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There is no such thing as an innocent bystander

Standing by.

It seems such an innocent thing.
To watch and not take part.
To hover and see who wins
Then, unknown to my innards
To jockey for good position
In order to see how all this comes out.


Not rooting for or pulling against,
Just waiting for it all to pass by.
To blow over, really,
I’m above all this;
Never stoop to this sort of thing.
It will be over soon, I tell myself.

Then I feel a tug at my garment –
A pull on my conscience –
And suddenly, there I am
at the center of the fracas:
Beaten and bruised,
Battered and bloodied.

Standing. still.
Not by. with.
This is not blowing over for these.
Then neither is it for us.
May it be said, “She has done what she could.” (Mark 14:8)

There is no such thing as an innocent bystander.


Writer’s Dilemma

I have a love-hate relationship with writing. I hate getting started, but I love what I find once I get there.

Without a deadline, I’d never get to Christmas

Christmas with presentsIt’s amazing what a deadline does. Take Christmas for example. On December 25th, at least in these parts, folks wake up to Christmas day and they expect their gifts to be under the tree, stockings to be filled and Christmas dinner preparations to be well under way. As the Dr. Seuss’ Grinch so aptly points out, we can stop Christmas from coming, it comes just the same.

Part of the craziness of Advent – the season of waiting – is making our preparations. Because it will come, with or without us. Christmas day is the deadline. So we scurry to buy, wrap, bake and mail, in time for Christmas. This struck me between the eyes when I saw my friend Cammy’s Facebook post of herself live-streaming the 11:00pm Christmas eve service on her computer while she was getting her last minute wrapping done. Her comment:

“Having a wrapping party while watching the Floris UMC 11:00 service live streamed, after going to church and having dinner with all of the family in Winchester. I hope that next year I will get my act together and have something wrapped a little bit earlier, but this sure is a wonderful way to wrap gifts! Merry Christmas, everyone!

If it weren’t for the Christ child insisting on His day, I would certainly be putting off the celebration until I got around to getting everything finished, too. But there’s a deadline: Christmas day. That’s why I throw things into gear. The next day is too late; it’ll all be over.

Thank God for deadlines. Left to my own devices, I’d coast and glide and continue through life as if it were up to me to set the pace. God knows I need an endpoint, a target, a landing place, an arrival. THERE. DONE. Not to revel in my success, but to take a big inhale and stop to celebrate. Then, only then, to begin again.

As I catch my breath and beat myself up about my procrastination, vowing that next year will be different, I look around at the unwrappings of a season and the accomplishments of a year and realize, were it not for the deadline, none of it would be. Christ would never come. But He did and he has and, rumor has it, He’ll be back.

I have other deadlines looming. Thank GOODness!

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