Thursday, January 10, 2008

Loose Ends

Do you ever feel like you just have "stuff" hanging out there, ever which way? Unfinished business that just hangs on you like a skirt that's losing it's hem? It seems to me that about five or six times each year I find myself with loose ends all around. I wake up thinking of all the little things I've got to do that day, but I know even then that many of them will remain undone when I go to bed that night. The reason these ends remain loose is because of circumstances. You know how it goes. To check one thing off your list you have to call so-and-so to ask a few questions and then you have to go get a certain form, complete it and mail it off. But you can't get so-and-so to return your call. You're ready to complete the form, you have a stamp on the envelop already and you have the time to rush it to the post office, but so-and-so won't give you the time of day. You're stuck. Loose end number one remains.

To check off another item on your to-do list, you must gather a bunch of things up, load them in the car and haul them to their destination. But you can't find one of the things you need to load up. After combing over your entire house, you find the item in some strange place where someone in your family, whom we would never name on a blog site, has put it. You add the one last item to your pile in the car, trek across town to your destination, and, lo and behold, the place is closed. It's not supposed to be closed. It just is. So you head back home with your load and plan to try again next week when the sign says they'll reopen, but of course you won't. By then you've moved on to other things and that load will stay in your car until you open the trunk to put the next load in there for the next deposit. Then you'll realize you've had a loose end you weren't even aware of for three weeks. Mercy!

I have a tendency, in fact, to ride around with things in the back of my car for a good long while before I get them to where they belong. I just claim that I'm letting them marinate! I've carried baby gifts in the back of my van until the intended recipient was in kindergarten. I've toted dishes I needed to return to benevolent friends until they moved away. So I just add the dish to my cupboards instead. I've hauled pool noodles, beach towels and sunscreen around through the winter months. My children don't help the cause. We carried my daughter's backpack from school around in our van all the way through Christmas vacation. Every time she got out of the van she said she would get it out and take it into the house. She never did. So a few days before she was to return to school, I finally stopped asking. Oh well, like mother, like daughter. (However, I must add, for the sake of my mother who reads this blog, that my mom did not raise me that way. This flaw is purely my own and I place no blame on her!)

Another contributor to loose ends is piles. Do you have piles? I don't necessarily have huge piles, mind you. I guess I really just have stacks. (My mom does have stacks, by the way.) My son has piles. Here in my office, which I share with him and my daughter, he has piles of notebooks, books, papers, cds, and other strange stuff. I make him work through the piles occasionally, but he insists he needs all that stuff and the best place for it is right there. I'd clean out the piles myself, but that can be dangerous. My friend Kim recently cleaned out her teenage son's piles and accidentally threw away an important project for school. She spent the better part of one evening going through a yucky garbage pail to no avail. I'd rather live with the piles for a few more years.

But I digress. My loose ends are not the result of my son's piles. They are caused by my stacks. Just last week I found a bill that was a few days late in one of my stacks. At other times I have found money, birthday cards I thought I'd already mailed, invitations to events past and missed, and a variety of things I blamed my husband for losing. Loose ends, all stacked up neatly, but loose just the same.

Here's another reason I sometimes have loose ends. Interruptions. I get started writing an important e-mail to an editor and the dogs start barking. The UPS man has delivered a package. Well you can't just set an unopened package on the counter and continue writing your e-mail. I have to open the package. I find that it is a sweet gift from a sweet friend. I must call the sweet friend and thank her. She tells me about a new recipe she tried out on her family last night. I must write the recipe down. Come to think of it, let's have this new tasty dish tonight. I must go to the grocery store and buy the ingredients. I come home and prepare the dish. Life happens and now I must clean the kitchen, find my son a red shirt, take the dogs out, and take my daughter to play rehearsal. What e-mail? Just another loose end.

Now, sticking with the theme of this blog, I've got to find a blessing in this mess. It may be a stretch, but here goes. I'm glad to say that though I sometimes have loose ends all over the place, God has left no unfinished business when it comes to me. He promised a Messiah and He sent Him. Jesus lived a wondrously sinless life, taught me how to live, died on the cross for me and rose again. He finished the job. Because He left no loose ends I have assurance and hope. I can go to sleep at night a little frustrated that I didn't complete everything on my list, but I can rest because I know He did. He will never fail me or forsake me. He is not dependent on any other thing or person. His work in my life doesn't depend on someone returning His call. He doesn't allow stuff to accumulate either like I do in my van. He has dealt with my sins once and for all. And His Word says that what He has begun in me, He will see to completion (Philippians 1:6) He has paid the debt and He has sealed me with the Holy Spirit. Though He continues to work on me, He considers me a done deal, paid in full. Glory! Aren't you glad I'm not running things and He is? Just one more reason to be glad that He is God and I'm not. He's the Alpha, but He's also the Omega!

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