When English doesn’t cut it.

I think we need more of the imperfect in our lives. All sorts of imperfect.

And, specifically, I think we need more of the Latin imperfect tense in our lives.

Random, I know.

But relevant.

Just lately I’ve been forced to think about where my family is at in life with certain things. Don’t worry, this isn’t a ‘woe is me’ post, but rather a very real acknowledgement of the choices we’ve made; the things we’ve said ‘yes’ to.

You see sometimes we think that saying ‘yes’ to something is a once-off event.  And sometimes it really is.  But where I’m at in life tells me that saying ‘yes’ to something is more often than not, a continual action. An ongoing action. And it helps to recognize this.

Years ago, when our oldest boy was a chubby five month old we said ‘yes’ to an ask for my husband to leave his job in mainstream media and move into Christian media.  We said yes then, and then we said ‘yes’ again to another job offer in America, and then Australia, and then another one back in NZ.  Yes, yes and yes. But even before that initial yes when we were in the throes of power chucks and power poos (our firstborn – not us), we’d been saying ‘yes’ to opportunities to serve the youth and young adults in our church, yes to stuffing envelopes and whatever little tasks needed doing.  Yes.  Just yes. Yes that stemmed from a desire to see us just be used by God.  Has it been hard?  Yes.  Has it been amazing?  Yes. Are we a little crazy?  I think it has helped!  Would we change anything if we could?  Not a chance.  But that’s all a very big tangent that I won’t take right now.

This continual action business – I think it could do with a bit more of a spotlight shining on it, because it is important in shaping the trajectory of our lives.

I think we could all do with remembering that many things require this continual action.

Saying ‘yes’ to a loving someone is not a one-time event, is it?  You don’t go to all the trouble of a fancy pants wedding to love and to hold your spouse for just that week.  No, you choose to love to them, again and again and again.  You see beyond the niggly and the hard and you love, and you love and you love.  Again and again.  Continually.

I love words.  I love interesting words.  But sometimes I find that the English language can be somewhat lacking in accurately describing things.  My high school offered Latin as a subject, and I loved it.  Dead language?  I think not.  A language that makes complete sense?  Absolutely.  In Latin (and all the romance languages) there’s a tense for this whole ‘more than once’ in the past business.  The imperfect tense is used to indicate an action that took place in the past but was an ongoing action rather than something that happened just once.  It’s actually a very handy tool to have.

To put it into context:  do you know that old hymn ‘I have decided to follow Jesus’?  “I have decided to follow Jesus. (3 times)No turning back, no turning back.”  There’s a story around this hymn that talks of an Indian convert (thanks to some Welsh Missionaries) coming up with the lines of this hymn when he was facing his imminent death. His martyrdom. The Village chief hadn’t approved of his conversion to Christianity.  Now this wasn’t a ‘brand new, knee-jerk reaction, just made the commitment to be a Christ follower on the spot, right there and then’ statement, no it was a ‘I have decided, I have decided over and over again, to follow Jesus’.  If the song had been written in Roman times it would have surely been in the imperfect tense:  ‘I have decided over and over again, to follow Jesus’.

And I think that its worth focusing on these imperfect tenses a little bit more and a little bit more often, because it reaffirms who we are and what we’re about.  Works in progress that we are. People who have to make the choices again and again and again to say Yes to loving God and to say yes to loving others.

I hope at the end of my life there are certain things that can be said about me, making excellent use of the imperfect tense.

I hope that it can be said of me that I chose to love my husband, my kids, my friends. my extended family, and my co-workers and neighbours, over and over again.

I hope it is mentioned that I continually said yes to God – however that looked (knowing that it always looks different for everyone).

I hope that someone acknowledges that I did decide to follow Jesus, over and over again.

And have you been wondering why this whole imperfect tense business is called ‘imperfect’?  Simply, it’s because something that is imperfect is something that is not yet finished.

I have chosen to say yes to following God, but there will be more opportunities for more of those ‘yes’ agreements to come.

These continuous actions are not yet completed.

I have decided to follow Jesus, and there’s more following to come.

