These Unpredictable Days

While this week has not been as packed as last week, there has been an unpredictability that has been both challenging and tiring.  It comes from all sides, really, and can be good as much as it can be bad.  It’s things like four-day weeks and changes in schedules and things like Covid creeping into the corners or the center of daily life.  It’s having to make big decisions in shorts spans of time.  It’s seeking out wisdom for the moment when regular companions for the journey aren’t around.  But I’m grateful.

This afternoon I had the pleasant surprise of finding a Starbucks that actually allows you to sit for a while.  Such locations have mostly been closed entirely or open for take-out only thanks to Covid.  But on older downtown store has gotten a new location and a good amount of space.  I knew it was on the way, but I thought had construction had delayed it.  I went down after work this afternoon just to check it out.  And there it was, all shiny and new and open.  It was nice being welcomed by a familiar barista and then getting to sit and read and write and reflect some.  “Third spaces” are really important to me, have been a necessary way for me to make the most of my time that isn’t work and isn’t sitting at home.  It’s nice having more of that option now (along with the gym).

This afternoon I finally got around to the Daily Office readings.  The Old Testament reading was from Isaiah 40, a passage of significance for my workplace.  For some reason this time I realized a bit more of the context (or at least it hit closer to home than usual).  The chapter begins with that great “Comfort, comfort my people” line.   There is much Messianic hope there.  And then it’s back and forth between God (with His character) and His people (with their issues of faithfulness and abandonment).  And then this:

27 Why do you complain, Jacob?
    Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
    my cause is disregarded by my God”?

Why do you speak as if abandoned, He asks them?  Do you think your way is hidden?  And if not, why do they find no comfort in Him?  And then the part I’ve known the longest thanks to an old song by Truth:

28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

It’s easy to take the last part of the passage and make it all about people and our strength, soaring, running, and walking.  But it’s rooted in the everlasting God, the Creator, who does not grow weary and who gives strength.  We would be wise to remember that.  And we would be wise to ask what he gives strength for, what we are to be about and to accomplish.  I can’t imagine that it is simply work for work’s sake.

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For what it’s worth, I’m typing this on my iPad and  Bluetooth keyboard.  I’ve spent the last 24 hours trying to get my laptop to install Big Sur.  Maybe even computers that should be able to run such an operating system just can’t?  Here’s hoping that it works this time around.

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