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Shifting Gears


12/17/2009

These up and down, stop and start months remind me of driving my first car
...a rusty old pick-up truck. I have both fond and troubling memories of that little beast.
When I was sixteen I hit a big rock in the ditch and gave my brother John a horrible headache after his head splintered the front window (he would never drive with me again after that). In the following years I founded my company driving the Wisconsin country roads with that truck. The truck was worthless, had hundreds of thousands of miles, and was not even second hand ...more like fifth-hand, but it just kept on going and the gears were something beautiful. You could gauge the RPM's by the sound of the engine and shift without even using the clutch. Of course that was a learned skill ...your imagination can paint the scene of my first drive!

Well, my analogy here has less to do with that specific truck, but more about learning how to "drive stick". This sudden change in our lives reminds me of that experience. Compared to the last few months, it seemed like our life before had been cruising on automatic. Most of you will have experienced at least some sort of dramatic changes, and so you will understand. You get used to the patterns of life, when to work, when to play, when to sleep, but a major change happens ...a new baby, marriage (not in that order hopefuly :) and for a time it seems like the system is suddenly unfamiliar. There can be a bit of lurching and grinding of the gears. Possibly even the engine stalls and the driver needs to calm down before making a new attempt.

For us, losing Jaymun was not only like getting a strange gear system, but now discovering the engine has become completely unreliable ...conking out in almost any gear until we had to trade the entire car for a 10-speed bike. Which has its own set of problems. Like a switcher that skips five positions without warning and suddenly you can't pedal anywhere just when you need it the most. Then you stop pedaling, downshift, and start all over again. Or just get off and walk the bike up the hill before you restart the process.

We are moving forward again ...and part of that means for me that I get involved in intense projects pulling me into the office all hours of the night and day. Part of that means for our family that we have a beautiful warm cozy decorated house while outside winter howls and the kids do things like slide down our back hill.

During lunch yesterday with extended family I listened to the news about uncles, aunts, and cousins ...who is moving, who is having babies, who has health problems, who died, and what ninety-year old uncle and aunt are still living in their own house taking care of each other. That reminded me of my post about Grandma, because when I was a lad if Grandma wasn't home, I could run through the woods across the fields to Aunt Delia's place.

Afterwards I remarked to my father that when I was younger I used to think it odd that old people shared their aches and pains basically narrating over time the gradual breakdown of their bodies. Maybe I now have a broader perspective than most forty-year-olds, but I see that a big part of life is simply getting ready to move onward to the next place and so in a way these annoying "hiccups" do us a service.

Listening to Adrian Rogers on the radio this week he commented on one of my favorite texts from Isaiah "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they will mount up with wings as eagles, they will run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint" He said we spend more time walking in life (than soaring or running) and the text is not anticlimactic because it can be in the plodding pace of life where the Lord upholds us the most.

So now is the time for running and living.
But as we learn new combinations of familiar and odd gears gaining traction towards an unknown future, these too are temporary ...ultimately we trust God to guide us through years of work, years of joy, and also years of patience.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1

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