Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Still trying to figure it out

I still haven't figured out what's going on with me this year, why nothing seems to be working out as planned. I wish I could quit trying to figure it out and just turn it over to God and thank Him and trust Him and go with what life brings. But I can't seem to stop the mind from wondering about causes and effects.

Oh, wow. As I wrote that, I realized something I know but had forgotten again: I keep striving to avoid difficulties in life, and I get frustrated because I keep encountering them anyway (often because my striving involves more thinking and wishing than action).

For the second time in less than a month, a medical emergency of sorts caused me to miss a chance to sing at church at a nonworship event. The minor emergency was a pretty severe cat scratch infection, incurred while volunteering with the kitties at Second Chance before work last Friday. I got an antibiotic shot and pills Saturday but still had too much fever and pain to make it to sing. My whole forearm and hand were swollen through Sunday, and reaggravated after I worked at the computer Monday evening. Finally, the pain and swelling is limited to the actual punctured area.

When I got scratched by that sweet kitty, I found myself wondering why that happened. And I quickly came up with answers! One of the things I'd been contemplating is that I should be volunteering to spend time with people rather than the kitties. Even though I had acted the day before on my intent to visit someone from church who has been sick, I wondered if the cat scratch was some kind of sign I should just give up kitties for a while. I also realized that one of my thoughts before it happened is that maybe I could take this kitty home with me, even though I've said we don't plan to get another kitty. So maybe the spirit of my recently departed Bridget entered Tombstone and said, "Not so fast, my friend!" But the reality most likely is that the three cats in that room all have dominant personalities. Tombstone and I had a great time playing, and cuddling and having all kinds of fun, but then he got distracted by Gabby for a minute, with them sharing a growl and a hiss. Shortly after that, he grabbed me! And when I said, NO!, which my cats have known means release, well, he held on tighter! OUCH! I will go back though, and I hope either he is still there or has a good home. That's what he needs -- a home without those other dominant personality cats.

The next day, when I realized I would miss singing my song because of the infection, my new wondering involved whether I'm not meant to sing that song. But why would that be? It's called "Good to Be Alive." It's a contemporary Christian song that I enjoyed singing along with on the radio and decided to get the accompaniment track. I worked it up for the talent show -- and then colonoscopy prep sidelined me from singing it. This time I was committed to sing at a dinner, and I had to cancel at the last minute again. While I came up with possible "reasons" or "lessons" from the cat scratch event, I have had no insight on this one.

But Wednesday night, I reread something I had flagged from "My Utmost for His Highest" daily readings, this one from Feb. 7. Reflecting on Luke 24:21, Oswald Chambers wrote: "Whenever we insist that God should give us an answer to prayer we are off track. The purpose of prayer is that we get ahold of God, not of the answer."

In other words, I just don't always have to know why, especially not on my timetable. (And I think I don't so much insist that God should give me an answer as just wonder whether the reason He hasn't is some fault of mine. So then my prayer is, God, what do You want me to do? And I just keep waiting for the answer on that one!)

Another of my daily readings has drawn a lot from the Book of Job, and I've really identified with some of his laments, even though my circumstances are so very minor compared to many people I know today, and especially what is described in that biblical account. Today's reading includes a good passage with which I'll try to wrap up this rambling post.

“But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!” (Job 19:25-27)

So, even though nothing is going as planned this year and I still feel tireder and wearier than I would like and hate that I probably sound like I'm complaining or ungrateful, I really do hold out faith in God and believe He is working all things for good. And I do feel grateful, it's just harder to express when I'm tired.

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