Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Room of Days

Proverbs 2:6-11 (New International Version)
6 For the LORD gives wisdom,
and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He holds victory in store for the upright,

he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just

and protects the way of his faithful ones.
9 Then you will understand what is right and just

and fair—every good path.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,

and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
11 Discretion will protect you,

and understanding will guard you.

I closed my eyes to listen with full concentration. The music finding its way from my laptop, through the wires and into the ear buds in my ears, was so beautiful that it took me to a place in my imagination; a room in heaven. The Room of Days is what I named it in my thoughts.

I saw a room in which all of our days, just like photos in an album, could be looked at; the choices we made in them seen by the ones whose days they were; many choices, made in split seconds. For instance; to be kind or not, to follow a selfish course, or to sacrifice time and energy for others.

Each day starts out as a blank page of possibility and from the moment of waking, the choices begin, choices to do it right; or do it dysfunctionally, moment by moment, scores, if not hundreds of small choices in a day.

I think that if room existed, it might hold more regrets than not. I'm glad it is only in my imagination.

But the thought of reviewing our days reminds me of a practice I once read about, called the Evening Examen. It is a ritual of reflecting each evening on the events of the day, turning them over mentally--looking at those small choices made, while opening up the heart and soul to the Holy Spirit. It seems a good very thing to do, but I confess that in my busyness, I rarely take the time to do it.

Today though, is a day in which it feels important to do so and to thank God for his Presence from start to finish.

I started the day feeling such a need for God. I didn't want to consider weighty matters without him. My work involves people. Sometimes it feels as if the people get buried under an avalanche of paper, but that is just a red herring. You could burn the paper and the people would still be there, and people matter; very, very much.

So I prayed, even though I was far too rushed. And I took time to open my Daily Light and read my daily Marathon of Biblical Proportions reading (still behind but in the race). And God spoke, and I felt like I got that part right. That's the wonderful thing, we can always say, "From this point, I'm going to do it right." We may fail, but we keep trying, and when we do get it right it feels so good that we just want to keep doing it that same way. Today was like that.

I read a post on my friend Joanna Mallory's blog this morning (God With Us: Finding Joy; the address is http://joannamallory.wordpress.com/ ) and some words in her post were very meaningful to me:
He hasn’t sent us out on assignment with only our wits and resources. Remember, He’s given us the Holy Spirit as Counsellor, Comforter, Reminder of His Word.

I went forward with these words, and those from Proverbs 2 and 3, singing in my heart, and I felt God with me all through the day. I felt his truth and justice flowing.

In the Room of Days, this one would shine.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (New International Version)
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,

and he will make your paths straight.

5 comments:

Joyful Fox said...

Hi Belinda,

Just read your post. It has blessed me very much.

My bad choices almost always contain words- words spoken in haste, in a tone that is harsh or unkind, from an attitude that is proud and impatient rather than humble and gentle and compassionate.

Today was another one of those days. Several time I regretted my militant tone as I barked out orders to the children. It seems the busier I get, the longer the "to do" list and the tighter the time-frame, the longer my list of regrets with my words. Oh, do I ever learn.

I read your initial excerpt from Proverbs twice and it gave me pause to think. How true.

I found your post encouraging, especially your words, "From this point on, I'm going to do it right" and also when you said, "We may fail, but we keep on trying, and when we do get it right it feels so good that we just want to keep doing it that same way."

Thanks for the encouragement.

Your courage, honesty and vulnerability blesses.

Thanks

P.S. I'm away again until Monday a.m. and will continue to blog from the cottage. Have only been home for 7 days (total) these last 7 weeks or so. I miss you. Thinking of you and will be in touch soon.

Joanna Mallory said...

Belinda,

What a thought-provoking image this Room of Days gives. So many choices in each day, so many chances to get it right or to blow it.

I love your encouragement that "from this point on" is our focus. No being weighted down by guilt from the past, even though we've been guilty. I'm so glad God promises to forgive us and start us on the right path again. Otherwise there'd be no hope.

Brother Lawrence is my inspiration, from Practicing His Presence, the way he kept conscious of God all through the day. As soon as I forget, those bad choices can start.

Thanks for the idea of an evening look back over the day. Sounds like a great way to prayerfully evaluate, and to start the next day clean and ready.

Father God, please keep us closer to You so we can get it right, and our room of days can shine.

Dave Hingsburger said...

My regrets are not for the times that I made choices that lead to personal failure ... my regrets are for the times that I should have but didn't ... could have but chose not to ... had an opportunity and watched it walk by. My worst decisions all involved inaction ... not action. My greatest sins were when I gave up before trying, turned away rather than turned towards, looked away rather than reached out ... those are the decisions that haunt me ... in the room of days.

Angcat said...

Belinda,
This post was a gift and letter of hope in a series of days of regret..words spoken, hearts hurt and angered...
Having hope that our loving Father will forgive and give a fresh start is life giving...
Thank you for this.

Belinda said...

We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done.
Book of Common Prayer, Morning Prayer

Dave's comment reminded me of the liturgy from my Church of England childhood--this came just after the part where we confessed that we had erred and strayed from his ways like lost sheep.

And Joanna, I love Brother Lawrence too. I have a treasured, 70 year old copy of his little book.

Ang and Joyful, peace and grace. I love you.