Sulking and soaking. For me, the two always go together. I know when I'm not fit to be around people, especially the people I'm mad at, so the bathtub is the best place to be. I run the water as hot as I can stand it and stay there until I feel like I can be civil again. That night, the night before Christmas, I thought I might be there till dawn.
Tim had dropped the bomb when he came home from work two days before we were to go home for the holidays. Somehow he'd managed to mess up making the flight reservations. How could he mess up something so important, so essential to my sanity? Bad enough he'd talked me into coming here, to the end of reason and any sign of civilization, just so he could have a "real northern experience." Bad enough he didn't once compliment me on how I'd bravely been enduring the minus fifty degree temperatures. Bad enough we still had five more months to endure life in this town on the edge of the universe. Now we were stuck here for Christmas.
Even if we drove south till the temperature was warm enough for planes to fly, there weren't any seats to be had. And what was his excuse? He thought he'd told the travel agent to book it, but he had only asked her to give him the details. When she didn't hear back from him, she assumed we'd changed our minds but didn't bother to check. There are too many people . . .
I sat at the table for five hours watching people walk by. Every now and then someone would stop and pick up one of my books. I'd chat with them, telling them the book was a collection of devotionals. Sometimes I'd share how the Lord had used it to make a change in someone's life. Usually they'd smile and move on. They'd move on to buy trinkets at other tables loaded with kitsch ? painted plastic santas, crocheted snowflakes, angels made of dishtowels, and snowmen made of styrofoam.
As the day wore on I got a little discouraged. And, as discouragement often does, it started to move into bitterness tinged with anger. Why were these people so eager to grab things that had so little value and would last for such a short time? Why weren't they more interested in buying something that could nourish their souls? It made me want to scream, but I kept quiet and tried to keep smiling when someone glanced my way.
As I drove home later that day I ruminated. I love that word ? it means to turn over and over, as in a cow chewing her cud. And that's what it felt like as I drove along ? my stomach was churning; I was stewing over what had happened, and I wasn't being very complimentary to those people who had not bought my books.
Then that still small voice whispered from somewhere beyond ? ?And what about you?? Me, Lord? Um ?
I once had to walk through a swamp with a heavy pack on my back. I stumbled at almost every step because of the muskeg, my legs chilled to the bone by ice-cold water that lurked beneath the hummocks we tried to walk on. But I had a friend with me who continually turned and encouraged me with words that made me believe I could do what had to be done. I finished that arduous trip only because I sensed he believed I could do it and it made me want to.
In Ephesians 4:1 ? The Apostle Paul writes- ?I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.? On the one hand this makes me smile and want to step forward with my head held high. On the other hand, it makes me cringe. As Christians we have received a primary calling, to be like Jesus and to glorify Him in all things. That calling is irrevocable. And I am painfully aware that I fail to be worthy of it every day. I continually fall into sinful attitudes and thoughts. It makes me think of Paul's cry in Romans ? ?oh wretched man that I am!? He too knew himself to be weak and unworthy, in his flesh, yet he also says ? ?Although I am less than the least of all God's people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ? (Eph 3:8). And in that I am . . .
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