Archives for November 2010

Not so Nice Comments

Arkhangelsk (Arkhangelsk oblast), coat of arms...

Image via Wikipedia

I got my first negative comment today on my Everyday Christian blog.  Actually I got three of them.  I’m pretty sure one of them was from Satan.

 The really scary part is they called me “Sammy.”  I am blown away by how the commenter knows me so well.  It was such an intimate association, and so assumptive to call me by such a fun nick-name.  I’m flattered.

Of course, no one actually calls me that.  And maybe that’s best, because if they knew my real nick name that would be border-line stalker… and that’s really scary.

I knew this would happen.  I figured eventually I would write something controversial enough to stir the pot and piss off someone.  Fortunately, it was about my belief in God. 

Is it a sin to be proud that you got persecuted for Jesus?  Because, I might have a little banner made that says, “I took one for the team,”

So, here’s a little excerpt from my new demonic friend

“Too bad you were not strong enough to shirk the shackles of fables and myth. In fact, it looks as if you have fully submerged yourself in your chosen fairy tale.

Life is worth living in and of itself, my dear Sammy. No need to give credit to imaginary friends.

There is no hell. There is no god(s). Death is exactly like things were before being born. You simply no longer exist. Why does this scare you so?”

 

I replied

It doesn’t scare me.  I know where I am going and more than likely will be so overwhelmed by the glory of God that I won’t even remember this temporary pain.  I have a hope and a promise of eternal life.  It just makes me sad for those that take a different path.

Many Blessings to you and thanks for the comment.
Sam

I am afraid I have started a battle.  The comments continue to come in. 

Game on!

Turkey with Tears

A Turkey.

Image via Wikipedia

My uncle died this Thanksgiving.  12:04am to be exact.  It’s disheartening when holidays coincide with less than fond memories. Now every year henceforth, turkey will make me sad.

My father called and left a message early in the morning  to inform me that he “passed on.”  I hate that terminology.  It feels like a vacuous attempt to put a pretty spin on death, as if it were a bad cold or an inconvenience.  I would rather sink my teeth into the fatality of the moment.  Dead is just dead…nothing light or fluffy about it.

Sometimes death is accompanied by sweet relief, if pain or suffering is involved.  But not this time.  It was sudden.  A post surgical infection turned into a fiasco and suddenly poof, death is knocking at the door. Maybe it would be easier if my uncle was close to the Lord, or if I felt confidant in his eternal salvation.  But that’s just the thing…I don’t, and it’s eating me up inside.

My uncle was an avowed atheist, determined to live a life apart from God.  If he passed on, as my dad suggested, then I can’t fathom where he went, nor do I really want to consider the implications. The big “H” word seems so extreme.  And ultimately, so final.

My husband reminded me that God is not limited by our boundaries, that even in a comatose state, my uncle  might choose, like the criminal on the cross next to Christ, to turn in a different direction.

This whole idea of someone deliberately choosing an eternal life apart from God has my insides in a tangled turmoil. Free choice notwithstanding, I wish things were different.   I can understand when people run from God, keep a distance and live far from him.  In this paradigm, there is an acknowledgement of God’s presence coexisting with a willful defiance.  But the atheist denies God altogether.  It is a much bigger animal than the proverbial prodigal child running from his father.

My uncle was a brilliant man.  A professor of anthropology at an esteemed college, an author, a thinker and a contributor to the world of academia.  Our conversations were thrilling, and even as a child, I remember probing his mind and uncovering a virtual cornucopia of modern discourse.  During my formative years and later as a college student, he challenged me to dive into the greats–Foucault, Niche, Heidegger…to push my brain to maximus exhaustiveness.  To ponder, to ruminate, to brood over thoughts and relentlessly search for truth. 

But my post-modern studies led me down a different path than the road he traveled.  In the absence of absolute truth, in an exhaustive vacuum of subjectivity, my heart longed for something more meaningful than a personal experience to hold onto.  As my studies led me further and further away from God, my heart was conversely drawn to Him.

Something in my spirit cried out for more and strangely enough it was my own personal experience with Christ that filled the void.  Ironically, “witnessing in a post-modern world” has become material for seminary training, when in all reality, Christ’s light only shines brighter in the hopelessness that shrouds this train of thought.

I loved my uncle.  I will miss him at Thanksgiving.  I will miss his liberal extremism.  His loud laugh. His passion for life.  His crazy stories about aliens.  And on some level, I can thank him for leading me to Christ in a weird roundabout way.

