It is the last January 31, 2013 in history and what shall I do with it?

It is the last January 31, 2013 in history and what shall I do with it?

It is only one day, but what if it was the last?

I am uncharacteristically ill, recovering from a fever and lacking in energy. Laid low, I’ve had little to do but think and reflect. When you are without energy (which is truly rare for me, pass the deer antler velvet please Ray), you realize what a wondrous gift energy is, and then you ask, Have I expended mine wisely?

My friend Richard Souther, also ageing as am I, posted this from Abraham Heschel, “When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.”

How much of my life’s energy was expended in endeavors that at the time seemed important, and now in retrospect, weren’t quite so important, even forgettable?

Yet this is not a word against fervor, as a matter of fact retaining a passion for life and God must be fought for in each season of your journey.  It is an ongoing wrestle, and paradoxically the further you go with God the more aware you are of the stakes in truly making God central in your life.

The church’s first martyr Steven was stoned for his vibrant witness. What might he have been like had he lived to be 60? We’ll never know. Might he have grown more timid in the guise of balance and reasonableness? Might he have become weary of well doing? Might he have passed on the torch to youth and eased into retirement? Might he have dared to kick back and eat a peach?

To say you trust God with your life should never be uttered glibly or without careful consideration. Thomas Merton and C.S. Lewis both weighed in on the paradox of making God central in daily life and dear George MacDonald characteristically followed his heart.

 Thomas Merton I only say I trust You. My actions prove that the one I trust is myself—and that I am still afraid of You.  Take my life into Your hands, at last, and do whatever You want with it. I give myself to Your love and mean to keep on giving myself to Your love—rejecting neither the hard things nor the pleasant things You have arranged for me. It is enough for me that You have glory.  Everything You have planned is good. It is all love. The way You have laid open before me is an easy way, compared with the hard way of my own will which leads back to Egypt, and to bricks without straw.

C.S. Lewis from “A Slip of the Tongue” (The Weight of Glory). Proceed with Great Caution. I mean this sort of thing. I say my prayers, I read a book of devotion, I prepare for, or receive, the Sacrament. But while I do these things, there is, so to speak, a voice inside me that urges caution. It tells me to be careful, to keep my head, not to go too far, not to burn my boats. I come into the presence of God with a great fear lest anything should happen to me within that presence which will prove too intolerably inconvenient when I have come out again into my “ordinary” life. I don’t want to be carried away into any resolution which I shall afterwards regret. For I know I shall be feeling quite different after breakfast; I don’t want anything to happen to me at the altar which will run up too big a bill to pay then. It would be very disagreeable, for instance, to take the duty of charity (while I am at the altar) so seriously that after breakfast I had to tear up the really stunning reply I had written to an impudent correspondent yesterday and meant to post today. It would be very tiresome to commit myself to a programme of temperance which would cut off my after-breakfast cigarette (or, at best, make it cruelly alternative to a cigarette later in the morning). Even repentance of past acts will have to be paid for. By repenting, one acknowledges them as sins—therefore not to be repeated. Better leave that issue undecided. The root principle of all these precautions is the same: to guard the things temporal.

George MacDonald. The Diary of an Old Soul. Come to me, Lord: I will not speculate how, Nor think at which door I would have thee appear, Nor put off calling till my floors be swept, But cry, “Come, Lord, come any way, come now.” Doors, windows, I throw wide; my head I bow, And sit like some one who so long has slept That he knows nothing till his life draw near.

 It is the last January 31, 2013 in history and what shall I do with it?

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