Friday, June 27, 2008

On Your Mark... Again.

Details are being ironed out, solutions reached, walls painted, repairs made at the house, etc. etc. It feels like once again we are really close to closing on the business and can focus all our efforts on getting up to camp. There's a lot less loose ends to wrap up here in Salem now. I have to confess though that from time to time (and this is one of those times) I just want to run out and buy a lottery ticket and make everything happen according to my schedule. I would love to eliminate the risk and the impending struggle. When it boils down to it, I guess I'd prefer to walk by sight, it's so much easier that way.

Ironically, this week there has been a group doing a training right in our neighborhood. They are sighted people learning how to use a blind person's cane (I'm sure there's a more eloquent way to say that). My assumption is that they aspire to one day teach blind people how to safely navigate the world with their cane. At this point we haven't heard the instructor say anything to the students. All the instructing has been done before. Now, the students just put into practice the things they've been taught earlier: like feeling the edge of sidewalk and the grid pattern when it slants down to the road so they know where to stop and listen for cars, or feeling the grass versus the drop of the curb so they can stay centered. They've been all over our walk way and even taken a wrong turn into the driveway. It's all very fascinating and since I can see quite well I'm sure it looks easier than it is. What is a bit humorous is that, unbeknownst to the students, the kids are lined up right by the sidewalk and could reach out and touch them as they pass by.

The instructor never stops the students from their wrong turns and doesn't even help them when they are obviously confused by our off centered curbs as we have a boulevard on one side but not on the other. But, she's always right by them for safety. They started out just circling the four corners of our block right in front of the house. Now, they are walking the whole neighborhood and taking random turns here and there. I have to say, I can see a marked difference from their first few ventures to now. In fact I was moved to applaud one man who had gone from looking lost and timid, to looking confident and focused.

I can't help but relate this cane training to our spiritual training. We start out with smaller tasks and ventures but as we become comfortable with those we are able to venture further which adds further challenges as well as blessings. It was harder when they went further, but they could hear different sounds and reach different destinations. They'd been given freedom but with it came occasional struggle. Each time I obey God's instructions I've noticed it becomes easier the next time. Eventually it becomes even natural. But, I've also noticed that there is always another step of faith to take. Each step carries with it a blessing but is also a challenge.

Also like the students, we've been given the instructions we need, and our leader has never left us either. Sometimes God lets us figure out the best way to go and rely on past teaching to guide us. For that we have both our own experience but more importantly, God's word. Again it was enforced to me that it's better to remain calm and keep thinking through the challenging parts than to get frustrated or fearful. The students were very calm, obviously aware that the instructor was near and determined to learn how to overcome the challenge and grow. It was a great picture of faith in God.

Finally, just as these students were being watched by my three kids and myself, we too are surrounded by witnesses who can be blessed by our growth and even the struggles. I think we all learned a little bit about how to properly use a cane, of course we'd learn more by personal experience but still we learned some.

So, I'm not going out to buy a lottery ticket. Though I feel I'm hearing again the "On Your Mark..." I'm waiting for the call of the Lord to say, "Get Set... GO!!" I am confident that his timing is best and that he will provide for us. I'm also confident that by allowing him to be in charge of the timing and details he will get the glory in this which is our ultimate goal anyway.

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Lord, lift me above my own narrow horizons, that I might fulfill your true vision for me. - B.J. Hoff