My eyes leak when I think about him.

The sting of death is this…watching someone you love die apart from Christ.

Cold Feet

cold feet

Image by MayaEvening via Flickr

 

My feet are cold. Bone cold. 

Will work for socks cold!

It’s one of those days where I have been warm, truly warm, for only a few minutes.  At the end of my run this morning, I started to break a sweat, despite the chilly 38 degree temp and maybe, just maybe my feet thawed.

Then in the shower, I defrosted momentarily, but upon exiting, returned to afore-mentioned frozen status.

It’s my own fault.  My favorite socks were dirty so I went without. 

Decided to stink up my loafers and go foot commando.

I thought I would be so bold and cheeky in my sockless state, a brazen message to the world that I can handle adversity. 

But I was wrong.  I am a whiner.  A sniveler. 

A fair-haired Popsicle whiling away the day dreaming of a roaring fire, a cuppa tea, an enthralling read, and oh yes…

 deliciously, decadently, toasty warm toes.

 

 

The Dysfunctional Family

My baby said the word “uncle” today. That’s pretty good for a ten-month old tyke, if I do say so myself.  But, ironically, she didn’t say it to my brother, and my husband only has one sister.  The momentous words were directed specifically towards my ex-husband, now known as  “Uncle Bert.”  Welcome to our dysfunctional family.

If “sin” is missing the mark, than “divorce” is a rupture of the spirit.  No one gets married anticipating an excruciating dedomiciling, but life happens, choices are made, and sometimes the best couples separate.  Our sin nature permeates what God intended to be a beautiful symbol of the relationship between Christ and the Church.  The only problem with this lovely metaphor is that people, in all their flaws and selfishness, are part of the equation.

And so we screw up that which was meant to be Holy. Families are ripped apart.  Children blow out and bitterness sets in.  The lovely bride of Christ is alone, scared and forced to forge ahead into a wilderness of singled exile.

But after the drama recedes, the settlements are fought over, and the custody battle reasonably determined…the fragments of a family must be reassembled.  Two roads can be taken-either the road to more disparateness or the less traveled road to what I like to call “functional dysfunction.”

Right before I remarried, my then fiance and I were urged to attend blended family counseling.  So, off we trotted to hear words that didn’t settle so well in our self-righteous little paradigm.  Because I was the abandoned spouse, my demeanor towards my ex was patronizing at best.  I had anger buried deep in my heart and my hostility was only fueled with every poor decision my ex-husband made.

But the counsel we received forced us to reconsider, reflect and move in a counter-cultural direction.  We were told that our relationship with my ex-husband would determine our relationship with the children.  Our love for their father would be an indirect method of communicating love to them. And that every natural tendency to push him away would only end up shooting us and our children in the foot.

Thus followed a year of moving towards the very thing I wanted to run from.  I stopped arguing, stopped sniping, and moved at my ex-husband with brotherly love.  When he lost his car, my husband and I made a committment to help drive him to our kid’s games and practices so he could continue coaching our son in football.  Leaving work early three days a week to pick up my ex-husband did not come naturally.  Every trip was laced with prayer and surrender, but God was moving and my heart slowly softened.  As my husband drove him home some night’s after practice, their relationship grew stronger as well.

Later that year, my ex-husband remarried and his wife invited us for a shared Father’s Day celebration.  It was a sweet acknowledgement that the war had ceased and two broken pieces were fusing into one reconstructed family, albeit …  larger and messier than before.

Now, almost three years later, we have established what I like to call a good working relationship in the parenting realm.  We think of my ex-husband as our brother, and care for him like he is a part of the family.  Accepting the good and bad as we would any sibling ,and loving the way Christ loves us, without restrictions for our frailties.

I can honestly say my heart has changed, slowly and unwillingly at times, but the process has allowed me to walk free of the burden that so heavily weighed me down for years.  And so our new baby, the child of my second marriage, has a new “Uncle” and a big confusing family that someday we will have to explain.

“Sweetheart, your sister’s daddy is your uncle.” Yeah, I can’t wait for that conversation.

But, in God’s economy it seems to make perfect sense!

Touchdown Jesus

First published on Everyday Christian Nov 18th, 2010

Many years ago, back in the heyday of college, some friends and I traveled to South Bend, Ind., to see the campus of Notre Dame, and hopefully catch a peek of the Fighting Irish‘s football stadium.  After sweet-talking the groundskeeper, he generously allowed us to run through the hallowed tunnel from the movie “Rudy,” and burst out onto the field. 

