Well, it wasn't a quiet week here in St. Paul, Minnesota, my hometown, out on the cliffs of the Mississippi.
Cathy and I had settled ourselves on the love-seat in our family room to veg out watching TV when the call came un-expectantly in the form of a text message: a friend of the family had died and with it came the notification of a pending memorial service.
It was already scheduled to be a busy week after we came back from a min-vacation on the Northern Shores of Minnesota. The week included a fishing tournament with fellow pastors and ministry leaders, and a wedding rehearsal and officiating the wedding ceremony.
Prior to our trip up north, we had spent three weekends up at the family cabin cleaning up debris left in the wake of a tornado; something that defiantly wasn't on our schedules!
I also had several other opportunities to fill my calendar which (for sanity) I turned down including a trip to Sturgis, South Dakota and a trip to California to go fishing in LA and then play hockey in San Francisco.
I decided that living out of a suitcase for that many weeks on the road would put too much stress in my life that would leave me (potentially) weary by the time I came to the wedding. This would prove to be wisdom from above.
I should note that this week I have another wedding rehearsal and am officiating another wedding ceremony....And then four more weddings after that.
Then as my schedule seemed FULL, my physical health was stressed in the form of a head or sinus cold; which arrived full-forced just in time for the day of the wedding.
With the cold came headaches, blurred vision, congestion, sinus pressure, flem, mucus, coughing, hacking up a lung or two, and a raspy voice; which was eventually lost.
I should note that on a good day I have some memory issues due to taking too many knocks on the old noggin. With a head cold I am (without the Lord's help) clueless at best. So to say that I was in trouble was amplified by a night of no sleep.
I am not writing to solicit sympathy or empathy from readers who "have been there", but simply to say as much as we can possibly plan our schedules we are still vulnerable to things that come at inopportune times like death and tornadoes.
With all of the modern apps and the multitude of ways that we use for our calendars to schedule our lives, we are still unable to script our own lives.
“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” (James 4:13-16)
And that includes other things that come up such a dinner invitation or a request to come outside to look at a sunrise, sunset, rainbow, or a flower. It includes spontaneous opportunities for free tickets to an event or to help pack food at "Feed My Starving Children"; simply because they need extra hands.
My point is that with life comes opportunities. How we choose to embrace them makes all the difference if we are to become better or bitter; it’s really our choice. We can either get through our busy schedules or we can slow down and smell the flowers.
I am happy to report that the Lord came through and the wedding ceremony went off without any other surprises and then, the following day was the Memorial service where we gathered to honor the person whose life touched so many. Thank God for His faithfulness.
I look forward to what comes next between this moment and this week's wedding. My prayer is that each of us will be open to the gift of each opportunity that comes our way; KNOWING that ultimately the LORD is in charge.
“The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” (Psalm 37:23)
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
That's the news from St. Paul, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.