Friday, February 19, 2010

Ups and Downs

I lived in a two-story home....ONCE. Our bedroom was up a flight of stairs and it was the only room on the second level, save a tiny "master" bath. My first desire must have been privacy, away from four rambunctious kids, a retreat of sorts. However, stairs are very cruel to aging knees, and when we finally moved out of the family home, we very astutely looked for something a little more knee-friendly.

I was reminded of the cruelty of stairs this week painting two bathrooms in my daughter's new home...one upstairs and one down. Naturally all the supplies were upstairs when I was down, and downstairs where I left them when I needed them upstairs. Okay, I will concede that straddling a bathtub, sink and toilet while balancing a paint tray can also contort the body into some wretched positions, because everyone knows a ladder never fits into a bathroom. Up and down, up and down.

So I had a nightmare last night about being DOWN in a dingy basement and it started flooding...I couldn't get UP the stairs because my knees were in these tiny little braces and the wrench to unlock them was UP the stairs...all of a sudden I looked UP at the ceiling and a thousand rats starting creeping DOWN the walls...and then...no, I'm just kidding. Even my brain isn't that sick. I was just trying to do a lead UP to how many different ways we use UP and DOWN to describe things. Think about it...

We drive UP to Yuba City, which means it must be North from here, and we go DOWN to San Francisco, which must be South. Our mood swings are characterized by UPS and DOWNS -'She's really feeling UP today' or better yet 'she's DOWN in the dumps today', like a landfill is a bad destination. The stock market doesn't even "fluctuate" any more...it's just UP or DOWN. Unemployment is UP, the housing market is DOWN, and we are all UP THE CREEK.

They say English is the toughest language to learn. Imagine the confusion of a small child or a foreigner who is trying to distinguish between all the meanings behind these simple words:

'Go put that toy UP right now'...even though the toy box is on the floor.
'It's UP to you'...which is just another way of avoiding confrontation.
'Let's get DOWN tonight!'...implying the need to get drunk or maybe dance.
'I'm UP for it"...which could either mean you're happy or you're game.
'Don't get all UPpity with me!'...denoting a social status that's higher than yours.
'You are just being DOWN on yourself'...dissing oneself.
'He gave her a leg UP'...not a sexual position...he helped her.
'They were UP in arms DOWN at the Capitol'...which denotes an impending riot is about to go DOWN.
"You are driving me UP a wall'...now that's a classic...as if one could actually navigate a car on a vertical surface.

Maybe I should just shut UP, put my aching knee UP and get BACK to the nightmare...or get OVER it...don't get me started.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Oh Ye of Little Faith!

Why is it that trusting God is so hard to do on a day to day basis? My head knows that I am not in control of life's ups and downs, but my heart sinks when I am continually reminded just how puny my faith really is sometimes. We ask Him to do a mighty work, then we jump in and ramrod our way through it, leaving God little room to strut His stuff. We ask for patience in one breath and in the next we start "fixing" problems with little or no real success.

Trusting God requires big love, patience beyond our capabilities and huge faith for us Fixers and Controllers. We barter with God, making deals to read our Bible more, join a study group, help the poor, etc., if He will but grant our deepest desires. We pray for outcomes without regard for His plan. And we loose perspective about how He can work without our meddling and help. But most of all we FORGET how God has already worked all through our lives to bring us to THIS day and THIS place. We have forgotten His unending grace in our darkest periods and His faithfulness to see us through. We have forgotten His promises. And we forget on a daily basis that we are His BELOVED. If we could just keep that one moment of "enlightenment" continually in our hearts and minds that hits us in the midst of a beautiful sunset, the birth of a child, the playing of a Mozart Sonata or languishing on a white sand beach in Maui, we would understand who God is, what He has done for us, get on our knees and trust Him more. Amen? AMEN.
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