Friday, February 6, 2015

Forty years in the desert

I think a lot about the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. It occurs to me that one benefit of the fifth decade of life is that one can nod and say, "Yes, well there are things it takes forty years to grasp!" Here's one: There is a huge difference between:
  • an annoyance 
  • an inconvenience 
  • a difficulty, and 
  • a Problem. 
Life is a lot easier when you sort these things properly. This is one of those things I thought I knew, except I didn't, really. I guess it takes having some Problems to put things in proper perspective. That's probably because in the flurry of emotion that accompanies any unwelcome event, we tend to lump everything into the Problem category.

Currently in my household we have one broken leg (Andrew), one infected foot healing (Dancer) and one surgery scheduled (Big Guy). One bathroom is sink-less (it crashed), and a bedframe splintered and broke when a large child flopped onto it. These things are all inconveniences, with the broken leg and infected foot tending more toward difficulties.

There are other things going on that count as Problems. Eventually you know a Problem when you see one: it has a certain maybe-this-won't-be-fixable aspect to it.

The good news is that I think we are turning the corner on one Problem.

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One thing about the forty years in the desert that appeals to me -- in the abstract, of course -- is the fact that one had to get past the sand in the eyes and scorpions in the sandals and the same damned food every day and no escape from the annoying people in the tent next door in order to finally grasp that that's not what the trip was about.

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Another thing was that it went on Far. Too. Long. I mean, really, God? Yeah, well, yes. Really. Because some basic things take a very, very long time to grasp.

I have this theory that when you're trying to teach a kid a desireable behavior, at the outset you need to say to yourself, "Hmmm, I'm gonna guess it will take 500,000 times of telling him to chew with his mouth shut before it will happen consistently." The reason for this is that when you're on correction number 298,562 you have no expectation that your child really should have gotten this by now. Then you're not so exasperated.

I sorta think that's the way God came up with the forty years thing.

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I have continued to write over at my Guideposts blog during my hiatus here, and some of it has been pretty solid and intense, if I do say so. Most of the comments happen on Facebook rather than the blog page, but unfortunately you have to 'like' Guideposts as a whole in order to get the feed. My posts go up on Wednesdays. You can take a look, if that's your sort of thing.

I also finally started a professional Facebook page. I've had a personal page for a long time, but I try not to mix up friends and friends-I-don't-know. So if you want to find me there, you can.

I will try to write here when I have enough mental margin to do so. At the moment I don't know how often that will be. Thank you to everyone who has written to me privately. It's been a rough haul, and I appreciate your care and concern.