October Reflections

How is it that I have change so? This morning I sat to write notes of praise and encouragement to the young students of my Sunday school class. And yet, with every written word, my mind stole off to some secret distraction: unanswered email, unfinished house projects, unchanged oil, a video game. I found that I nearly despised the very process as though there were no meaning or value in such actions, dismissing them as twaddle.

I find, and not for the first time, that the stray twig once tolerated has grown and now threatens the health of the tree. Once tertiary limbs now draw resources from the trunk. I am a tree in danger of branching at all the wrong places.

Too long the wandering feet of worldly distractions have tramped the garden of my mind. I set anew to the task of fencing, as Robert Frost’s neighbor and cry with him, “Something there is that doesn’t love a fence.”

I live as though activity proves viability, and volume quality. “When what I most enjoy, contented least…” I pray for intimacy with God and He drives me to His Word. I seek Him in the pages and find instead the blood-stains of my growing need. I hurry and move about; I multitask, all the while forgetting that He is as much about the journey as the process, and more about the roots than the limbs; more about the notes of encouragement to children, when I have embraced the lie that more is more. “Less is more,” Dane Ortlund recently reminded me. “Less is more,” he said, summarizing the message of 2 Corinthians. Less is more.

And so I walk along the ancient fence and seek to patch the places made open to the ways of culture: consumption, complacency, capitalization. The blood-stains reveal a double wound: my unworthiness and His sacrifice. That which I write to five-year-olds comes home, through my own hand to my own heart, “In Christ we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Theirs no more than mine.

If salvation were simple cognition, then I am reborn everyday, a child, a sapling. Let winter run its course: I will prune this tree.

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