I just can’t believe it is almost the middle of November, Veterans Day, or Auburn Arena‘s opening night for the 2011-2012 NCAA Men’s basketball season. It’s really all been a blur since about October 1st, like having frosted lenses in your glasses, but seen through the venue of the calendar, if that makes any sense. Where did October go? Leading up to the beginning of October was so focused on our trip to Uganda, then a few days after I returned from Uganda Deborah got sick, and then ended up having to be in the hospital for a while, where we spent Halloween before she got to go home the next day.
It actually feels pretty good to be here writing on my blog again, which is something of a normalcy issue for me anyway, something I have tried to make a normal part of my week for the past 10 years. It feels strange to me when I go a few weeks without posting, but the gaps mean about as much to me as consistent posts. I have come to learn and appreciate over the last 12 months or so that when someone you know and care about gets sick, friends, family, your spouse, priorities tend to shift around to triage mode. You do the things that need to be done and forget about all the other stuff you normally do that uses up time each day.
Everyone I know is so busy it sometimes seems like if anything out of the expected happens the whole system of time will shut down and collapse, and in some ways, it does. It’s like getting on a transatlantic flight. Time still moves forward even though you are stuck in a small metal tube for 12 hours. Inside that room (or cabin), time stands still while everything around you motors on at light speed, your “normal” is temporarily on hold until you get out of that time warped room. When we took off from Atlanta for our overnight flight into Amsterdam only our world stopped. As soon as we hit the ground in Europe I turned on my phone to find out that Steve Jobs had died while we were in flight. It was only our world in the plane that became timeless for 12 hours.
I have no doubt in my mind that being “busy” is not a biblical mandate. In fact, the opposite is true. Psalm 46.10 instructs us, to be still, and know that I AM God. But how do you balance this with the noise and chaos that is our world today? I still fight hard for margin (being still) every single week but sometimes it just doesn’t work.
Slowly, things return to “normal”, or if not, you create a “new normal” where you can establish some kind routine again. I’m not sure why routine is the goal but routine often times removes uncertainty and change, which seems to be what we all fear the most, but routine also gives us a continuity of motion for each day. I can’t imagine that Paul’s routine in Acts removed a whole lot of uncertainty for him, and fear in itself always feels like a testing of faith to me. Over the past month or so these thoughts have combined in my mind while looking at three different areas of scripture. The words of Matthew in Matthew 6.25-34 on being axioms about tomorrow, (something I think I have been genetically inclined to do from birth), 2 Corinthians 12.9 where Jesus instructs Paul that “my power is made perfect in weakness”, and 2 Timothy 1.7, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
Tonight starts a new normal routine for our house, a “normal” routine for the second week in November that is, the start of Auburn’s basketball season. This is always something that Deborah and I look forward to each year. Not necessarily because it’s an Auburn sporting event, but because it is a few designated hours we get to spend together outside our normal routine, without much noise or distraction… one of those timeless two hour flights with the added bonus of not having to actually be at 40,000 feet. War Eagle!