Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 230 Rewind, Fast Forward, and "Shame Off You!"

Dear friends,

Philippians 3:13 "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus".

I so enjoyed being with my forever friends from my career days with Reading Rainbow at our reunion yesterday. From the moment I drove onto the FDR Drive, and exited at 34th Street, my heart was filled with reminiscences and precious memories of a wonderful and unique experience during my 20’s. These are friends I travelled with extensively, worked with on many very long days, and learned from in profound ways. Together again, time seemed to dissolve. I left New York last night with a big cup of coffee and many thoughts. In the spirit of full disclosure, some of my thoughts had regrets attached. I wasted a lot of time in those years, and made some bad decisions. Pondering those while I mainlined my caffeine, I brought them to the Great One and was reminded of the magnificent healing scripture above. Even now in my today’s, I have to “forget what is behind” on a regular basis.

Some bad things happen to us, and some we bring on ourselves. I’ve been on both sides of that equation. I honestly don’t know how I would manage the mess without the mercy of a real and present Savior. Even if your life has been fairly smooth, there is that nagging sense of “what am I doing here?” I’ve heard it come out of people’s mouths countless times. And if not out of their mouths, then out of their alcoholism, or people pleasing, or workaholism, or plain old boredom with life. I’m not judging anyone. Hey, I’m the first one to point out my own desperate need for a fresh start. I simply hope if you are reading this blog, that you will get hold of the words above from the Great One. Related so well to them is the saying Sister Laurie’s daughter gifted to her this week that she shared with us in church this morning. Laurie was kicking herself about something she said, and Miss Stephanie reached over and said to her mom, “shame off you”. I’m telling you I almost bolted out of my chair for joy with that one. In a powerfully witty twist on the oft repeated “shame on you”, Sister Laurie forgot what was behind,
and strained toward what is ahead (as she always does, and helps so many others do).

One thing I’ll never regret are the relationships I have forged along the pilgrim road. In these before and after pictures are me (around 24 years old) with my friend Eddie Wiseman, who I met at NYU and worked with through the “boot camp” years at Reading Rainbow. Most significantly, he is the final checkmate piece the Great One deposited into my life to show me the “life that is truly life”. Ed prayed for me for years, was kind, compassionate, and always a complete gentleman to me during the rough and tumble years of my post college years. I love him with all my heart, and his wife Orly too, who helped me over many a boulder on my highway. Ed is one-of-a-kind, one of the vastly colorful assortment of people I appreciate more than words can say.
Back then, I couldn’t see myself in upstate New York, with 3 kids and completely addicted to Maple Brown Excellence by Loreal. (For those unfamiliar, that's hair color). I certainly couldn’t see the calamitous car crash of November 8. I’m glad I couldn’t. The future is a mystery for good reason. Best to take it as it comes.

October 16 or 23 will be the date of the Smith Family Thanks You Dessert Nite. I should know by the end of this week which Saturday it will be. I want you all there. Details to follow. You did the bitter with us. I want you there for some sweet. From the ambulance drivers to the chimney sweeps, you have all blown us away. So lets have a party. Maybe we can even get that Army Medic in from Ohio...

Your friend on the forward only pilgrim road,


PS Thank you, Smitty for pinch hitting last night. And for waiting up for me til 1:30am. I knew you would.


Stephen said...

So how is it that you look younger and prettier in the "now" picture than in the circa 1984 picture? I'm confused.

I know what you mean about Laurie telling that "Shame off you" story. I felt almost as if an electical charge had gone through the sanctuary when she shared it with us. A powerful moment. I could see that expression "taking off" and spreading in the church and in our communities.

Love you!

Anonymous said...'ve got yourself a keeper.