Good morning from the Desert. The sun continues to shine and the temperatures rise. Summer is coming. June is here; July is coming. Air-conditioning chases away the stuffy air in our front room, allowing me to enjoy the morning quiet with a cup of coffee. Outside, as the sun raises the temperatures, I find less time available to sit in comfort. What was it like not so long ago when there was no air conditioning here for people living in tents? Some houses developed a wind-tunnel-like cooling system, trapping the breezes from the roof and bringing them into their homes. I guess acclimation is the key; the longer you live and remain in a certain type of environment, the better your body adapts. We learned to live easily at 7,000 ft. of elevation with the thin air. We will learn to survive in the strong heat of the desert.
I had a rather fun patient encounter recently. I was called to see a young man who had a crush injury to the end of his long finger. The tip of the finger was hanging off to the side with the nail ripped off part way. He pointed to the bone sticking out and grimaced. Most of all he looked afraid. The finger was not beautiful, for sure, but there seemed to be more.
The translator arrived and started to talk with the man. The man asked if I was an American; we do tend to stick out here in UAE. Samuel told him I was. The man asked, “Does he know I am from Afghanistan?” I did not. The man was sure since he was from Afghanistan that I would assume he is a terrorist and would cut off his finger or do a poor job. Samuel laughed and explained the fear to me. I was able to reassure the man and explained why I am here. I am here to serve because of the God I serve. He was still concerned but agreed to let me fix his finger.
He and Samuel chatted as I repaired the nail matrix and cleaned and closed the skin. When the finger looked restored to a semblance of normal, I showed the man the finger and asked if the finger looked OK to him. His smile was huge! The man returns for dressing changes and seeks Samuel and me out. He does not appear to follow any of our suggestions as to recheck times and appointments, but his smile and warmth make my day. Is he a Christian now? No, but he has a different view of Christians than before.
As the new Oasis Hospital construction proceeds, I attend meetings where we hear of the transition process. We talk of mourning the loss of the old ways and places; we hear of plans for the new facility. What will Oasis Hospital be? Will we just move into a new building doing the same activities? Is the move an opportunity? I am one who likes a vision. I love to look at the current situation and then dream and plan of the possible future. Without a well-defined vision of what could be and should be, work becomes merely work. I read a great phrase today: “Drudge through the sludge.” How often do we feel we are drudging through life, just looking for the day or week or year to end? What brings joy, not mere happiness, into our life? Are our tanks running on fumes? Maybe we need to find a vision.
Each year I read some of my favorite books to orient my mind and thinking. Some years I zoom through them; sometimes one year extends into two as one book holds my attention. Maybe you would like to read them as well or feel you know better choices. Great, I would love to learn and discover new classics. For me, drudging in the sludge is no fun. When I find myself mired to my knees, I start to refocus and check my vision. Have I lost sight of the goal? Have I made a poor choice? Reading and writing helps me to organize my thoughts. I slowly will hose off the restricting junk and resume the journey unencumbered. I can then travel in joy as I journey, not trudge, toward a goal. In joy and focus I follow my vision firmly on the rock in His grip.
Tim’s yearly list
The Bible — the font of wisdom
Developing the Leader Within You – John Maxwell
Mere Christianity – CS Lewis
Visioneering – Andy Stanley
Cost of Discipleship – Dietrich Bonheoffer
If you want to walk on water You Need to get out of the Boat - John Ortberg
Good to Great – Jim Collins