I used to love the seesaw as a kid. Then, as now, I was a large lad and threw myself into it with gusto. Launching off I would sail into the air, gripping on for dear life as my bum left the seesaw half way through the air. On the other end of the seesaw one of my brothers would then launch themselves just as enthusiastically and I would come down to earth with a very firm and painful landing. Again, I’d be gripping hold for dear life as the pain shot up through my posterior and half way up my back. I never did fall off but it always felt as though I just might …
For me, the last five months have been like living on the seesaw. Some days I felt so good I have thought about returning to work. I realise through being absent how much I have grown to care about the people of Folkestone Baptist Church. As folk have been ill or been going through life changes I have desperately wanted to visit and show my concern but haven’t been able to. On my good days I’m planning those visits. I’m also starting to learn to play piano. I can already make a fair stay at Ellis Presley’s ‘Love me tender’. I’ve also got a dozen little outreach schemes in my head that I’d like to do. On my good days I’m feeling – yes – I could do them – when I’m fit enough and restored… whatever the lesson is that God is teaching me through all this, I’ve learned to wait on him, big time.
When I have a bad day I do not dream. I have to lie back at a 45 degree angle, take my angina spray and hope the pain goes away. And it doesn’t. So much pain I cannot get up to make a cup of tea. All dreams crushed. And the pain of crushed dreams is almost as bad as the physical pain.
I guess we are looking at hope and despair. Or as Kipling puts it:
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
The one thing I have when the seesaw is up or down is to appreciate the small things: a meal cooked with love, the beauty of the flowers in the garden, a refreshing cup of tea. Ridiculously small things but to appreciate them and not to strive really is something important. Paul advised Timothy not to strive always for more but to be content with how things are. He says,
It’s also what the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes was on about. He says that he’s completed massive projects, but they don’t mean much. He’s amassed a vast fortune but he’s going to eventually die just like a foolish man who sits around all day doing nothing. At the end of the day, it is all without meaning. All you can do is to enjoy the good things, do the work you can, and trust God.
So I long for not having a seesaw of hope and despair. I’m not there yet. I am off see a Professor of Cardiac medicine tomorrow. He might fix me. He might tell me I’m stuck this way for the rest of my life and so must retire.
But I hope I’ve learnt godliness with contentment – that whatever the news I will be able to trust the Lord and keep enjoying the small things in life.