"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven..." (Ecclesiastes 3: 1)
Tom Morey (creator of the the Boogie Board) has a new invention. His latest creation is a foam wheel that makes a surfboard easier to transport. When reading an article about Morey and his invention I was struck by the way he talked about his creative process. "My inventions are like Kleenex in a box", he said. "I have to pull one out to get to the one after that."
While Mr. Morey's description is a clever way to describe inventing things, I believe it also paints a picture of our overall life experience.
Our lives, it seems, are not only "like a box of chocolates" (as Forrest Gump would say). They are also like a box of Kleenex. That's because reality has layers. Each layer consists of a particular collection of experiences, discoveries,failures, successes, pains, triumphs, relationships and questions that we must process. Like Mr. Morey's Kleenex box of new ideas, each collection of perceptions and experiences must deliver its challenges and gifts to us before we can be thoroughly present to the next one.
This is one reason I am drawn to the biographical stories of the Bible. Each one introduces us to the key seasons in the life of Joseph, or Ruth, or David or Paul in a stream of mini-stories. David, for example, has his period of herding sheep in the back country of Judah. It is there that he learns to slay the lion and the bear. How could he have ever guessed that those experiences would prepare him to face Goliath at age twenty?
By applying this concept to our own lives, we might discern some important "chapter breaks" in our own development. Each period will somehow bear the fingerprints of God whether we were aware of Him at the time or not. By seeking to be present to the themes, life lessons and relationships we identify, we can better see how the Lord used each season to prepare us for the next.
In my journal, I once noted that God had been teaching me that everything in my life prior to any given day had the potential to prepare me for that days challenges and opportunities. Not only do I believe this to be true, but I also believe we cannot successfully "skip ahead" if we are to truly grow spiritually. We will need today's experiences to ready us for tomorrow. Understanding this not only packs our lives with new meaning; it also helps us see why we must pull out our experiential Kleenex tissues one at a time!
So thanks, Mr. Morey, for helping me better understand how God is shaping my one layer at a time. And, oh yeah, thanks for inventing the Boogie Board, too!
* * * * * A Prayer: "Father, life will always have its mysteries. Yet I know that You waste none of my life experiences in working out of Your Master Plan.
Help me to be teachable, open, humble, discerning and available as I go through the various chapters and seasons of my life. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done as each layer of my life experience leads to the next one. And may all things work to Your Greater Glory in Jesus Christ, Amen".