Monday, September 1, 2014

Don't Whittle it Away!

This was a guest post I originally did over on "Everyday Living" by Pam and Butch Richardson.  Most of you that read my blog probably know the Richardson's, but if not...take time to read their blog and get to know them.  When I started living in Gadsden, they became my second parents.  They have loved me as their own and I love that you all can get a glimpse into their life through their blog!  

Noccalula Falls is where you can find me on any given weekday during my lunch break. I guess you can say it has become a part of myeveryday living. When the clock strikes noon, I head up the mountain to enjoy my hour of respite from office work. Last Wednesday, something different happened and I feel like I learned a little lesson in living.
Staying true to my routine, I sat at one of the picnic tables in the shade as I ate my lunch. I was catching up on Instagram posts, emails, and Facebook from the morning. I was nearly finished eating when I noticed a man walking close. He was headed towards MY SWING. Now, I guess that needs a little explanation. I have a swing that I usually sit in after I finish eating lunch every day, and I love it—it is so peaceful! For some reason, it is rarely taken and I like to think that God reserves it just for me. But today, my swing was going to be occupied. And I was just going to have to deal. And I am sure glad it was!
The man sat down, and he had this long stick and a knife. Weird combo for most, but I knew what he was about to do: whittle, of course! You see, when I was a little girl, I loved pigs. (Random, I know, but don’t we all have our quirks??) Anyway, my dad had one of his co-workers carve me a little pig to put on my night stand. It was one of my favorite things—that whittled pig. This man was about to whittle—sitting right there on my swing. So I just decided to ask him about it. “Are you about to whittle?” I asked him. He perked up…”I sure am, what do you know about it?” So I told him the story about my whittled pig. It got us into conversation, but what he said next–I hope and pray–will stay with me for the rest of my years. “I like to whittle. It passes the time for me. I need something to help me waste time these days.” He said a few more things that I didn’t really hear because I was still processing the previous comment. He was whittling his life away. We talked about his previous marriages, his grandchildren, and his retirement from the Steel Plant. But I couldn’t help but think of how this man was literally and figuratively whittling his life away. It is what he was spending his days doing. As I looked at the shavings on his lap that would soon be part of the dirt at his feet, I was learning a lesson in living. We have a choice as to how we approach this life:
We can waste it and whittle it away or we can invest it and live.
And it seems very fitting that I would be asked to do this guest post and then God, in his providence, would bring the whittling man into my lunch hour.
And just so you know…Butch and Pam told me I could have freedom to say what I wanted on their blog today, so I will take advantage: 
You see, the whittling man showed me what it looked like to waste my days, while The Richardson’s have shown me how to live my days. I have been most blessed to be “adopted” into the Richardson family. They have truly invited me into their everyday living. And by that, I simply mean we do life together. And there is much wisdom to be learned from their lives. I love to watch them invest their lives into each other and into the lives of those around them. They enjoy life and people—because they see that both are good gifts from The Father. And I am sure glad that they do, because my life is different because of it!! There is a clear difference when you live life with purpose—and that purpose being the glory of God and the good of all peoples. As I grow older, I want my life to count. I want to make an eternal impact. I want to truly live.
I just love how God meets us in our routine, often mundane events, and shows us more about himself. And if we just take time to listen to others stories, which most of the time I never do, God always shows up. He reveals himself through nature, people, random scenarios, and even the random whittling man who steals your swing on your lunch break.
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”
Psalm 90:12

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