A Word from Curt
Gratitude is one of my 6+ words for 2017.
I’m thankful for the wonderful gifts in my life.
Today I’m thankful to have the calling of writing. It’s what I do. Who I am. I’m thankful that you have chosen to read this blog and allow my heart to hopefully warm your life.
Gratitude. What a good word.
For the month of December, we’ve served a daily helping of our short story collection, Christmas Jelly.
We have three more chapters to complete. They’re short thoughts on ending one year and getting ready for the new year. I call this week, “Bah Humbug.” Christmas is over and there’s no way it could meet every expectation we had. It’s no accident that the Christmas season and the week(s) after are a wonderfully difficult time.
Bah Humbug week is a great time to reflect, think, plan, and prioritize.
Enjoy today’s story, “Moving Out.”
As a special gift, here is a link to a message on depression. It is the time of year where many of us deal with depression. This message, which I preached at First Baptist Jennings several years ago, is both a study on Elijah and a personal testimony of my journey through depression.
Ready to Move Out
A few summers ago, DeDe, our youngest son Terry, and I took part in a youth camp in the Black Hills of South Dakota. This area of majestic mountains, covered with vast stands of tall Ponderosa Pines, is one of my favorite places in America.
To get to camp, we drove deeper and deeper into the Hills following a long snaking dirt road called Pasa Sapa Road (the Sioux name for the Black Hills.) Upon arriving at Kamp Kinship, we were greeted by the friendly staff and soon made ourselves right at home.
One of the first things the Camp Director did was to instruct all drivers to park their vehicles outside the front gate. They were shown how to park in lines with the vehicles pointed out toward Pasa Sapa Road.
My inquisitiveness at this was answered by one of the local men. “Up here in the Hills a wild fire can spread quickly. During the hot summer season, dry lightning storms rake across this area. One lightning strike in these dry hills can spark a spreading dangerous inferno that destroys everything in its path.” He nodded as the carefully parked cars. “We’re ready to move out at a moment’s notice. If you hear the camp bell ringing non-stop, it’s the signal to load up and evacuate immediately. Don’t even go back to your cabin.”
This plan of “Being ready to move out” made an impression on me, especially later in the week. Wednesday evening, we had a wonderful worship service of singing and sharing. In the distant northwestern sky over the mountain, bright flashes of lightning split the sky one after another. My friend Stan said, “That storm’s coming from Wyoming. This is just the type that sets off fires in the mountains.”
About midnight the storm roared over the camp. There was no rain but plenty of howling wind, bolts of lightning, and booming thunder.
Fortunately, no fires were ignited near Kamp Kinship. Only later did we learn that several fires erupted at different locations in the Black Hills.
Later that weekend we traveled into Wyoming to Devil’s Tower and saw a huge wildfire that had been burning since the previous week.
Parking the vehicles pointed out at camp “ready to move out” gave me several thoughts about being ready. Here are a few:
Being ready to live – If only we would daily decide to live as if this was our last chance to suck in oxygen and see the sunset. Man, I want to be “ready to move out” and attack life with passion and joy.
Being ready to die– “No man is ready to live who is not ready to die.” No one gets up in the morning and says, “Well, I believe I’ll probably go out and die today.” Deep down inside, we humans all secretly believe we’ll be the one exception to the rule and live forever.
One time after the sudden death of a young person in Dry Creek, a wise man told me, “When you put your shoes on in the morning, you don’t ever know who’ll be taking them off you.”
“Living ready to die” for me entails living in a personal relationship with Jesus. He is my rock, friend, savior, confidant, and guide. I’ve trusted Him for every aspect of my life, including my eternal destination. I can confidently face life and death knowing He is holding not only my hand, but also my destiny.
Living ready to die also includes keeping a short account in my relationships with those around me. I choose not to let hurt feelings or a bad experience keep me from being in touch with others. If there is a problem, I go to them. As needed, I apologize and seek to make things right. That is a part of living joyfully and with gratitude.
I’m pointing the vehicle of my life so I can be ready to go… or content to stay. Many of you have heard me speak of Brett Thornton who has a tattoo on each arm. One arm says, “R 2 G”, and the other, “C 2 S.”
These tattoos sum up his life mission: “Ready to Go, Content to Stay.” It is an attitude of readiness to go where God leads: Ready to jump in the vehicle and spin out if the bell of God’s Holy Spirit rings out.
At the same time, it means possessing a quiet peace that we can trust God if our instructions are to stay put and dig deeper right where we are.
Ready to live
Ready to die
Ready to go . . . content to stay.
Always ready to move out when needed.
Moving up . . . and moving out.