Squealing and delighted to have accomplished our covert mission, we pretended to throw footballs and run plays until we caught sight of the mural of Jesus, just to the left and behind the scoreboard.There it was… Touchdown Jesus!

A hush fell over our group.  Though I knew little of God at the time, the sacredness of the space caused a chill down my spine.  I felt like Moses standing on Holy ground, in awe of what my spirit perceived, but did not yet know.  Our antics ceased as we soberly exited the venerated field.

I had no idea at the time how much the two realms of football and Jesus would intersect in my own life. Years later, my 12-year-old son is now a gifted athlete playing football for a nationally- ranked team, heading for the West Coast Conference and then, Lord willing, on to Florida to play in the Pop Warner Football National competition.  My husband, a pastor, will be accompanying him. It is a strange fusion, God and football, and yet for us, it has become our new normal.

While football has many critics, and negative attention has more recently dominated the news because of concerns about concussions and their long-term affects; that which is uplifting and noble cannot be overlooked.  And, while few would debate that brute force is a large part of the game, there is much more beyond the obvious testosterone and aggression than meets the eye. 

In many ways, a great football team is a metaphor for the spiritual battle we face in the fight against good and evil.  Not unlike Christian, in Pilgrim’s Progress, my son and his team-mates pursue football greatness with the same determination as Christian on his journey to the Celestial City.

My son’s team, the RSM Pee Wee Titans, train relentlessly. They are well disciplined and wear the appropriate uniform, or what I like to call “armour” for the battle.  They study film intently, and play by play, make corrections and adjustments.  They diligently research and know their opponents long before the game. 

Their coaches are not only well-versed in strategy, but loving mentors and teachers, leading the boys with both grace and truth. They live, eat, and breathe, the game.  The team is placed higher than the individual, and all sacrifice one for each other.  There is a deep sense of respect among the boys and coaches, as they continually push one another to new levels of performance.

Watching the boys is like viewing an intricate dance.  It is harmony in motion.  The angels sing and the trumpets play.  These are the moments in life, far and few between, when heaven and earth intersect.  When athletes play the way God intended, when a team moves in a cadence and rhythm distinct from the pack, and football in its purest form-is revealed.

Last week, before the League Championship, the boys knelt down and prayed.  They did it on their own cognizance, no adult around, just a group of eleven and twelve year old boys simply praying for courage and honor, and that God would be with them through the blood, sweat and tears.

And so Touchdown Jesus has become a part of our vernacular…God and football, prayers and the O Line, a blend of the sacred and the secular, and a beautiful  picture of little warriors gearing up for a spiritual battle.

Ephesians 6:14-17 (NIV) … Therefore put on the full amour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.


Stranded at Sea…Leave Your Fishing Pole at Home

Carnival Cruise Ship Splendor Arrives at Port ...

Image by Port of San Diego via Flickr

 Article first published as Stranded at Sea…Leave Your Fishing Pole at Home on Technorati.

My interest has been peaked, like most Americans, as the passengers of the Carnival Splendor cruise ship, finally disembark in San Diego Harbor after a four-day ordeal of being stranded at sea and then towed back to shore.  One comment in particular caught my eye chronicling a pair of traveling Honeymooners because my own husband and I celebrated our Honeymoon in a similar fashion. 

Here is what the bride’s father– Paul Patrick, who purchased the trip as a gift to the newlyweds, had to say about their interrupted vacation.“They’re hungry, very hungry and very eager to get off this ship,” Patrick said. “You can’t ruin a honeymoon, but this came close.” He added: “My son-in-law wishes he’d brought his fishing pole. What else can you do four days on the sea?”

Now, I don’t debate that they are hungry, I mean eating spam sandwiches pretty much stinks, but I do have an issue with the next line.  What else can you do for four days on the sea?  Ummmm… how about have sex?

Now that might sound crass, but if the couple had walked down a road of purity before marriage, their “ruined” trip might have been a fantastic reason to stay in bed and revel in the joys of intimacy, designed by God for marriage.

