Monday, October 28, 2013

An Extra Pump of Chai

My days have been filled with an extra pumps of Chai.  Have you experienced a Chai Latte at Starbucks? Usually, the spices bite the back of your mouth, and about where your molars meet your tongue the sensation lingers beyond each sip.  Last week I had a Chai Latte, and it was mild, like a cup of warm milk with a subtle taste of the exotic spices.  Today, while explaining what I was looking for in the Chai Latte to Jack Fritz, the kind and well articulated barista at Starbucks this morning, he recommended an extra pump of Chai.  It was fantastic.  

Have you done this to your days lately? 

As my limits of what can be accomplished in a day or a week are stretched, with all the complexities of spice found in my latte, it also brings an awareness of the necessity for a quiet soul and a content-with-to-do list posture.  

We bought a house!  We are not in it yet, so it seems a bit surreal.  Then again, weekly as we go in to assess and plan the spaces, my excitement builds.  At the same time as we are planning this new abode, they are building a house behind the current house we are renting.  When one moves into a new space, you don't necessarily think of the hole made for the foundation, the layers of gravel beneath the basement floor, the buried wires, the puzzle mold made for the concrete foundation and the thick black waterproofing nestled between the dirt and molded concrete.  We have the opportunity to witness, first hand, the building of a house.  A fantastic reminder for me to look beyond the hard wood floors and finished rooms at where it all really came from, and to learn the roots.  The reality of what is really holding things up.  

I really love the moving process.  I like the streamlining, the purging, the planning, the delegating, the idea that we are preparing a space for our family to live day to day.  We are preparing a space to serve family and people.  Rooms to make available to be filled with music and worship, hopefully a glimmer into what heaven will be like.  

There is the "being busy"mentality to be a bit careful of.  We spoke with some friends recently about being so busy on purpose, by looking to fill our time with some quick thing.  Like searching for cheaper car insurance on our lunch break, or surfing down Facebook to see what everyone else is doing when we have a quiet minute.   Then, in our effort to create our own happiness by "keeping busy," we realize hours have gone by and we are not fulfilled.  More, more, we generally want more.  As Pinkalicious would put it, "Just one more cupcake?! Just one more!"  We would hope that looking back at a successful day would produce an inner pride that we have accomplished, every moment that we could, and we saw all that we had made and done, and it was good.  Does that moment ever really come?  If my soul is loud and in turmoil, I would turn towards the few moments of wasted time, and beat myself up mentally for not accomplishing what I thought I could have.  

The other side of the coin is to manipulate your moments for a real break.  The similar attitude you get when you ask someone at a department store for help, and it turns out they are "on break."  "Sir, where can I find the lightbulbs?" And the response, "Sorry, I'm on break so I can't help you right now."  Sometimes we over cherish our moments of break, not to be recharged and refreshed by any sort of substantial rest, but to deceive ourselves into thinking our afternoon filled with thrill rides or football, or video games or pintrest-ing will give us rest.  Have you been rested after searching online for a pair of slippers only to find yourself looking at what your 2nd cousin across the country is doing on Facebook? Thinking it would bring me rest, these things have fallen short of joy.

So I'll bring it back home.  

I'm preparing the planning for this new home. Binders and emails, phone calls and texts.  Is my heart stilled?  Am I building up the people I am working with in the process? Am I neglecting my own vineyard in the process?  

I have a resource for the loud soul, or the one whose heart is in turmoil over getting things done and being enveloped in business.  Here is a great audio sermon on the subject, it spoke volumes to me last week.

Here are a few books for the complacent soul.  The "sit back and watch it happen and not get too involved" clan.  You want to be careful not to extend yourself too much, and "oh, that retirement is looking mighty f-i-n-e!" 
Rescuing Ambition -Dave Harvey
Don't Waste Your Life - John Piper

And then my ground, of where I am now.  I was sick for a while.  A good chunk of David's infancy, he's now 3 years old now and the myasthenia gravis is well managed.  I let go of many things, some of which are singing, playing violin, playing piano, walking, talking, and teaching.  Where am I now?  Lamenting of that season?  No, although there was a grieving time for that.  Now, realizing, I have these abilities back, a miraculous gift from God through the vehicles of doctors, surgeons, medicine, and medical research.  For me, it used to be a feat to sit up in bed and pull my socks on.  Please don't let a major illness wake you up to knowing you can do and be so much more than your mind is allowing you to be.  As my husband texted me last week while I was lamenting a circumstance and dwelling on it,  I am more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37).  

It is not by the power of my to do list or the amount of hours sleep I got last night, that I am deeming myself a conqueror.  I have the presence and power of an almighty God who created me using the same wisdom and brilliance as he created the land we live in.  The fascinating sun rays that will sneak into our kitchen window each morning, and settle on our dining room in the evenings.  The same hands that hold the storehouses of rain to beat upon our new roof have fashioned our gifts and our abilities to be used for His glory.   I should turn, reach up to the skies with open hands and say, thank you, Lord, use my gifts as you will.  I will not be self conscious in the gifts you have given me.  As violin professor, Arnold Grossi left me with the words, "don't be afraid to show people that you are good." (at piano in that context)  Come on people, show the world what gifts you have and it may just inspire those around you. 

So, call me "busy."  Call me, "crazy, amazing, over-scheduled." If i'm not sure to direct your accolades back to the Giver of gifts, please remind me.

In the midst of cultivating your gifts and sharing them, you can find true peace in one place, the words of Jesus.  "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

My chai latte may have an extra pump of chai, but the foundation is mainly milk. I ordered it, skinny, skim milk, to be exact.  How are your days lining up?