FIGHTING IN TANDEM
It started out well. We hauled our kayak down to the river and set in on a warm afternoon. I took my seat in the front, my husband pushed off and hopped in the back. We paddled out onto the water, the sun glistening on the surface. Boats cruised in the distance, kids splashed along the shoreline. We paddled in sync, riding the waves from boat wakes as we neared the middle of the channel.
Then I heard him say something like, “where are you going?”. Huh? We were in a tandem kayak, I couldn’t be headed a different direction than him, that’s kind of not possible. Clearly I was heading upstream like we always did but I paused to turn halfway to ask him what he was talking about. He said something like, “well you’re paddling heavy on the right and skipping strokes so I don’t know where you’re heading.” Excuse me? I defended my synchronous and even paddling strokes and said something like, “I wasn’t favoring the right side and I didn’t realize I was skipping any strokes…” Silence. It was at that point that I rested the paddle across my lap and just sat there.
He realized I wasn’t helping us get anywhere any time soon, we were paddling upstream and we had a headwind. He asked something like, “what’s the problem? Just stop steering us to the left and we’ll be fine” (I’m summing up the best I can from memory). Well since I didn’t realize I had been steering us to the left I got rather annoyed. I started paddling again rather vigorously, proving that I was indeed good at steering perfectly straight (thank you very much). After a few minutes, I noticed a huffing sound behind me. I glanced over my shoulder to see him paddling robustly. I asked, “why are you working so hard?”. His response indicated that I had been steering us to the left (again) and he was paddling harder opposite of me to keep us on course. Are you kidding me? I tried defending myself again, but he couldn’t hear me as I paddled and faced forward. My voice was lost in the wind. I stopped paddling and turned to speak.
He was getting frustrated because I could hear him but he couldn’t hear me. I was frustrated because I could hear him but I couldn’t be heard. I rested the paddle on my lap again and sat fuming. I was stuck on a kayak arguing with someone and couldn’t get away. So much for fight or flight. Maybe when you’re on the water it’s fight or float. After a minute, he asked what was wrong. He didn’t ask it in a snide way, but in an innocent-he-really-didn’t-know-what-my-problem-was kind of way. I realized he wasn’t at fault; I was just getting grumpy because I felt like my form was being critiqued as he sat behind me. He had the best vantage point and was honestly just trying to tell me what he saw me doing.
I sighed. I told him I was sorry, I was trying my best and to let me know if I needed to paddle in a different way. He paused from paddling and said that the current could be giving us trouble, along with the wind and that I was doing a good job. We just needed to keep working together to keep moving forward. Each time I had stopped paddling it slowed us down and made him work harder.
We both dug our paddles in the water and cruised upriver.
Working together, heading the same direction, enjoying our time in tandem.
This wasn’t our first kayak trip. It started out just like all the others as it was a great, but windy day. We packed up our gear, got the kayak on top of the jeep, and headed down to the Columbia. We carted the kayak and gear down to the river and set off. It started like all the others with great scenery and my beautiful wife. Our kayaking skills are improving and we are getting more comfortable working together so we can enjoy what this wonderful area has to offer. It such a blessing that my wife is willing to try new adventures and experience new blessings.
Almost immediately after setting off, I noticed something different. We were veering to the left more than usual. The wind and the current has a big part of this, but something seemed off. Since I was responsible for steering, I tried to correct by paddling harder on the left to force us more to the right. This is not uncommon as my wife has wanted to do some subtle steering to be clear of “hazards” that might be a mile a way. But again, this was different. I was increasingly putting in more and more effort to correct our position. I was audibly getting very winded and losing energy. Finally the non-verbal communication was kicking in and my wife was wondering what the big problem was.
I have never had great hearing nor a good memory, but chemotherapy in 2013 really hindered these key areas. Paddling up stream, in the wind, being anaerobic from correcting our steering, and my lovely wife facing away from me, hearing her is a very, very large challenge for me. Even though I can only see her pony tail, back muscles and her paddle, I noticed that she was getting very frustrated as well. She said something very important, but all I could hear was like the teacher’s voice from Charlie Brown. I paused for a few seconds to try use my best algorithms to make out what she said. My calculations ended up with “cannot divide by zero”. I said “I’m sorry, but I can’t hear you.