Oh, it’s such a sad story.  The poor husband wishes he had brought his fishing pole to fight off boredom.  When my husband and I traveled to the Mediterranean for our Honeymoon and cruised the seas on the Norwegian Jade for 12 days, we did some fishing all right, and strangely enough it didn’t involve any fish (though there was a fantastic sushi bar on the Jade that we enjoyed). After waiting for almost a year and a half to be sexually intimate, we practically skipped down the aisle and into each other’s arms.

This is the difference between shacking up, premarital sex, and all the compromise the world tells you is great…it steals the joy of true intimacy.  It robs the bride and groom of a night to remember.  It makes four days at sea with your beloved… a yawning bore. 

I can always tell the difference at weddings.  It’s obvious to me if the bride and groom have had premarital sex.  It’s all about the “event” for the jaded bride, it’s a rite of passage, and a big hoopla over the details.  For the couple who choose to be pure, it’s all about the relationship.  You can tell in their eyes, their smile, their posture…they have waited for a true treasure and they will celebrate and protect something so valuable.

I know the difference.  My first marriage started and ended in compromise.  But, the next time, God was gracious and gave me a second chance to walk down the path of purity, restoration and healing. When I married my darling husband, a Godly man and a pastor, I knew he loved me for my heart and not for how I made him feel physically. Our relationship, though by no means perfect, stands on a foundation of trust.

So, though I am truly sad for the vacationing Honeymooners whose trip was derailed, when my husband and I slip away for our next cruise, the “Please Do Not Disturb Sign,” will proudly hang on our door!

Martha on the Hampster Wheel

Crying emoticon

Image via Wikipedia

It seems like it always happens this time of year, fall burn-out sets in.  Not just general weariness, but pure debilitating fatigue that has tenuous layers of emotional, spiritual and physical exhaustion.  If you scratch the surface, of a parent or child in this state, you just might get more than you bargained for.  Raw emotions lurk underneath the realm of the over achievers façade. 

It finally dawned on me last week at the mall just how spent I was.  The sky was dumping rain and my family was ecstatic.  Wet fields meant a reprieve from the kids’ grueling sports schedule.  So after almost five hours at church, we headed off for some much-needed sustenance and a little retail therapy…my older daughter’s love language. After pigging out at Ruby’s, my daughter begged to go to Justice for girls, a shop geared for hip tweens and enabling mothers. 

So in we trooped to Justice; the baby sleeping in her stroller, my daughter shrieking at the totally cute jeggings, my son running off to Tilly’s and my husband, well…I don’t actually remember where he went. And that’s when I saw it, a music video playing on one of the ten screens placed around the store appealing to the ADHD crowd featuring Taylor Swift.  I should have walked away, knowing how utterly prone I was to an emotional hijacking, but I fell for the romance and escape of it all. And so, in my highly fragile state, I was sucked in to Taylor’s compelling story-telling lyrics. 

Alas, it was a woeful tale of a child abandoned by her father, and than growing up scared that her own husband would repeat the abandonment of her youth.  So there I stood in Justice, a cacophony of mall buzz all around me, and I lost it.  Tears began to pour down my face, big gulpy sobs for poor little Taylor’s heart, and I felt a deep well of emotion erupt from my soul.  For a moment, the world stopped and I just reveled in the release.

This is what fall burn-out does.  It takes high functioning adults, exhausted from work, kids, and sport’s playoffs and on and on… and turns them to mush, in places like Justice, no less.  I realized this was a red-light symptom indicating that my cup might be overrunning with too many blessings and leading to detrimental burn-out, not just the tiredness that makes me long for summer and more languid days.  So, I added up all the things we are involved in right now as a family. Then I looked long and hard at the list and did a little reflecting.

Pastoral ministry, running a church, leading 2 Rooted groups, teaching 2 bible studies, a career in tech sales, freelance writing, 2 online magazines, 1 blog, 2 acting classes, fall baseball, cheerleading, Mini Pearls(kids cancer research), Jr. High youth group, commuting 2 hours a day, 3 kids(1 of them a teething baby), no sleep, attempted exercise, running a women’s ministry, school, homework, a football team heading for the West Coast Conference, fantasy football commissioner, and oh yes…another fantasy team, friends, kids friends, family obligations, cheer team mom, little scholar football rep, football chain volunteer, laundry, cooking, cleaning, and oh yeah…trying to remain spiritual, read the Bible, pray, and be blessed to be a blessing.

Just my schedule alone is something like 140 hours a week.  That leaves me with an average of about 4 hours of sleep a night. Quite frankly, I’m surprised I haven’t lost it at the Grocery Store or maybe even driven my car into the grocery store.

