Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Remembering Heights from which we fall


Asherel and I spent the day culling outgrown toys, clothes, and books from our packed nooks and crannies. This is a detestable job and I hate it which is why I have the problem in the first place. I have bags and bags of things to bless someone else's nooks and crannies with and will drop the first load at Goodwill today. By late afternoon, we decided it was time for a break and we needed to find out if we can tie two kayaks on the roof of the van anyway. In a week, we bring Matt's furniture to his new apartment so the van will be stuffed to the gills. On that trip, we are also planning to attempt a kayak float down the river a half mile from him which does entail some mild whitewater sections. If I can tie the two kayaks on the van roof, we have enough inflatable and hard shell boats that we won't have to spend a cent renting kayaks to take all 5 of us on this potentially skull crashing adventure.

Besides practicing tying the two kayaks on the van, I have spent a good bit of time researching whether kayaking the Maury river as rank beginners with no whitewater skill is fun or foolish. Most of my life tends to fall in one of these categories. Parts of the Maury are class 4 and 5 rapids, which means only people with death wishes should navigate those sections. The section I am looking at is classified as "easy" and beginner level. That is for people who are less certain they hope to die by having their brains splattered on river rocks. The biggest danger on that section of the Maury is the river level is so low that we may get stuck in mud flats.

So I have been exchanging emails with "experts" who are beginning to find me a pest as I ask in 4,000 different ways, "Are you sure this is safe?". In the meantime, Asherel and I managed to secure the two kayaks on top of the van, lash them down and drove to Lake Wylie. The kayaks remained secure, no shifting, or problems. We were amazed and proud of ourselves.

However, for the ride home, no sooner had the car exceeded 20 mph, when there was a horrifying moan from atop the car that increased drastically as we went faster. The whole car shuddered with something vibrating.
"I wonder if people outside the car can hear that?" I said.
Asherel rolled down the window and the schreech of kayaks who had come to life as goblins set on fire crashed against our tender ears. She quickly rolled the window up and we pulled over to adjust. Heaving and pulling and sweating, we tried to alter the heavy kayaks' positions, tightened the straps and were on our way again. The goblins were still caterwauling, but less violently.
"This isn't going to work," I said.
"It worked on the way here," said Asherel.
"But I have no idea what we did right. I wish we had paid more attention."
"We didn't realize how hard it was to get it right," she agreed.
We readjusted a few times but nothing worked. Our effortless beginner's luck was gone.

This happens a lot in life. Things start off easy and then we get slowly sucked into complacency, pride, and self bloating. And then, the perspiration part of inspiration kicks in, and we are sweating and kicking inanimate objects and that's when we give up. We didn't expect it to be so hard. I had felt that way while engaged in my morning cleaning spree too. It was such a good and simple idea to de-clutter.... but within minutes, the process was overwhelming and I was considering leaving it to my grandchildren as yet unconceived and unborn to finish the job.

Even worshipping God is like that. When I was a new believer, just getting to know God, I could not read enough of His word, or attend enough Bible studies or church services, or pray enough hours. But as the years and years of following Him have meandered along, I find that initial outburst of passion and enthusiasm is more difficult to maintain. It is so easy to fall into complacency. "Good enough" becomes the goal, and relationships, homes, friendships, and lawns suffer. It is exhausting to maintain a standard of excellence, a passion of beginnings.

I am not alone. In Revelations, God berates the church in Ephesus for this very abandoning of their first engulfing passion for Him. He warns them that complacency will lead to falling away and losing all they had fought so hard for. The remedy is obvious- repent and keep at it with the enthusiasm it deserves.

So today, we will haul the kayaks back out and try to analyze what it was we did right the first time....after I clean out another bookcase.... and after I savor the presence of God in every scene my eyes have been empowered to see.

Revelation 2:3-5 (New International Version)

3You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

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