Inspired by the "Five Things Essay" I'm testing out the practice and am sharing it with you today!
1 There was evening
I called "stat" pages overhead, listened to requests of "i need...." while dodging the portable chest xray machine, then jogging over to the pyxis to draw up life saving medications. It's a day that ends with your feet aching, a full bladder, a heart full of gratitude for the many hands available to provide care, and the whispered words of Psalm 23 to comfort.
I sigh, getting into my car headed home. The highway sparkles under the city lights as I drive by. Not the beautiful sparkles that my youngest loves on her dresses, or the shimmering eye shadow that my oldest prefers, it's the glistening of ice-covered roads—the reason we were treating so many critical patients that day.
The glow of the city fades as I continue on my way. The wind carries a cloud of snow as darkness envelopes my car. There's only one pair of headlights at this hour, mine. It's apparent people have given up traveling for the day in these conditions, but the journey home feels desolate.
2 On desolation
The bleakness of the dark prairies surrounding me leaves me feeling starkly alone. There's no one to help if I accidentally land in the ditch, no camaraderie of fellow travellers. It's a barren wilderness I'm crossing on my own.
I think of Elijah’s loneliness, crying out to God from the cave, feeling defeated and isolated, on the run from an evil ruler. Who is left? None but me.
My morning reading takes me to Daniel's vision in chapter 11 where we read about the abomination that causes desolation (11:31), and learn how the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes wrought fury against the Jews in Jerusalem in mass persecution as he executed his wrath against both a people and the Lord God.
In a culture that increasingly seems so against Christ, don't we feel that? Who is left? None but me.
The one person who will stand for truth in our workplace or the last one in your family to hold biblical convictions. We may feel overwhelmed with evil creeping in as normal and even fearful of what the future holds. There's that gut sinking feeling, like when you're sitting in the doctor's office waiting for your test results, knee bouncing and slightly nauseous.
But we remember though evil will reign for a time, "what has been decreed will be accomplished" (11:36) and though the sorrow may last for the night, there’s joy coming in the morning (Ps 30:5). Our plans aren't his, his thoughts and his ways are greater than what we can comprehend. Our hope is in him and the promise that he is returning to make all things new again. SDG.
3 A servant's heart and hands
"All day long, we work with a servant’s hands—but not always with a servant’s heart." (Kristen Wetherell, Humble Moms)
We're out of milk. So, no cereal for breakfast. At least there's enough for my coffee. And, at least it's Tuesday, not Monday. There's 3 mouths to feed before we head off to brave the icy roads to work, and a resounding chorus rejects the proposal of a bowl of oatmeal.
How could I serve them with a heart and hands of love this morning?
A batch is mixed, the griddle heats up while I blow dry my hair. Round cakes of delight are served, covered with maple syrup.
With satisfied bellies and the kitchen in disarray, the day begins.
4 There was morning
On the return trip to work, golden beams move across the highway in a slow formation, like Starlink satellites (only instead of in orbit, gravity takes hold along the road). Unlike the companionless journey home last night, there are plenty of sojourners on their way to work before the sun rises.
There's something about the comaraderie of sojourners. We’re encouraged by a security found in togetherness, a strength found in suffering side by side, a lighter load
as we hold to God's promises together. There's much to be said in praise of community.
We’re one body, unified for the good of others and the glory of God. There’s no greater calling for those who call themselves disciples of Christ.
“Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (Book of Common Prayer)
5 On disorder and delight
Years of sobriety, then a relapse.
Words spoken out of pride, when you thought you’d gotten good at taming your tongue.
As a sunflower bends toward the sunlight, we’re marred with a proclivity toward our deceitful hearts.
"Delight yourself in lawlessness, and your disordered desires will govern you. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you new desires." (Jen Wilkin, Ten Words to Live By)
This is the prayer then, isn’t it?
To find our greatest delight in him.
Not in the new functions of my new phone or my kids winning a match. While we’re created to find joy and pleasure in God’s good gifts on earth, the numero uno is found in capturing the wholeness of our satisfaction in Christ alone.
By his grace we can face the disorder and trust he is working for our good, day by day through our confession and repentance, in dependance on him. Though we are prone to wander, his faithfulness sustains us, for his love is unfailing.
So yes I’ll enjoy the chocolate treats arrayed across the staff room table and the laughter of colleagues, but I’ll rejoice that when I am weak, he is strong and that he’s completing the good work he began.
What are 5 things you noticed today?