Their Tales Still Surprised Me

In my last post, “Sequence and Surprise,” I told “A Tale of Two Houses in One City” — our experience of moving from our first Fort Wayne home into what we hope will be our final home before our eternal home. Lord willing, no more moving!

“Lord willing” is an important qualification. It’s a planning perspective that takes into account my responsibility within the reality that ultimately, I am not in control. Life is neither random nor fixed. “Lord willing” is the perspective of walking by faith.

While we were involved in a move consuming six months, we witnessed amazing and surprising events,  in the lives of some people dear to us. I mentioned them by name in the previous post and now I want to describe some of those surprises and the impact of these people and events on me.

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Sequence and Surprise

Woe! What’s happened? Two months have swallowed me rather like Jonah in the whale. As I’ve come up for air, rather dizzy and sea sick, I’ve needed to take in the journey’s views quietly. Now, as 2021 ends, what is there to think and to say?

First, the journey has taught me again (repetition is a key to learning) that, no matter how wise or foolish my thinking or choices may be, I am not in charge (control is an illusion), and to underscore the elementary lesson, the journey has  also illustrated that “you” (today’s “everyman” you) are not in charge either.

Are we lost in the cosmic darkness?

How necessary that we hear again the angel say, “Fear not!”

But how can we not fear, o we of faux control?

“Fear not, for I bring you tidings of great news.”

The angel-messenger indicates that we are not alone in some cosmic emptiness. Someone is in control. The Someone outside of “us” (transcendent), but near us (immanent), and is named Emmanuel — “God with us.”

I observe that our “God with us-God,” the “I AM-God” who claims to be in control, demonstrates His rule in our lives and in the world. He doesn’t offer to us His rule as an option; then we would be in charge.  But He does offer as on option to us His comfort. “Fear not.” “Good news.”

So what is so good about bad news? (Or, what is so bad about good news?)

Now we are getting into deep, theological territory. (Sigh. I only wanted to catch you up on the last few months, but my mind always goes to meaning — to the themes behind the unfolding sequences of events.)

If your life is anything like mine, the sequences of events at certain turns this year probably surprised you. Anyway, the turns in our road (almost always hidden from view) surely caught me by surprise and surprise, but the Apostle Peter counsels us not to be surprised (I Peter 4:12).

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Look at What I Found in My “File Tell”

What have I unearthed in my explorations through my own “file tells”? (If this doesn’t make sense, then read the previous post that introduces the “file tell” concept based upon the architectural term, “tell” or “tel”).

In this process of preparing to move, I’ve dug up photos not seen in decades, letters from old friends, and cards with hand written signatures from our parents, long gone (so precious to see Paul’s adoptive mom’s lovely handwriting). I found award plaques. (“Shall we throw them out?” Surprisingly, Paul chooses not to do so.) I’ve unearthed old teaching notes, childhood essays (fascinating see my young self from afar), and amazingly, a silver box filled with sympathy cards dated 1960 regarding the passing of my maternal grandmother (which I gave to Aunt Mary, Grandma’s last living child).  One bin held paper relics from graduate school, and “Aha”! There it is! Continue reading

Categories: Christian Reader, Education, Government, Moving | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Digging through a “Tell” — a “File Tell” (Part 1?)

What is a “file tell”? Well, I made up this metaphorical term to describe my current packing experience in preparation for our coming move.

If you’ve read my previous post, you know that we are moving. Since my last writing, our current house did go on the market. Wildly, it went on the market on a Friday morning, and after seven showings by Saturday evening, we had three offers. We were urged to accept one, and we did so, but eight days later, the party rescinded their offer. In the mean time, we lost the options of the other two offers. One couple came down with Covid and couldn’t proceed with their offer, and the other party had probably found another house by then. So, we put the property back on the market.

We had lost our momentum, but we did have a number of new showings and received very positive feedback. It took another week to sell. While the offer we accepted was lower than our previous three offers (which hurt), we  do like the new family very much. God provides! We are grateful!

Just as we believe that God is moving us into a new neighborhood for His good reasons, we believe God is moving this family into our current house for good reasons, such as to bless them and others around them. We suspect that we may even end up with a friendship with this young couple and three children.

But, you ask, “What is a ‘file tell’?” Yes, yes. I made up a term, so I better explain.

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The Problem Was the House

Part III: We left off here:

“The problem was the house. Now, the house becomes a main character in this real life story.”

If I were writing a book about my dad and his family (which I’m not), I could develop this “main character”, the house,  beyond the details I’ve been given. I’m thinking of houses as characters in literature.

I think of the professor’s house in C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  Or, there’s  221B Baker Street in London, the “home” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle creates for his character, Sherlock Holmes. Last summer, my first daughter visited a place in London, a museum, actually designed to match Doyle’s descriptions of Holme’s apartment! Continue reading

Categories: Biography, Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil, Moving | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Reminds Me Of….

Have you taken one of those tests where you are shown an object and asked to state the first thing the image makes you think of or the first word that comes into your mind? You are shown a yellow circle, and you may respond with “egg yoke” or “sun”.  I suppose most of life can be like this. We experience something in this physical world, and if we’re alert, we see connections to the invisible world, the spiritual world. This reminds me of my most recent favorite passage, II Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV).

Verse 17 states, “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” I often repeat this verse in my mind. “Wasting away.” Do you see it all around you and in you? Seems discouraging. But then, “renewed day by day”. “We are being renewed day by day.” The contrast of the inner reality to the outward experience is the reason to “not lose heart”, to not give up. Does this verse encourage you, infuse you with courage?  Continue reading

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