With her sharp head-turn to the left and the pony tail flailing around, I heard “I SAID!!!!!!!…..” and then something very important…that I don’t remember. What I do remember is my head slouching low and feeling like was I a beaten puppy.
Then the kayak trip got a lot better. But why? After decades of being together, we know how to resolve conflict really well. It is amazing how things can escalate quickly and how our perceptions can be totally different. Just after a few minutes, we were able to understand what the other person was going through and we were able to have another great trip.
Break Open the Sky is a refreshing change from the media soaked fear driven culture we face every day. I loved Bauman's practical insight, spiritual wisdom and hopeful outlook. The greater church will be empowered to live out their faith in the positive heaven focused way which inspires growth. If you struggle with fear this is a book to put on your must read list.
Have you read it? What books help you with fear?
OH!!!! The summer is almost over. Football season, cozy socks, caramel and pumpkin spice. Hurrah! I'm especially excited this year because That's The Book is going to be back from vacation starting NEXT MONDAY and this year I get to write about JESUS. Happy Day!
If you are new to Quirky Faith then welcome to That's the Book. Every Monday I'll write a short sum up of one book of the Bible. My goal is to give a massively simplified overview with a few personal stories to show how the word of God has impacted my life. I talk to people all the time about the Bible. One of the frequent things people say is they just don't know how to apply what's in the Bible to their real lives. So That's the Book is my attempt to share what reading the Bible and applying it looks like. You may not agree with me all the time (in fact - if you do we probably have a problem).
The other thing I'll share each week is a section called Resources. This is a list of some printable infographics, YouTube videos, music videos, Bible studies, books and other gems I've seen on the same topic. Honestly - these authors, churches, pastors and musicians are probably more helpful than anything I've written so if you only have a few minutes each week spend it reading your Bible yourself. And then the next couple minutes spend with the resources section. If you've still got space I'd love to have your time each Monday this year as we walk through the New Testament.
Up on the That's the Book page are all of last year's posts for each book of the Old Testament. It's been an inspiring journey reading and writing. Hope you find some encouragement to dig into the book yourself.
impact people and would people even care to hear what I had to say?"
Mindy told me I should write something.
When I sit and think about my life I don't think I have anything good to offer others that would be encouraging.
I'm a worrier big time.
I think this started when I was a kid and had to deal with the uncertainty that was always around me.
We moved a lot not just a few times but at least 8 times that I can remember.
I have one stuffed animal and a pair of my baby shoes from my childhood. We were always on the move and our posessions were always sold. I never stayed in one school long enough to play sports or do activities. We were always packing up and moving. I finally stayed in one place for 5 years when I moved in with my Grandmother. I was in 8th grade. It was the first time I stayed at one school for more than a year.
I was saved at age 14 and found God.
I loved church and youth group saved me from getting into a lot of trouble.
All I knew was dysfunction. I had an alcoholic parent and the other was in and out of my life. I saw how families stayed together and I wanted that sooo bad! I knew my family would be different when I got married. BOY did that one blow up in my face!
Fast forward a bit, I got married and life became stable. I had a decent job in banking and I was happy. I felt safe and secure, but for some reason when it came to my health I always worried. Any time something was wrong I was convinced i was going to die. I still feel this way. I think it's gotten worse since my divorce and ex-husband has remarried. I feel like I'm going to fade away. My kids have a new Mom. I'm not good enough. I can't give them the family they deserve. How am I going to survive financially? I can't give my kids all the things I wanted.
Now I know this sounds doom and gloom.
Hang with me for a sec.
I'm not perfect.
I sin from time to time. I don't always get it right. I get sad and I cry on occasion. I'm not the perfect parent and I think I get it wrong more than I get it right.
I always remember at the end of the day that God is good and he is always working on me.
I spent this last month worrying a lot about a spot on my foot that turns out is probably a bruise. I stressed about this pretty much every day and started planning my funeral. I know this sounds a bit nutty but when I think about my past it starts to make sense.
What I want people to know is that I am aware that I need to trust God more.
I need to rely on him and not worry so much.
Matthew 6:31 says " There for do not worry saying "what shall we eat?", What shall we drink?" Or "What shall we wear?" And Matthew 6:34 "Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is it's own trouble."
