Maybe it was partly from having one of those nights where I ended up getting maybe half of a good night’s sleep and I was just tired.  Maybe.  I’m sure that contributed, in part.

Rollercoaster World
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It was definitely from having too many concerns hitting my mind, seemingly all at the same time.  But yesterday was one of those “down rollercoaster” days.

I know there are some who follow my blog who aren’t particularly “religious,” but I really believe this is all part of something that was planted in my brain back in August when worries over my family’s future were starting to hit full-force and I said one long, huge prayer to help lift that burden.  And it wasn’t me who planted that idea there in my noggin.

Yeah, I’m about to get “a bit religious” on y’all.

Monday was a very upbeat day.  There were a lot of things to do, I was being productive and helpful, and — in the process of helping out on a volunteer project — I stepped forward to greet, smile at, and firmly shake the hands of people who once looked down upon me, on more than one occasion through the years, as a bad person — maybe a bit of a madman — who needs serious help through counseling without getting to know “the real story” and ended up getting a warm response back from them.  I worked side-by-side with them for about an hour, offering suggestions that they thought were good on how to organize some things and listening to and following through on their own suggestions on the project at hand.  When they left, I smiled at them and said, “Good to see ya!” … perhaps, hopefully, leaving them with the thought of, “Hey, he’s really not such a bad guy after all.”

My gesture in that moment of my Monday was sincere, heartfelt, in an effort to move on and quietly try to help bring about some peace in a maddening situation that’s been lingering for months.  I don’t believe in making phony gestures.  What you see from me is who you get.  I was in “the Christmas spirit.”  It helped to lift my spirits.

Christmas, after all, should be all about a time of peacemaking.

Monday, for the most part, was a good day.  A very good day.

Something happened at some point to make Tuesday feel like the exact opposite.  Oh, there were good things that happened.  Meeting for a special holiday lunch with close friends is always a good thing, and getting gifts helps to make it very nice as well.  The book “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan has been on my list of books I desperately want to read after hearing glowing reviews about it from a good friend, and I received it as a gift during lunch.  That was a welcome, you might say “heaven-sent,” gift.

But the day also started with … new concerns.  They started piling up before I even left the house for a big chunk of the day.  And it just seemed like those newer concerns piled up on top of older, longer lingering concerns when little reminders of them would creep in.  As the day wore on and those concerns built up, it felt like I was reaching a breaking point.

The weight felt heavy.  My heart literally started to ache (but, no, not in a “heart attack sort of way,” just so you’ll know — more like a “this burden’s getting a bit too heavy for me to carry by myself” kind of way).

My family has three vehicles — a ’98 Dodge Ram pickup, a ’99 Dodge Caravan, and a ’96 Toyota Celica ragtop — and four people of legal driving age.  It seems that, every day, every one of those four people needs a vehicle to get somewhere at some point in time even when we have all three vehicles running.  The Celica is broken down in front of our house at the moment, and I’m waiting for a good time — if there is such a thing when it comes to car repair — to tow it in to my highly trusted mechanic’s shop to get it going again.  Early in my day on Tuesday, part of the “vehicle-and-driver juggling act” involved getting my oldest son Curtis to his college class, where he’d stay for the next 10 hours to turn in a test paper and to do his math tutoring work.

From there, it was off to a bank to make a house payment.  Then it was time to start looking for the place where I’d meet my friends for a Christmas lunch.  And the lunch was a truly enjoyable time.

But then “the concerns” started creeping back in to my mind.  And that’s when my heart started to ache.  I’d take deep breaths and exhale hard to try and ease it.  They’d just keep building back up.

It stayed that way for hours.  At 7:30, it was time to head out the door again to run to Curtis’ college to bring him home.  I got there early and found a place to park in the area of where I’d dropped him off that morning.

