Saturday, March 2, 2013

Patterns in our Lives?

Why is it that often when we’re younger, things seem to fall into our laps? Life is going along fine until there’s one little delay or mishap, or even, tragically, a moment of horror or a catastrophe, and then suddenly our whole world changes.


I’m not going to suggest, as some have, that we brought on that delay or that tragedy, because for some of us, the mishap or catastrophe came upon us when we were far too young to have invited it into our lives.


But what do we do with that mishap or moment of horror? I’m going to use a mild illustration to make my point.


Throughout my husband’s military career we traveled a lot. When we drove, we totally expected to get lost. That became the “fun” part of road travel. We’ve joked about it and laughed heartily over it. Although at the time, it brought frustration and delay. We invited those “adventures” whether we were aware of what we were doing or not, because we fully expected them.


But traveling by air, now that was living. We never got lost! We were always on time, we never lost our luggage, we experienced respect and pleasantness that public services should always provide.


Then there was that fateful trip where everything went wrong. We were late getting to the airport (because we drove to Denver to catch our flight, we got lost). We were denied access to our flight, not because we missed it, but because we hadn’t arrived at the airport in sufficient time to make security feel comfortable. (We were five minutes into the “two hours ahead of time” we had to make, I kid you not.) So they pushed us back to the following flight, which caused us to miss our connecting flight, though we dashed through the airport with [grand]children in tow. Of course, this meant lost luggage because the luggage was on that original flight.


The fiasco continued through most of our trip. I’ll spare you the details, but the mounting frustrations were unimaginable.


From that point forward in my life, it seems that almost every flight I’ve been on has endured mishaps, sometimes multiple mishaps. Thank God, nothing tragic.


Now, in part, I might blame the security measures put in place after 9/11. In part, I might blame the aging planes out there on the tarmac. In part, I might blame the lack of customer service by a lot of customer servants. The fact that the customer is the one to butter their bread matters little these days.


But, in fact, somehow I’d sown seeds of dismay, discord, disarray, disappointment, delay, disillusionment, distance and confusion into my life.


How, you might ask. Or why would I do that?


I don’t believe it’s intentional, at least, not on a conscious level.


But instead of bragging about how our luggage is never lost, or how our flights always arrive on time, or how we were blessed with some special courtesy – now I find myself contending with other passengers about who’s had the worst experience while traveling.


MY WORDS!  ((shocked gasp))


I’m not guarding my words! I’ll be the first to point out how powerful our words are, but until last night’s dream, I didn’t realize what I’ve let slip through my lips. How could I be so careless? Especially about something I’ve been so passionate about?


No time to beat myself up; today, I will guard my mouth. Today I will be watchful. Today I will not invite disaster.


One mishap doesn’t have to become a pattern. There’s enough bad in the world, we can’t be inviting it our way.


Whether it’s travel plans, a failing business or rocky relationships, our words matter. Choose them carefully. In fact, invite God to help you choose them!


Proverbs 21:23

Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity. (NIV)

Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles. (KJV)

Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief. (MSG)