Friday, March 22, 2013

Random thoughts

I have started at least 4 different posts in my head over the last month, going so far as to write the ideas down in a little book I carry with me.  However, none of them have made it to fruition. So my thought is to combine them into one post, which hopefully (if you read this it did) makes it to the blog.

First, I love my windows program. It allows me to have multiple projects going at once and switch between them with a click of my mouse. I can engage in multi-tasking, which is a polite way of saying “attention deficit” without getting too confused. One of the posts I started was on Squirrels and Crows. I’ve decided I’m a squirrel, for when I have too many things to choose from I stand in the middle of the road running back and forth until I am hit by oncoming traffic.  Crows on the other hand are people who are drawn away by shiny objects, but can return to the point they left off with ease. The long and the short of this idea is I hope to be like my cat, who once focused on an object will sit silently, contemplating the next move and then move decisively at the opportune time, but doesn’t wait too long so the prey moves on.

Secondly, I have come to the conclusion life is too short to engage in negative, worrisome thoughts and activities. I enjoy interacting with people who have a great sense of humor. These are people who can laugh at themselves and don’t take life too seriously all the time. My notes on this post read as follows: “If worry is like paying rent for something you don’t own, then hate and discontent is like buying a house and letting someone else live there free of charge while you remain homeless. Hate & discontent take up room in your brain and emotions like weeds in a garden. They sap all the goodness from the soil leaving us unfruitful and weak. I have decided hating people and things’, even strongly disliking them, takes too much energy; energy, which can be put toward better, more creative, more productive things. Especially in our current age when with the click of a mouse button we can “block” someone. Not all things are that easy, but a correlation can be drawn.”

Okay, so the third post I was going to write on was measuring a cat’s tail.  A few nights ago my mother asked me “have you ever tried to measure the tail of a cat?” To which I replied, “why, no. Why do you ask?”  Of course the next night I found my measuring tape and proceeded to chase my cat around the house trying to measure his tail (never got it.) It was a silly question, but nonetheless entertaining for a moment. In my opinion we need to engage in such silliness. Go back to point two, life is too short…try to measure your cat’s tail, have some fun. Oh, by the way…my dog’s tail is 19” long. He just laid there and let me do whatever. As for my mother’s cat she believes the tail to be approximately 9”, never did get an accurate measure.

The last idea written in my little book of blog notes was on anticipation; how much I love the feeling of anticipation. I had gotten an invitation to go Downeast with good friends of mine for a day. I was as excited as a kid at Christmas and had a “fluttery” feeling the remainder of the week. Additionally, one night a couple of weeks ago I was outside and smelled melting snow, yes there is a distinct smell. I was filled with the joy of anticipating spring coming to northern New England. As much as I love the feeling of anticipation I am keenly aware of the other side of this coin, dread. Dread is the feeling of impending doom, such as a bill coming due when there is little to no money, a life threatening condition…etc.  In his book “Mere Christianity” C.S. Lewis writes, “…Evil is a parasite, not an original thing. The powers which enable evil to carry on are powers given it by goodness.” I have come to embrace this idea choosing to believe, nothing comes into my life, but what it must pass through the hand of my heavenly Father. Meaning whenever something evil comes my way I choose to look to Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith rather than allow evil to cloud my view of a greater purpose for my situation. I am far from perfect in applying this belief quickly, but in regards to anticipation, I can choose to anticipate the good, which comes from persevering rather than dreading the process; knowing that “all things work together for good….” I can dread what will happen in this world as I hurtle toward “the end” or I can anticipate a life in heaven when my end comes.

So there you have it, all the posts that should have been posted in February are now combined into one for March. Maybe some of these ideas will show up in later posts as “fleshed out” ideas, maybe not.  Either way, these are my opinions, take ‘em or leave ‘em and as always, these and $2.50 will get you a cup of coffee.  Now go measure your cat’s tail!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Twisted road signs

This post was written in 2009 but never posted, thought it was appropriate. Please excuse the length, it is a bit longer than I usually write.  Hope you enjoy!

As I was driving home from work, traveling a very familiar route I noticed one of the road signs turned incorrectly.  It was the sign that identified the names of the roads and it was twisted so the signs pointed in the wrong directions.  Of course being the creative person that I am I began to think about what this means to a driver and what life lessons could I learn.  I also remembered another instance this past weekend when a friend of mine lost their GPS unit while traveling in un-familiar territory.  So much of our lives can be likened to driving and traveling; we are quite frankly on a journey through life.  I have heard that adage so much it is close to nauseating but nonetheless true.