The verbs, these doing words that give us the greatest amount of joy, and teach us the most important things, they are actions that are not yet completed.  And this for me as a Christ-follower gives me such breadth and scope for growth and development and potential.  The actions are not yet completed, not over and done with yet, therefore not perfect.

Perfectly imperfect.  That’s me.  And that’s you. Bring on more of it!

photoforimperfect

 

 

 

 

 

The trip gift.

I’m being given the gift of a trip. For when I turn 40. Which isn’t soon, but soon enough. It’s the kind of gift that people never expect to fall into their laps. But it is happening to little ole me.

Seriously.

I get to pick a place in the world, anywhere in this wonderful, beautiful world we live in, and I have a bit of flexibility in what time of the year to go, and to celebrate my birthday, my brother is taking me, to my chosen destination.

Gobsmacking stuff, right?

Anywhere.

My kids think I’m a little crazy that I don’t have a set place to go to yet.

You see there’s a lot to consider. This is my one big chance to go wherever. Wherever.

For a mere day I toyed with the idea of choosing something radical like signing my brother and I up for a half marathon in some amazing historical city like Prague (and yep, a marathon is held there, I got as far as googling it). But who am I kidding? I can’t even run to the corner and while a challenge would be good for me, I’m not that gal that needs to prove herself through that kinda challenge. If I say that three times fast then I may begin to believe it.

I’ve also thought about doing something adventurous like climbing something…..or cycling something….but that’s not really my cup of tea.

The fact that it’s my brother and I on this trip is neat. I like him a lot. My brother. And not just cos he’s uber generous. But it also rules out a few destinations that would be what my romantic self would prefer to go to with my Spunky Hunk.

I’m also taking into consideration that I have coeliac disease and really don’t want to be in a foreign country and be hungry the whole time, because of the food limitations. A hungry Fiona would all too quickly become hangry.

So yeah. I’m thinking practically. But I’m also trying to engage a part of my  brain that hasn’t been used in a while. That part of me that allows herself to dream.

Yeah dream.

I think that somehow, somewhere, in amongst the demands and expectations of everyday, normal life, the ability to dream has somehow, somewhere leaked out of me. How about you? When was the last time you had a dream about something you wanted to do, something you desired to be? Something just for you. Not for your spouse/ partner/children/ siblings/ family/ friends. But you.

The book club that I’m part of is reading Bill Hybel’s book ‘simplify’ at the moment. The book looks at ten practices to unclutter your soul. I think most people these days are over scheduled, exhausted and overwhelmed at times. If any of those words are niggling away at your conscience , then I recommend giving this book a go.

Last night the chapter we looked at was talking about harnessing your calendar’s power, of how a calendar can be the primary tool for helping you become who you want to become. Hybels gives examples of people who by prioritising something enough to make room in their calendar for it, were able to make drastic changes to their lives. ‘If you start by plugging in the time slots on your calendar that determine who you want to become – and then fill in the other stuff around it, you’ll gradually become the kind of person you want to be’.

John Grisham was an attorney until he put the word ‘write’ into his calendar.

What’s your word?

What have you forgotten about, or put aside, in the hustle and bustle of life? What word have you left on the train, a by-product of your daily commute? Has your word been left on your baby’s change table? Is it in the pile of newsletters and communiques that you’re quietly ignoring weeding through?  Is your word stuck in your car, because you’re in and out of that vehicle all day, between the demands of your job, and maybe caring for elderly parents?

Maybe it is time to pick up that word, from wherever in your world you’ve cast it to, and it is time to remember what that word stirs in your soul.

I’m pretty sure my word for the moment is ‘dream’. To take some time out from the demands of raising a young family, to forget about the restrictions of budgets and schedules, and to relearn how to dream. And I’m hoping that with that, will come a very strong desire in my mind for a destination for this trip of a lifetime.

My fortieth is going to be epic, wherever I end  up going, whatever I end up doing, but the journey I’m taking in getting there, is maybe worth as much as the trip itself. This rekindled ability to dream. That’s kinda priceless.

dreampic