Trust Your Compass

And Check the Newspaper

I am pondering the season of my life this morning. I have just finished the book on time [How to Inhabit Time- Understanding the Past; Facing the Future; and Living Faithfully Now, by James K.A Smith]. It exhorts me to be conscious of WHEN I am, not just ‘where.’ The author argues, we are the composite of our life and experience up to now. Our experiences make us who we are. Rather than try to escape them we can allow them to shape us.

Occasionally, I wonder what would have happened if I had taken different course. I pondered this some time ago with respect to my parent’s decision to move us to Portland, Here’s the link to that post. That choice was made for me, but what about the decisions I’ve made for myself? What would have happened, for example, if I had continued teaching until retirement? I would have retired 10 or 12 years ago. If that had been my choice, what would I be doing now? Probably, exactly what I am doing. Moreover, my trajectory from this point is really up to me.

I realize that I am blessed with the ability to remember things. I don’t remember Bible verses exclusively. There are other quotes and snippets that are important to me as well. I have the Bible to interpret my experiences. Sometimes, I believe the Holy Spirit delivers on my doorstep–like a newspaper–certain ideas and thoughts from books and people. That the things I remember are not from the Bible does not mean that they aren’t biblical. The thoughts about character, and uses of time, and clever turns a phrase, are designed to be used. They serve as a kind of compass.

 I remember when I worked in the woods, we needed our compass to set an azimuth that would lead us (if we did it right) to the place where we were to work that day. North, south, east, and west, were always the same. But the specific direction changed. The points of the compass were immovable, but our movement gave us direction.

shallow focus photography of black and silver compasses on top of map

The various thoughts and ideas that inform our lives are similar. The four points of the compass are established in the logos of God. But, often our direction is determined by what the Lord has delivered to us in experience, knowledge and memory.

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