Thursday, June 5, 2014

Of Buses and Braces

Like a lot of kids, when I was in Junior High, I had braces.  For a time I had monthly appointments, and I took the city bus from school to the orthodontist’s office.  Back then I took public transportation pretty much everywhere.  Calgary had a good system, and there were few places I couldn’t get. 

I remember one particular day.  I had left school late and missed the connecting bus.  The next one would be 15 minutes coming, guaranteeing I would be late.  Sitting there waiting was torture.  The minutes ticked by, and my inability to do anything about it made me feel overwhelmed and panicky.    

Unable to stay still, I somehow got it into my head that if I started walking, I would speed things up.  So, I began walking down the bus route.  Block after block, past stop after stop. 

When the bus finally caught up with me, I was short of breath, with sweat trickling down my back.  

And, after all that effort, I was just as late as I would have been had I stayed at the stop several blocks back.

That happened 33 years ago, and yet, I can vividly remember the rising panic and that frantic walk down the busy sidewalk, glancing back over and over again to see if the bus was coming.  

I remember the chagrin as I dropped into my seat, realizing I had accomplished nothing but getting to the orthodontist looking worse for the wear.  Acne, braces, chubby, and now red and sweaty.

Why do I share that embarrassing walk down memory lane?  Right now I am fighting that same sense of helplessness, knowing there is nothing I can do to make things come together according to my timeline.  I’m fighting the same compulsion to start to do something, anything, to make it go faster. 

I’m talking about the residency process for Carlos.  We've been working on it for six months. We've tried to be thorough, getting everything done in an orderly way.  With all of that, we’re still sitting here, already in June, with no idea when we’ll hear about the next step.

And, oh, the panic is rising!  The fact is there is nothing I can do to make things move any faster.  I can write list after list and send email after email, but none of that is going to make a difference.  In fact, I’m likely to wind up like my 13 year old self, frustrated, exhausted, and right where I’d been had I just relaxed.

Friends, I really need prayer in this.  Selfishly, I want you to pray that God would move in a mighty way, and we would be notified this week of when the interview is. 

I know this is not necessarily a bad request. And, if that is how you pray, I welcome it!  But, even more than this, I really and truly ask you to pray that God would help me to rest in Him. 

I am used to being quite successful and getting things done through my hard work and tenacity.  Those are good qualities, I know.  But, as we all know, sometimes it’s not enough.  How easy it is to blame others – and ourselves!  If only I’d tried harder, this would have turned out differently.  Better.  Yes, that’s true a lot of the time.  But not always. 

The freedom of the Gospel is that there is nothing we do to deserve it, and nothing we can do to earn it.  All of our striving is like me half-crying as I speed-walked down the streets of Calgary.  Useless, and worse, leaving us tired out and unwilling to let Him carry us.

I praise God that He brought this long-ago event back to my mind.  I pray I can once again sit down, resting in His love and power.  I thank you in advance for interceding.  I look forward to sharing how God has worked – no matter what happens next.

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