Monday, July 14, 2014

Battle of Chesme

That's a very famous painting of the Battle of Chesme, "fought on the night of July 56, 1770 between a Russian squadron under the command of Count Aleksei Grigoryievich Orlov and an Ottoman fleet under Hassan Bey at Chesme bay on the western Anatolian Mediterranean coast." Fought and won by the Russians six years before we ever declared our Independence in these United States. "The strategic result for Russia was command of the sea in the Aegean during the remainder of its war with the Ottoman Empire. When a peace treaty was signed at Küçük Kaynarca in 1774, the Ottoman Empire recognized Russian claims to represent Christian interests in the empire."

Some things were decided long before we ever came along, and Christians in America need to keep that in mind. American exceptionalism is a wonderful thing, it is true, but we tend to magnify it past our real responsibilities, as well as the power and history of other nations and peoples to act in their interests.  I say that after years of listening to quite a bit of exhortation to pray about world events, particularly at this season in God's time. We should pray, we don't ask nearly enough of Him and we don't lean on Him nearly enough, but that does NOT make us responsible for everything that happens.

We are a dysfunctional people, overstimulated and overworked, no matter how much we try to put the "fun" into it all. Because we can do so much, we think we should be doing so much more - and we all have a list tucked away somewhere with all those things on it. I've actually taken to hanging great big lists of things that need to be done on the walls in my house renovation effort. For every room, right down to the half bath, there's a list of things that need finishing to get finished, but after looking at all the details it's no wonder I haven't - I need a work crew for two weeks to get it all done!

Revelation: vision + ability x strength ≠ responsibility

Even though I can see what needs doing, and I'm able to do or hire done every job, DOES NOT mean I am able to respond and accomplish the vision. It's about learning one's limits, we all see farther than we can grasp, not because we aren't smart or talented or hard working, but because time is against us. There isn't enough time to comprehend it all in our seeing or working or praying. Americans have a very hard time with this, we have done So Much already, we want to do more.

In some things, we never could, so we should cut ourselves some slack. I'm reading Grandchildren of Alcoholics: Another Generation of Co-Dependency as a break from another book where I have to make lists and dredge up personal history. I started out underlining things, but had to give that up as I would end up highlighting most of every page. It's good stuff, I'm the sort of person that I can get out of a mental trap if I know it's there, so it's releasing me from all sorts of triggers I've never been able to figure out. 

Reading it is also making the point that all sorts of battles were being fought and bargains made long before I came along, I was just conformed to the patterns already set. My release is not to make things right or repair the family bonds, it's only to change my own thinking, expectations, and behaviours. History is heavily against me in trying to change it all, my own time is short for what I might accomplish in my self, so that I get anything done in a day or a week is really an accomplishment - although it may be that no one but me and the Lord ever appreciate that.

The painting above was not chosen for illustration, it's the image on a jewelry pendant made from a Russian stamp featuring that painting. I bought it two years ago, one of several, the others given away as gifts. This one I liked for myself because of so many allusions in it to things I was praying about, then and since. I found it again this week and finally strung it on a chain. It's resting near my heart, the prayers continue to rest before the Lord, the answers still unknown by me, but perhaps the responses were set in motion long before I ever asked. The very best I can do is wait and accept them as they come. It's very, very hard.

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