Monday, February 9, 2009

A Favorite Author of Mine

Several weeks ago, my aunt suggested that various family members begin reading and commenting on a book together. After several days of bantering, bartering, bargaining, and bickering, my sister Teresa managed to pull the group together with the first book chosen being Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot. Our group consists of myself and my 3 sisters (although my oldest sister may be incognito as her husband), my favorite aunt (she's pretty much my ONLY aunt, but even if she wasn't, she'd still be my favorite 'cuz she has red hair and laughs at my stupidity), some nieces, a few in-laws and accompanying relatives I may or may not have met, and perhaps a stray or two of which I'm unaware. Teresa named us The Book Bunch. (She's good like that.)

I've never subscribed to a Book Review Club, mostly because I have a mental image I'm not prepared to handle. Stodgy old men with pipes and plaid jackets, middle aged women wearing Christmas sweaters, and a lone gorgeous gay guy who thinks he signed up for a cooking class all gathering in a dark paneled room discussing poetry by B.T.Donethat and drinking weak tea with lemon wedges. That's the picture in my brain.

The pipe would be cool, the Christmas sweaters not so much, I don't get poetry, and the gay guy - well, hopefully he can make a better cup of tea by the time the book review is complete. As for The Book Bunch, it's been humorous, if nothing else, reading the emails flying back and forth between Michigan, Texas, Indiana, Ohio and North Carolina (who am I forgetting?!?) in just simply preparing to begin to commence to think about starting the first book, and all the resulting confusion! So far we've learned that Keeping a Quiet Heart apparently doesn't quiet the fingers very fast.

Moving forward...

Over the past several months, the concepts of quieting my heart, being content, waiting on God's timing, and holding my tongue have been very present in my mind. Anyone who knows me in the slightest way will most likely need a paramedic's assistance at the mere thought that I could be successful at any attempt of patience or shutting up. So believe me when I say that while it isn't easy, it also isn't under my own power that I'm learning. Learning not perfected by any stretch of the imagination. I don't see myself hitting the road to promote my latest book on Virtuous Living with an Emphasis on Taming the Tongue anytime soon!

God's timing is a very strange thing that makes no sense to humans. I don't presume to understand why things happen the way they do when they do. I would drive myself crazy trying to figure it out. Actually, I nearly did! Not so fun - don't really wanna go there again! But one of the really cool things about learning to rely on God is that He gives you peace about the unanswerable. He makes it OK that you don't have all the answers. He helps you accept the realization that your life isn't perfect but He loves you anyway. He puts people in your path for specific purposes and while you may not like it one little bit, it's part of His plan for you.

A few months ago, I caved to technology and created a Facebook account. I've found people from "way back when" just as the creator of this monstrosity must have intended. Friends I'd lost touch with surface on a frequent basis. They've married, divorced, remarried, survived cancer, birthed children, adopted children, buried family members, traveled to other continents, lost jobs, become grandparents, acquired possessions...they've lived. Like me. They've been happy. They've also suffered great loss.

I haven't been involved in the daily lives of most of these old friends. With the exception of my best friend from high school, I have rarely spoken with most of them. It isn't particularly my preference that I only get updates at weddings and funerals, but life is busy. I would love to be with a friend who's undergoing cancer treatment, but my prayers don't have to come from her bedside. They're every bit as effective from my own.

What I would tell my friends, in their good and bad times, is that God is always with them. He knows. He planned. The challenges they face shouldn't be considered their lot in life, but rather what God has assigned before they were ever born. God IS in control, and we can rest assured that His ways are better than ours.

I believe that what gives us a quiet heart is our acceptance of God's plan. Yet, maybe we're so busy asking "why" that we don't see the answers around us. What we perceive as a struggle can be the avenue through which we learn to trust God. God is supreme and He wants us to know Him.

In Keep a Quiet Heart, Elisabeth Elliot says, on page 76:

When we find ourselves most hopeless, the road most taxing, we may also find that it is then that the Risen Christ catches up to us on the way, better than our dreams, beyond all our hopes. For it is He - not His gifts, not His power, not what He can do for us, but He Himself - who comes and makes Himself known to us.

That is what I want.

1 comment:

Joyce L. said...

Hi Dee,
I think much of the fun from starting the BB has come from the wrangling it has taken to get us started. Finally, we did come to an agreement and we are almost finished with our first book,"Keep a Quiet Heart".
I have learned several things while reading the Book of the Month,some I already knew, but had "misplaced" in the busy everyday(ness) of life.Lots I had not thought of before or in the ways E.E. presents her thoughts.
I think what I am taking away from this book and the starting of the
BB is that all of us want to be the best that we can ,to make a difference in our home, school, work.No two of us are at the same level of spirituality, making the e-mails very interesting and stimulating.
We are learning from each other. Isn't this one of our goals, being teachable, no matter if the instructors are young ,older or inbetween, for they are instruments in the hands of the one we are all striving to serve.