Monday, November 19, 2012

I Wanna Walk Up A Hill

And Sing Hallelujah!

Gracie Smith
Gracie running up a hill
Gracie will soon be four years old and used to be my youngest grandchild.  Several months ago she lost that position to her new cousin Reagan.  But, life is far from over for Grace.  Whenever she is around she creates a contagious passion for living.  She doesn't appear to be one of those whose number one fear will be public speaking.  She never shrinks back from any opportunity to entertain. A week ago my oldest granddaughter captured a short video of her zest for life as the rest of the family hovered over her as she offered a boisterous rendition of her most recent composition.  Gracie loves to sing!  Sitting on the top of the nook bench seat, with her tennis shoes keeping rhythm on her grandmother's table, Gracie belted it out.

Gracie is fully alive.  As I've watched those 24 seconds of video over and over again, in order to enjoy the somewhat goofy faces she makes at the end of her song, wonder set in.  She is so full of life.  I wonder if she will maintain being fully alive when she reaches my age. Benjamin Franklin is often credited with saying, "Many people die at twenty-five and aren't buried until they are seventy-five."

In 10 days I leave the United States for another five months in Uganda.  Those around me are aware. Some have asked me what specific plans I have for those months.  In addition to hosting many short term missionaries, I do have some specific goals for my time there.  And, I freely share them.  But, mostly, I want to walk up a hill and sing hallelujah.  These are the lyrics to Gracie's song.

I've discovered over the past several weeks that I am longing to sing my song, but the music doesn't seem to want to come.  It takes no effort to stop living life and start letting life happen to us. I'm not inactive.  I'm busy.  But sometimes busyness drains the lifeblood from our souls.  Various people have been attributed with saying, "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them."

It is a historical reality.  As we get older, most of us stop looking for new experiences.  We stop living fully alive and start coasting.  We avoid taking risks like we did when we were younger.  I read recently that many of us start getting old instead of growing old ... and there IS a difference!

God intends for each of us to live fully alive.

A recent bout with cellulitis forced me to go to the doctor.  But, before I could see the doctor I had to get past his nurse.  My doctor's nurse blocked my path to the examination room and redirected my steps toward the scales.  As she pushed the counter weights ... again and again and again! ... to the right of this imposing device, I heard a inner whisper.  "Don't deny it.  You HAVE neglected your health."  My body is definitely not fully alive. And, I have a fear that my soul and spirit are in the neighborhood.

Just because I'm about to embark on another mission to Africa with some specific goals in mind doesn't necessary mean that I can't wait to roll out of bed every morning with an excitement and passion to see what God and I will write on that blank sheet of paper.  At sixty five I must confess that I am not as physically fit and spiritually alive as I was decades ago.  Yeah ... it's time for disclosure.  I've heard it said that admitting a problem is the first step toward finding a solution.

I have some specific plans in place to restore physical and spiritual energy so that I am compelled to fill my lungs with air every morning and shout out, "I wanna walk up a hill and sing hallelujah."  Many of you are my friends.  And, so, I solicit your prayers that I would live fully alive.  I don't want you to see me next summer and wonder what on earth I let happen to this container of my soul and spirit.  I don't want you to look deep into my eyes and see any hint of emptiness.  Or whisper to your spouse or friends, "Wow ... Paul sure is getting old!"  And, I don't want to return attempting to hide any regret.  I want to embrace the opportunity of every day of life.  And I want to live it fully alive.

I want you to hear me singing my song ... fully alive.
Now, as you can see, the Lord has kept me alive and well as He promised for all these forty-five years since Moses made this promise ... even while Israel wandered in the wilderness.  Today I am 85 years old.  I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on that journey, and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then.  So give me the hill country that the LORD promised to me.  You will remember that as scouts we found the descendants of Anak living there in great, walled towns.  But if the Lord is with me, I will drive them out of the land, just as the Lord said.  (Joshua 14:10-12)
Thanks for taking the time for a short peek into my private life.  I'm writing about a change in attitude ... not relative to my doing, but about my being ... my inner life.
In aviation attitude describes the position of the airplane relative to the airflow over the wings.  At certain attitudes the plane will fly, but at others it loses its lift and the plane becomes a rock with wings.  Almost every situation you can get into with an airplane can be solved with altitude, attitude, and power.  (Ken Davis in Fully Alive)
Attitude is what determines whether we can fly and how high we can fly.  It will launch our dreams or bury them.  The Father is adjusting my attitude.  He loves me so much.