Friday, 1 August 2014

Time Change, Mind Change

John and I had just finished our lunch when he received a call from one of our friends here.  

"Are you coming to the meeting?" he asked.

"Yes, at 1 pm. Right?" John responded.

"It's 1:15 now."

"So the time did change after all.  I'll be there as soon as I can," John said and then hopped up to get ready.

During the month of Ramadan, the country of Egypt had changed the time by setting the clock back by an hour.  Since Ramadan is now over, the time had been returned to it's normal setup.  However, when we googled any of this information today, nothing came up.  No mention of time forward, time back or whatever.  We were just supposed to know.  Ug.

John waved goodbye to me as he hurried out the door and I stayed to hem an abiya (sort of a dress coat that goes over your clothes) that I had purchased last night for a good friend's engagement party that's being held tonight.  (More on that in another post.)

Time here seems to go fast or slow depending on the circumstances.  Just 2 months ago, Aria had arrived for a fun-filled time together hanging out and exploring Egypt.  This past Wednesday, we said our tearful "so longs" as she made her way back to the US to prepare for her junior year in college.  I can't believe 2 months went by so quickly.

Now time has returned to its "tortoise" state moving slowly through the hot, long and now quiet days of summer.

 As I sip my soda, I begin reflecting on all the wonderful events that have taken place so far this year.  We were in the US for Emileigh and Jacob's graduation and wedding. 
We had opportunity to be with our family and friends for a time of rest.  Aria and some of her friends were able to join us here in-country.  Yes, blessed indeed.
Evangel University Graduation 2014 with fam and friends!
Tulip Festival in Holland, Michigan

Post-wedding Family Dinner
Easter Sunday with my sister, Paula

Post-wedding dinner with my sister, Peggy, sil, Taressa and bil, Jeff!
Mom and Bride (SNIFF!)

However, I noticed that I am able to quickly turn my thoughts to anything but gratitude.  I begin to murmur,

"I hate goodbyes."
"Other people don't live like this."
"If only we could live near each other."
"This life isn't for me."
"It's just not fair."
"It's too much, too hard, too…everything."

Soon I find myself slipping into a spiral of despair and the very same lips that just pronounced amazing blessing is now spewing depression and defeat.

I have these conversations fairly regularly with myself.  I think it comes with the territory of this kind of life, but also just in the realization that life comes with pros and cons.  The older I get the more I realize that life is not a constant state of bliss or despair, but usually riding together in tandem.

It's in these moments of transition whether in the "so longs" in our lives or the unannounced time changes, that I have a choice.  I can choose to see the glass half full or see it completely smashed on the ground obliterated into pieces.  (I can be severe at times…)

In one book we recently read it said, "Your outlook determines your outcome."  Very true.  If I see only misery, loneliness and futility in the future, then that is surely what will come my way.  It's as if I put on a filter that will only allow my emotions to view my life with those parameters.  I've been down this road and it leads no where productive.

I have to choose to filter my thoughts and my actions with words that bring life.  Of course, reading from the Bible is always encouraging to me.  It sets my mind on truth rather than allowing incorrect thoughts of self-pity or self-importance to ruminate.

Other things include who I talk to, what I write, what I read or watch.  Keeping in community rather than isolating myself.  These are all deliberate acts of discipline.  I'm choosing to set my life up positively and in that know that I will experience the goodness of God because I'm anticipating it, expecting it, looking for it.

Does that mean to deny rough days?  No.  Someone said, "Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it."  Agreed.  We can't always choose our circumstances, but we always have the opportunity to choose our response and attitude.  

Is your life what you want it to be?  If the answer is "no" then check your attitude.  My friend, Jodi, said, "Waiting for circumstances to determine your peace is like asking a thief to be in charge of your bank account."

Joy and peace do not come from the stars aligning and having that perfect ________ (job, life, spouse, question answered, etc.) They come from an inward decision to make the best of it trusting that God has your good in mind.

So I'm going to change my clock (again!) to the new current time and also choose to change my mind today and in the days to come so that I can embrace the fulfillment that comes from living a life viewed through the lens of purposed joy.

Aria and Jessi sipping Nubian coffee.

Aria and Brenden sailing with us on the Nile.

Helping Jacob and Em set up their first house!

John visiting his '55 Chevy while in Michigan.
Sipping Lemon Juice with Mint 

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