In case you hadn’t noticed, today is 02/01/2021. Not quite as cool as when it will be February 21, or even December 2 at the end of this year, but pretty neat, nonetheless. It’s kind of hard to believe, since it seems we just rang in 2021, that we are now in the second month of the year. Lots of things happened last month, didn’t they? Some of them were personal, like my birthday, and losing 14 pounds – on purpose – and plenty of other things, and some were public, like a presidential change, and snows and I’m still not able to get to my gas grill to fix some steaks.
However, did anything truly new happen last month? I mean, in my quest to do better, I ate 31 bananas last month, and still drank upwards of 100 cups of coffee or more – Juan Valdez would be happy. I read three and a half books (to be continued into February), and took not near enough afternoon naps. I watched, and then turned off a number of different national goings-on, not because I was bored, but because I realized it was doing me no good to witness people in gigantic messes. All I could do was commit them and their struggles to God, and trust as God promised that God’s holy hands were sorting things out.
I watched the snow nearly evaporate from our front lawn, as we cleared out and put away a few of the Christmas decorations while we could, and now I have watched as the snow was replaced with what seems to be nearly daily skiffs of stuff that keeps us in a monochrome world, along with a sky that seems to forgotten how to be blue. This is the time of the year when up north, they sell bunches of personal sized bright white lights that you set up on the side of your table or desk, and let it shine for an hour or so. Apparently it is supposed to be the treatment for SAD – seasonal affective disorder – which ravages a great number of the population at this latitude. The bright light is supposed to remind our brain that the sun is shining somewhere, even though it hasn’t done so here in weeks. Folks, especially those of Scandinavian descent, seem to be most troubled by it, and walk around as though they are in an Ingmar Bergman film, like “The Seventh Seal,” or his lesser known, “Viskningar Och Rop.” That alone can make you gloomy, even if the sun is shining…
But there are some pretty good things to look forward in February. Ground Hog Day is tomorrow, which I heard as become an unofficial day for eating bacon, since, “Hog.” We will then have in rapid succession, Valentines Day, Presidents Day, Mardi Gras, and then Ash Wednesday. By then, we should be well on our way to getting closer to coming near the end of most of winter. How’s that a positive attitude?
I do remember, when we lived in Nashville for a couple of years, how amazing it was that by the end of February, it certainly felt like Spring was coming, or almost there. Where up here near the Arctic Circle, Spring is measured more in hours than weeks, and very often, Easter Egg hunts happen in the living room than in the backyard, since you would lose the eggs in the snow.
Still, this is where we live, with shovels that move stuff that eventually melts, and five months of the year it’s possible that your car tires might not ever touch the actual concrete of the street. It’s where, if it’s a great day, you only have to put on your medium heavy coat to go out to get the mail, instead of slumping on your heavy parka with bare feet shoved into boots for the trudge through the snow.
At least we don’t have to mow or water our lawn…
I know that each of us has our own story about our lives where we live. We find joys and challenges, things that never seem to change, and others that never seem to remain the same. It’s funny how people down south pay to go skiing up north, and the northerners pay to bake in the winter sun down south. So, I suppose the greatest challenge and achievement are also the simplest: learning contentment, and becoming so where we are, perhaps with occasional changes. The saddest lives, I’m sure you will agree, are found in people who just ooze discontent. It permeates like chicken bones in the trash. It carries no joy into life. Like I said, it’s ok to strive for different things at times, but if you are never content with your life, then by gum CHANGE IT! Stop complaining, stop grumbling, and stop dragging others who seek contentment into that hole. Change either your exterior, or your interior, but work to evolve into a contented person, and find your peace and hope and again, intentional joy living there.
What’s new? Each day. Waiting to be unwrapped and en-joyed. Go ahead – untie the ribbon and let’s get at it…
Word for the Day: ken. I can’t write a pronunciation – it is what it looks like – a friend of Barbie’s. Actually the word holds an interesting view: from the Middle English kennen, the first definition is “to give birth or generate.” The deeper meaning, however, is from the Old English, cunnen, meaning “to know.” One’s “ken” is described as the range of what someone can know or understand. It varies from person to person, and from topic to topic. My “ken” of microbiology extends to the ability to spell the word, but many other important pieces of trivia have found their way into my brain, and that range extends far and wide.
By the way, as a nautical term, “ken” means “the range of sight.” When you are on the ocean, what indeed is that thing that you see just before you can’t see any further in the distance?
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.