What the hell am I thinking?

The scary part is that I am pretty sure I am not alone in my race to accomplish, achieve, and appear busy.  All of my friends are overwhelmed too.  Sometimes I feel guilty for watching TV, annoyed at my husband when he takes time out to play, and frustrated that I don’t have more time to accomplish another 400 items.  Sounds a little more like Martha than Mary, and that makes me sad because I want to be more like Mary.  But, in all reality, we live in a Martha world and sitting on the floor like Mary at Jesus’ feet is counter-cultural.  It takes an inordinate effort to swim against the current of identity defined by productivity.

What is this psychotic expectation of achievement that we have all bought into?  I thought I could confidently say that I found my meaning and significance in Christ, but if I am honest, my agenda belies my statement of faith.  Rest doesn’t feel like rest anymore, it’s more a catatonic expression of paralysis. Too tired to move, too tired to talk, we zone out and veg. 

I think it’s time to stop the madness and climb off the hamster wheel.  The hard part is figuring out how not to get thrown off the wheel.  The world sucks you in and then spits you back out.  Oh, but my inner hamster both loves and hates the wheel.  While I want to jump off it’s also scary to think of not running so fast. 

 There’s an old saying that comes to mind…if the devil can’t make you sin, then he’ll make you busy.

So busy, that I imagine he has a field day with us when our defenses are down.

A Little Help Please…

Help

Image by LiminalMike via Flickr

Last night my car broke down. Not that it’s ever convenient to have car problems, but I was parked behind a high school, deep in an isolated canyon with nothing but tarantulas and mountain lions around for miles.  My son was one of the last kids off the football field after a late practice and as he hopped in, I heard a clicking sound instead of the engine coming to life.  It sounded like a dead battery.

Fortunately, one of the mom’s also exiting saw my waving hand and stopped.  She sent her husband home for the jumper cables and we hung out in the cold night, with growling stomachs, kids running around and the baby howling along with the coyotes for a bottle.  Shockingly, a few last stragglers walked by and observed our little woebegone party-two women, three children and a baby standing around a car with the hood open, obviously in distress, and not one of them stopped or asked if we needed help.

It’s a story told all too often in our society… of people passing by and not heeding the call of those in distress.  Now obviously we weren’t in imminent danger, and we did not ask for help, but the other mom seemed pretty indignant that we were ignored.

I would suggest that their lack of concern is more normal than not, and I am generally more surprised when people do offer assistance.  Heroic acts these days are few and far between, and when they do occur, somebody probably has a video to capture it for YouTube.  Because, when nobody else is looking, when the credits don’t roll, it’s just too easy to turn our eyes away and pretend not to notice. Ignorance is bliss right?

The Darwinist mentality seems to have pervaded our culture so deeply that survival of the fittest means we overlook the ageing, disabled and stranded. What this reveals about our society is a startling lack of compassion and an indication that somewhere along the way we have learned to care more for ourselves than for the greater good.

I know that if I am honest, my own heart is inherently selfish and my gut reaction is rarely to stop what I am doing, surrender my agenda, and dive into the need at hand. More often, I feel a tug in my spirit, choose to heed or ignore the nudge, and then usually, but not always, try to help.

When I look at the ministry of Jesus, I am struck by how the interruptions of need seemed to define his entire ministry. He did more healing, teaching and revelation in the unplanned moments than any organized preaching.  His agenda seemed to incorporate the unplanned and invite the messy in. 

And so, I am challenged to create space in my life for the unexpected, the things I can’t put in my agenda but may define my identity far more than my busy schedule.

The journey of compassion is the road less traveled. It whispers to look beyond ourselves and glimpse that which is sacred. It loves our neighbor simply for loves sake.

That’s the message I want to teach my kids. It’s the banner I want to wear across my own heart. To never be so busy that I can’t stop, engage in humanity, and get my hands a little bit dirty.

But if your car breaks down…my help might consist of a little company and a cell phone. Mechanics are just not my gift!

First steps and last steps…

Baby steps

Today my kids and I went on an unusual adventure. After church, I packed up my little tribe and hustled them to the car, explaining that we were heading over to the Vintage Sr. Center for a high tea and a little socializing with our elderly neighbors.  My twelve-year-old son, who is generally amiable and warm-hearted seemed up for the occasion, though he did comment under his breath that old people smell.  My nine-year old drama queen on the other hand, ran and asked her dad if she could stay at church to clean up, tried to arrange an impromptu play-date and looked for any loophole possible to avoid accompanying us.  The baby was on board, but then again, at nine months old, she didn’t have much of a choice.

