Sunday, February 07, 2010

I learned something new today, I think.  Before going out to try and shovel, I ate a salad with chicken and sauteed asparagus.  A rather tasty, full meal.  Then, after clearing my sidewalk and working on my car, I started to feel shaky.  I was not hot, so I ignored it, thinking I was just getting tired.  With the street still full of snow, there was not much I could do anyway.  Then, I became clammy and the world began to recede and I realized my blood sugar was dropping.  I hollered out to a neighbor and keeled over in the snow.  My second face plant!

Her girlfriend is a nurse and actually gave me glucose gel and checked my blood sugar.  It was 62.  Apparently, exertion can make your blood sugar drop if you have diabetes or if you struggle with hypoglycemia.  I wish someone had told me that.


Yesterday, when all was said and done, the measuring stick in my yard marked 28 inches.  The current forecast for Tuesday is another snowstorm with approximately 5 inches of additional snow. 

Bettina called, offering to play Scrabble with me and watch Dr. Who!  One of her birthday gifts was a subscription to Netflix.  Basically, we can now watch my beloved Sci-fi (I have corrupted her) even when we are not together...we can still be together!  So, to sum, her digital recorder will help her be with me in the ER and Netflix will help us share things together though 157 miles separate us.  You've just got to love technology!  Sprint PCS, Skype, digital recorders, and now Netflix.

She is trying to show me that I am not alone.

Kashi has been swimming in the snow.  Each time I watch him, I burst into laughter, momentarily forgetting how difficult this week has been.

Much is given by our Lord.  My writing student's mother and sister offered to come over and help me shovel this day.  Since the street is not yet plowed and there is no parking, I had to rain check, but the fact that she texted such generosity brought tears to my eyes once more.  I was completely surprised and thought immediately how gracious God can be.

While I have started Walther's 10th evening lecture, my mind keeps returning to Pastor W's teaching on paragraphs 93-98 in the Large Catechism, Part III on the 5th petition that I posted yesterday.

It is difficult for me to truly understand how the condition God has placed upon forgiving us, forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us, can be for our good. Yet I know that it is because God is good.  And I have learned so much, so very much in the first four petitions.  Every time I hear the Lord's Prayer recited now, I want to hold up my hand and ask everyone to slow down, to savor the gift of the words God has given us in this prayer and to reflect on what we are actually praying in them.  Can I not learn this, too?

It just sounds so much like Law.

And his comment about it being a sign that we are forgiven, an opportunity to wrap ourselves in the gifts of the Sacraments once more, is like a key to my jail cell just out of my grasp.  My arm is wedged as far as possible between the bars, my fingertips scraping along the floor mere millimeters away.  I see the truth.  I recognize it as such...and freedom for me...yet I cannot take hold of it.

Forgiving others who have hurt me, harmed me, wronged me being the sign that I am forgiven?  To me, that still speaks of that I have fail utterly.  Again, I know my sin.  I know I have not much seen this sign in my life.  I worry.  I fret.  I feel the failure once more.

His encouragement was for me to think of this sign the way I once encountered absolution itself:  it was just something I had not really heard of before and so had not used.  Now, trusting in the Lord's goodness, I should venture out and make use of it. 

Pastor W maintains that doing so will change me, will be the sign working in me.  He wrote that like every sacrament, such a thing IS given for our comfort; it doesn't hinge so much upon our action (though every sacrament does involve an action of some sort) as upon God's promise.  And so we are to remember that, as with the Sacraments, forgiving those who trespass against us is not something we have to come up with the power to do; it is a gift that God is waiting to give us!   

A way to forgive my enemies is to begin praying for them in the way he suggested, to implore God to bless them, to look upon them with favor, to bring His forgiveness to them, to ask God to transform and renew their lives.  I want to do this.  I do.  But I have no words.  I do not know how.

Allow the Spirit to work, Myrtle.  Trust that He will.

I am not speaking of those who have hurt my feelings or have caused offense.  True, I have much to learn of forgiveness there, for I have not often been on the receiving end of the same.  I have know much criticism in my life.  You are selfish.  You are lazy.  You are inappropriate.  You are an embarrassment.  You are grotesque.  You sneeze wrong.  You dress wrong.  Your hair is wrong.  You are unlovable.  Just this week, once again, you are not good to be around.  

I have had the things I have done, even as a young child, cast up before me again and again as who I am, as all I will ever be.  And, when I have heard the words of forgiveness, most of the time even though forgiveness has been given how I have been received or treated changed.  I do not truly understand forgiveness that is not rooted in the past, forgiveness that would gain me my salvation, but an act taught as then.  I am struggling to learn the forgiveness of now.

Allow the Spirit to work, Myrtle.  Trust that He will.

I have been accusing of stealing when I did not.  I have been accused of cheating when I did not.  I have been accused of plotting and destroying when I was not.  I have been accused of being hateful when truly I was not.

I have been yelled at, screamed at, and hit.  I have been maligned and slandered.  I have been left alone when truly helpless.  I have been lashed out against.  I have been shunned.  I have been ridiculed.

Again and again and again I have been judged and found wanting. 

Yet, I am not speaking merely of these.  I am speaking of murderers, rapists, and abusers.  Even they deserve our forgiveness.  What such has done to me is no different than what I have done to others, to my Savior.

Is this really a gift for me?

So confusing.  So very difficult even the thought.  Yet if this is what God is teaching us in the fifth petition, I want to do this.  I have not the words.  I asked for help with them.   

Lord, I believe!  Help my unbelief.

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