Can one use “exciting” and “exhausting” in describing the same events?  And, while I am asking that question, can one discuss sewers, elections, and alarms at the same time?  For me, all of this comes together in a blur.
Two weeks ago, I followed up with the Houghton Lake Sewer Authority regarding our cottage sewer backup.  They said I needed to contact a private firm for help.  I did, and they said they would get back to me.  One week later, having heard nothing, I followed up with a phone call.  They informed me they had only a 100-foot snake, and since our problem was at least 200 feet away, they could not help. I contacted a second company.  They said they would stop by our property that day, be back with equipment the next day, and get back to me that same day (Thursday).   They called me early that morning to say that they had done what they could – the sewer was usable for the indefinite future, but there was a serious root problem that would need to be addressed sooner or later.  They gave me the name of an excavating company, which I contacted (voice mail) immediately.  Before the day was done the excavator called me back and promised to check things out on Monday.  Monday he called, gave me an estimate, and asked me to call Miss Dig, which I did (and was on hold for less than 30 minutes).  Yesterday we received clearance to dig … and the excavator plans to be there tomorrow (while Joel and I are on site raking leaves).  I guess to the exhausting and exciting we now need to add a third ex… – expensive!
STL hosts two election precincts.  My role is to be there early on Wednesday when they come to set up, very early (6:00 a.m.) on Tuesday to let the workers in, and early again (though I’m already there for men’s FHL) on Wednesday as they pick up the equipment.  My job is easier than Linda’s – she was there until midnight on Tuesday because they ran into a problem.  It was exciting to see how many people came out to vote on Tuesday.  However, it was exhausting to realize that by Wednesday night I had already put in nearly 40 hours for the week.
And then there is the alarm story.  About the time I arrived for the men’s FHL on Wednesday morning, a warning bell started beeping.  As I was looking at the master panel to find a way to turn it off, the alarm company called.  I told them it was just a malfunction, and they promised to tell the fire department not to come.  A little bit later they called a second time.  This time they transferred me to a technician to help silence the beeping.  While he and I were talking, I put him on hold and answered another call asking about our AA program (this is about 7:00 a.m.).  When the first alarm guy was unable to help, he promised to have a second technician call.  I returned to the FHL group, but shortly thereafter left for another alarm company call.  The second technician was on the road not too far away.  He promised to stop by.  He arrived about 7:40. We spent the next 40 minutes looking for the connection box.  When he found it, he identified the problem and said he would return with the needed back-up battery. About ten minutes after he left a fire engine pulled into our parking lot.  I assured them that everything was OK, and they were on their way.  Linda and the election workers arrived shortly thereafter.  When I was about to depart for a day full of appointments, a brother pastor stopped in to discuss a dilemma he was facing. Around 10:00 I was on the road for the first of 6 visits that would get me home a little after 5:00.  Like I said, exhausting, yet still exciting to see G@W in so many ways.
I am looking forward to driving to the cottage this afternoon for a couple days of leaf raking … another exhausting and exciting item.  The weather reports are exciting – as is the fact that Joel will be coming along (and likely reduce my workload by about 66%).  However, even if we are able to burn the leaves instead of bag them (150 bags?!), I know how I will feel Friday night – and I think you do too.
First Kings speaks of a time that was “ex … ing” for the prophet Elijah “Elijah came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He said, ‘I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.’ And he said, ‘Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He said, ‘I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.’ And the Lord said to him, ‘Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death. Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.’” (1 Kings 19.9-18)  Elijah had more kingdom work to do, but five chapters later he retired from his role as prophet … until he was called out of retirement in Luke 9(.30-31).
Simply put, that’s how life in God’s kingdom is.  Exhausting … some of the time.  Exciting … at other times.  Sometimes both at the same time.  And there are expensive times as well.  And through it all, whether we can see it or not, God is accomplishing his good and gracious will for the world … which is really EXCITING!
I think King David understood this when he wrote, “I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’  My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!  Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!” (Psalm 31.14-16)
Our times … exhausting … exciting … all those in-between … and even those expensive ones … are all in his hands … and for this I am very thankful … while also ex…pect…ing to be ex…perienc…ing the same in the years to come.

Ex … ing