Sunday, February 02, 2014

Where Have I Been?

As you no doubt notice, Joel hasn't blogged a lot in the past couple of years. While I make no money with The Seventh Sola—and recognize that it's been more of a personal amusement, hobby, and editorial outlet—I have always been of the mindset that once you begin something, you finish the project, carry on with it, or end it. I don't want to end The Seventh Sola, as there are numerous projects that I'd like to do someday using that name—not just the blog. I've hinted around there and there when I've had long absences from the blog, but haven't gone into a lot of detail. I do think it's only fair to the few readers I have left that I explain the sporadic nature of my posts in recent years. It wasn't what I intended when I first began blogging.

I have had several tell me that this blog could generate a lot more readership if I would do A, B, C, and D. It starts with keeping new content coming, promoting it aggressively, etc—and that is probably the biggest hindrance of all. The Seventh Sola blog has always been—more than anything else—a periodic hobby despite future dreams. When I first began in 2005, I wrote quite often. I've toyed with the idea of going through it and gleaning the "best" posts and turning it into a book. It hasn't happened thus far. Since 2008, various personal circumstances have led to me not having a whole lot of energy for blogging. In honesty, I have had "time" to blog, but the inspiration and energy has been lacking, unless something happens in the news that sparks me. That seems to be getting rarer with time.

I have been a lifelong bachelor and used to solitude. That changed in 2001 when my elderly mother and stepfather moved in with me. They were both in reasonably good health at the time, but having people in the house with you when you're used to being alone changes your dynamics. Our house burned down in 2003, and we rebuilt new, but that was a traumatic experience. Nevertheless, I carried on blogging. Then people began dying.

In 2008, I lost a beloved aunt in Arkansas. The following year, there was a change at my office where we lost the vice president of my division. He was not replaced, and I assumed a good chunk of that position's day-to-day responsibilities. In 2009, I lost my closest uncle and fishing buddy. There were other deaths in my family in this same time period. (Note: my family hails from the South, and Southern families in my mother and father's generation tended to be very large. Both families have longevity within them, except in the male line of my father's family, which tended to smoke and drink itself to death.)

In 2010, we lost my stepfather. In 2011, my radio co-host and best friend began getting ill, and my now 90-year-old mother began getting sick after my stepdad's passing. In the subsequent months, she had to have two pacemaker procedures (the first one was botched), she developed shingles, pneumonia, and a host of other maladies. I finally had to step down from doing my weekly radio program because I didn't want Mom left alone at night. Next, my radio co-host's family (very close to me) fell apart, there was a divorce, and he finally passed away this past May of kidney and heart failure. No doubt, a broken heart was a contributing factor. There have been other tragedies. I lost two more aunts, a cousin, and now another uncle and a cousin are battling cancer. All on Mom's side of the family. At Mom's age, she is sort of the "matriarch" of the rest of our bunch, and all these aunts, uncles, and cousins are like her children. When we lose one of them, I have my hands full keeping Mom's spirits up. She is a woman of great faith, but she (common with Depression era Southern women) tends to be very melancholic and of a worrying nature. She struggles with continuing to remain alive, when all these people she took care of as children are dying. I tell her that the Lord keeps her here for a reason, for His glory, but it doesn't change the real hurt and emotion she feels.

Add all this up together, and it's quite a lot. My day never really ends. My last real "vacation" was in 2007—my last fishing trip in Arkansas before I lost my uncle. And even those "vacations" really aren't, because the nature of what I do requires me to be plugged into my office. I say all this without intending complaint or "whining," and accept it as reality. I am thankful to have employment, and that my employment is connected with sharing Christ's love. I can be in ministry, and that's for what I live. With Mom, she is with me and I am caring for her, with the help of my neighbors. I wouldn't have it any other way. It is a privilege to give back to Mom for caring for me as a child. I am hopeful the Lord returns before I have to suffer the pain of losing her, even though I know that I will see her again in Heaven. But if and when she does go to be with the Lord, I will know that I have done my best to make her last years as comfortable and happy as I can make them.

But I am tired. Very tired. Overstretched, and it is a concern to me that being overstretched manifests in my work and relationships with others. My memory is taxed, and I forget a lot of things in the course of a week that need to be remembered, which others rightfully find frustrating. But so it is, and so it goes. It will not change in the immediate future. The Lord is allowing this for a purpose, and it's a good purpose. He is completing the work He began in me for His glory. That never was promised to be easy, it was never promised that it would be a rose garden. But I covet the prayers of my brothers and sisters as I walk through these uncertain days.

Someday, I hope to blog more and then turn these nine years of chicken scratching into book material. I want to record some music. I want to write on theological matters, and continue preaching and teaching Bible as God affords the opportunity. Someday. But for now, you will hear from me sporadically. I thank those of you who have hung in there thru the years, and kept watching for posts day by day. Tomorrow, Lord willing, I am going to comment on the subject of Barack Obama and the subject of impeachment, if my plans don't go awry.

In closing, I have read the biographies of C.S. Lewis. People romanticize great authors, and imagine them having sort of a fairytale life. In truth, Jack Lewis' home life was not an easy one. Yet God used this rumpled Oxford scholar—a former atheist—to have tremendous impact in the field of Christian apologetics, even though there are things in Lewis' personal theology with which I don't agree. We're all human in the end, in need of a loving, gracious, righteous Savior who died on the cross for our sins, and rose again from the dead for our justification. What we go through in this life helps prepare us for glory, and He is conforming us into His image.

Knowing that makes it worth it all.

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