Saturday, November 28, 2009

It's a Bittersweet Symphony, This Life!

The oldest of all my nieces and nephews is getting married tonight and I am finding it to be surprisingly bittersweet. Jordan was the oldest grandchild on both sides of the family and, at 27 if he had lived, would surely be married by now.

I have never known a kid to talk about what kind of girl he would marry and how many children they would have as much as Jordan did. From the time he was two it was on his mind and in his thoughts and conversations. Seriously.

I am thrilled for Josh and Ashely and wish them all the best. I am surprised and a bit miffed by my melancholy. I don't often think about what Jordan missed out on in this life, because I know he is enjoying a glorious one heaven and wouldn't come back if he could.

But life is for the living and since I am still listed among them, I am sad for what he missed out on and, as a result, the rest of us have missed out on as well.

When these moments come, I make myself think back to the night he died, when the Lord allowed me to see his spirit outside of the truck window on the drive back from picking up Jacob in Norman.

Oh, I have never witnessed such joy in all my life! It doesn't exist in this realm. It radiated from within him, along with the golden, iridescent Shiknah glory of God! He was so incredibly happy! Thrilled. Ecstatic. Joy inexpressible.

He was only there a moment, flying just outside my window and keeping pace with the truck, but I will never forget it. It was the greatest gift God has ever given me outside of my salvation. He was healthy and whole and looked like he would have if he had never had the transplant! That's why I know the experience was real.

Just the memory of seeing him lifts my spirits! Tonight I will rejoice!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Quote of the Year

"Sin is the suicidal action of the self against itself." Tim Keller

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nothin' but the Best!

I have this beautiful, expensive, blonde Guild guitar I bought over 30 years ago, the sight of which makes grown men weak in the knees. Grown guitar-playing men, that is. It's a real beauty. When I bought it, it was almost white, with slight yellowish undertones. But it has aged better than most people and has taken on the rich golden hue of pure Tupelo honey.

I was getting ready to play it the other day and couldn't get it tuned. I knew it probably needed new strings, and while I usually buy them and put them on myself, I decided to just go to the local music store and give them an opportunity to prove their customer service side.

I bought the Martin Marquis Light Gauge and asked the hippie behind the counter if I could get him to put them on for me. I pulled my guitar out of its case and he gasped. I am not making this up. He got wide-eyed and looked like he was about to wet his pants. Then he sort of gave this long moan and said, "That's a beautiful guitar you have there." I already knew that, so now that made two of us. His comment drew the other two employees over and while he replaced the strings, the other two oohed and ahhed and one of them whipped out some wood polish and began to polish and caress it while whispering sweet nothings in its ear.

They took turns playing it, commented on its deep, resonate sound, the still perfect action (that's guitar speak for how far the strings come away from the frets--less is better) the requisite scratches from a aggressive strumming, etc.

They asked if my husband would mind if I came back every now and then to visit my three new boyfriends. It was all loads of fun.

But the truth is, I am NOT a musician. I play because of sheer tenacity. I like to sing and have practiced enough that I can carry a tune while I strum along. But make no mistake. I am NOT a musician. Even after all these years, I play like a dyslexic third-grader trying to read. If I was going to guitar school I would still be in Kindergarten. Seriously.

G-C-D-Am is about the extent of my ability. I can't play a bar chord to save my life. Twice I have attempted lessons but have quit because I don't have the time to practice like I should. I was embarrassed to own such a beautiful instrument and play it so poorly.

But then I started thinking. That guitar is a perfect example of the kind of gifts God gives to His children. Be they physical, spiritual, practical or any other variety, God is extravagant in His giving and gives us more than we deserve, more than we can absorb, more than we can handle, more than we can give thanks for.

Think about it for a minute. Salvation is an extravagant gift, heaven will be an extravagant place, He has given us extravagant talents, callings, authority and pleasures in life.

And all of a sudden, instead of being embarrassed, I was delighted that the Lord God Almighty had allowed me to be the owner of something that barely tapped into all He wants to give me! I'm not talking material things here. I am thinking of all the spiritual knowledge, growth in grace, intimacy with the Father and love for the people created in His image which has been poured out on me that I have barely tapped in to but is mine in ever increasing abundance.
I began praising God as I drove home! I thanked Him for my guitar and for all He wanted to pour from His hands to me.

So now, instead of feeling guilty for owning it or proud for having it, every time I see it propped up in its place or pick it up to play it, it is a reminder of God's extravagant love. May you see it for yourself in whatever means God uses in your life!