Notes from Jan

Knee deep in Choice

January 9, 2016

The Christmas tree stopped drinking days ago, bowing towards the floor, as if begging for mercy.    Each day it appears stiffer, needles more brittle,  while ornaments cling precariously, heading for a fall unless rescued and packed away in tissue until next Christmas.

The day’s damp and gray and I see too much of myself in that bent tree. I’m still drinking (don’t read too much into that) and the only ornaments dangling from me are a pair of silver earrings and a necklace of silver hearts.  Still, I feel that downward pull,  head bowed,  bent shoulders, stiffened gait.  I’m leaning forward and down, not in, as urged in a more recent book on leadership, especially for women, to Lean In.

 STIFF, BRITTLE, leaning and looking down: words I do not wish to have associated with my body or mind, as I grow older.

At lunch yesterday, Heather talked to me, as both daughter and doctor, about my balky knee,  hunched shoulders, back and other ways I’ve started resembling the aforementioned tree. Prone to topple. Then, we talked possibilities of knee replacement, chiropractic options, yoga, gel shots, targeted exercise, acupuncture and other ways to help me walk taller, stronger, longer. Chad likens me to a pirate, limping along with occasional wild arm swinging to suggest rapid movement of some sort. Sometimes he comes up beside me , limps, swings his arm with mine and snarls, “Arrrrgh!”  Basil, simply comes, offers his small hand to steady me, usually adding, “I love you, Momo.”  I need all three: truth, humor and a hand to hold…all gifts of love.

Don’t we all.

So far, like the tree, nobody wants to take me down.  I just need to be sure I don’t do it to myself.

Knee deep in choices in this  New Year.  Much to consider, to act on , before it’s too late.

Psalm 32:8  reads,” I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” These familiar words showed up with a sound track from an old hymn,

What have I to dread, what have I to fear, Leaning on the everlasting arms?”

Well, probably like you, I have a fair amount to dread and fear but try not to linger there. To be sure,  Christ’s presence(everlasting arms) reassures me, and I draw strength that God will “instruct, teach  and counsel.”  Sometimes God comes through wise children, loving grandchildren, friends, doctors or a deep knowing inside.  Too often from my perspective,  it’s  still a leap in the dark.  Just choose, jump and hang on to hope by faith and fingernails.  Not choosing is worse.

Think toppled tree.





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  • Reply susan January 9, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    Jan, I’m seeing a doctor in 2 weeks about my knee. I haven’t done yoga since November and am limping alongside my rescue horses. Our quality of life is really important both physically and spiritually. You deserve to feel better, so I hope you will have the strength and courage to get the help you need. How lucky you are to have Heather and all your loved ones.
    Happy and healthy new year to you!

  • Reply Mark Taylor January 9, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    Jan, I’ve just come from a Wheaton-area visit with Michael Lindsay and various other Gordon College people. I’m reminded what a firm and deep foundation you and Jud provided for those who have come behind you. Well done!

  • Reply Wendy Lane January 10, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    Praying for you as you face all these decisions. Sometimes I really don’t like decisions… Our Pastor gave a powerful message on “Fear Less” today. Mentioned how crippling fear is, how many times the Scripture tells us to not be afraid, or not to fear, and then told us what would be required to FACE down our fears:
    Faith in God’s Word and Character – practice faith not fear
    Awareness of God’s promises- His promises are our artillery against fear
    Commitment to God’s conditions – don’t live in disobedience or comprimise
    Engagement against the enemy – stand against fear – as David did against Goliath
    Love you!!

  • Reply Wendy Lane January 10, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    PS – I need all three: truth, humor and a hand to hold…all gifts of love. Soooo good!

  • Reply Margaret A. Hunt January 10, 2016 at 8:16 pm


    I can relate to the decisions you are facing about grumpy and sometimes unreliable knees. I have one good one and one starting to misbehave. You will know when the time is right to take action.

    My prayers are with you for your decisions.

    Love you, Margaret

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