The New Year: 2004

A new year has begun and it hardly seems like the old one got started.

I feel like I am still working on projects I initiated in the year 2000. Yet I look around me and I know it’s not true. It’s just a feeling. Perhaps it is something that comes from age and the perceived movement of time.

For me the changing of the year is a reminder that there is only so much human time in our lives yet an infinite amount of time as God would measure it . It is so hard to wrap my mind around it that I would much rather do winter cleaning than think about it.

Either way God was bound to appear in the mix.

It has been amazing to discover that as I start to clean out drawers and old boxes, some of the items I have run across. I have found papers that I figured were long ago lost.

These are papers that I had first started writing as a child of about nine. My mother saved them all through the years and I did not know it.

I only found out after her death and growing brave enough to open some of the things she left behind. These have become kind of a mini-time capsule of sorts from me.

I read them and discover that I thought some extraordinary things as a child through my young adulthood. I can also see how .come my parents ended up with all those gray hairs, too.

I write about all the many times I found myself in trouble at school or with my schoolmates and such. There are also objects that I had put away so well that I figured that I had tossed them out with the garbage or something.

It is amazing to find a military patch that I once wore over twenty-five years ago tucked under the fold of a cardboard box. It brought back memories that caught me of f guard. It also made me feel young and old all at the same time.

Often times when I get on a cleaning jag it is because I am afraid that I will end up like some pathetic old pack rat, hording every little piece of paper until it is nearly impossible to move around my home. Yet there is a small fear inside me that says that if I should throw out a certain paper or file or item, that’s exactly the time when I will need it.

That’s has happened before and then I’ve found myself stuck, either calling around to get a copy of something I needed or going out and buying a new whatever it was I threw out.

Of course I know I am not that bad, just yet. But that’s why I go on these cleaning terrors and amaze myself by the things I find. This last cleaning jag and the turning of the year got me to thinking about how the Lord works to clean or lives out too, if we let him.

Stop and think about this if you will. I found a file filled with a bunch of old bills dated from 12 years ago. They were telephone bills and I started to put them in the save and review file. My thinking was that perhaps I would find a telephone number of a person in them that I had forgotten about.

After awhile it occurred to me that I was being silly. It had been more than a decade and I had all the current telephone numbers of all the people I needed to know in my life right now. Why waste my time with the past and searching for something that is worthless?

That’s when I heard that gentle voice deep inside me say, “That’s what forgiveness is all about.” It was at that moment that I knew I had to tell as many people as I could about how simple the idea of forgiveness really is for them. It is like getting rid of unwanted and unneeded trash.

All I had to do was decide to get rid of them. I did not really outwardly ask, I just said, “I don’t want to live with these feelings anymore Lord.”

It was instantaneous for me. I cannot say that it will be the same for you as we all work differently on some basic level.

For the longest time I worried about how come I never felt relief after asking for forgiveness. It’s because I insisted on taking my trash back.

Perhaps it is human nature to do that, after all there is a saying that goes something like, “We are always are own harshest critics.”

This is an ongoing process.

Everyday, sometimes two, three and four times a day I have to tell Jesus I don’t want the feelings of guilt, of shame, of uselessness, or remorse, or bitterness or whatever may be shadowing me at the time. I have to decide I don’t want them and then give them up.

One of the best examples I can cite is the thief on the Cross beside Jesus as they were crucified together. Be simply decided to believe and therefore was rewarded with the promise of seeing God in Heaven by the end of that day.

There are still a couple boxes I have to tackle and a closet to clean out and I have no idea what I’m going to do about the garage just yet, but I have .found some peace in my soul through daily prayer and talking to God. It doesn ‘t hurt either that, I allow myself a little quite time too so that I can listen for that quiet little voice to tell me what I need to know .

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