I don’t know how many years I’ve been writing these blogs, but it’s been awhile. For the last four years Scott and I have tag teamed it, making the workload light. It is part of our practice at NSC to evaluate what we do and jettison programs, resources, etc. that don’t work. We’re about to enter into our season where we evaluate/purge/create new stuff for the next year, and this got me thinking about these daily devotionals. I spent some time wondering if this is a keeper or something we should drop from our lineup.
It was in the middle of this ruminating process that I had to drop what I was thinking and go join two of my girlfriends for lunch, one of whom is in a battle with breast cancer. We arrived at the restaurant, one grabbed a table, and I ordered for the three of us. My friend in the dog fight was feeling kind of shaky after treatment, so she sat and let us tote and fetch for her (a rare gift because she is stubborn and strong).
We caught up on each of our latest family dramas, ate our predictable lunch choices, shared a few family photos, and listened carefully on the status update of treatment. My friend’s cancer is hard for me to accept. I abhor watching her go through these treatments. I deeply appreciate how loving the medical team is that is taking such great care of her, but I wish she didn’t have to go to treatment at all. When I got back to the office, I sat at my desk and noticed my emotions. I had a good cry. I got back to work, which turned out to be thinking about this daily devotional issue.
And it came to me what was necessary. It is necessary to keep writing these posts, whether you, dear reader, actually read them or not. Because much like this friendship that is decades old, it is the small and mundane acts that build a life.
My friendship with these two began in my early 20’s. None of us had a clue what we would face together over the decades (thank God). We were so young. But because we have been together for so long, walked through so many ordinary, fun, extraordinary, sad, and sometimes tragic things together, we face life together on life’s terms without footnotes or the need for an interpreter. I don’t think we could do this cancer deal if we hadn’t also done the frantically building the baby crib when one of us had a baby prematurely gig. Or made cookies for Vacation Bible School, worked the long hours together pulling off yet another VBS, going to ballet recitals and baseball games…all those daily things you do with friends who are also of a certain age with children. It was all those little moments that perfectly prepared us to be fully present for our friend in this moment. No shortcuts allowed.
So it is necessary to continue to pour over the scriptures and think about what I would write to you as a way of encouragement on a daily basis. Because I need the reminder, the habit, the practice of engaging with the scriptures in this way. It is too late when a crisis strikes to decide to build a foundation sturdy enough to withstand the storm. So we will continue these devotionals for anyone willing to read them as a way of committing to small steps in the long road of obedience to the call to engage with scripture and knead it into our daily life experience. “I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:16