Notes from Jan


February 19, 2020

To squander is to waste what should be valued, especially time, but also money and opportunities.


Yesterday, while sorting stuff into three piles mentally marked: KeepToss or Giveaway, I realized how much time and money I’d squandered over the years.  Before long, I just sat down and sobbed feeling a little like the Prodigal must’ve felt when he realized he’d squandered his inheritance and found himself in a pigsty of his own making.

My place doesn’t resemble a pig pen but I’m still guilty of squandering resources.  It’s not the first time I’ve looked in a mirror of sorts and seen the prodigal, the elder brother or a denying-Peter staring back at me.

As Lent approaches,  my heart longs to leave the pig pens of my own making, to seek God in the nooks and crannies of moments,  in nature, in others.

Books help.

In Bread and Wine, readings for Lent and Easter,  Barbara Cawthorne Crafton wrote,” When did the collision between our appetites and the needs of our souls happen?…How did we come to know that we were dying a slow and unacknowledged death? And that the only way back to life was to set all our packages down and begin again,  carrying with us only what we really needed?  We travail.  We are heavy laden.  Refresh us, O homeless, jobless, possession-less Savior.  You came naked, and naked you go.  And so it is for us.  So it is for all of us.”

Redeemer of squandered lives, born in a stable, you know a sty when you see one.

Come to this one, I pray.






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  • Reply Radina Welton February 19, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    And this one too, I pray. Time to start spring cleaning. Thank you,, Jan!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 19, 2020 at 7:25 pm

      Your desire to do spring cleaning is fitting., Radina. I learned that the word Lent is a form of lencten,(Old English) meaning “springtime.”

  • Reply James B Griffin February 19, 2020 at 3:58 pm

    Always nice to read your writings. I have buried both my parents in the last nine years. Lots of stuff, unfinished stuff. You realize you’re closer to the Jordan River than you knew. The monks talk about “joyful penitence.” It sounds wrong, but it’s not. Let’s finish strong!

    Just read in Stillpoint yesterday that Prof. Grady Spires died at 91. He was a teacher, a storyteller, a brother, everyone’s favorite guy, and lots of other good things.
    Requiescat in pace.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 19, 2020 at 7:28 pm

      I attended Grady’s service. It was joyful. Thanks for reading and responding, James.

  • Reply Susan McMullen February 19, 2020 at 4:11 pm

    What a coincidence! 2 grannies reading the same subject. My book is “Traveling Light” by Max Lucado.
    “We all lug loads we were never intended to carry. Fear. Worry. Discontent. No wonder we get so weary. We’re worn out from carrying that excess baggage . Wouldn’t it be nice to lose some of those bags?”

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 19, 2020 at 7:36 pm

      Yes, dear Susan, we carry some loads we weren’t meant to bear. I love these words from Matthew 11 in The Message, Jesus says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me–watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
      Susan, I especially long to “learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”

  • Reply Dan Russ February 19, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    When Kathy and I worshipped at Christ Church Plano TX two weeks ago, Fr. Paul preached his second of three sermons on the parable of the Prodigal Son. Focusing on the father, he suggested that the parable should be called the Prodigal Father who squandered and lavished all that love, forgiveness, embrace, robe, shoes, and feast on his son who was lost and is now found. I am grateful that Jesus’ prodigal grace and forgiveness cover my squandering too much of what he has given me–and for the Lenten season to dwell on both. Thanks, Jan!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 19, 2020 at 7:47 pm

      Quite a sermon! Yes, Dan, we are the recipients of lavish “prodigal grace. and forgiveness.” As I respond to you, I hear in my spirit, the hymn, “O love that will not let me go,..” The coming Lenten season offers us forty days, almost a tithe of a year, time to get to know more of the heart of the one who is Love.

  • Reply Dale February 19, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    “Too soon old and too late smart” as my Mennonites neighbors used to say. So, how do we share this wisdom with our children and grandchildren as they enter the “collection” phase of their lives?

    Thanks Jan – I just tossed some eight-track tapes. 🙂

  • Reply Jan Carlberg February 19, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    Smart move! i must say, as I wade through the accumulation of years, there’s joy in relinquishing. I just wish I could do it faster, though my kids tell me, after I go where none of this stuff is welcome or needed, they’ll pull up a dumpster and start tossing. Can’t decide if they’re heartless or wise beyond their years.

  • Reply Wendy Lane February 20, 2020 at 1:31 pm

    Oh how powerful… I’m convicted, challenged, encouraged… and oh so thankful for our blesses Redeemer!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 20, 2020 at 1:53 pm

      Me, too, Wendy. The coming season of Lent is a good gift.

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