I sat in our minivan and waited for him.  I turned off the radio, and just started saying a long, conversation-like prayer.  I just started pouring my heart out, asking again for some kind of sign that things would turn around for the better, for me and my family.  I talked about my impatience, wanting things to turn around NOW, and I apologized for my lack of patience.

I reaffirmed my trust and my faith in whatever plan there is out there for me, and to follow whatever “signs in the road of life” there might be in front of me — even though my heart  was still aching, and that weight that I felt on my shoulders still felt so heavy.

I reaffirmed my trust.  I asked for some reassurance that I wasn’t alone, that I was still being led somewhere, and that whatever was in store for me and my family would be good.

Curtis walked up from behind on the passenger’s side and tried opening up the locked door, which ended my prayer.  We drove home.

I got on the computer and checked my email.  I had mail.

One of my new emails was from one of my church’s elders, a very sweet and caring lady who thinks nothing of going out of her way to thank people in special, heartfelt ways — through notes, emails, maybe a phone call or a special visit — when she wants to recognize something special that’s been done by that person.

Her email to me was one of those emails, just meant to say a warm “thank you.”  It ended this way:  “Hope you find a very good job soon!  You deserve it.  May God bless and lead you.”

I checked the timestamp on the email.  It was 7:57 p.m.  That’s about the time I was saying my prayer in the van.  I took that email not as a mere coincidence, but as a definite answer.

I’m ready for that next sign.

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3 thoughts on “An example of “working in mysterious ways?”

  1. My parents were observant(not religious) Jews.They raised their three children in the hopes they would folllow Judaism as their parents did.The local synagogue(Hillcrest Jewish Center,on Union Turnpike/Queens County) was an important place for my parents. They were active in the temple,going to services regularly(Friday nights, Saturday mornings,High Holy Days(Rosh Hashana,Yom Kippur),and active in the Men’s Club and administrative functions.

    I enjoyed Hillcrest Jewish Center for the gym,where i played basketball, paddleball, the swimming pool, and the social functions geared for(to) kids.I attended services with my parents many times, and i was Bar Mitzvaed at age 13,as were all my friends.

    I lost interest in the practice of Judaism, i found the services long and kinda boring, but i did enjoy the singing and the melodies heared during the services.And, of course,the receptions and refreshments after the services.

    My mother always tried to talk me into attending synagogue for the High Holy days,but i always said no.I know this dissapointed her, but, i was adamant.My mother had given up on my brother and sister, but she held out hope that i might be talked into going.To no avail.

    Several weeks ago, i was sitting on a bench on the grounds of my co-op,there are lots of green, open spaces, and i like to sit under the shade of a tree, enjoy nature, feed the squirrels, check out the good looking babes..etc.
    I saw three young men a block or two down the street, they were dressed in the distinctive garb of Orthodox Jewish men, wide brimmed hat, dark suit.I could see they were talking to each person they saw on the street, i realized they were asking each person if they were Jewish, etc.They were trolling for “converts”.The last thing i wanted was to have these guys pounce on me and ask me about my Jewishness and whether i attended synagogue.I just did not want to be bothered.

    They saw me and walked in my direction.I thought about getting up and walking away, i considered telling them i wasn’t Jewish, i just was not in the mood to be proselyatized.
    I decided to be nice.When they asked me if i was Jewish, i answered that i was brought up in the Jewish tradition, but no longer practiced my faith.They asked me if i wanted to come back to Judaism, i told them, politely,that i was happy with the way i was, without religion in my life.They kept pressing me about returning to the fold, i again, in a friendly manner, told them i wasn’t interested, and wished them well.

    They could see that i was a lost cause, and they also, wished me well and hoped i changed my mind, and they went on their way.

    I was glad that i didn’t choose to run away from the confrontation, i was glad i didn’t deny my Jewishness just to get rid of them, i was glad i was polite to them and parted without rancor.

    They weren’t about to change my mind, and it would never occur to me to challange their religious faith.

    A small victory for tolerance.

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