Looking for the next updraft.
The past couple of weeks have been interesting. As part of my job at Edinboro University, I attended a three-day class on Wednesday, March 14 through Friday, March 16. The class itself was fine, it was a FEMA sponsored certification for All-Hazards planning. The stressful part of that was sitting at a table with the University President to my left, the Provost to my right, the VP for Student Affairs two people down from that, and the VP for Finance (my boss) across the table. I felt like the proverbial long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. All of the mentioned individuals are great to work with and for, but even so, that situation is simply not the most relaxing of environments. In addition, that left me with a two-day work week to get stuff done at my office. Fortunately, I could keep relatively caught up on my email, even if I wasn’t in my office.
Friday evening, Beth and I looked at a couple of motorcycles to replace my 1982 Suzuki GS 1100L (more on that in a later post).
Saturday the 17th was interesting. That morning, we picked up the new(er) motorcycle, and I rode it home. It was a beautiful day, but I was more than a little tired from the previously mentioned class, so I took the rest of the day to relax and catch up on some rest. That evening Beth and I went to our friends’ home (thanks, Matt and Teri) for some fantastic home-brew on St. Patrick’s Day. I could do that again, let me tell you. I wish we could have stayed longer, but had obligations at church the next morning. We were the “party poopers” and left really early (I’m not entirely sure that was a completely bad thing, having been to M & Ts’ parties in the past. Kidding, Matt!!).
Sunday morning was church at First Baptist Church in North East, PA, and then we had to hustle over to the Polish Falcons Club in Erie for our monthly Blue Dolphins Skin Divers meeting. This was our annual club “bowling challenge” (I’m a miserable bowler) meeting, but fortunately we had the business portion of the meeting first. I’m the VP of the club, and I think it’s kind of important for me to be there as often as humanly possible. I couldn’t stay for the fun part (although Beth did), because I had a six-hour drive to Lancaster, PA.
Pennsylvania’s state Universities are linked by an organization, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). Each University has its own Police Department, with a Chief of Police leading each PD. The PASSHE chiefs have periodic meetings, in which we discuss matters that may affect us all. The meetings are always productive and necessary to explore issues deeper than is possible by phone or email. This particular meeting was a two-day affair starting Monday, March 19 and concluding on Tuesday, March 20. I then drove the six hours home after the Tuesday meeting.
Brief re-cap: FEMA class Thursday through Friday, Mar. 14-16. Pick up motorcycle and St. Patty’s Day party Saturday, March 17. Church, Blue Dolphin meeting, and six-hour drive Sunday, March 18. Chiefs’ meeting Monday and Tuesday, March 19 and 20, and a six-hour drive home Tuesday afternoon/evening.
Wednesday the 21st through Friday the 23rd were fun, in that I got to ride my new bike to work and home, thanks to the beautiful weather and unseasonable temperatures we have experienced. Friday evening I was beat, but jazzed about the new bike, so Beth and I took a one-hour ride.
This past weekend was great, very restful and relaxed. Friday and Saturday nights were the first great nights sleep I have had in a couple of weeks.
So I have been tired for at least the past week and a half. Each event was fine in and of itself. I enjoyed each thing that came along, but added together, I just wore down.
I suppose being so worn down had a large part of the spiritual malaise I have felt for a while. I have struggled for some time to feel like I was keeping my head above water spiritually. The description that I have used in the past is that it feels like I am running in the surf. I have to work twice as hard to get anywhere, but it’s a struggle to even stay upright. Other than the lack of rest, I’m not sure of the dynamics of this difficulty, but it has been disheartening.
But I am grateful for God’s periodic boosts through this time. There have been multiple moments where I have found a verse in the Bible that lifts me, perhaps a verse that I would skim right over at any other time. Maybe a line in our pastor’s message on a given Sunday. A line in a song on the radio (WCTL in the Erie area or on-line), or a comment from Beth or a friend.
These haven’t been “boosts” like one would see pushing the space shuttle into the stratosphere. I actually had that kind of booster during our recent fast.
Have you ever watched a bird, maybe a hawk or an eagle soaring high in the sky on a summer day? It seems so effortless, but the truth is that they need constant adjustments to stay “up.” Glider pilots (and even captains of sailboats) must constantly monitor the winds. Because winds shift. If they have a breeze from the north-west, they cannot depend on that as a constant. It might shift to a wind from the south-west, and they must adjust sail accordingly. That bird or glider must constantly ride a new updraft, otherwise they will have a very short flight.
And this is what I have received over the past few weeks. Not a massive booster that slams me back into my seat, breathless as I am thrust ever faster on my journey. But instead, a gentle updraft, keeping me afloat as I pray to maintain my soaring above the earth.
God never promised that this life would be an easy one. He only promises that He will be with us always, constantly, a “wind beneath my wings.” And as I learn to continuously surrender myself, He helps me find the next updraft that He has provided, keeping me afloat, soaring. Every day, every moment, Lord, Your will be done, not mine. Kill my will, Father, it’s out to kill me. Fill me, Lord with You. All You. Nothing but You.
Music plays a large part of my life, and I have loved music since I was a child. I sing, listen to CD’s, radio, and I am constantly uplifted. This song touches me every time I listen to it. May God’s Blessings be upon us all.