Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sheep, Goats, Funerals, Inaugurations, Cell Phones, and other miscellaneous ramblings

Obviously, today I'm having a bit of trouble in focusing. There are a lot of different things running through my head.

Too begin with a friend from church sent out an email a few days ago asking if we thought we were a sheep or a goat? Our pastor had preached on Matthew 25:31-46:

The Sheep and the Goats
31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

I know what I WANT to be - I want to be a sheep. I want to sit at Jesus' right hand and bask in His favor. Realistically - I'm sure I have that I many more goat qualities than I'd like to admit. I don't think this means I'm loved by Him any less - yet I know that I can do better. And, I'm sure if I can know this, then Jesus knows it even better than me. Whew - I definitely have a bit more thinkin' and prayin' to do before I write back and answer that email.

I went up to Riverton to my parents' place Monday night all by myself. This was another one of those paradoxical moments in my life. It was a nice break to be able to take off by myself sans kids and husband and hit the road for a few hours. I listened to a book on cd while I drove and had no external interruptions. And yet, the reason for my trip was not nice, but very sad. I headed to Riverton to attend the funeral of one of my mom's best friends who had been battling cancer. Considering that she is now at peace, no longer suffering and in the best company any of us can hope for I won't say the cancer won. Yet the rest of us here will feel her loss deeply for a long time to come.

Tuesday morning we were greeted with even more hard news when we learned that another long-time family friend had suffered a heart attack the night before and passed away. His death was rather unexpected. My family and I functioned on autopilot for the first couple of hours that day.

Before Betsy's funeral we watched the 44th president of the United States take his oath of office. I was struck by how momentous an occasion this truly was in so many ways. Do we Americans really have any idea how significant it is to have such a peaceful transfer of power occur? I don't think we do - we take it for granted. There are so many nations in our world for whom such a change would involve civil war and strife and bloodshed.

Betsy's funeral - like so many - was both happy and sad. I really enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with friends I hadn't been in touch with for years. And we celebrated the time honored tradition of bemoaning how we shouldn't let it take a funeral to get us back together again. Life and distance has a way of testing our good intentions, doesn't it?

I will admit that I am excited that I'm getting a new cellphone! My old one has been slowly falling apart for some time. The antenna is broken and I can only hear callers if the speakerphone is on. I was just waiting until we were close enough to our contract renewel date so that I could order one for much less money. It'll probably arrive tomorrow!!

Ah, tomorrow - I won't be in town when my new phone arrives. I'll be in Rawlins attending Al's funeral. More tears, more hugs, more opportunity to catch up on relationships. More opportunity for me to be so grateful to friends and family in my life who make it possible for me to attend these gatherings and still take care of my children. Terry sent me off to Betsy's funeral because he knew it meant more to me than to him or the kids to be there. And now that Terry is out of town my mother-in-law has willing stepped in to watch the girls while I head west to Rawlins. I know that I don't deserve this kind of support - but I am truly grateful for the gift of it!!!!

Rest in Peace Betsy and Al. You will be missed.
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