A Traveler’s Guide: Making Haste Slowly

I never expected a month to pass before I would submit more material to you from my coming book (a faith walk), A Traveler’s Guide Through Suffering and Joy!

Oh, I have been writing. “Festina lente” — “make haste slowly” should be my motto. I think this oxymoron suites my life.

As a child I was a “slow learner,” and then I caught up. So as an older person (what I call “Early Old” – the 60s), I can be a slow writer. I do hope to catch up. Just like the tortoise. I will catch up, and maybe even move ahead.  “Hare, hare!”

Simmer, simmer, write, write, exhaustion, distraction, distraction, exhaustion, family activity, church/friend activity, exhaustion, simmer, write. . . .  (Stuff inside exhaustion and distraction some headaches and an angry body.) Sometimes my faith walk is a faith crawl, with a snooze tucked in.

Ah, I do have some pages for you to read. Let me see. . . .

Here is the next installment for you:

Introduction Part B–Approaching this Study

Well, I’m a bit embarrassed to tell you this, but this is just seven pages, five of which are new, and these five are added near the end of the introductory chapter which I uploaded in the last post.

I did complete another chapter almost two weeks ago, but as I was considering revisions, I realized that I should address my readers more specifically, which is what you have here, so I’ll hold off in submitting chapter one to you for a while. Festina lente!

So much has happened this past month, illustrating some of these suffering/joy themes. I’d like to tell you more, but first, regarding these seven pages I have a few more things to say. . . .

Here, you will see that I have changed to a one column format, instead of a two column format, with wider left and right margins. I want the book to be full paper size, (8 1/2 x 11 inch) or there about, so people will have plenty of room to write.

You can go back to the previous post to re-read that draft, if you’d like, which comes before these seven pages. The original draft is still on that post.

If you want to be an honest broker, God is sure ready to enable you. Really, Lord, I don’t want to illustrate the themes of this book, or at least the suffering half of it, any more than I have to. I really don’t want to be brave. I really don’t like having my family members and friends be my illustrations either! Yes, Lord. I know. I fuss, fuss. Then I lean, lean. Here we go, Lord. Leaning!

This is some crazy thinking. Of course my family, friends, myself, and everyone are illustrations of the themes of this book. We’re in a broken world and we’re broken. That’s why I’m writing this Traveler’s Guide.

Paul and I have been hurting with hurting people we love this year, and this past month, the suffering seems to be crescendoing. We’ve been praying for a couple who have been our friends for forty years. Yes, forty. Carolyn and I taught at the same Christian school in California and Ric and Paul were roommates for a few years in Mount Hermon, California. Long story. Carolyn has cancer in her heart — discovered on Valentine’s Day. Irony. Advanced. Treatable but not curable. We’ve been praying and keeping up with the saga. In October, we are flying out to California to visit them in Castro Valley (east of San Francisco).

Recently, we spent a week with a very close friend whose “godly” husband left her after 34 1/2 years of marriage and married another women. She cries out to the Lord and stays faithful to Him. I’m proud of her and hurt for her deep grief that doesn’t go away.

A few days after we returned home, we learned that my Aunt Mary (age 88) and her husband, Uncle Bud (age 97), who had been doing well enough on their own (with some help), had been hospitalized four days previously, and my sister and I didn’t know! (They are the ones who own my grandfather’s farm I’ve written about, the Findlay Family Farm.)

It looked like Mary, who had suffered a concussion four months previous but was improving, was now loosing much of her mental processing and speech abilities. Test results did not look good. Oh! Might we lose her!  So, last week end, we hurried to the hospital (1 1/2 hours away) and spent the day there. As it has turned out, Mary is recovering her mental and speech functions — Thank You, Lord! She is weak, but it looks like she will recover. She and Uncle Bud were moved to an excellent nursing home earlier this week. I have been stressing over this and not sleeping well.

On the other side of my family, my cousin, Sherrie, has been threatened with the return of her cancer from twelve years ago. Over the summer, we’ve gotten continued reports. Her Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma was discovered behind an eye, and then in a breast. Oh, my! More tests. We praised the Lord that it was not in her brain! Ah! But then it was found in her neck.

At first Sherrie was in great fear, but with much prayer, family-friend-church support, this girl’s spiritual confidence, leaning of the Lord, has been astounding us all.

This morning she called with more difficult news. Two recent biopsies located the cancer in her abdomen and bone marrow. Sherrie was strong, describing her schedule and appointments, but I was bowled over. Treatable but not curable. I felt this invisible switch inside of me turning off my energy supply, and I found it hard just to keep my eyes opened. I was squinting. I was being unplugged. I was going down.

Say, Sherrie is the one with the cancer. Why am I writing about me? I’m in there with my cousin. She’s my cousin. My body does not always cooperate…. Fortunately, Paul was there to pray with Sherrie and finish the conversation.  I rested this afternoon and could not finish this post, which was close to being ready to publish. Now, after hours of rest, I am finishing this and will go to bed early. Thank You, Lord. We are supposed to see our family tomorrow. I don’t want to stop that. And we’re to go to a wedding on Sunday! I don’t want to miss that. I’m tempted to stress over all of this too!

“Festina lente.” “Make haste slowly.” So, I can do the “lente” part.

This Bible study I am writing, A Navigator’s Guide Through Suffering and Joy, is a very practical, theological study.  This is lived theology. This is living theology. This theology is in my headache. This theology is in the heart of Carolyn (no irony) and in the heart of Ric. This theology is in my divorced friend’s grieving soul. This theology is in Sherrie’s spirit. It is in Aunt Mary’s brain, and it is the theology of Uncle Bud’s patience in waiting for Heaven. So many ways to suffer, yet so many ways to lean on Jesus, accepting His peace. Peace produces such a gentle joy.

Well, there are so many other ways we struggle. I hope you are not facing such serious health issues. I pray that our married friends are dancing together, so to speak. I pray our single friends feel supported and loved in key, close relationships.

“Festina lente.” “Make haste slowly.” So, in the fulness of time, Jesus will do the “festina” part.

I pray “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done… in our lives, as it is in heaven.”

The comfort of the Comforter be with each of us.

Categories: Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil, Spiritual Growth, Theology | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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