CQ…Clark Here

Thoughts and opinions. LOTS of opinions.

Archive for the category “Intro”

So THAT’S it!!

Beth read an article in one of our monthly scuba magazines that talked about how good it is for people to go on vacations.  It improves one’s health, mental state, outlook on life, you name it.  And one of the surprising discoveries of the study cited by the author is that the anticipation of the vacation is as important to the whole process and outcome as is the vacation itself.  That was no surprise to me, I have loved planning our vacations for years.  I love planning the route, the timetable, what things would be cool to see, what to leave out.  I love sending for brochures, searching online for photos of wherever it is we are going.  I love reading and studying about the vacation, and I do so for months in advance.  The enjoyment I get from the planning and anticipation is as important and significant to me as the time we spend actually on the vacation.  And when we get back, I enjoy basking in the memories of the most recent vacation.  For a few weeks.  And then I start planning the next one.

But not this time.  As we were talking about the article and I had time to reflect, enlightenment came to me.  This is my major problem with the upcoming missions trip to the Dominican Republic, and here is anxiety number three!  I have had absolutely no input on this trip.  I have had no enjoyment in planning, in anticipation.  Oh, there’s been anticipation, alright, but none of it positive.  I have been dreading it because I have absolutely no idea what is going on.  The total sum of my knowledge with this trip is what type of clothing to bring, we can’t flush our toilet paper (it gets put in a basket beside the toilet.  Wonderful.), and we are leaving out of Buffalo on January 28 and returning on February 4.  That’s it!  I don’t even know who holds our tickets, I have no brochures, no ideas for sightseeing, or relaxing, or reading, or…or anything.  And I hate this!  This is not how I’m wired.  This is so far out of my comfort zone I can’t even see my comfort zone.

And I am sure that is part of the point.  That I need to learn that “God is sufficient.”  That I learn what Paul learned so long ago, that I must focus, not on what I can control, or can touch, but to simply let go.  To give God the wheel, and simply go where He desires me to go, and do what He ordains for His kingdom.

The past ten years have been very difficult.  The lessons learned, the hardships, have all been nearly more than I could bear.  My soul cries out, “How long, oh Lord,” and I have no end in sight.  I recognize the truth of this, but the ache does not disappear.  I do not doubt the existence of God, nor of his goodness and love for me.  But what I am left with right now is to simply wonder how long must I lay here, broken and battered?   Will there come a season of peace, contentment?  When?  How long, oh Lord?

This trip to the D.R. is significant.  I do not know how at this point, but time will tell.  I look not for a mountaintop experience, nor do I desire such.  But for now, even with all my anxieties, fears, and doubts, I know that God is in control.  And for now, that is sufficient.

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I HATE this

I have been having trouble with this D.R. trip for several weeks. A lot is baggage from the past year (that’s a blog or two in itself).  But a lot is the trip itself.  My old job was a soul killer, my new job is great.  But one thing I carried over from old job to new is that my vacation is extremely precious to me.  I need time to recoup, to rest, to energize.  That translates to me being very jealous of my time off.  I hate to waste days off on what I consider stupid stuff, I treasure it for the recovery aspect.

The D.R. trip will consume six (count ’em, six) vacation days.  Are you kidding me??  Great I need that time for me, and now I gotta use it on what is not going to be a relaxing journey.  Thus appears anxiety number one.

I hate “doing stuff.”  Beth loves going on vacation and “doing stuff,” but not me.  We used to go on vacation camping with the kids.  We would strap bicycles to the top of the car, go to the campground (often Red House, Quaker Run, or Lake Erie State Park, all in New York).  We would set up camp, I would unfold a camp lounge chair, and weld myself to it.  Beth and the girls would go for walks, bike rides, whatever.  I moved to eat, go swimming (mostly laying on the beach), eat, and go to bed.  And yes, I said “eat” twice.  But that’s it.  None of this “doing stuff.”  That has carried over.  I like thinking, I like reading, but I do not like working on the house, helping a buddy put on a roof, or changing the oil in the car.  I am perfectly content to pay someone else to do that stuff.

So here I am, looking at this stupid D.R. trip, where I am not going to relax, I am not going to refresh,  am not going to recoup.  I am going there to do stuff!!   I HATE this!!  Thus appears anxiety number two.

But I don’t get it.  This is killing me, and I don’t understand why.  I have talked about it, thought about it, worked with it, and I am still dreading this.  I’m losing sleep, my heart is racing, I’m short-tempered, and all this seems a bit out of proportion to the whole thing.  what is the problem, here!??!!

More to come…

Missionary? Not ME!!!

Just a bit of background. My wife had gone to the Dominican Republic on a short-term mission a couple of years back.  She came home refreshed, and at peace in a way I had not seen her in a long time.  She urged me to go, saying that the experience was invaluable, and that she thought it would be of tremendous benefit to me.

Understand, I am not one that relishes helping people with building, moving, rearranging, car repair, home repair, or just about anything else that one can think of to fit in this type of situation.  So when Beth suggested this, I had absolutely no qualms to inform her that such a thing was extremely unlikely.  I thought the matter closed.

Until my friend J.L. went to the D.R.  He and I are relatively close, and he knows me pretty well.  He came home jazzed, and talked the trip up, like Beth did, only more obnoxious (my observation).  It got to the point that I had to tell him to let it go, I was getting ticked, and he was pushing way too much.  So he did.

I get the feeling that he kept praying, though.  About a year ago, after a message in church,  really felt that I was supposed to commit to going to the D.R. I spoke with J.L., and he had scheduled a second trip last spring.  I told him that I was feeling God‘s leading that I should go to the D.R., and if he would commit to leading the trip, I would go the following January (January 2012).  Apparently he was a bit unhappy, as he had not relished the thoughts of going back a third time, but I told him that was my condition; “he don’t go, I don’t go.”  When he returned, he was fired up, and couldn’t wait to go again.  Crap. That angle didn’t work.

As the year went on, I forgot about it, and at the end of summer, I thought that maybe J.L. had forgotten, and whew! What a sense of relief!  He forgot, I have no idea about the sign-up dates, they are probably past, and I don’t have to go.  I thought, “I ain’t sayin’ nothin’ to John until December.  Then, I can say something like, “Hey, whatever happened to the D.R. trip?”  “Oh, the sign-up dates are past?”  “Ah, man, I was gonna go, too.”

The jerk remembered.  And we signed up.  And Beth and I are going next Saturday, a week from today.  And this has been extremely difficult for me.  And this is the impetus for me to begin this blog.

To be continued…

Well, hello, there!

Well, how about that?  My first blog on my first blog site!  I will publish more information about myself in later posts, and as time goes by.  However, for now let it suffice for me to provide just a bit of information.

I have huge opinions on just about any topic imaginable.  This blog may wander around the map, as inspiration (or stupidity, depending on one’s viewpoint) appears.  My interests range from politics to religion; from scuba diving to music; from football to movies.

See?  Can’t narrow it down from that (for now).  We’ll just have to see where this adventure takes us.

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