Apocalypse Now, Baby.

Not really. Well, maybe.
Actually, let me just say,
1. I do believe a rapture and apocalypse will occur as it is written in Scripture.
2. I do believe in Jesus and believe that He came to give life in all its fullness, and that people who reject His love will be left behind in the event that He does return to earth.
But is He coming tomorrow, as fringe “believers” have predicted? Most likely not. God doesn’t really adhere to human schedules or man-made mathematical schemes imposed on Scripture to calculate Jesus’ return. And even if He did, would we be left behind simply because we disagreed on the day and the hour? No.
Even so, I find it fascinating to listen to radio hosts discuss what they would do with their last days on earth, and read about friends on Facebook planning a rapture party, and seeing tweets about what people would do if the world were to end tomorrow. What would we do if we knew the end was coming?
All week I’ve been meaning to write a post for you folks, but the words have been halting, at times snarky and depressed, and other times the words have flown freely into a form that I love, but that I think might best be reserved for a time when they aren’t so stinging and sad. Have you ever struggled with that, friends? You write down a good story – a true story – and then realize that if anyone reads it, no matter how well written, it could cause more pain than it’s worth?
I realize that many writers don’t trouble themselves with this. After all, it’s the truth. But deep within me, the part of me that is more than a writer, but a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, a niece, a wife, a friend, knows that it does indeed matter. Some subjects are better left alone. Or perhaps they are better saved for another space and time, like a novel that critics and historians may suspect to be partially auto-biographical, but the writer has no comment on the matter, or maybe left behind in a journal that the writer hopes no one will ever do the dishonor of reading, even in death.
Maybe I should invest in invisible ink.
I could just leave those thoughts in my head, but they take up a lot of room.
I am often caught up in what I should be saying, but I think that it’s also important and all too often overlooked to decide what should be left unsaid. I’ve reached the end of this week, having left the pieces I wrote unpublished. And let me tell you, as hard as it was to decide to leave it alone, I’m thankful I did. I’ve left tomorrow unencumbered by an irreversible choice.
And so, the only thing I have left to say at the end of a long week and the day before what probably isn’t the end of the world, is live your life with intention. 
I have this terrible habit of skipping to the end of my books and reading the last pages. It’s a control issue and my shrink and I are working through it…. :)
Really, though. It’s incredibly frustrating that I can’t live life that way. Just a sneak peak would be really helpful when I have absolutely no sense of how to handle life. But since I can’t I am learning that to live with the not knowing, to be at peace with the yet unportrayed ending, means that I am forced to live within the moment I’m given. I have to choose my words and actions with intention.
No one knows how and when and where their life is going to end – we each comprehend this in our own sense. Maybe your parent has a terminal illness or your best friend died in an accident or you just lost your grandparent or you’re fighting for your own life. In any case, take time to enjoy this moment, when you’re here and capable of intentionally loving and living your life.
Have a good weekend, friends.

On Finding Things.

The impossible has happened. My brother called me today: O’Hare Airport Security found his stack of vinyls that we thought were lost forever, safe and sound, right where he left them on a lobby table at the Hilton. What are the odds?
I can’t deny it. After my downer of a post yesterday, it would be wrong of me not to write in response to my own pessimism with the truth that sometimes miracles, even small ones, do happen.
Remember that list of things lost in yesterday’s post?
The grapes, the postcards, the pants, the cell phone, the camera, the laptop charger? What I didn’t tell you is that I actually did get some of those things back.
The camera I left in a cafe in Vienna was waiting for me when I dashed across the city to grab it before I missed my train home.
The pair of pants were neatly folded along with some clean sheets in the laundry room of the hostel in Florence where I left them.
The time when I got lost on a crowded street in Amsterdam it just so happened that I was in possession of our group’s cell phone, and I was able to call the one other person in our group who also had a cell phone. She found me within minutes and I was soon safe in the arms of my companions.
Why was this an unimportant piece of the story yesterday?
Sometimes, having faith makes it hard to reconcile my fear and doubt and disappointment. If we can convince ourselves that miracles don’t happen, then the pain of losing out on the things we want most might somehow be easier to deal with.
So then, what do I do with the found things in my life? The miracle moments when all of my pessimism and cynicism are met with the impossible? Against all odds, I’m standing in the moment I feared would never come, holding in my hands the thing I never thought I’d see again. And how do I reconcile that with the moments when I don’t get what I’m hoping for?
It should be obvious by now that I’m not just talking about finding records and cameras and pants. It’s not even about losing and finding myself on a street corner in Amsterdam.
Maybe what I need is not the thing I want itself. Maybe I just need to find the faith to accept life as it is, lost or found.

A Wager and the Weather.

What are the odds that things will turn out as planned?
What are the odds that things will go our way, just this once?
How much do you want to bet that the person who said they would call or lend a hand or fulfill their promise will flake out?
Is it possible that the weatherman’s blizzard predictions will be right this time?
Why are we not surprised to wake up the morning after a blizzard and realize that the plowman, in the midst of white-out conditions, did in fact, hit your car last night?
And so I often wonder if I would make more money by betting against my own life than I would investing in it.
Despite that, I’m still probably the only person left in the Midwest that can honestly say that I love snow. Right now it’s snowing my favorite kind of snow – giant, fluffy flakes that hang heavy on tree branches and window sills and cover the world in a blanket of quiet.
There’s the snow that leaves you with the peaceful, quiet, contented feeling.
And there’s the snow that reminds you : the world, nature, the environment is a force to be reckoned with.
Either way, it’s not in my control. There’s a time and a season for both. With that in mind, I’m dropping all of my predictions, expectations and disappointments. I’m just trying to heed the warnings and avoid getting caught in the midst of it.