Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Glory, regrets and hope

Today was an almost unutterably beautiful day.
Not too hot, but warm and pleasant . . . even for a cold-blooded person like me!
Cloudless blue sky, crabapple trees still rosy with blossoms, luminous green grass, and my very late daffodils are hanging in there like champions.
The outside air is fragrant with all that's blooming, and despite being hard on allergies, it is delightful.
When I walk down one street in my neighborhood, something smells like candy--sugary and pink; the aroma triggers deep, curious breaths that struggle to identify the scent while relishing it.
I saw a tractor pulling a disc over a field on my morning drive, and the fertile black dust rising in the early sunlight was like happiness and memories, wholesomeness and a return to joy.

If ever a glorious day like this dawned in Syracuse, where we used to live, the entire population would have stopped what they were doing and rushed outdoors in wonder.  Exuberant children would have spilled out onto neighborhood streets, running and shouting and riding their bikes, throwing their balls, chasing, hiding, trying to hawk lemonade at a makeshift stand by a stop-sign.  Their parents, too, would come outside, looking up at the sky distractedly as they shared a conversation with the folks next door (also outdoors, of course), poking at the landscaping or scrubbing at the grill after a long winter or simply sitting in an Adirondack chair with a glass of Arnold Palmer.

Here, people comment on the niceness of the day, but they don't have the same urgency to experience it.  Such weather isn't so rare in the Midwest, although I can't get used to that fact.  I feel a little frantic not to let it slip away.

Two things came clear to me today.

One is that I like to be by myself because I always put my foot in my mouth when I am not.  I can pray, hope, plan, ask for the mind of Christ, and determine to be quiet, to be a listener, to guard against careless words.  And still, every time, afterwards I replay my conversations and think, "I wish I hadn't said that," and, "What did they think when I said that?" and, "I hope they knew I was joking..."  It's excruciating.  It keeps me up at night, this tendency to replay my words like a tape-recorder and regret them.  Think before you speak.  Pray before you speak.  Listen before you speak.  Or, simply, don't speak.

I did already know that, but today reinforced it.

I also knew that people change, which is the other thing that came clear to me.  Our Teaching Leader in Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) mentioned it in class this morning.  She said, "You should never quote a person before he dies, because people change, and sometimes someone who seems very solid and trustworthy turns from what he had believed and starts to teach something else, something that is not trustworthy or true."  That was interesting to me, because I've been cogitating on a post about this very subject.  Not only do good people slip from truth, but terrible people can repent and become wholesome and trustworthy.  This is quite a mystery, but it is important to remember when we are trying to forgive someone.

Perhaps I will write about it tomorrow.

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