1halffull's Blog

The Day In Between
April 24, 2011, 1:05 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Today is the day in between.

Yesterday, about 3 p.m., amidst a huge storm, surrounded by an earthquake, townspeople – those who came to ridicule, those who came to weep, those who watched in laughter, those who watched the scene, their guts clenched in revulsion at the terrible site – saw Jesus die on the cross.

Few of the disciples had any idea what was really going on here; all had fallen from their faith over the last 24 hours.  As for the other, more detached onlookers, they had just witnessed the end of one who had been accused by the Chief Priests and elders of blasphemous behaviors of all sorts. 

He was not a criminal of the usual kind, but one that leadership had managed to stir the crowd into a roiling boil over, a crowd that demanded his life in place of a convicted murderer who himself recognized this man was guiltless.

When he finally breathed his last and died, he was taken down from the cross, wrapped in a clean linen sheet and placed in a tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathaea.  For all anyone knew, he was gone, leaving those 11 men (for Judas had already gone from their midst) whom he’d befriended, alone and bereft.

The men felt ashamed of the way they’d let him down.  They were full of fear about their future.  Would the Chief Priests hunt them down and bring them to the same end as Jesus?  What would their lives become now? 

The 11 fled the scene, ending up in a room together where they locked themselves inside, waiting they knew not what.  The night was fitful; few slept; every noise seemed like a threat to their very lives.

The dawning of the the day in between was unwelcome.  The master was no longer with them.  There was no business to be about, no people to feed, no healing to be done.  They could not listen to him as he taught the masses and shamefully, in this moment, they couldn’t recall what he’d even said.

They appeared to have forgotten everything Jesus had told them.  Seemingly they had no hope.  The day wore on and on.

Throughout the persecution and trial of Christ, they had hovered round the edges of each scene, not wanting to be noticed or remembered as one of his followers.  Even Peter, who had the strongest faith in his master, denied Jesus three times before all was said and done.  Now, without Jesus’ strength, they all cowered in fear.

There was no comforter, no peace.  Just sorrow.

Huddled together, they repeatedly asked themselves what would become of them.  Every sound must have jolted them to attention, frightened that they would be next to face the cross.  They dared not leave lest they be discovered and carried away.  Hiding out in that room together was the only solace they had; and yet there was no real strength in those numbers.  Their strength had gone.

The day in between was the worst day they could ever imagine.  It finally came to an end and they plunged yet again into fitful, wakeful uneasy sleep, not knowing what tomorrow would bring.

If they’d only remembered and believed what Jesus said was coming…. 


I am ‘The Invisible Woman’
April 18, 2011, 10:42 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I was just reading an article about country singer Vince Gill and his Christian singing counterpart, Amy Grant, who is now 50.  In the article, she mentions having a meltdown in the bathtub, as she looks at her post-four baby belly, about getting older.  She says “Women get invisible.”

‘Get invisible?’ I think.  Now this is something I can relate to.  However, being invisible started way before I ever hit 50!  I’ve been invisible for most of my life.

I started being invisible back when I was a child.  My homelife wasn’t exactly what you’d call “Ozzie and Harriet” style.  It was more like “Married With Children” gone over a cliff.  In this setting, you became invisible to stay out of the way, to not be noticed; you didn’t want to be seen. 

I had not idea that lifestyle would have on me.  Later in life I realized that I’d apparently learned how to be invisibile so well, that now other people couldn’t see me either.  I found that when  I was introduced to someone, I always had to be reintroduced to them each time we met because they never remembered having met me. 

To these people, each time I met them it was a new encounter.  I felt like they were the stars of  the movie ’50 First Dates’.  They had no idea who I was or that they’d ever met me before that moment. 

Here’s what I’m talking about.

Not long after starting to work for a foundation, I was introduced to one of our board members.  We had a nice interaction.  A few weeks later, I encountered her again.  She had no idea who I was and I had to be reintroduced.  Without exaggeration, I tell you that this same thing happened at least a dozen times over a of couple years. 

Finally one morning at a breakfast meeting she came up to me and introduced herself, saying she didn’t think we’d met.  It was the last straw.  I was tired of being invisible.  I told her that yes, we had met on numerous occasions.  Smiling, I pronounced my name very distinctly, shook her hand, took my seat and proceeded through the meeting.  The woman never had to be reintroduced to me again.

The more that happens, the more convinced you become of your invisibility.  I am a believer!

When my son was about eight, he and his seven year old cousin made a decision to become  Mad Scientists when they grew up!  They thought it would be great fun. 

We talked about what they might invent.  One of my suggestions was a ‘Cloaking Device’, much like what was used in the Star Wars films to make space ships invisible.  How fun that would be!  This device would allow us to slip in and out of places without anyone knowing we were there.  We’d use it for things like  jumping to the front of the line at the amusement park; to conceal our cars so we could go very fast and not get caught; take cookies and other treats just before supper.

Being already invisible, I didn’t really need a cloaking device; a good thing since my son and his cousin didn’t become mad scientists – or at least not yet.

I’ve told my husband many times about my invisibility.  He never believed me until one day, while visiting a local home store, the seeing eye of the automatic doors didn’t ‘see’ me and refused to open.  I approached and reapproached.  The ‘eye’ still didn’t open the doors.  Finally, Dan came up behind me; they ‘saw’ him and the doors opened.  I reminded him, yet again of my invisibility, which of course, he denied.

