Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Temporary Grease Monkey

Occasionally, during the long haul of our renovations, amid the self-castigating hollers that emanated from this or that corner of the house, Karen would hear a satisfied little chuckle, often followed by my observation that she, in her wisdom, had married "a clever little monkey": some little detail of a renovation task had finally gone just like I wanted it to, and though this was not what I had trained for, I could be momentarily proud of an accomplishment.

Well, after months of job-searching and continuing to work on little bits and pieces of the house, it's time to see how well this clever little monkey can pick up some new manual skills: for about three months, I'll be helping out in a friend's auto shop.  Again, not my first choice, but I'm happy to do it, and I may even survive it (though the first six weeks, where the job overlaps with the second half of my thrice-weekly stationary cycling workouts, should be, um, interesting).  It'll bring in some of that very helpful stuff called money, and it should end, neatly, just about the same time as the New Testament survey course I'll be teaching at Tyndale begins.  But it does mean that I'll have to reassess (again) just how to fit writing into my schedule.  It's likely I won't have a lot of time to reflect on that here -- but I've already created some space in the fall schedule to work on book reviews and a few other small projects, and hopefully whatever God has in store for me after that will allow a little more writing time than full-time automotive work does.  Maybe I'll even manage, through this interval, to learn a little more discipline with my time, so that I can make better use of what time I have after that.  Here's hoping.

Psbelated Psalmody Psunday: 92

The slow-yet-busy end of summer has done its level best to keep my family's Would-be Blogging Triumvirate (JennyChandra and my own self) from blogging very prolifically -- and tomorrow I will note some changes that will probably keep me from writing anything more ambitious than book reviews and short stories for the next three months.  But right now, let's make up for just a little lost time (or time otherwise spent, anyhow), with a long-overdue reflection on Psalm 92.  Some six weeks ago, when I'd planned to write on this psalm after returning from family cottage time, I'd done some considerable meditating on it -- not with the goal of interpreting it with particular depth (which Chandra did, quite eloquently), but rather treating it as a source of short breath-prayers.  Like Chandra, I was struck by the call to "flourish," but I'll spend my moments in this instance on the end of the psalm as a whole, using the Common English Bible's rendering:

Those who have been replanted in the Lord’s house
    will spring up in the courtyards of our God.
They will bear fruit even when old and gray;
    they will remain lush and fresh in order to proclaim:
        “The Lord is righteous.
        He’s my rock.
        There’s nothing unrighteous in him.

"Replanted in the Lord's house."  Having replanted african violets last week and an orchid just this morning, there's an immediacy to that image for me -- but not just because of gardening.  At my church lately as well as in our house, life has been, to put it simply, hard.  Rocky.  Unyielding.  Not an easy place to grow.  The prospect of being uprooted from here and replanted to "spring up in the courtyards of our God" seemed vastly preferable.  There have been many reminders, too many reminders, that even while I'm in my late thirties, my body is already beginning to operate like it's old, gray, and unfruitful.  Not that I'm giving up on it -- the cycling study that I've started participating in at Mac is ensuring that my muscles still know how to work occasionally (even as it also affirms that my recovery time isn't what it once was!).  But it will suffice to say at this point that the "in order" in the next line is a much-needed reminder: the promise of holy reinvigoration comes with a missional corollary attached.  "They will remain lush and fresh in order to proclaim" that the Lord is righteous.

May my life in the coming week, as much or as little as I appear to flourish, proclaim that the Lord is my rock, and that he knows what quality of soil I need in which to grow best.