Archive for June, 2015

Double Jeopardy


Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom.  (Psalm 90:12)

Today’s category is words that begin with the letter “D”.    Words like “days”, and “dollars” are at the root of finding ourselves in double jeopardy.

It was garage sale weekend at the house of Bing, or more appropriately, “the Bings”, in plural.    To say this weekend was years in the making would be an understatement.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
    throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born
    or you brought forth the whole world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn people back to dust,
    saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
A thousand years in your sight
    are like a day that has just gone by,
    or like a watch in the night.  (Ps. 90, v 1-4)

My word for this weekend has been “Detritus“.    Our friends at Merriam-Webster have a couple of definitions for this seldom used part of our English language:

1) loose material (as rock fragments or organic particles) that results directly from disintegration

2) a product of disintegration, destruction, or wearing away
What better word could be used to describe the by-products of life’s accumulations?    I have Little Frau to thank for the inspiration of using the word to describe our weekend, and I have Little Frau to apologize to for subsequently over using said word.
I couldn’t help myself, once I knew its root meaning.   It spoke to me.   More importantly, it spoke to the heart of what we were working through at our homeplace the past few days.
In what I will define as the first third of my life, I didn’t have a lot of “stuff”.    Moving, whether around the world for a few weeks or around the state of Texas and beyond, was easier than it is today.   There was less accumulation.   There was less baggage.    The baggage, and the stuff, we did have was linked to fewer memories of days, and people, gone by.
Our days may come to seventy years,
    or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
    for they quickly pass, and we fly away.  (Ps. 90, v 10)
The same cannot be said for today.    The first third has expanded into what I will define as the first two thirds, or hopefully less, depending on what God has in store for my hopefully remaining 30-40%.    He has numbered my days, and is teaching me to do the same.   While I will not know that I am at the end of the equation until I am indeed told to “put down my pencil and stop working”, He knows when that time will be, and it is incumbent on me to keep working and to do a little less “shuffling” in those remaining days.
Which brings me back to “detritus”, and to Double Jeopardy.    You see, the loose material that has called our garage home for the past several years contains meaning.
There are trinkets.
There are treasures.
There was some trash.   There still is, as the before and after pictures show.
But, we accomplished some things this weekend.
We generated some dollars, which we prayerfully plan to use to spend some days together as a family, making memories.
We exorcised (and exercised, in the process) some demons of our past, mostly regretful fashion decisions, as my son so wisely pointed out while loading the van for Goodwill last night.
Through it all, I was reminded how fast life goes by, from generation to generation, and how I want to spend less time in my remaining days accumulating and shuffling and more time giving and sharing.    There are memories, good memories, in touching relics of the past and tearing up over pictures from days gone by, but you can only do so much of that.
As the before and after pictures suggest, I need to make a “deeper dive” in my effort to put the future before me and the past behind me, and I look forward to doing just that.   I was impressed during a conversation with a friend last night how very few things occupied their garage.    There is clearly an intentional effort there to both continually purge the non essentials and to preserve a few things held most precious, even if they may not be used again.    A little detritus can be a good thing, even at the risk of our hearts being in double jeopardy.

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
    that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
    for as many years as we have seen trouble.
May your deeds be shown to your servants,
    your splendor to their children.

1May the favor[a] of the Lord our God rest on us;
    establish the work of our hands for us—
    yes, establish the work of our hands.  (Psalm 90:14-17)


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A long time ago, in this land not so very far away, two school buses rolled off the assembly line.   Not the seemingly different buses pictured above, mind you, for they are in fact one in the same vehicle.   There is more on the second bus yet to mention.

You see, the bus above, in its pure yellow 42 seat configuration form had outlived its effectiveness.   Originally acquired by its most recent former owner at an auction, it was a bit unwieldy to work with.  Let’s just say it was no longer salty, and was sitting on the back 40 waiting to be trampled under foot by both Father Time and Mother Nature.   It was time for a change of venue, even at the cost of a change in purpose.

Back in the 70’s, JOY buses were all the rage in churches.   Repurposed from old school buses, they would drive around neighborhoods picking up kids and transporting them to church and back.   They were filled with singing, lots of singing.

The newly painted bus shown above, despite its colorful shell, is no “JOY bus”.   While it will bring both joy and entertainment to its future constituents, it has been stripped of its ability to carry very many people anywhere.

The second bus refered to earlier had  also likely outlived its intended purpose, and was probably also acquired at auction.  It then boarded a ship for the far country.  

While it may not look much different today than on the date of its manufacture, it has found new life, indeed.   It also helps to bring new life, and healing, and even joy.    It is regularly filled with singing, lots of singing.

These two sibling buses were born almost twins, and now they reside worlds apart.   I said often this past week that “old school buses never die, they just go to Honduras“.   I guess I could now add, “or they quit truly serving as buses”.

I read Richard Stearns’ book The Hole In Our Gospel on this recent trip to Central America, and found it a bit painful and convicting.   Let’s just say there are some analogies between Christian churches and buses that satisfy our needs versus buses that carry large groups of people to a destination, and leave it at that.   I’d suggest you pick up a copy of the book and ask for yourself.

Religion that is pure and good before God the Father is to help children who have no parents and to care for women whose husbands have died who have troubles. Pure religion is also to keep yourself clean from the sinful things of the world.  James 1:27

In the interim, I’m happy for both of these buses and the joy they may continue to bring.


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