#changetheconversation

I just came in from my morning walk.

My devotions led me to this.

We got back from our most recent trip to Haiti about eight hours ago. I, and three very humble, gifted, generous, funny, faithful friends had a full day of travel and retrospection. As is true after pretty much every trip the conversations kept steering to what could we do to “fix Haiti.” We didn’t use those words but that is the bottom line.

There are many responses rolling in your mind right now.

“Heal thyself” might well be one of them.

I digress.

By “fix” we are pretty much skipping over some of the greater truth to chase an economic solution.

Economic change is greatly needed there.

That’s exactly the thing we cannot fix.

To dwell on that is to come to a level of frustration that leads to spiritual stagnation that leads to defeat.

There is a line in a Book I read fairly regularly that says “the One who began a good work in you will see it to completion…”

We aren’t called to finish the job. We don’t even have a good grasp of what the beautiful result should look like. We are simply called to be participants in the project.

If we lose sight of this we also lose sight of something very sweet.

The good work is exactly that.

We can’t fix Haiti (or Anderson for that matter) but there are over 600 children going to school through the work that was begun in us. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti (or Washington for that matter) but there is a young woman with new clothes going to college. New clothes and college weren’t even an option, not even a dream. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti (or even change one hair on my head) but there is a very bright young man who is back in classical (secondary) school who’d dropped out because he didn’t have the $250 for the annual tuition. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti but I also can’t get the image out of my head of several people leaving our outdoor woodworking area with chairs, tables, stools, and HUGE smiles. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti but there is a freshly painted building with new pews to sit on where people gather to praise and draw strength and find hope in a place where these things are as essential as air and food. That means something.

I can’t fix Haiti but I can believe in a Friend who is in the process of doing that very thing - and fixing me in the process.

I got to the church building here in Rogersville about 11 last night. I checked my messages and mail. There was a note from a sweet lady who had a serious injury and several surgeries last year. She had no money for food - or for Christmas gifts for her children. You gave generously to her. The note she sent included the words “you have no idea how much that meant to us.”

She’s right.

As our Friend and I were winding up a fairly brief stroll this morning I felt compelled to confess the part of my life that wants to see everything fixed. He smiled at me the way he does and said…

“I prefer to look at the fixers.”

Your move.

Brother Pat

#changetheconversation

Shabat shalom children.

I just came in from my morning walk.

My devotions led me to this.

It was one of the most common “sayings” when I was in the army.

I haven’t been in the army since 1977 but I still hear it.

Sometimes I say it.

It is entirely likely that I can’t say it enough.

“That’s above my pay grade.”

When confronted with a task you aren’t qualified to do and when assuming such a task would bring a responsibility you can’t bear you would reply “that’s above my pay grade.”

Sometimes it was a cop out.

Sometimes it was an attempt to pass the buck.

As the years have become decades I have come to realize it is the truth that can set me free and give me hope.

It is above my pay grade to sort out climate change and pandemics. I can do what I can do but when it comes to what you, or someone in Hoboken does, I need to let go when I get to my limit.

I doggone well better not catch you knocking the teeth out of an airline attendant though.

Or talking ugly.

I digress.

It is above my pay grade to analyze, or psychoanalyze, the motives, histories, and actions of people I don’t know- and most of the people I do know.

And it is infinitely beyond my pay grade to judge or condemn them.

If they hurt a child you dang well better know I will intervene.

Just be kind.

It is above my pay grade to understand the Divine and it is vastly beyond me to take on God’s responsibilities.

I get pretty nervous when I hear others confidently doing so.

Something ain’t right.

There is a beautiful peace to be had from accepting the graces that come unbidden and unforeseen.

It is above my pay grade to understand friends, and a Friend, who are unrelentingly faithful to a cracked pot like me.

Still, there you are.

I won’t be asking questions about that. I will just cash the check.

Eh?

As our Friend walked beside me on a Sunday morning that could be described as “crisp” we were having a very limited talk. It was all I could handle but it was way more than I needed. When he saw how I was coming to terms with my limits he smiled at me the way he does and said…

“Now we can go places.”

Your move.

Brother Pat

Posted 9 weeks ago