04 September, 2009

Fruitful Labor

So I am alive!

Sorry for the lack of updating. I will blame it on Internet problems stemming from every I go to the Internet cafe the power goes down.

I led church on Sunday, yes you read right. I lead the English service at church - the service I have been attending and made my church "home" until I leave. It was fun, though a bit awkward to be sure. I tried to speak slowly (since I have been told I speak too quickly in the U.S. - which reminds me, I was told I should be a auctioneer when I was in grade school - no joke.) but it was weird I have found that people have a hard time understanding me even when I do speak slowly and try to enunciate - maybe because I don't have an accent. I was told I do have one, that it is flat (flat?), whatever. Anyway, I led church and the kids sang and it was jolly good fun. Though I had to lead a couple hymns and realized I didn't know the tunes - so I called my mama and had her help me, all the while hearing my grandmother rolling her eyes in heaven and saying, "Did I teach you anything child?" Good times.

I have been writing a lot lately, working on a novel. So, for now, while I write an update at home to bring back and post tomorrow I will leave you with a section (very rough btw) that somehow does encapsulate what is going on with me:

    "Hey kid," he said his face close to hers. "Why aren't you at work?"
    "I decided to take the day." He sat back and stripped his coat off, his shirt underneath drenched. She offered up the blanket she had covered herself with when the rain started but he turned it down sitting beside her he put his arms out behind him. "You are soaked."
    "It'll dry. What were you doing out here?"
    "Watching the day, thinking."
    "About what?" He looked at her, his feet rocking to move the swing.
    "My life. I don't know what's going on with me," she finished her coffee.
    "You don't seem to be doing that well," he admitted. She turned into him and rested her head on his arm.
    "Dr. Wilkinson told me I was bored with my life."
    "Sounds about right," he pushed her hair out of her eyes. "What else did he say?"
    "Not a lot. Why didn't you bring this up?"   
    "I was going to when there wasn't a million people around, which is, you know, never."
    "Sorry about that." She pulled the blanket closer to her. They were quiet watching the storm and the streams of water that now ran all over the road, down the sidewalk, across her yard into the flower garden. "The same thing happened in Boston," she admitted. "Before I met my ex, this melancholy was settling in and then we met and things were good, and he distracted me. Then things were bad and I pushed myself towards the busyness again to distract myself from all that, but I wonder if it wasn't all the time still in this almost half existence, never wanting to admit it wasn't what I wanted." She looked at him, his eyes full of concern. "Are you happy? God I hate that word, what is happiness? It's an unattainable cliché. Who said we're supposed to be happy or what makes us happy? I don't read that anywhere in the Word that we're suppose to attain happiness on earth. In fact, isn't it supposed to be the opposite? Aren't we supposed to be discontent and longing for heaven? But then what about what is says in Philippians?" She waited while he fished his Bible out of his coat pocket and gave it to her, she found the passage she wanted, "'I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am not go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me.' What does that mean? What is 'fruitful labor'? I don't think it's just being busy or signing up to serve others or losing yourself in the monotony of today and just forgetting about anything else. I think it's a Christ like peace that comes from finding your place in Him, but how do you get there and what am I doing wrong?" She looked at him and let out the rest of her breath in a huff.
    "I don't know. I don't think you are doing anything wrong per say."
    "Are you -" she stopped herself short of happy. "I don't' know content or fulfilled?"
    "I guess," he shrugged and felt her moved, annoyed. "It's not a formula. Everyone is discontent. We have, what, thirteen letters from Paul in which he is extolling other believers? If you wrote something on your best day it wouldn't apply to you on the worse night. We just don't get to see his doubt."
    "He was in prison when he wrote that." He turned his body towards her.
    "And you have a lot of time to think there. It's not a destination, you don't reach this place and then suddenly have sufficient courage and the ability to carry out fruitful labor all the time. It's a moment, a moment in your day, or in your life where you finally put aside everything that makes you human and, for a moment, He gets to work through you. And you can't force it, it's not like you can wake up tomorrow and say you're going to live in His joy. It's not an outfit." He was happy when she laughed. "It's a pursuit. Why do you think Paul uses the analogy of running a race? Because today it hurts and your muscles want to give out and  the miles are endless and the hill is high, but tomorrow you've pushed through the pain, refueled a bit and are on the downhill slope. It's a journey; faith is a journey, not a destination. And anyone who gives you a combination or a prayer or a 30-day guide that is supposed to help you bypass all that doesn't know the Word very well. Look at the disciples, they struggled for three years while they were with Him and still didn't get it. It's a process."
    "Towards what?"
    "Death I guess, and the joy that comes when we are home and God can say, 'look at all you did' and we see that we ran the race well or we didn't." He played with a spot on the back of the swing. "It's a race, it's a struggle but we're not in it alone. And I've found that most times when I'm discontent it's because I'm ignoring what He is trying to tell me. And so maybe He is just breaking through the distractions you've put out there so you'll pay attention." She faced forward on the swing again watching the storm glad to see the rain had lessened. He sat towards her, watching her face for a reaction. Feeling the Bible in her hand, her finger stuck in Philippians she took it and hit his knee.
    "When did you get so smart?"

Blessings dear friends! I miss you mucho!