Sept 10th is marked on my calendar. It has been marked since last January when a friend asked me to go fishing with him in Canada. I have purchased a new fishing rod, placed fresh lines on my reels, acquired some extra lures for my arsenal of bait and a waterproof bag to keep my gear dry in case we encounter wet weather. My passport is in order and I am legally able to fish in Canada for 8 days. The only thing I need now is to wait for the days and weeks to pass so I can be on my way.
There were a lot of other things on my calendar which have kept me busy and there are many events which never made it on my schedule which nonetheless occupied my time and resources. Still each event has been clicked off and placed in the “done” column. Lent and Easter services are behind me for this year. Confirmation classes are placed on hold till September. Confirmation camp, Chrysalis and Annual Conference have come and gone. I still have my meeting with the District Superintendent and we are in the midst of Vacation Bible School. I just finished one week of Course of Study and have one more week in August to complete. There will be a slight lull in August; however, Debbie and I will have to begin working on disposing of her Mom’s stuff sometime this fall and the work for Church conference will once again impose itself on the church’s schedule.
Still that Sept 10th date stands out. My friend goes to Canada every year and there was a time that I thought I could make it an annual trek as well. Changes in jobs, fortune and circumstances have restricted me to only one other Canadian trip which was almost 30 years ago. That is why this trip is special. However, it too will be clicked off and placed in the book of memory. Then my calendar will begin to fill up with more church-related activities and other things which were not planned and will fill my daily activities.
It is important to have “red letter” days circled in our journey through life. For some it may be a family reunion, a graduation or a special anniversary. It may be an annual event such as the first Husker game in Sept or the opening day of hunting season. We anticipate Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and Independence Day as well. They become landmarks which indicate the course of our journey in life and provide a reference for remembering and recalling the path we take each year. 2017 will be the year I went fishing in Canada. For Debbie it will be the year she lost her mother.
Be they bittersweet or rewarding, these events should be remembered as special times in our lives. Still there are only a few of them each year and the rest of our lives are filled with mundane ordinary events, most of which we can scarcely remember the next day. Doctor appointments, morning coffee, Bible study meetings, School events, church services, community activities all seem to fill our lives like sand fills the space between the larger stones that mark our life’s journey.
I sometimes can’t remember what I preached on last Sunday and some of my ministerial readings seem to flow right through me as I am more concerned about weeding the garden, getting the pickup fixed or reorganizing the church service. Oftentimes I resent these little chores of service – planning, or writing articles and planning meeting with Ad boards, SPRC or District Superintendents. Sometimes I wish I could simply get up and have nothing planned for the day except whatever I want to do.
Yet I have learned not to begrudge these intrusions and to appreciate that each task or activity gives me an opportunity to live my life as a disciple of Christ. The duties I encounter each day are part of the “sanctification” which all Christians engage in who truly wish to live lives of faith and Christian deeds. Dealing with the mundane and ordinary is how God shapes us to be disciples and allows us to experience the human journey that we all share. It is a journey which Christ shared with us.
Most people can be a believer and disciple of Christ on special occasions or special days of their lives. Growing in faith, humbleness and charity during the ordinary times and not waiting for that “red letter” day is the real challenge we face as disciples. It is the mundane things we do between the major events on the calendar that fill our lives and shape us into genuine disciples. It is how we face the ordinary and live in the real world each day that allows us to share our faith through respect, courtesy, compassion and tolerance. Just as Jesus sought to be with people in their ordinary routines and uneventful lives, so should we engage each other as Jesus did, knowing God has given each day a gift for sharing the peace and love “which passes all understanding.”