Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hind Sight: Make a Plan B

Today is December 29 and as I write this blog, I am sitting at my friend's house in Calgary.
The last few weeks have been busy, with packing, moving out and saying good bye to friends in Edmonton.
I had a great Christmas with my sister and her in-laws, getting in hugs and cuddles with my chubby nephew.

Today is December 29 and as I write this blog, I am surrounded by happy children and wonderful friends, discussing New Year's Eve celebrations.
Calgary weather is much better than Edmonton, sitting just around freezing, but definitely not in the negative numbers.

Today is December 29 and as I write this blog, almost everything I own is packed in a friend's car.
Which, a week ago, would be fine- even according to my plans.

However, today is December 29 and I was supposed to be on a plane to Mombasa Kenya.
Given that I am in Calgary, this did not happen.

About three weeks ago I ruptured or tore (ruptured is the medical term) my calf muscle. I was playing soccer, but at the time I injured myself I was not running, I was walking and I simply shifted my weight. I felt a pop and within a few seconds I couldn't walk. Given that it was in the middle of a soccer game (the end of a soccer game) and the guys on the other team were pretty competitive I had to crawl off the field. I quickly realized I had positioned myself beside the goal- not a safe place to relax for inaccurate, but still very hard shots on goal.

At first, I (and my friends who told me to suck it up and stretch it out) thought I had pulled a leg muscle. I tried stretching it, walking on it. And the next day realized my leg was still just as sore, and now incredibly swollen.
So I hit up the doctor, who immediately knew the problem - I ripped my leg muscle.
Healing time? 2-3 weeks.
Until two weeks past and there was zero improvement, and still just as swollen.
Two other doctors and a new healing estimation: 4- 5 weeks, 6 weeks until I could run again.
Hike Mt Kilimanjaro? I think not.
Go to Kenya when I am still on crutches? Not advised.

I prayed about it and I decided to cancel my trip. Maybe I should re-phrase that appropriately: I prayed about it and reluctantly felt that God had allowed my leg to be injured and heal slowly so that I could not follow my own plans. God has a plan for my life, I need to make sure my plans align with his.

The good news is that my trip tickets may be refunded.
The bad news is I had already quit my job and moved out of my apartment.

How's that for introducing yourself at holiday parties: "Yes, I am currently homeless and unemployed. Oh, and crippled."

I never had a back-up plan. I just wanted to leave Edmonton, start a new life and jump start that life with a trip to Kenya, then transition to a new city and new friends.

Thankfully, I have wonderful friends and complete strangers who have opened their home up to me and take care of me while my leg heals up.

My mission for the next month is to maintain a positive attitude. I want to remain optimistic for my future and the new year.

And, find a job and a place to live.
You know, those necessities.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Sometimes it seems to me that the New Testament presents a different character of God than I see in the Old Testament. The God of the New Testament is the Father of Jesus, he is merciful, kind-hearted, forgives sinners of their sins and offers a personal relationship to humans. The Old Testament God gets angry, carries out punishments and demands obedience to the law.

But I know that God is consistent, so the character of God hasn't changed from the BC years to the AD years. Recently I was reading about the life of David and was floored by something I never recall reading before.
Absalom was David's third born son, I think- please correct me if you know this to be wrong (2 Samuel 3). Amnon was David's first born son (and therefore, next in line for the throne). So Amnon falls in love with Absalom's sister (they are half-siblings, so yes, it is weird and, just, eww!). Amnon comes up with a plan, gets the sister alone and rapes her. Sadly, while her brothers come to her aid, she is still a scorned woman. In the same chapter, two years later, Absalom has not forgotten or forgiven Amnon for this disgrace to his sister- he comes up with a plan and has Amnon killed.
But, the family destruction doesn't stop here- while Absalom got revenge, he must flee his family and his country- even though he is a prince.
2 Samuel 13 ends with Absalom fleeing (vs 34) and these sad words: "And King David longed to go to Absalom".
David missed his son.
Absalom's choices had banished him from the kingdom, but David still loved his son and wanted to see him. However, he was guilty of murder, which, according to Jewish laws meant that he was fair game for 'justice' (aka: death penalty) if he returned to his own country.
The king's right-hand man notices how David feels, so he comes up with a plan. (Lots of scheming in the Old Testament). Read about it in 2 Samuel 14, basically a third party opens David's eyes that there has already been so much loss in his family- through death and disgrace, there should not be more loss through separation.

All of us must die eventually.
Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground,
which cannot be gathered up again.
But God does not just sweep life away;
instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.

And there, clear as day, yes, in the Old Testament is the character of God. A loving God, a God that restores, reconciles.
Lots of scheming? Yep, even God 'devises ways'- to take what is wrecked and broken and bring it back to him.
It took a little while, even after this (about 2 years) before David and Absalom were really reconciled- and when they were, this is what the Bible says "...and the king kissed Absalom." (2 Samuel 14:13). It ends the chapter, not the story (too bad the story with Absalom and King David doesn't have such a beautiful ending. But no matter what, David loved his son- even when he son really messed things up.)
And I imagine, this is probably a lot like what God does for us - both the New Testament and Old Testament God - He not only allows us to return, but calls us individually into his presence. And when we come before him, he greets us with a kiss.