deeper for Mom within her Alzheimer’s world even as they lengthen for my siblings and I. We observe Mom’s confusion and recognize more signs of the coming stages.

Our mother disappears into Alzheimer’s land. Our world changes once again as memory fades and communication alters.

Another 24 hours is spent, and I wonder about my own life, my own calendar of events. How should I live in this new year so that each sunset brings with it a contentment that I lived this day well, that I finished my course with joy and purpose?

How can I live so that when my own shadows lengthen and deepen, the light I have shared will be what is remembered – my legacy to the world for my God?

None of us is certain of our timelines. We can only attempt to do our best, to live and love and work with pride, to complete the tasks before us and honor the One who gives us the energy to work, to live and love.

We can only commit to a stronger and higher calling so that when the sunset comes, we will rejoice in the light that dances at the end of the day.

©2013 RJ Thesman – “The Unraveling of Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/11QATC1