The street in front of the train station in Douliu, Yunlin County, Taiwan. Familiar and not so familiar.
It was a few years ago that my eldest daughter had been called up for active duty in Afghanistan. Her unit was leaving on the Sunday when time changed. Here are my thoughts and feelings on that day.
Time Change Sunday
Spring ahead – lose an hour
Not enough sleep
Spending time together
Not sure when the next opportunity will be.
Be at the base by 6:30 a.m.
No, that has changed
Will send a message
With the new time.
Text says to be there at 14:00
I wonder . . . what if they decided
To leave early
Would you be left behind?
Trip to the base to drop you off
Will be back
To wait with you until
It’s time for you to leave.
But the time has changed
Now it is at 18:00
So we play Phase 10
Good way to pass the time.
Halfway through the game
Time to head to the airport
The busses have arrived
Time for soldiers to board.
Head to the airport
To get some food first
There’s what – a parade??
Waiting with anticipation
There they are!
Motorcycles with flags flying.
Cars, trucks, motorcycles
Riding with lights blinking
To signify the importance
Of this incredibly long train.
This entourage continues
Slowly carrying precious cargo
Our own – on to the next stop
Fulfilling their duty to our country.
Traffic comes to a halt
To honor the troops riding to the airport
My daughter is on that bus
My heart is full, my eyes full of tears.
Busses, bikes, cars
File into the airport
Overtaken by family and friends
It’s just us and our soldiers.
Families standing together
Couples holding each other
Smiles, tears, laughter, silence
Today is time change, for sure.
The plane arrives
A long time coming, and yet…
Did it have to come so soon?
Shouldn’t it be an hour later?
The troops line up
Ready to make the final trip
Up the ramp – ready to leave
Today our time has changed.
What does the future hold?
What changes in the lives
Of each of these soldiers
Lord God, You know.
Thank You that our times
Are in Your hands
You are the One Who makes
All things new.
Thank You that on this day
We can trust You
With every time change
In the lives of our soldiers.
-Marilyn Hodgin, March 23, 2010
I saw this description on a Facebook page – made me pause. Sure enough, I thought, I’m older than microwaves – because they weren’t around when I was growing up. But then, I had to look it up. And wouldn’t you know it! I was not around yet when they were first invented. Check it out and let me know whether you were or not!! I’ll help you a little bit – here is a link about how they were invented – and when!
It was an accident. Well, maybe unplanned.
Have you ever had any of those – accidents, or unplanned somethings?
This winter has had many unplanned somethings – like lots of days with snow and ice here in NW Arkansas. Today was one of them.
Last week at my Perspectives class, Dr. Maxie Burch from John Brown University was talking about the Eras of Protestant Mission History. In his notes, he said, “Most of history is the history of the unintended.”
That also made me stop and think – how much of my own history was unintended? Did I intend for each chapter to happen and finish as it did? Probably not. Were there some good things? Definitely! Were there things where I would have chosen a different ending to the chapter if it was my choice? Of course.
So, who knows what in the world is going on in my life?
In Psalm 130:13-18, it says that God knows what is going on. Written by King David, he said this:
13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.
There were times when I thought that maybe I was just a puppet on a string – “all the days that were formed for me.” But David doesn’t respond like that. He marvels in how precious it is that God thinks about us, and knows us. I want to do that.
If you are one of God’s children, then look at this next passage. From Ephesians 2:7-10, Paul is talking about God’s plan for us – a gift to us. This is from The Message –
7-10 Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.
It makes my heart full to know that our lives are not an accident. We do have unplanned, or unintended, history in our lives, but we can rest in the character of God – each day is a precious gift.
I’m thankful for microwaves! I’m working on being thankful for unintended history.
How about you?