Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Snakes and ladders

Bear with me here, Lord.  I know it might seem as if I'm overdoing the CS Lewis thing at the moment, but things keep jumping out at me. 


I'm sitting here waiting for three eggs to hard boil as Elizabeth has to take a hard boiled egg into school tomorrow for her Easter Egg Rolling competition, and I forgot to boil one till now.  I'm wanting to be in bed but as I watch the pan I thought I'd check in with you. Not that I'm just filling time; you know what I mean. 


I'm mulling over the fact that I just snapped at Lizzie as she tiptoed into the kitchen earlier when I was on the phone to remind me of the need for hard boiled eggs and I scolded her for being out of bed and assured her it was in hand when actually it's a good job she came down as otherwise I'd have been hard-boiling eggs at the crack of dawn tomorrow and she'd be rolling a hot one. Poor Lizzie. I'm feeling bad for not admitting that I'd forgotten. I've been reading recently about the need for absolute honesty and the ease with which I assured her that I was onto the hard boiled egg thing is somewhat startling... still, that conversation is for another day. Today it's CS Lewis again.


I'm perilously close to a full bar of Galaxy chocolate, too, so I need to keep my hands occupied.  Bryan brought it into the house at the weekend and then was inconsiderate enough to leave it there when he went back to London.  What can you do? I can't even get up to make a coffee because if I open the fridge for the milk, there it is, looking at me. 


Anyway, CS Lewis. 


He said:


"Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done."
 (Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer)


Ain't that the truth.  I feel I'm getting somewhere and then I do the two steps forward, one step back thing.  So much is happening at the moment that I am excited and full of anticipation, then along comes a juggernaut and knocks me flying.  I'm shaking sixes and climbing ladders only to land on whopping snakes that take me back to the beginning.  I look at the children at my bedtime and I sit on the edge of the bed (or on their foot, as I did inadvertently last night with Lizzie which sort of ruined the moment) and I put my hand on them and I pray and I kiss them and I wonder at their beauty and innocence and smallness.  I invariably think to myself, 'How could I possibly have been so cross with you earlier on today?' and I promise, I promise that I'll do better tomorrow.  Tomorrow comes and I've usually mucked it up by breakfast time. 


I'm hard boiling three eggs in case they crack.  I've just looked at them and two of them have cracked.  Lord, look after the third one.  I do want to get to bed this side of midnight.


So I try and I fail.  Or I don't try very hard, and I fail. Each morning I need to start again.  No matter what insights I have on one day, no matter how uplifting the worship on a Sunday, no matter how powerful the sermon, how loving the friendship, how outstandingly patient I am at the children's bathtime (ha!); I need to begin again every morning.  A new page. 


How wonderful is it that you allow that.  That you don't say, 'Well, you've really blown it this time. You were impatient/crabby/hurtful/distant/mendacious enough to ruin it completely.  It'll be a while before I'm helping you again.'


Thankyou that you don't pick up your ball and go home with it every time I don't play nicely.  Thankyou that you give me a clean page each day even though you just know I'm going to make a mess of it. Thankyou that your shoulder is there for me to lean on, your hand to hold and your footsteps to follow each new day. 


Today's coming to an end and tomorrow will start all too soon. I'm going to give it to you; I'm going to lay tomorrow before you and rely on you all over again. No matter what has happened today, I shall be here tomorrow night agonising about the same things, no doubt. Help me to change that, bit by bit, over time, will you, God.  Help me stop thinking I can do it, and teach me to let you do it instead. 


Let there be more ladders than snakes. 







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