Archive for March, 2011

I’m Better When I Write

By Kathy NickersonMarch 30th, 2011Friendship, work, writing16 Comments

I like my day job. I love my church, my family, and my friends. I have an exceptionally wonderful life. But, I’m better when I write.

For the last few years, I’ve focused twenty-minutes most days on some writing project or other. That has produced a couple of novels, various magazine articles and some essays. A few of those have been published (and paid off in actual money.) Others are still sitting in my file drawer waiting their turn for revision.

This winter, we went through an intense season with Serenity’s chemo. I thought spending eight-hours a day in a chemo pod would provide lots of writing time. I was so wrong. All I could do with those hours was wrestle the dragon. And, since coming home, I have felt rather singed by his breath.

This week, I finally glued my deiriere to the chair again. And, I’m better. I’m better at my job, I’m better with my friends. I’m better for my family.

I think the same thing happens no matter what gift you carry. Rochelle is better when she dances, and Charity is better when she sings. I expect my friend Robyn is better when she decorates a cake, and Anna is better when she hosts a Get-to-Know-You night for missionary friends.

We’ve each been given a gift, a talent. Often more than one. And, we are better when we use them.

What’s yours?

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The Part We Play

By Kathy NickersonMarch 24th, 2011family, happy endings, work11 Comments

Another part we play

Warning: This post is going to sound like I”m bragging about my husband.

Disclaimer: I am. But you should listen anyway.

Tonight, just after we finished our supper, the phone started ringing. Wendell had seen thirty-six patients in the office today, and…he had a headache. But someone was having chest pain at our local Steakhouse. The staff had called 911, but we live thirty minutes from the nearest ambulance, so they’d feel lots better if Doc could come.

He came, of course. And he cared for the sweet lady and reassured the family. Then he directed traffic when the  first responders, an ambulance crew, and helicopter crew all arrived and swarmed the dining room.

That is when the cool part happened. It wasn’t feasible to ask all the other diners to clear the room (it was fried chicken buffet night, after all). So, the first responders started stretching white blankets from arm to arm until they formed a portable ER tent held up by human poles. And my husband was the Western point. I tip-toed up beside him and said, “I can hold the blanket if you need to do something else.”

He shrugged, smiled, and said,”I’m not doing anything much more important than this.”

Then, while the paramedics started an IV in the privacy of the tent, Wendell held up his corner and talked quietly with the novice first-responder beside him.

I watched the scene and thought of the philosophy Wendell has lived by for decades. It is his motto for daily life, professional life, and Kingdom of God life.

“The part I play is less important than what I’m a part of.”

And, he means it.

 

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A Lesson from Uzziah

By Kathy NickersonMarch 18th, 2011mercy, The Bible1 Comment

Approaching the altar humbly

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.Isaiah 6:1

So begins a famous passage from the prophet Isaiah, wherein he describes an amazing, supernatural encounter with the Holy God. When Isaiah encounters a vision of God in the Temple, he becomes undone, fully aware of his own miserable self and how far he is from the holiness of God.

When I read this portion of scripture, I’m always struck by those first seven words: In the year that King Uzziah died… It’s as if I hear them each time in a voice-over by James Earl Jones or something. But, I never understood the full impact until I was reading Second Chronicles this week.

Do you know what King Uzziah died of? Pride. Well, sort of.

King Uzziah was a brilliant man with a glorious reign. He could have starred in a BC version of The Rich and Famous. (and powerful.) But then, he got proud. And, in his pride he strutted into the sacred inner room of the Temple, the place only the priest was allowed to go. He tried to burn incense there, an act of worship reserved for the men designated by God.

He couldn’t be satisfied with wealth, power, fame, and the favor of God. He wanted more.

Eighty priests tried to save Uzziah from himself. But, he wouldn’t listen. As a result, he broke out in leprosy. He was banned from the Temple and lived in seclusion. When he died, he was buried in obscurity.

And this makes me wonder about lots of things. The areas of pride in my own life, for instance. But mostly it makes me wonder about how I approach God. Am I strutting into His presence as if I am Somebody? Or do I come in trembling, fully aware of my state and of God’s status.

It’s one of those mysterious of the faith, really. Our God is a Consuming Fire. Yet He is as close to us as the whisper of his name.

Selah.

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A Memory of the Heart

By Kathy NickersonMarch 7th, 2011family, happy endings, mercy5 Comments

My mother-in-law is  91, and she continues to inspire me with her outlook on life. For her 90th birthday, we gave her a laptop so she could keep in touch with all the kids, grandkids, and great-grands scattered across the earth. And, she does.

She became terribly ill back in her eighties. We didn’t expect her to pull through, and we were shocked when she started to improve. She not only got well, she got better. Better than she had been  in years. The only scar from that ordeal is her memory. She lost big gaps of family history.  She doesn’t remember the day I married her handsome youngest son. But, she is still glad I did.

This month, Wendell and I welcomed another grandson, J. Paxton.  (Hurray). He is Number Forty for Grandma-Great. Since he lives in Wyoming and she winters in Florida, they met on Facebook. Afterward, she wrote me this beautiful note. I think it captures the power of mother-love, the mercy of God, and the hope we all have for eternal relationships.

“I think he must look like Wendell,” she said. “Of course, I don’t remember Wendell as a baby at all. But I just have this feeling that I’ve seen Paxton before.”

Lovely.

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