It arrived by mail two weeks ago. After unwrapping it from the protective plastic wrap, I grabbed my Pentel P205 pencil and wrote thirty-two names in their appropriate spots. Than I circled numbers such as 1, 11, 25, and 24. The names belong to the members of my family (immediate and extended); the appropriate spots are the spaces next to the calendar dates of their birthdays. The numbers I circled reference New Year's Day, the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, Palm Sunday, and Christmas Eve; many other circles appear throughout the 365-day log.
While I own a newish smart phone with the, according to my wife, ever-handy calendar app; I really like my pencil-prepped paper calendar. Next to my Bible, it is my most valuable (no reference to financial) leather-bound possession. In fact, just last week, I paid one of the children in our church a bag of Skittles for the return of my 2017 version. (He initially requested $400. I convinced him to settle for a bag of rainbow candies. Quite a bargain!)
The paper of little value gains worth as it bears the notes that organize my life, week after week. I like knowing what's next as well as having a memory-jogging log of what has been.
The pages tell my story - much of it, at least. Other parts of my story stay in my pencil. While I write "No school" on the days when I know my kids will have an academic break, I refrain from writing "lost" on the days a racquetball game didn't turn out the way I prefer. While I write "Date Night" on the evenings when I am gifted with time with my amazing wife, I refuse to make marked reference to days like today when I chose to wear yet-unwashed jeans that I wore a few days ago which, unknown to me until I donned them at the gym, smell like the baked halibut we ate the last time I wore them. Halibut tastes great! The smell of days-old halibut is another story.
One thing I really enjoy about the accounts in Scripture of the likes of David, Deborah, Martha, and Peter is the inclusion of the parts of their stories that reflect events more akin to smelly jeans and lost games than to wins and great feasts. The Bible includes the events that a more cautious historian would choose to leave unrecorded.
Think David's cover-up.
Think Deborah's doubt.
Think Martha's complaining.
Think Peter's adamant denial, repeated twice.
The Bible is perfect; yet, save One, no one in it is. While I dare not rejoice in their failures, I take solace in knowing that I am not alone in mine. You see, while I don't write of lost games and stinky pants, I choose also to leave other parts of my story untold - other failures, doubts, struggles, and unwashed acts. Rather than writing them in a collection of dated events, I confess them to God. And here's the cool part - He doesn't write them down!
3 If you, LORD, kept a record of sins,
LORD, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
Psalm 130:3-4a (NIV)