Sunday, October 31, 2004
In the air halfway from Miami to Buenos Aires, Margie sat up with a start. “Azure, I totally forgot to pack underwear!” she said the friend next to her.
“Don’t worry about it,” replied Azure, “I’m sure we’ll figure something out.”
But you know how it is when you do something like that. You mentally kick yourself, “If only I had taken a bit more time to pack, this wouldn’t have happened”; you think through strategies, “Well I can wash out the pair I have on every night. But what if they don’t dry enough by the next morning? I wonder if the house where we’re staying has a dryer? Do people use dryers in Argentina?”; and just generally stress out about something you know is fairly non-transcendental, “I can’t believe that one of the first things I’m going to talk about with this pastor who is hosting us is that I need to buy some underwear. How embarrassing.”
When the long flight was behind her and Margie was taking a shower at Pastor Muniello’s home trying to scrub off the scummy feeling and exhaustion from the long trip, she decided once and for all that she would just wash her underwear every day and dry it as best she could.
Then while Azure took a shower, Margie unpacked her clothing. She pulled open the top dresser drawer, saw two pairs of underwear and thought, “How nice of Azure to have gone and gotten these for me.” The underwear were not anything Margie would have picked out for herself at home, but in another country facing the prospect of wearing the same pair of underwear for three days, they were more than acceptable.
It wasn’t till later in the day that Margie had a chance to thank Azure for taking care of her problem. “But I didn’t get any underwear for you,” Azure replied, surprised. “Those must have been already in the drawer when we got here.”
I hadn’t left any underwear in Argentina, but I knew exactly what Margie was talking about because those two pairs of underwear had been in that drawer since the first time I stayed in that room two years ago. I have no idea whose they are or where they came from but I love that God’s economy doesn’t waste anything, not even lost, ugly underwear.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
This strikes me as very helpful reminder. Storms will come in life and the key to weathering them well is balancing strength and flexibility in my character, belief systems, etcetera. My tendency is to think that “firming up” my self-discipline, or my knowledge, for example is what will get me though the hard times, but talking with Adriana I was reminded that a resulting rigidity could be counterproductive. Yes I need to develop more strength in character, conviction and completion of tasks but those qualities need to be complemented by flexibility.
I have always loved palm trees. I love their shape. I love them for their association with all things beachy. And now I am reminded that I have admired them for their strength and flexibility, for the way they can survive hurricane winds where a more rigid tree would snap or be pulled out by the roots. Lord, please help me become more like a palm tree, able to stand firm yet adapt to the winds of change that blow through my life.
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