A New Season

Not everything in life is as predictable as the seasons. Some mornings we wake up only to discover that everything has changed while we were sleeping.

I awoke last Wednesday morning to the realization that I may soon be back in the job market. Faced with an unexpected financial predicament (related to my current job) I am now making some difficult decisions. Sadly, this could mean leaving a career I love.

This sudden change of events has been quite daunting. Just when we were planning for our retirement, I now need to polish my résumé. And I haven’t had a job interview in eight years.

My head is swirling. Where do I begin?

Diversionary Tactics

Saturday morning my daughter and I went plant shopping for our front garden beds. In the afternoon I did some yard work. Then I took a nap. In the evening we had dinner with friends. Since my day was spent creating tactical diversions, I managed to avoid the inevitable job search.

I know I can do this. The problem is . . . I don’t want to.

This is not how spring was supposed to begin. Everything else is on schedule. Our peach tree is blossoming and the Redbuds are about to open. The Peonies have emerged and the Forsythia is blooming. There are weeds to pull and flowers to plant. The patio needs sealing and the grill needs cleaning. A job search was not part of the plan!

A Song in My Heart

Today our children’s choirs sang a song called God Is Here With Me by Christopher Hogan. One verse in particular struck a chord with me.

God is in my heart when I am sleeping,

God is in my heart, right here in my sleep.

God is here with me, Alleluia!

It reminded me of how many sleepless nights I have had lately. But as I tossed and turned, I kept hearing songs in my sleep. Each time I awoke, a song was playing in my mind. Every night was a different song, but always a hymn or anthem we were singing in choir. I am certain that the Lord placed these songs in my heart to comfort me.

I have no idea how my current situation is going to end. Right now I am staying focused on each new day and trying my best not to worry.

God is here with me, Alleluia!

 

The Gift of Friendship

Random Reminders

We’ve all lost someone we love. Family. Friends. Pets. And along with each loss there will always be random reminders. Songs, sayings, or objects pop up now and then to call attention to their absence.

For me, today’s random reminder was a Chiquita Banana sticker.

Just before Christmas I lost a dear friend. He was a senior member of our church, and someone I admired for his ability to always make me smile.

Calvin came by the church every week to help prepare the sanctuary for Sunday worship. He always stopped by my office for a chat and a snack, and now I am missing my friend.

After Calvin passed away, I learned that at one time he collected Chiquita Banana stickers. He stuck them on the side of a cabinet door in his kitchen — dozens of them! It was a quirky memory that made me laugh. Now I will have a yet another reminder of that special friendship whenever I peel a banana.

Friends are Gifts from God

When I was asked to speak at Calvin’s memorial service, that was a first for me. Although it was an emotional day, I managed to share my thoughts and hold my emotions in check. I imagined Calvin sitting in the congregation, and that did the trick. He was an amazing storyteller, and I tried to recall some of his finest moments. This was my closing paragraph:

I am always amazed by the wonderful people that the Lord continues to place in my path here at this little church, and I am so grateful that Calvin was one of them. His friendship has been one of God’s many blessings in my life and I will treasure it always.

In addition to the friends I have made through my church, my life has been enriched by the friendships I have made from childhood until present day. Yes, I’ve lost touch with some of them, but I still carry their memories and stories in my heart. They are part of who I am. There are other friends who have become as close to me as my own family members. My life would feel incomplete without them.

And I have room for many more.

In Loving Memory
Calvin James McGehee, Jr.

August 3, 1936 — December 22, 2018