Julie Lyles Carr: Sunday Selah

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Selah

Blessed are all who fear the LORD,
       who walk in his ways.
  You will eat the fruit of your labor;
       blessings and prosperity will be yours.
  Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
       within your house;
       your sons will be like olive shoots
       around your table.
  Thus is the man blessed
       who fears the LORD.
  May the LORD bless you from Zion
       all the days of your life;
       may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem,
  and may you live to see your children's children.
       Peace be upon Israel.

Psalm 128:1-6
 
We live in a goal-setting society.  We read books on goal setting, attend seminars on time management, create spreadsheets, checklists and motivational charts.  We determine the color of our parachutes, type up short and long term vision statements and tape pictures of goals and successful self-talk mantras to our bathroom mirrors.  We live ahead in the future and endure today as the necessary thing to get us there.
M and I are at an age where we are experiencing the shifting goals of some of our friends.  The marriage they had is no longer the marriage they want.  The family culture they have developed is now a hindrance.  The career they pursued now feels confining.  We are seeing these friends decide to hit the reset button, all in an effort to chase an elusive desire of youth, all in a desire to recapture the yesterday they spent building their future.  The spouse is traded in, the kids are upgraded to younger models, the career reconfigured.  The friendships of the past are exchanged for hipper, younger, less judgmental ones.   Goals reset, future redefined.


But what can't be undone is time's consistent march, the most disciplined of the universe's task masters.  Whether or not we chose to serve the Lord, we will serve the absolute dictatorship of Time. Time continues ticking on, regardless of our protests, denials and frantic scramble for earlier editions.  For all the new people and places interjected into a life, the clock still remains.  For all the goal sheets shredded, edited and reframed, the efforts and foibles of the past still linger into today.

I've had my seasons of extreme goal setting: business, fitness, education, homemaking, financial.   I appreciate the drive and copper-penny-shiny those goals lend to a morning, the fuel they pump into what could otherwise be a lackadaisical attitude.  But if all those goal workshops are right and we need to begin with the end in mind, does it change the way I look at those goals?

It's one of the Lord's high blessings, this thing of living to see your children's children.  It seems like such a simple thing, really, until you break it down into its parts.  Seeing those children's children involves good relationships with those children.  That would be something to invest in now, while my children are still in my home.  Seeing those children's children would involve taking care of my health, putting down the bowl of candy corn today so I can be strong and healthy to pick up a child in that grandma tomorrow.  Seeing those children's children involves walking with the Lord, asking for His blessing of walking that many days into the future.  So much of seeing those children's children involves an investment into today, an investment in my marriage, my children, into their hearts, into health.  It is defining.

My heart aches for those friends of ours who are setting goals based on recapturing a spent season.  My heart aches that relationships with their children are damaged.  My heart aches that the future of seeing their children's children has been squandered in a panicked scramble to recapture the youth of their twenties, their thirties.  My heart aches knowing that in my fallen flesh I'm capable of the same futile search for a reset button, though I have no desire to do so.  My heart aches that there are no guarantees for anyone to avoid such a potential perverse reverse pubescence--we've seen it too often in people whose walks have seemed so solid. Even a king named David.

But I am thankful for God-provided wisdom.  I am thankful for God-set goals.  I am thankful for the example of family around us who decided to invest in seeing their children's children.

And so taped to my bathroom mirror, the one in my mind, is a photograph. I can't tell you exactly how many people are in it.  I can't tell you exactly which parents go with each child.  But I do know, on this bathroom mirror in my mind, that this picture is of my children's children.  It frames my today.  I pray it will be part of my tomorrow.  And I'm going to live like it is.

Selah.



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