Time sure flies when you are having fun! It seems like these weeks just keep getting shorter, and there is less and less time between these “Friday Reflections”. But it is getting to a busy time of the year, and as we say farewell to “summer vacation” (although, we have kept on working), our schedules seem to increase in speed and the number of special events. Here are some of the things that have gone on in my life this past week, and how they have impacted me.
Saturday, August 5: Some of you that follow me on Facebook, know that I was really excited last Saturday because of some new milestones that I reached in my walking regimen. I walked for 1 hour, 13 minutes, and 33 seconds; and in that time I covered 4.33 miles (which is a pace of 16:58 per mile). What is exciting about this for me, is that when I started walking on June 1, about the most that I could walk was about a quarter of a mile. That could be attributed to age, physical condition, weight, and surgery two days before; but I persisted, and kept walking a little farther, and a little faster, each day. I have changed my walking “place” a couple of times, to make the walk better AND more difficult. I have persisted through a bloody blister on the achilles tendon area, losing a toenail (because of a hammertoe that was taking the pounding of walking on asphalt and concrete), and just being physically drained after some of these walks. What is the old saying, “no pain, no gain.” Well, there is a lot of truth in that statement.
The apostle Paul once said, For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well — (Philippians 1:29, NRSV). We struggle at times to understand how “suffering” can be considered a privilege. James tried to explain it to us, by saying: My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4, NRSV). Much like the obstacles that I have faced have given me physical endurance and strength in my walking; when I face challenges in my walk with Jesus, as I overcome them I become stronger in my life in Jesus. It may be a time for a lot of us to change our attitude about the difficulties we face each day.
Sunday, August 6: Sunday evening, at the home of Tom and Lynne Reed, a Bible study group that I have been leading for about 10-12 years, met to talk about our study that will begin in September. The decision was made to study Paul’s letter to the Philippians, and that decision has already been a blessing to me. Our first meeting will be on August 27th, and I have started preparing for it by reading the letter from a different translation each day. You may have noticed that all of my devotionals, and “tweets,” have come from this book. My life has already been enriched by the study of this special letter from Paul. I am excited, not only because of the study with the group — but because of the enrichment that my soul has received, and will receive, from this study.
Wednesday, August 9 — I just knew that Wednesday was going to be a really good day, and it was — in spite of circumstances that just seemed to be determined to make the day difficult.
Wednesday about noon, the local ministerial alliance was providing and serving a meal for all the administration, teachers, and staff of the local school system. Our congregation was asked to help provide desserts, and our ladies are OUTSTANDING at that. On Sunday, I announced that the fellowship hall would be open Wednesday morning at 7:30 for them to bring the desserts, and I would pick them up at 10:00 to take them to the high school cafeteria by 10:30. I just love it when a plan comes together.
Well, Tuesday afternoon, my oldest son (the one that had gall bladder surgery last week) called and asked if I could go with him to Rudy, Arkansas to pick up a couple of deer mounts. We don’t get to spend as much time together as I would like, so I told him I could — but we would have to go and get back by 10:00. We talked about it for a few minutes, and agreed that I would pick him up between 7:30 and 7:45, drive to Rudy (about a 45 minute drive) and be back in plenty of time. Well, we left and the weather was perfect, and I really enjoyed having the time to visit with him — but then it happened. After we passed the Winslow exit, we came to a complete stop on the bridge just before the Bobby Hopper tunnel. I have heard, sometime in the past, about how high that bridge is, but I have forgotten; but I think that a 20-story building would fit underneath it. Two minutes after we stopped, Josh’s phone beeped with a news flash. A semi had overturned just south of the Bobby Hopper tunnel, and had both southbound lanes blocked, PLEASE FIND AN ALTERNATE ROUTE. We are sitting on a bridge with no way to turn around, and no where to go!
I really was not too happy about being on that bridge to begin with, but after coming to a complete stop; you notice that every time a semi went past in the north bound lane, you could feel the bridge sway. That every time a semi in our lanes, would pull forward for a few feet, with their jerking and bouncing motion, you could feel the bridge sway — and I will freely confess that I didn’t like that at all. Well, after about sitting there 30 minutes, I wasn’t as worried about the swaying, because it had become painfully obvious that I was not going to be back by 10:00. I called Malia, and she was swamped at work — we talked for a few moments about who I could call. When we hung up, I was sitting there thinking about who to call, and my phone rang — it was Gay Wampler. She had called to see if I knew if the funeral home needed any more of our “care” bags (for the families that had lost loved ones). I told her that I didn’t think that they did, but I NEEDED a big favor. So Gay, and Mildred Bone, got all the desserts from the fellowship hall to the high school on time (in fact they were there a little early, which was a big help).
Not long after that, traffic started moving — Josh and I made it to the taxidermists, got the deer mounts and headed back. I got to Prairie Grove, and walked into the cafeteria about 30 seconds before the prayer was offered before the food. In time to be handed a pair of tongs, and serve the chicken for the fajita tacos that had been prepared. It was a real privilege to serve, and visit, with the staff of our local schools. I was glad to have that opportunity.
There is always something that we can find to be thankful for. In this situation, I was thankful that there were those really smart, techno nerds that had the intelligence to invent a cell phone. If they had not, I would have really been in a mess. Secondly, I am extremely grateful to Gay Wampler and Mildred Bone for covering my responsibility of getting the desserts to the school, and being sure that our responsibility was covered. Finally, I am glad we got back quickly, because it gave me time to work on my class for Wednesday night. I needed the time, it was Lesson 6 in our series “The Holy Spirit and the Christian“, and it was about “What Does ‘Be Filled with the Spirit’ Mean.”
There are those times, that we just know that the Lord is working with us. Thank you, Lord!
Weight — March 15, 2017 — 324 pounds
Weight — August 11, 2017 — 249 pounds !!!!!