I heard about a man who was worried he would get cancer. There was a big family history associated with the disease and he worried and worried he would get it and die from it. It turned out that he did not get cancer but had a heart attack and died. Now isn't that a kicker? In the end the stress of his worry killed him anyway! This story brought a little perspective to my worrying.
Am I going to stop worrying tomorrow? Probably not.
Am I aware I need to work on myself and rely on God? YES!
There is a song by Jasmine Murray called "Fearless". I hear that song and I say to myself "That is what I want to be!" I want to be fearless!! I need to spend more time living my life instead of worrying about it.
God has always taken care of me and I know he always will!
We did the eclipse up right with certified glasses purchased six months ago. I did not accomplish this. If it had been my deal we would have been watching through a cereal box. Or driving from store to store in sad unprepared panic. I live in unprepared panic a lot of the time. People at church Sunday were lamanenting the lack of glasses. But my husband paid attention and researched and bought the glasses. He wins.
About five minutes before the grand celestial show he opened the pack and handed out the gear. He sheepishly smiled and said "hey, I didn't know this was a ten pack. We totally should have shared. Too late now."
The event was cool, I loved the shadows and temperature changes and watching my kids.
As I drove back to work I thought about those extra unused glasses and about the wasted opportunity to spread the joy. A little voice whispered in my soul.
"Mindy. You know you have unused words of hope sitting in your stash. Words people need to see the Son".
Oh. Yes. Words of Life.
So here you are. If you feel left out, in the dark, depressed, lost, discouraged or alone. Hear this.
I have good news. You are greatly loved by the creator of the sun and the moon. He entered time and space to prove it. He has beautiful timing and everlasting joy he'd like to share. It's quite the show. Don't miss out.
Anger leads to more anger. Want some fun ways to push back on hate and make some progress? I saw this on a friend's wall today and loved it. Made me laugh. Seems more effective than yelling.
This is amazing as well. I loved THIS article about a black man who befriended KKK members. I don't pretend to know how difficult it must be. Read his words. Friendship wins.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King Jr.
Do you have any stories of a time friendship and love won over hate? I'd love to hear them.
I use The Bible app with a devotional option and I'm currently working through one called 100 days of hope put out by Hope International. This morning it pointed out a thought I love. I got carried away and spent the day thinking about this verse. A good devotional will do that for you.
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life."
One of the reasons I read the Bible is because so often it tells the truth about me. Watch this. I took the first sentence, took out the instructions from God (Do everything without) and the inheritance of God (become blameless and pure, children of God) and got myself.
Grumbling or arguing.....in a warped and crooked generation. That's me. I get amped up and argue with people or philosophies I view as warped. I grumble like crazy when I see a crooked deal. Argue and grumble are my go to plans. You?
The next temptation is to accept God's rule but forget God's power and grace. The rule is to not grumble or argue. Easy way to do that is to simply withdraw from the warped and crooked generation and only hang out with people with whom I agree. No arguments. Stay home, only engage with my friends, love people who look and act like me. No grumbling. Rule achieved!
Except that's not the whole verse. Grace doesn't care about the rules if the heart is off. Checking off half a verse as completed and ignoring the real message simply wasn't point. Context people. Read and apply the full message.
Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky...
See it? What the writers at Hope International pointed out was the shine AMONG THEM. The them is the warped and crooked generation. This verse calls us not to fight with them. Not to argue with them. Not to tell them they are wrong. It also doesn't tell us to wrap up our children or our feelings or our lives in a layer of protection and avoid them. It calls us to SHINE like stars in the sky among them.
Stars are beautiful, spectacular, awe-inspiring, light giving, shiny, sparkly, fun. They illuminate the night. They provide a stable immovable point of reference for people lost in a dark night to find their way home.
How do we shine?
as you hold firmly to the word of life.
If you are drowning and someone throws you a life preserver you don't glance at it occasionally or drape an arm loosely through it. You hold on firmly.
Jesus saved me. Without Him I'm a waffling, unfaithful, angry mess. He is the word of life and I'm not letting go.
The people around you need a word of life. They don't need arguing or grumbling. They don't need words of death. We have enough of that. Shine life.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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