Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Into the New Year

Welcome back to the cottage, my friends.

I am closing in on completing a New Year's resolution that I began January 1. Assuming I continue (2 more days!!), I will have read through the entire Bible in this year. (This is the second time in my 65 years that I will have kept a NY resolution)(Assuming I continue).

It began about this time last year when I clicked the YouVersion Bible app on my phone and pursued the various studies that they make available. There are numerous "read through the Bible" choices and I was drawn to the RED one -- Bible In One Year (BIOY), offered by a bloke named Nikki, a Brit and a founder of something called Alpha. He and his wife Pippa offer commentary throughout the daily reads.

At midnight each day (that would be -- what? -- 6 AM there?) they shoot me the next day's selections. Each day arrived in three parts: something from the Wisdom books (Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon); a portion New Testament (these came in order); and then the ponderous and much longer selections from the Old Testament. Each daily assignment required about 15 minutes of reading.

These come to my BIOY app and also to my email. I had a few days when the app wasn't working. This was about half way through the year. I panicked a tiny bit as I was invested; and then realized I could retrieve somewhere else.

The closest I'll ever come to a marathon, the journey has not always been joyful. Having sat in various church settings during my 65 years on this planet, I found myself running into the familiar, the heard about and the "I never read this is in my life." Boy, did those Old Testament sons of Israel keep copious, detailed records of which of the twelve sons got what and what His sons got and what His sons' sons got. Then, so often, they displeased the Deity, lost it all, suffered tremendously, and were restored eventually.

As my countdown got to 30 days, I began to doubt that Nikki and Pippa would deliver. I sat with my Bible (hard copy) opened to the Table of Contents, looked at what I still had to cover and worried that there was no way we'd get to completion. But here we are, 2 days to go and we're at the end of Revelation and among those little minor prophesy books so we're good.

Sometime during this year, a friend/pastor spoke on Trusting God. He said something about how we trust the stranger in that large moving metal machine next to us but struggle with trusting Our Father, who knows us and loves us. I remember registering that I was trusting two of the Queen's countrymen without ever meeting them. But they came through.

A few revelations of my own: I don't remember reading Lamentations. I know that I did because Nikki and Pippa took me through it; I will probably take some time on New Year's Eve and read it (huh: REREAD it). As for Revelation. My Sunday School class studied it; a Wednesday Bible Study read through it. And Nikki and I have read it together. Triple Crown. There's still so much that I don't get but I know where to go to learn.

I found myself smiling at some of those familiar stories from early Sunday School. Of COURSE, I knew the story of Samson and Delilah.(Judges 16) Samson was one of the judges that God placed over Israel before they insisted on a king. Then, of course, there was the Cecil B. DeMille treatment, starring that 40's hottie, Victor Mature, and Hedy (not "Hedley") LaMarr.

Samson was a man of great strength but, ah, he had a fatal weakness. He was blinded, literally, but long after he was 'blinded' by the temptress who sold him out. She asked him to tell her the secret of his strength and when he finally did, she turned him over to the Philistines who poked out his eyes and put him to work at the grindstone.

Ah the weakness of men! Ah the treachery of women. But in 2015, reading this with adult eyes, I noted that Delilah asked him four times to tell her wherein his strength lay.

Here, I'm not going back to be accurate. You want accurate, YOU go to Judges 16.

Let's say that Samson says, "Wrap those palm leaves around my arms and my strength will be gone." and then Samson takes a snooze, Delilah wraps away and then wakes him up. He snaps the leaves and, well yeah, he still has his strength.

So she asks him again and again he takes a snooze and again awakens to her trap that does not work.

I discovered THIS year that she asked him four times. FOUR times. I can imagine that the first time, he might have thought that is was just a coincidence that he told her palm leaves, she used palm leaves and then got ticked off that he lied to her.

But surely, the second time he told her (tie my wrists with 6 gauge hemp and make a bow), and she tied his wrists with the hemp and finished it off with a bow, and he woke up and it hadn't worked, surely the dawn would hit him and he'd figure it out that she was trying to destroy him. But no. NO. Four times. FOUR times. What a dope.

I read it around midnight and shook my head in bed.

Enough of the resolution. I'm noodling on what I shall try in the new year After Lamentations. Again.

I guess I live in Texas more than I live at the cottage these days. As a Midwestern transplant, I view my current locale with a squint sometimes. I've driving in 8 or so large cities and I vote for San Antonio as having the craziest drivers. I shake my head a lot, stay in the right lane and let them honk away.

It is my privilege and joy to spend much of my time with 3 exceptional children; it keeps me busy and washes me with joy.

I found a great church, a great Bible study group, and now have adult friends who are not my blood relations. And thanks to Facebook, I enjoy the connection to life-long pals.

Way back in Kokomo, Indiana, a new YMCA is almost ready to open. I have been invited to the ribbon cutting and hope to pop up there for a long weekend. My dear was a regular at the Y, especially in the pool. I'm honored they want me to represent him.

Also, my blogging fell off sharply for a while. Into the new year, I plan to visit back here regularly. God taught me a lot during Mike's illness and for a while, it seemed like the blog was complete. However here I am learning to be a whole person by myself and must, MUST, get back to regular writing.

So, I hope you'll drop by.  Happy New Year, y'all.