Thursday, November 09, 2006

Moving and standing still

So much of our lives is in motion these days. Plasterers, painters, landscapers and haulers—they’ve all had us surrounded for weeks now. I’ve been going through files lately, shredding things we don’t need but that reveal our Social Security numbers to potential identity thieves. Julie is doing much better at this than I am. I find myself forgetting things that I said or did or learned just minutes earlier—my head is struggling to balance work, family, home repairs, preparing for shipping our household, and trying to think of what to preach and teach in my first 6 weeks in London. So much about this move requires me to be in constant motion.

So naturally I got into a car accident this week.

It was nothing too serious, as fender benders go. Someone 3-4 cars ahead of me stopped short, and I was the last in a chain of cars to bump. It was my first accident in 22 years (that one was even less significant), and only my second ever. My car is in the body shop for the next three weeks, and we’re out another $500 for the deductible. So…I’m stuck in the house for the second straight day. All this motion is going on around me, and I can’t go anywhere.

I suppose that I should be looking for the deeper meaning here, some sense of the value of stillness. But I think my brain is too busy for metaphors just now. I’ve got things to do, and I don’t have a car. That’s how native-born Californians envision Hell.

On further review, though, there is something to the idea that I’m going to benefit from slowing down. I’m getting some of the little things done that I had ignored for a while. I wrestled with Ian for a long time last night, and we played dinosaurs again this morning. I was here to show our house to a new prospective tenant. I won’t say that I’m glad the accident happened, but I will say that I needed something to take me off the track I was stuck on over the past month. I’ve focused on so many things that everything has become blurry. Slowing down has helped.

In Philippians 4:6, Paul advises his friends this way: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your needs to God.” So I suppose as Preacher Guy I ought to pay attention to that. It’s OK to be needy and thankful at the same time. I need more help right now than I ever have at any time in my life, and yet I’m also so grateful: to God for this new calling and adventure; to Julie for being so honestly willing and reluctant at the same time; to my family for taking this in stride and being so supportive. It is such a feeling of richness to need, and to see that need met by God and the people around me. It makes me almost compulsively grateful—Paul had it right in this passage. I’m thanking God and asking for his help all at the same time—the two are connected. Maybe I’ll stay home one more day.

We leave in exactly seven weeks.

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