Thursday, February 10, 2011

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

Today was quite a day. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. These were the times that try men’s souls.

Let’s start out with the best of times. Like when my clarinetist friend from high school band came to visit! She and her cute little boy came to have lunch with me and my cute little girls. And she said that she was going to bring a gift that she’d been meaning to give to me for a while.

If any of you are into the whole love language thing (I don’t really know that much about it myself, to be honest), giving and receiving gifts aren’t particularly high-ranking in my love languages. But something told me that for my friend to make a long drive to see us, and in particular to bring a gift, it must be something very special.

And my hunch was right. The gift was more special than I could have possibly imagined. She brought in a small table, and told me to come over to see the little engraved metal tag near one of the legs – as I walked closer, I was amazed to realize what it might be. And it WAS! A table made by our beloved high school band director, Robert Nygaard, who died just over a year ago. After retiring from his teaching position, he devoted much of his retirement to making furniture and other beautiful things. 

Just recently, I had been thinking about Mr. Nygaard again (he is the one to whom I dedicated my first blog post:, and was wishing that I had known about the estate sale that took place last year. I heard about the sale after the fact, and knew that many of the handcrafted items he made were made available to the public at that time. I dismissed the thought, knowing that it was probably not possible to find any of his handmade items now, and was grateful for the happy memories I have of Mr. Nygaard.

But then, out of the blue, there it was! One of the beautiful handcrafted tables from the estate sale! Now residing in my home!

And so, when the worst of times rolled around (namely, that my car is in need of repairs that would cost even more than the outrageous amount being asked for Tom Cruise’s backwash – please don’t ask how I stumbled upon this unsavory bit of information), I realized something. If God, in his providence, could arrange something so kind as for me to receive that handcrafted table I’d been hoping for beyond hope, I think He could certainly work out this car business. Somehow. And I trust that He will! 

One of my favorite saints, Maximilian Kolbe, said something like this – Either God’s providence exists, or it doesn’t. And since we Christians know that it does, we can really stop worrying.  (He wrote about it in this wonderful little book called “Aim Higher!” -- -- which I loved so much that I now suspect that I gave it away.) And good ol’ Max is RIGHT! Since God will provide for us, why not trust in Him?

Peace and all good,


  1. I laughed and cried. Another great post. I hope my accolades don’t seem trite. I sincerely enjoy your writing. You have a unique way of putting things that pulls me right in and makes me want to read more. Keep it up. :-)
    BTW…. I looked up the "Russian Sailors Dance" from your first post. Great piece. Couldn’t keep my foot still. Very impressed that you learned that in High School.

  2. I often reflect upon a similar thought - I often think that 'today' is the best day of some person's life and that 'today' is the worst day of some other person's life; rather than deciding who's right and who's wrong - if we knew which people were having which kind of day, we can prepare but we don't; the day is made the same for everyone, it's our perceptions inside of it that fools us into thinking we are in control of it enough to label events as 'good' or 'bad.' That's especially critical to remember when dealing with teens - whose entire day oscillates from 'totally awesome' to 'I hate everything' on a routine basis; both opinions are false (manipulated) if they are based on a person's experiences...

    Rather than allowing ourselves to react to others, thus allowing other people's understanding of their own experiences influence us - we should allow our own understanding of Christ's experiences guide both us and them. This is also the basis of an arguement about the necessity of pain and suffering in our lives. I mean, was Good Friday a 'good day' or a 'bad day' for Christ?

    Thank you for sharing your experiences and insight as well as the words of Max Kolbe - it's important to remember that God's will will be done and so in a very real way - both people's experiences (good day and bad day) are right if they follow Christ's example. Thank you for making me think today...

  3. Marcia, your comments mean a lot to me -- thanks for the encouragement! And yes, isn't Russian Sailor's Dance amazing??

    Matthew, now I have you to thank for making me think about your comment: "Was Good Friday a 'good day' or a 'bad day' for Christ?" It is profound to consider the meaning of our lives in and through Christ; it's a lens that really changes our world view.

    My sincere gratitude and prayers go out to you both, and to all my readers. Peace!