However, he is now truly convinced of my power to be invisible.  The big topper came this last week. 

I’ve been working at remodeling our downstairs hallway.  You need a lot of light and some old clothes – I’m pretty messy when I do this kind of work – to do this remodeling. 

I was standing on a chair, in bright light, in full view, with my back to the stairway.  I heard him come down the stairs behind me, saw him walk down the hallway into the kitchen.  Then I heard him say:  ‘Where are you?’

‘Where am I?’ I queried, disbelievingly, as he walked back into the hallway, stunned to see me standing in plain sight where he’d just walked past me. 

Don’t tell me I’m not invisible!  When the person I’m closest to on the planet can’t even see me – and believe me, I’m not that small – I have proof positivie that, yes, I truly am invisible.

How Can My Praises Ever Find End?
April 11, 2011, 11:43 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Praise You In The Storm – Casting Crowns – a musical tribute to praising God.

It’s been a very tough first quarter of the year both across the world and in my personal life. 

The various international outbreaks in Egypt, Libya and more; the terrible earthquake, aftershocks and sunami in Japan; the subsequent near meltdowns of the nuclear power plants in Japan; the continuing famine and lack of clean water in many third world nations; the mudslides and floods in Australia and here in the U.S.; the prolonged winter season across the plains and the mid-West.  Terrible times by anyone’s standards.

Here at home, the layoff from my job added to the same for a number of friends along with loss of church affiliation have been sources of grief and loss that have been following me, personally, since mid-February.

In spite of it all, I find that I am not defeated, not without hope.

Yesterday a line from a song really hit me.  It was this:  How can my praises ever find end? 

BOOM! as my son would say. 

The question seemed so right, so true.  In the midst of it all, I recognize that God is still on His throne.  Even though everything appears to be going haywire, He is still in control.  Regardless of what the world would have us think, God is still worthy of endless praise! 

In this uncertain time, all humans need a mustard seed of faith, a measure of trust, and the flicker of hope that God will bring us through what appears to be a very dark, very deep valley.  That valley is spoken of in the 23rd Psalm.  It is a valley that anyone who is upright and breathing has either already visited or will, at some future point, visit.  In fact, most of us will visit that valley many times over during our life time.

The 23rd Psalm says:  “Even though I walk through a valley dark as death, I fear no evil, for You are with me, your staff and your rod are my comfort.”

For me, the key word here is ‘through’.  It’s a promise of hope; a promise that God will not leave us in this valley that is dark as death.  He will bring us through this place to the other side to begin our climb to the mountaintop experience.  It is here that we will be able to look back and see how our experiences have worked together for our own growth and for His praise.  It is here that we will find a way to continue to praise Him.

Through these experiences, good and not so good, our praises may never find an end.  Giving thanks during the difficult times is just as necessary and maybe even a greater blessing to the Lord,  as giving thanks during the good times in our lives. 

Praising God during the difficult times is an act of trust and hope on our part.  It is the time when we can figuratively climb into the lap of our Heavenly Father and receive His comfort and loving care.  It’s a time when He will carry us if we will just trust Him to do so.  In return, we find that He fills our hearts with thanksgiving and praise that pours from our very being in words, songs, and deeds. 

He can provide a time of total renewal in the midst of any disaster, physical, emotional, spiritual.  It is up to us to seek Him out.  Jeremiah 29:12-14 says:  “If you invoke me and pray to me, I will listen to you:  when you seek me you shall find me; if you search with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord.”  What a promise!

And what a wonderful reason for never finding an end to praising Him!

Where’s the motivation?
April 3, 2011, 7:37 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Well, it’s been seven weeks since I was laid off, tossed on the heap like so much garbage.  That’s pretty much how one feels deep inside if you give yourself a moment to stop telling everyone ‘it’s okay, I’m fine’ which we try not to do.

I mean, really, I am fine.  I still wake up breathing in the morning.  There’s still a roof over my head, food on my table, even a song in my heart that has pretty much nothing to do with the job status, other than I’m not feeling the stress of it anymore.

What I mean is this:  for a moment there, I couldn’t figure out why I’m not running after jobs like one might think I would.  I need to work, that’s for sure.  It’s too many years between today and the day I can file for retirement – if that day even comes.  But, as a young volunteer once said to me, ‘I’m not feelin’ it.’

Why am I not feelin’ it, I asked myself? 

Here’s why….

In the past, when I wanted to leave a job, I did everything I could to find another job so I could kiss the old one goodbye.  But that was my choice so I acted on it with diligence to give myself what I wanted.

This time it wasn’t my choice. 

This was a job I really liked.  I loved working with the volunteers.  I didn’t love all the politics within the company so I didn’t play politics, I played me.  Combine the fact that didn’t work for them with the fact of my age and – BOOM – I found myself lying on the steps, face down, with my stuff all around me.  OUCH!  That hurt.

When you’re stripped of something you love, you become disoriented.  Somehow you think, ‘I should be going there to work, that’s where I belong’.  Yet each day, you get up and know that if you did go back there, they’d probably just have security come get you and – BOOM – you’d be back, face down on the steps. 

When you’ve been forced from a job you loved, you almost don’t know how to start looking for the next job. 

You don’t even want to look for the next job! 

You want the job you had!  But you can’t have it so you’re supposed to go find another job. 

How do you do that when you can’t even begin to see yourself someplace else?  

How do you seriously go after something you can’t envision? 

For me, it’s like trying to capture a wave in the ocean….