I dressed the girls in costumes, both for Halloween’s s sake and because I thought the Sr. residents of Vintage would enjoy seeing a cute baby dressed as Wonder Woman and my older daughter decked out as an 80’s style Valley Girl.  But poop happens, and the baby had a blow out all over her costume and the left half of my body as I walked into church.  I cleaned myself up, but I reckon if you sniffed real close, I was borderline stinky.  It was one of those days.

So, in we marched to Vintage Sr. Center…a weary mom, a hyper baby, a reluctant pre-tween in a pink tutu, and my easy-going son. We stopped on the patio and greeted a few seniors who were taking some air.  They oohed and ahhed over the baby and we smiled and made small talk before heading in.The Sr. Center was surprisingly lovely.  I was caught off guard by the soothing decor, calming fountains, and tableaux of lush flowers and inviting spaces. The communal area was set up for the tea with tables decorated in harvest linens and china resplendent with tiny sandwiches, fresh fruit, and sweets. 

About twenty elderly ladies were assembled for the tea and we jumped in to join the festivities.  I made the rounds with the baby, and let her simple charm and utter innocence bless the ladies. And the baby obliged, smiling and giggling, while proudly showing off her two new teeth.  She clapped and waved, danced and performed for her audience of approving grannies, reveling in their attention and genuine delight.  But babies have limited attention spans, and after a while she whimpered to get down and explore on the ground.

Like lightening, the baby crawled over to the one solo male, sitting alone with a walker in front of him. She climbed up on the side of the walker and to her surprise, it moved.  On the cusp of walking, the baby had found a strong sturdy aid to help her take her first steps.  I glanced up at the man, hoping he wouldn’t mind that the baby had absconded his only source of mobility, but he seemed enthralled by my wee tyke now making circles with the walker.

He leaned over and said in a raspy voice, “You know, I never thought I would walk again, but I’ve been working hard with the physical therapist to strengthen my legs and I can even do the stairs now.  Soon, I should be able to get around with just a cane.”

As the baby made circle after circle with the walker, fiercely determined to take one step after another, the man talked about losing his good friend to a stroke only a few days before. His matter of fact demeanor appeared callous at first, but then it began to dawn on me that in this environment, he was getting used to loss. I scooted close to listen, recognizing the sacredness of an open heart and a lifetime of wisdom being shared.

He told me there were two types of residents at the Sr. Home, the terminal and those in transition. The transitional folks were there for a set period of time to recover from a surgery or a fall while their families arranged a way to bring them home with assisted care, but the others were there until they died.  It was their final home on this earth. He said it made all the difference in the world how the residents identified themselves. He said the terminal were hopeless and sad…their spirits bitter and hard. But the transitional residents had a promise of recovery and home, a reward at the end of a long and painful journey.

The man smiled at me and proclaimed,” I am going home again when I can walk. Just like that baby forging ahead, I refuse to end my life here.”

I caught my son’s eye and winked; delighted he was engaged in helping set up the slide show for the poetry reading. Then we drank tea, listened to Casey at the Bat and enjoyed cupcakes. I saw my older daughter drawing pictures and presenting them to the elderly ladies, smiling and preening in her costume. Eventually, the baby grew tired of her game, crawled into my arms and fell asleep.

As I gathered up my kids to go home, and hugged my new friend good-bye, I asked him if I could come back and play cards with him.  He nodded “yes”, excitedly muttering something about Gin Rummy.

I drove off pondering his statement about the two types of residents at the Sr. Home.  I was struck by how profound his observations were and how it also applied to a much bigger realm than just the Vintage Sr. Center.

Our perspective on life, our very identity rests on how we view ourselves on this planet, either as transitional–with the hope of eternal life and a greater kingdom awaiting us, or as terminal—life consisting of a limited time and place, with a beginning and end, and then no more. Even the most decadent Sr. Home in the world would feel like hell, if you looked at as your last step to the grave.

The man knew that to have a life, he had to change his perspective.   

Later that night, I asked my son if he enjoyed himself at the Sr. Home. He responded with a decisive, “Yes! They didn’t smell bad at all, but you on the other hand, need to take a shower.”

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