What a wierd day!  I generally wake up in the morning with the Today Show and a cup of coffee.  This morning did NOT bring good news.  In fact, this morning’s news sucked.  As the parent of two pre-teens who would like to include the word “suck” in their everyday vocabulary, the rule in our house is that the word “sucks” can only be used for very extreme circumstances…things like, it “sucks that her little brother died” or it “sucks that children in Lebanon are afraid 24 hours a day.”  You cannot use the word “sucks” for things like vegetables and homework…it is a special occasion word of great descriptive value.  When they get older, I will educate them on the very powerful and very rare occasion when the “f word” is the only word that will do…I know, that probably makes me a very bad parent, but I believe that there are certain situations in life that call for a very strong cuss word.

ANYWAY, back to the news this morning…it sucked.  My husband is on the West Coast, flying between several airports over a number of days.  You will be interested to hear that this heightened security caused him to throw out hair gel, fancy aftershave that I make special trips to Bath and Body to buy, lotion, toothpaste, etc.  He did, however, manage to sneak his nose spray on the plane with him today.  (We have nose spray “issues” in our family.)  So, as long as you can’t make a bomb out of nose spray, you should feel very safe flying this week.  Tomorrow morning, he will attempt to fly out of LAX at 8:00 a.m.  In case you are wondering about his personal hygiene, he says that he will be wearing a hat…I can’t speak to the condition of his teeth.  Needless to say, I will feel much better when he is home safe and sound.

One of the thoughts that I had this morning when listening to the report of this foiled terror plot is that I would prefer to be blown out of the air by a bomb mixed in the airplane bathroom than to KNOW that the plane was highjacked and doomed like those folks on the flight that went down in that field on 9/11.  Do you think that makes me a coward?

After this “uplifting” start, I proceeded with the rest of our day.  The girls and I are participating in a drama, music, dance camp this week at the church.  I am the drama director and thus, in charge of “directing” the performance that we will be doing for the children’s parents tomorrow.  There are 40ish children participating…all high energy and precious.  Directing this production is like herding cats.  It is equally fabulous and frustrating…maybe a little more on the fabulous side.  And I wouldn’t trade my time with them this week for the world.  We are performing “The Tale of the Three Trees;”  a wonderful story of the unexpected ways that God can use each of us in His Kingdom work.  Hopefully, the children will leave with the knowledge that God has a dream for each of their lives.  Or, at least, they will leave thinking church isn’t such a bad place to be!  Being with them this morning renewed my faith in the human race…they help me to understand why God hasn’t just given up on us yet.

This afternoon, the girls went to play with a friend and I did some stuff around the house.  Like a train wreck, I was drawn back to the tv.  I sat and watched MSNBC for over an hour before I left to meet the girls at our friend’s home for dinner.  The news had not gotten any better since the Today Show this morning.  The situation between Israel and Lebanon, the plot to blow up airplanes…just not a lot of happy news in the world.  Tucker Carlson did say something pretty funny however.  He was talking to a homeland security expert, basically calling her and her boss stupid (as Tucker often does) and he was asking why we don’t target radical Muslims instead of bothering your average American airline customer.  He said ” we all know these things are done by radical Muslims….I mean, these people are not radical Presbyterians.”   With everything that has happened in the PCUSA lately, that statement just cracked me up!!  I think there are actually some conservative Presbyterians out there that think that those “radical Presbyterians” are about on the same level of evil as the fanatic Muslims!

ANYWAY, I left to drive over to our friends’ home in kind of a crappy, pessimistic mood about the state of our sorry world (remember my earlier posts on weltschmerz?)  When I got in the car, the CD that we had been listening to earlier was on the stereo.  It is a collection of familiar praise music that I had downloaded.  I was NOT in the mood.  But I listened to it anyway.  And as I was singing along, I started crying.  It occured to me that the ONLY thing in the world I can do about all this garbage is to keep praising God.  Keep my eyes on Him…remember that, despite evidence to the contrary, He is still in control.  So, through my tears, I  just sang louder.  Bombs and summer drama camps, children dying and children singing, people plotting to kill and people choosing to love….eyes on Him…eyes on Him…eyes on Him.  Here’s the words to one of the songs I was singing today:

Blessed be your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where the streams of abundance flow
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say…
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

Blessed be your name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s all as it should be
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say…
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, Blessed be your name