19 And when I was burdened
you comforted me
and made me feel secure.
8 Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise.
This morning, I got up and was casually petting Gabby, the bigger of my two ‘muppets’, and I picked a flea off her head.
I really hate fleas. Just as soon as I got that flea picked off and crushed, I picked off another one. And another one. And another one. Then I checked Tex, and “lo and behold” more fleas. All of this prompted a call to our vet for flea and tick treatment for the three fur babies that live in our household (Clara the grand-kitten is still here for a few days as her Mama settles back in her apartment and starts work). Both dogs got baths. The furniture all got vacuumed. All bedding got changed and washed. I got changed and washed. I didn’t bathe the kitten, because, well, I didn’t find any fleas on her and frankly I wasn’t up for the wild ride that that would’ve been. Then, just as I sat down for a cool drink and a bit of relaxation, Gabby jumped up on my lap, and –
I picked another flea off of her head. Ewwwww.
At the same time, I’ve been battling the greenest algae-ridden pool you’ve ever seen. I love my little above ground pool but I haven’t been able to really get in it because of the algae. I bought my pool chemicals online this year, and in bulk, and I’ve already gone through a whole lot of shock and algaecide. I vacuum the pool every day – back wash liberally – top it up with clean water and still the green persists and the pool has not been (much) swam in.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the persistence of both fleas and algae today, and I think there’s a whole lot of truth to be had in this. You see, this week we went to the Phase 1 of Ontario’s reopening plan. Those of you who have followed my “church leadership” journey know that every time our public health orders change, I have gone into planning overdrive to try and make sense of them all and look forward to our ministry opportunities. As with much of the pandemic planning, the phrase “It all depends” keeps coming up. It all depends on our vaccination uptake. It all depends on the persistence of the Covid-19 variants. It all depends on what risk our community is willing to take. I find my inability to plan and see the road ahead very stressful and very complicated. On Wednesday of this week, two separate group meetings called me on this thinking. Ministry and Personnel kindly reminded me that I needed to simply ‘go with the flow’ and trust that when the planning decisions came up that Bethel would make wise decisions and support me in Ministry. Bible Study reminded me that I needed to spend a whole lot more time engaged in the ‘now’ and trust that God has our future.
And both groups were absolutely right. And I realized that I had let the flea and algae parts of my thinking take over. The fleas of anxiety and concern. The algae of worry and discontent. And it has once again clouded my thinking and my relationship with God. And that’s all very exhausting.
You see, what I also have found out, is that eradicating these fleas and this algae is really hard work. Just when you think you have things licked, another thought crops up that you have to pick off of your brain and crush between your metaphorical fingernails. Our scriptures remind us constantly to place our trust and our future in God’s capable hands. We are reminded repeatedly to “think on these things”. Things that are the opposite of the anxiety, worry and middle of the night sleepless planning or ruminating. Thoughts that are trusting in God’s process, trusting in the support and love of our community and trusting that our future is one that is right.
So, I hope all of you will join me in putting our plans and our future post-Covid in God’s hands. My vet assures me that the flea treatment takes 24 hours to work so by the time you read this I will trust that the fleas are gone in our home. The pool company tells me that it will just take a little bit more time and effort and my pool will be clear and I will be able to swim. And, our Bible tells us that only God knows our future, and so we need to trust that where we are right now is exactly where we need to be. Oh, and our Bible Study crew tells me that they, and the rest of Bethel, really do have “what’s best” in mind and really do love me, and love each other. Changing my thinking will take time and work, and just when we think we’ve got it, another flea of worry will crop up, but truthfully;
All of this is worth it.
Blessings today, and Remember you are Loved.
Today you get a picture of my green pool and two woebegone puppies fresh out of their bath.