Sometimes it seems presumptuous and even silly to share thoughts on blogs, but I will give in on this day and join the fad.
Here are some thoughts of mine on the occasion of my seventieth birthday. Thanks go to my sister G who encouraged me to think about my reaction to this birthday.
When I was young I set goals. I knew that I had to graduate from college no matter how long it took (6 years). I discerned while in college that I wanted to be a teacher of science in secondary public schools.
At that time I was also trying to discern God’s will for my life. By the time that I decided to be a teacher I had accepted that being a teacher was what God wanted me to do.
Twenty years later I had the strong feeling that God was calling me to be ordained in the Episcopal Church as a deacon. It seemed to me that I would then be able to teach and work more effectively in the church. A few years later it became rather obvious to me that I was not going to be ordained. Although I had thought that God had called me to be a deacon I now see that was an error.
And, a few years after that, after cancer and two major surgeries, I knew that I could not be a teacher any longer. If it was God’s plan for me to be a teacher, then that plan had ended.
Could God have more than one plan for my life? How would that work?
Nancy and I now work together every day at our bookstore. I find a deep joy in our working together with the business and the ministry which is the store. I never had thought about owning our own business and what such a life would be like. As it turns out it is very good for both of us. We also realize that neither of us could manage the store by ourselves. It takes both of us to do it.
Is God’s presence in the store? Certainly! I see it nearly everyday. Is this God’s plan for my life? I think, now, at this sage old age (ha, ha, ha!) that it is the wrong question.
Is it my will that my granddaughter Victoria is married and living in Brazil? Wrong question. Victoria gets to choose her own life, her own struggles and rewards. My will for her is that she makes good decisions and that I support her emotionally the best that I can. I think, now, that this is something similar to God’s actions in our lives.
God cares about how we live each day of our lives. God is with us. And yet, God allows us the dignity of making our own decisions, which includes our own mistakes and bad choices.
It has happened so many times that I’ve come to expect it. That “it” is that when something important is happening in the store, especially when someone is sharing something important with us on a normally busy day, there is a lull in the phone calls and in the customers entering the store. When whatever the important event is has finished, or sometimes about to finish, then the normal store events pick back up, the phones ring, customers or delivery persons come in and life returns to normal. Is God present in those times? God is present in every time and every place, but yes, something special happens in those special times.
I no longer live by setting goals. Instead, I am very happy to allow each day to happen and watch and enjoy the moments and challenges that come, all in God’s presence.
With gratitude for all,John