“Do it again.”

One of my favorite quotes from any book on faith comes from GK Chesterton’s Orthodoxy: 

“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”

Our Father’s youth is that eternal Hope that raises us up after we fall.  And for those like me, whose addictions and impulses make falling a fairly regular occurrence (read: daily),

when I don’t feel like getting up,

when it is so much easier to wallow in the muck and mire of past mistakes,

when I’ve gone to bed the night before feeling like a failure,

when there is just no way I can deal with this anymore,

when my job becomes tough and I’m not sure what kind of teacher I am to my students,

Jesus reaches out his hand to pull me up.

And says “Walk with me.

I’m here.

Come to me.

Do it again.

I’m always here.”

Despair feels old, doesn’t it?  And after the heck of the week I’ve had, with nice highs and real lows, it’s good to see the sun rise outside my window.  The daily new beginning.

A student told me I was already one of his favorite teachers.  “Even though you work us real hard.”  Smile there.

In the same class, a girl came up to me after the bell, tears in her eyes.

“Please move my seat next week, the boy next to me says bad things to me.”

She’s being bullied, and I didn’t catch it.  No smile there.  Please pray for her.

Highs and lows.

But, says the Lord, walk into the classroom again.  No, you didn’t fail.  Yes, you will have to address the issue.  Yes it will be tough.

No, do not despair.

I’m always here.

Do it again.

 

 

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Beautiful Home, Pesky Ants

 

ephesians-2-22

Quite a  busy week last week.  In addition to finding out that I am going to be a future father to twins (see my last post and the freak out contained within), I headed up to Eustis, FL to see a good friend I haven’t seen in 20 years, Amy.  For the past five years, Amy has been a missionary in Ghana, Africa, as headmistress of a Rafiki Foundation school.  As we walked the streets of nearby Mt. Dora, we caught up on the past twenty years and I learned a great deal of her new life in Africa.  Of how different it is, but how “kids will still be kids.”  Of electricity going out on a regular basis.  On how being a missionary isn’t being a “super Christian” but just following the particular call that God has for all of us.

Amy and I performed together in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.  I was happy to hear that it was one of the first plays she introduced her new students to.

How wonderful to see her again.  And hey!  She could always use support in her work!  She is an amazing person.  Learn more about her here.

Then a week a teaching at my first VBS (Vacation Bible School).  It has been my desire over the summer to express my faith more, not to merely consent mentally to a creed, but allow the Holy Spirit to touch my heart, hands, and feet.

I wanted to use my gifts for teaching and presenting to specifically teach and show the love of Christ.

To mentally acknowledge my brokenness, yes, but to let the joy of God settle in my heart.

By doing cool little science experiments dealing with air and water pressure, and using them as metaphors for God’s Love.

By acting really goofy during our Praise and Worship times, jumping around, laughing, high-fiving, being altogether out of my element and enjoying every minute.

Seeing the light in those little kids’ faces was pretty amazing.

We wrapped up the week at a celebration held by two members of our church.  They live in downtown Orlando in a beautiful neighborhood, in a beautiful house.

A really beautiful house.

A might-as-well-be-a-bed-and-breakfast house.

Antiques everywhere, ornate furniture.  Perfectly paneled wood.

A veranda, a bricked courtyard with a tall, twisting avocado tree.

Wow.

Nice place.

(I said as I valiantly tried to stop my two year old son from crashing into anything).

A little envy?  Oh yeah, sure,a touch.  Especially as I though about the new challenges of fitting two more family members into an already cramped house.

Then this:

My wife is pregnant and now has to avoid alcohol and caffeine (oh the humanity!).  Seeing only Coke and wine out, I asked if there was any Sprite.

Sure, follow me, our hostess said.

The courtyard had a small storage area, enclosed by a wooden door with a latch. At the top of the door, on frame, tiny little dots moved about industriously.

Our hostess sighed.  “White footed ants,” she explained.  “They are everywhere, unfortunately.  Nearly impossible to get rid of.”

She found some Sprite and we rejoined the party and had a wonderful time in fellowship.

In my prayers later that night, I couldn’t stop thinking about those ants.

The Lord wanted to teach me something.

“Even in a house you thought was pretty much perfect, my son, there was a flaw.  A slight flaw, but a flaw nonetheless.

Theirs is a beautiful home , full of hospitality and goodwill.  They are not moving out any time soon because of some pesky ants.”

And then this realization.  This assurance.  This love.  This promise:

“I want my make my dwelling in you.  I want you to rest in my Spirit, and my Spirit to rest in you.”

Ephesians 2:22.

“And trust me, your pesky sins, acknowledged and repented of, are no match for the beautiful Grace and Love which I want to furnish you with.”

Awesome.

Yes, our sins are those pesky ants, and sometimes they can swarm, but we are being built up for something so much greater.

So why despair, my fellow palace?