Saturday, September 7, 2013

Entropy meets people

September 8, 2013

Dear friends,

New computer!! New printer!! Yea!! Celebration!!  New learning curve? Maybe not so much celebration as more work.  Sigh.

The triumphant rescue of computer-based cyber life in this household is the a result of Heather's skilled advice, massive investment of time and energy on Lori's part, and a similar investment by Jim. Thank you seems a totally inadequate expression of gratitude but it's the best I can do.

The on-going battle with entropy continues, however.

The disposal came to an abrupt watery end. Pure kitchen chaos was averted only because friends were visiting. With skill and good humor they cleaned up the mess, shopped for and installed a new disposal unit, and made the whole affair into an adventure and a good story.

After many people foot-prints the carpet in my home office required replacement.  This operation would have been unmanageable but Alice and associates came to the rescue. Their efforts  contained chaos at manageable levels, and Laura B. provided temporary shelter for me (Annie took refuge under the bed, emerging only when trips to her food bowl and litter box became an unavoidable necessity). Chaos receded and this adventure ended in great stories and a fine new wood floor.

Improvements are tricky things, however. The new office floor adjoins the living-room/dining-room area of my home. Once I had settled into my refurbished office I could see (with painful clarity) that people prints, Annie prints, and coffee stains had left this carpet in truly regrettable shape. Entropy had invaded the whole first floor.  More energy must be invested here.

After further consultation with Alice and her associates, a bid was made and accepted. Then--and this happened while Lori and Jim were busy battling the frustrating process of transferring files to the new computer--the flooring people called with an installation date--NEXT WEDNESDAY!!!

China cabinets to empty, "little stuff" to move into temporary storage into the garage, appointments to reschedule, and, from time to time, a space made to breathe. The threatened tsunami of chaos left me wondering how I would manage.

Fortunately, Lori had planned to stay the entire week-end.  (For those of you who have not met her, Lori is beautiful, charming, and a living example of the reason it is not wise to mess with Texas.)

Lori said, "You do not need to feel overwhelmed. I will manage this."

She calmly went out, collected boxes and wrapping paper, and emptied the china cabinet, storing the displaced refugees from the dining room in the garage until they can return home to their cabinet when it is sitting, we trust, on a beautiful new floor. "We'll finish the computer files and move the living-room small stuff tomorrow," she said with her infectious smile. "No big deal. Sleep well."

There have been many similar adventures this last year. It is not possible to write here each story or to recount the part  each of you have played in making my life rich with wonderful stories and my house a safe and peace-filled shelter. As I think of this journey and the adventures we have shared, I can see with even greater clarity one of life's great truths.

The degree to which we cope constructively with the forces of entropy and disintegration is not determined in the end by wealth of intellect or material resources, nor, in one sense, by faith. My relationship with God, while ultimately the source of all good things, does not provide immunity from disposals that fail and carpets (and bodies) that wear out. Faith does not provide shelter from the erosion and loss that comes with time.

But my relationship with friends and with fellow pilgrims--ah, now that's a different story. They do not--indeed, they cannot--carry my load in life, as Paul pointed out [Gal 6:4]. I must myself, by God's grace and empowerment deal with the running-down and wearing-out forces in my life and with the bent and broken things (and people) that in consequence I meet. I must live with loss and deal with the cost of replacement and repair.

But while I alone can do my work, I have learned that I need not do my work alone.

Quality of life, Shalom, and contentment of soul are not the perks of privilege nor the automatic by-product of piety. Rather, they are the gentle harvest of the shared life and generous energy invested in relationships.

Thinking with you today that the wisest long-range planning resides not in a balanced portfolio of funds but in a carefully nurtured community of life-wise friends.

See you next week.


Sent from my iPad

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