#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

I just came in from my morning walk.

My devotions led me to this.

For 68 years I have been an observer, a participant, and the product of something pretty dang remarkable.

70 years ago today my Mom and Dad made some promises to each other.

The promises stuck.

We think they are going to make it.

This is a rare thing don’t you know?

I have reason to believe it wasn’t always easy for them.

I have substantially more reason to believe it is very, very rewarding.

It takes just the right combination of sweet romance and bull-headed stubbornness to pull this off.

There has to be some strong genetics just to survive long enough to make it possible.

There has to be a strong sense that you are part of something bigger than yourself.

And probably good luck.

So now they sit together and talk. They sleep in the same double bed they’ve slept in as long as I can remember. When they get afraid they put their arms around each other.

Oh.

And they pray.

I have reason to believe that they pray for me.

And you.

Not every marriage is going to make it 70 years.

Not every marriage should.

But please indulge me as I live in the joy that this one did.

As our Friend called me to another stroll by the garden we were talking about Bill and Joyce. We marveled that he still gets up to make biscuits and fry apples every morning. We noted how she calls for him first and most. After several deep, emotional, humorous stories got remembered he smiled at me the way he does and said…

“Tell them I noticed.”

Your move.

Brother Pat

Posted 2 weeks ago