Monday, December 31, 2018

Bind My Wandering Heart

Good Monday afternoon.

I wasn't going to say much of anything today. Last night I posted a third installment of the extra Dear Miss Moreau stuff. All three of these posts can be located by clicking the Dear Miss Moreau Extras tab above & clicking on their respective links on that page.

Ninety-nine percent of me is fine with saying nothing today. I am not one to overly indulge New Year's sentiments. I don't usually make many, if any, New Year's resolutions. January 1 is an arbitrary day on the Roman calendar we adopted. To me, January & February usually feel like the end of the year. I don't even mind this weather, but it's cold & wet & conducive to staying inside & reading (hence why I do not at all mind the weather). Darkness continues to come early in the evening. There is a stillness to the world that I personally love. I think it's a needed stillness after the bustle of Christmas. 

Waiting until January to make some needed change in your life is suggesting you don't have the option or willpower to make change at any time. Obviously it is fine if January 1 & the idea of a brand new year & the image of a fresh, white calendar are sufficient motivators for you, but the truth is you can initiate whatever change you deem necessary at any time. 

Yesterday morning in church we sang "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." It is such a well-written song. I will likely never hear it or sing it without recalling a discussion I had with my AP class the first year I taught high school English. We all piled in my room one Wednesday afternoon after the weekly Wednesday chapel assembly. In chapel that day someone sang a bit of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." I say a bit because several verses weren't sung, & I was irritated by this & immediately launched into a discussion of the lyrics of the song with my AP students. 

Songs are not written this way anymore, & it's a shame. The whole song is a linguistic triumph, an ode to grace & mercy & a simultaneous vocabulary lesson. I remember discussing the final stanza with my AP class.

Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be
Let that goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart, oh, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

There are so many good words in that stanza, words like fetter that we don't often incorporate into our daily vocabulary. The imagery in this stanza is phenomenal. It paints a picture of a willing captive, an individual who is free to walk away but knows he needs to voluntarily submit to the chains, chains that actually set him free. Look at the word choice: constrained, fetter, bind, seal, courts. It's the language of bondage. The paradox is that the writer is begging His captor to keep him close because it is in his bondage he will find true freedom, freedom from sin &, ultimately, freedom from the aging mortal body that will eventually betray him.

Translated, I would rephrase this stanza this way: I should daily be cognizant of the immense debt I owe the Father for extending grace to me. Despite His goodness, my nature is to wander away, to allow myself to be led astray by all manner of distractions. He will not forcibly compel me to stay near Him, & so my daily task is to continually shackle myself to Him willingly, to plead with Him to seal my heart, protecting & preserving it for Him & all the riches He has promised me. 

I don't have many concrete plans or goals for the year that will officially begin tomorrow. I'd like to write more fiction. I'd like to drop a few pounds. I'd like to think in the new year I might actually put clean laundry away instead of leaving it all in the dryer indefinitely. I also know that it's totally within my power to wake up on February 1 or March 1 & make changes in any of these areas.

I think my kids have taught me what kids often teach their mamas: that it is fine to go to bed at night & be satisfied that you did what that day required. Kids are a full-time job. The care of a child with a chronic illness is s a full-time job. Avoiding hospital visits is not a common New Year's resolution, but honestly it is a constant goal of mine; that's the reality of life with Type 1 Diabetes.

I suppose if I have a New Year's resolution it is to heed the words of the song quoted above: to pray to be daily constrained, to not be so consumed with larger, long term goals that I lose the daily battles. Whether it's managing Diabetes or begging the Lord to bind your heart to Him, the struggle is a day to day, an hour by hour struggle.

One of the reasons I didn't plan to write anything today is that I am in a bit of an emotional funk. I just want to stay in my bed & read &/or spend time watching Chip & Joanna reruns. Some days I feel like a warrior fighting for my daughter; I feel like I am winning the war against her horrible disease. Other days I am exhausted, wondering not if but when we'll be back in the hospital, what the next crisis will be, how much it will cost both monetarily & emotionally. Right now Reagan is taking an antibiotic for a spot on her arm that became infected. It's not a major ordeal, really. The thing with Reagan is that almost anything can potentially become a major ordeal in a matter of hours, & so when any little thing is wrong with her (in addition to, you know, being diabetic) I exhaust myself, checking the spot on her arm, checking her number constantly. First I worry about not giving her an antibiotic when I think she needs one, & then we begin a round of medicine & I worry about how the antibiotic will impact her numbers, what adverse reaction(s) she may have, etc. I have exhausted myself the last few days. I google things when I shouldn't, I envision worst-case scenarios, & I prove once again that I don't place the trust I should in the Lord. 

I hope this foray into song analysis has been worth your time. Say a prayer for Reagan's minor infection & for my mental sanity.

Thank you for another year of blog reading. Feel free to unburden yourself of oppressive resolutions & instead join me in focusing on daily, repeatedly binding our hearts to the Lord. Truly you're not going to have great success with other resolutions if you're relying only on your own strength anyway.

Happy New Year, y'all.


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