The love of my life is getting older. My Old English Sheep dog, Spenser is about to turn 10. It seems like yesterday that I drove down state with my niece to pick him up. These last couple of weeks I’ve obsessing about losing him. Some one told me (of course I asked) that most sheep dogs die before they are 10. Besides a little aches and pains he is and has been perfectly healthy. What has this obsession brought me? Looking online for puppies, checking out recue shelters, and listening for any new moan or limp or sign of the end is near. What I have missed during this obsession? : the joy of just being with him and enjoying him.
So what else have my misguided obsessions over the years caused me to miss. I grew up during the 60s and 70s. Women’s lib was just taking off. I loved reading things about equal rights and equal pay for equal work. I thought the idea of staying at home with an apron was not what I wanted. I wanted a career. Off to college, off to work, off to prove myself as an equal creation of God. What was I missing during this obsession? I’m not even sure 30 years later. I was so busy pursuing something that God had already granted me by being his child, I’m sure I missed the joy of a day, the joy of relationships, the joy of just being and enjoying God. During those years was I really “listening” to God in my life, or was I listening to the other voices? I don’t have the answers to those questions. I do believe now that I am where God wants me to be. I do believe that his hand was with me even when I thought I was in control. I do know the older I get being a woman isn’t as important as being a woman of God. I do know that God cares about my needs and desires and fills them in ways I never expected. I do know that living every moment listening, watching for, and looking for God in my life is when I’m the most content. Obsessing over silly things takes away from the gift of a day and the gift of being a child of God. I don’t want to miss anything anymore, I know I will, because of my personality, but I will continue to be on that journey that leads me into perfect harmony with God.
I have a poster in my office to help me remember to live in the here and now it says:
“I was regretting the past and fearing the future. Suddenly my Lord was speaking, ‘My name is I am’. He paused: ‘when you live in the past with its mistakes and regrets, it is hard. I am not there, My name is not I WAS.
When you live in the future with its problems and fears, it is hard. I am not there, My name is not I WILL BE.
When you live in this moment it is not hard. I am here. My name is I AM’” ~ Helen Mallicoat.
I read it every morning when I enter my office. This is the moment God gave me.
Jan Boss is Director of Spiritual Formation at Community Reformed Church in Charlevoix, MI. She started out at CRC 28 years ago as youth and education director, and spent many years “hanging with youth and kids.” Now most of her time is with adults. She has a Masters degree from Western Theological Seminary and spent 5 years in Pella Iowa as youth director before moving back to Michigan to take her job at CRC. She has a passion for people of all ages who are beginning their walk with Jesus and walking with them along their journey wherever it may take them. Jan has been a friend and mentor to me for as long as I remember.