Monday, March 28, 2016

Random Kindness

I am on the road once again.  “Gypsy girl” they call me.  Oh well, it gives me new perspectives.  :)

I took the train to Chicago and then, after a layover, headed west.  There was an older lady getting on at my stop.  She had a huge suitcase, seemed almost as big as she was and she was struggling to get on the train.  I made way for her to go in front of me thinking that if I was behind her I could shield her from passengers being pushy from behind.  I asked if i could help her get her suitcase onto the train.  She studied me for a minute, awkwardly declined and then muscled her case into the luggage rack and headed upstairs to sit down.  I followed shortly afterward to find my own seat.  We both unloaded in Chicago and I again motioned for her to climb out in front of me so that I could define the pace for the people behind her.  This time she seemed very grateful for the  spot in line and lack of pressure getting off.  After getting off the train, she muscled that big ol’ suitcase all the way into the station and headed for a place in line to check her bag for the next leg of her trip.  When she did so she stopped and notice me and said, “well I guess I should let you get in front of me this time.”  

Isn’t it interesting how kindness is “catchy?”  Yes, I think cruelty is too, but think about what you might be doing by being kind.  What kind of an effect can you have on two, three people down the road?  What if this lady decides to pay it forward by being patient with the ticket counter clerk?  And what if the ticket counter clerk is kind to the baggage guy in response? And what if the baggage guy was super depressed and thinking about hurting himself?  Can one act of kindness save another’s life?  Does that seem a bit far fetched?  Well…  I remember a time when one act of kindness literally saved my life.  Maybe, just maybe it’s worth the effort?

Times have changed.  There is so much happening in our days that there isn’t sufficient time to process it all.  Who can even remember what it is like not to be stressed?  When was life carefree for you?  Has it ever been care free?  In the midst of that pressure, I think we have become a society that has forgotten how to “see” others and really care.  

There are two sides to that.  On the one side I just want to weep because of our cruelty to each other.  On the other, kindness is so rare that it has a big impact on those who receive it.  Try it, let me know what happens.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Receiving what comes... being content.

We had an interesting time traveling this week.  We were scheduled to leave at 3:00pm and arrive at our destination around midnight.  It was a west to east flight with a connection in the middle.  We arrived early, almost two hours early, only to find out our plane was delayed.

When your flight is delayed it can be for a bunch of different reasons.  Weather is the most common. If your plane is late because of weather, it is your tough luck.  Whatever issues weather causes, you will have to take care of yourself.  But if it is mechanical, then this particular airline pampers you well.  They feed you dinner, maybe give you a night in a cushy motel room and buy your breakfast.

On this particular day, our airline host went the extra mile in every way.  They bought pizza and pop for everyone  (For those of us who need gluten free they gave vouchers for whatever we could find to eat in the airport).  They made motel reservations and had all our tickets and meal vouchers printed and ready when we finally landed in the first leg or our flight and couldn't go any further that day.

But, as we waited in line to get our motel room keys, I overheard several complaining about our treatment... really?  Who can predict a mechanical failure?  Who has extra multimillion dollar planes laying around to replace one that isn't functional?  What could they have done better?

Yes, it was a very long day.  but sometimes I think it is important to receive what comes.  Rather than reject it.  It is what it is... but more than that... it is an opportunity to look beyond ourselves and see the big picture.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Ephesians 5:14-16 well and 13

 For this reason it says,
"“Awake, sleeper,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you.”
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil."

For this reason? What's the reason? Verse 13 says, "But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light." That's an interesting thing to say.  Everything that becomes visible is light?  What does that mean? (listening) 

I've had people quote passages like this and it sounded almost like the song "Santa Clause is coming to town" "He sees you when your sleeping, He knows when your awake, He knows if you've been bad or good so be good for heaven's sake"  Pretty scary guy wouldn't you say?  Especially since your biggest dreams coming true depend on this guy Santa thinking you are good!

That song says to me that the whole concept of Santa is very shame based.  But I wonder if we are putting Jesus in the same box.

Jesus says in Mark 10:18, Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone." That makes the Santa Clause proclamation even more ominous!  He knows when we've been bad or good and... well... it's never really "good"!  When I see Jesus as waiting around to see if I am "good enough"  or behaving even... I feel pretty hopeless.

But think of it on the other side.  "Everything that becomes visible is light"  Sweet!  You mean that if I reveal to you my ugly side.  It becomes light?  So is that light as in not dark?  or light as in not heavy?  Either way it's pretty cool!.  

I'm thinking the point is to move as close to the light as we can get.  That the exposure we all fear is a good thing and brings about more light.  Maybe expands the light?  I'm wondering if voluntary exposure by definition brings power to heal and escape the darkness?  Maybe eliminate the darkness which is what light does eh?  

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Awake, sleeper!

I just want to listen, hear from the LORD.  Be still it says, and know the LORD.  Be still... still.  It's not so easy.  When still before the LORD I hear, "Wake up!"  I'm thinking of that passage in Ephesians 5:14

Awake, sleeper,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you.”"

It goes on in verse 15-16 to say

"Therefore [j]be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil."

Making the most of your time.  Hmmm, I think that is the call for the day for me.  Making the most of your time.  We are out of work.  I REALLY want a garden this year... I want to plant it and I want to harvest it.  That may seem a weird thing to say but we work contracts.  Most end in October... harvest time.  I spend a lot of time searching out the areas that we might end up in.  Too much time.  What can I do here... today?  How can I make the most of my time?

Today is doing some work for my family but it is also getting off the web and writing, seeking and listening instead.  God knows where we will end up.