There is a stop sign in Lubec, Maine set way back from the end of the road.  Now, I know from having traveled there, it means I am supposed to stop at the end of the road, but when I traveled with my niece and came to the intersection, she immediately noticed the placement of the sign and questioned where she was to stop.  As I chuckled I told her, “the end of the road,” but what if I hadn’t been there to tell her.  She would have figured it out, but what a life lesson about misplaced stop signs.  Let’s go back to the twisted street sign.  If I didn’t live in the area and I was looking for specific road markers I would have thought that the road I needed went straight ahead rather than turning left.  Anyone who has driven in un-familiar territory knows the importance of properly placed road signs.  I live in the woods, so if you get lost you can end up in a multitude of different places, but not the one you want.  How true is this to our own lives and how we live them.

Two thoughts immediately come to mind for me, first, it is important to know where you are going and how to get there.  Second it is important to know how to find your way back when you make a mistake.  I think there is also a lesson to be learned from people getting lost.  We can often be condemning of others when they “fall into sin.”  If someone’s road signs were twisted then they may have lost their way quite innocently and not on purpose.  That is where it is important to be able to give them a map or directions on how to get back.  Yeah, some people purposely go down the wrong road, how many times have you been driving and seen someone asking directions with an exasperated person sitting next to them.  You can read their lips as they say, see I told you we needed to turn around.  It is easy to allow pride to keep us on a wrong road because we believe we know what is best.

For the Christian the Bible is our road map, our GPS unit that gives us directions on our journey.  I don’t have a GPS in my car, I don’t own one, but I have been told that as you get closer to a turn the voice becomes more insistent and borders on being rude, especially if you missed the turn.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love technology when it works.  I do not like the feeling of being helpless when my cell phone or computer dies.  I prefer a map to a GPS most of the time, maybe I’m a control freak, but it is important to have a paper version of instructions to go by.  I also find it helpful when someone gives me some clues as to what I’m looking for.  For example, when I give directions to my house I will let people know what to look for when coming up to a turn; houses or businesses, trees and barns that will give them a clue as to getting close.  I think this is similar to sermons or bible studies.  As we study the WORD OF GOD we learn what signs to look for that tell us we are getting close to where GOD would have us turn.  Life is not a straightaway that we can drive fast on, no it is more like a country road that twists and turns that we need to go slower on or crash.  The other thing to think about is that we are not all on the same road.  There are many ways to get to my house depending upon the direction that you are coming from.  However, before you think I am going to say there are many ways to get to GOD, you are very wrong.  There are many ways to get to my house, but I live on only one road at one specific address.  The closer you get to my house, the fewer options you have to get here until there is only one, the one true road I live on, the one box number that designates my address.  Many times we believe that someone is lost, so lost that they will never get to the one true place, but remember the twisted road sign, if someone were to go straight instead of left, they would come to a stop sign and then be able to turn left and get to my house.  I think, in my opinion that GOD gives us the opportunity to make the correct turn even after we missed the first.  He understands that road signs get twisted and we get lost from time to time.

I want to talk about how the signs get twisted, because I think there is a lesson to be learned in that.  Living in the north, I get snow, meaning that there are snowplows that during blinding storms can hit and twist a sign.  Sometimes the wind blows so strong that the signs buffet back and forth and get twisted, I have seen that happen in the pictures of hurricanes and tornados.  That stop sign in Lubec, it was placed where it was most likely because there was soft ground rather than pavement to sink the post into.  I correlate storms, plows, wind and hard ground with life.  How many times have we used the phrase “someone lost their bearings?”  When traveling through life, we need to be aware that some people’s interpretation of scripture gets skewed and they may inadvertently turn us down the wrong path.  That is why we always want to check someone’s counsel against the WORD OF GOD, for that is the only road map that stays true.  I like getting input into my decisions; so much so that I have gone down the wrong road thinking I was right.  Only for the Grace of God did I make it back, but sometimes I had to return to a certain point in the road to find out where I had gone wrong.  I believe strongly in being reminded of my position in Christ, what he has done for me and what the Bible says for that is where I measure and begin each journey from, it is the start point on my GPS.

Some concluding thoughts; first we need to trust the one true map to Christ, the Bible.  For only with that map are we going to make it safely to God.  Secondly, we need to check our bearings by this map frequently less we be led off track by a twisted road sign.  In this same thought we need to be aware that some people offering us directions can lead us astray because their signs are twisted by storms, plows, wind and hard hearted ness.  Thirdly, we are not all on the same road at the same time.  Our signs are not going to look exactly the same, some will come to a stop sign quicker than others will or they will have to take a right hand turn rather than a left depending upon where they are coming from.  And finally even the lost can be found, regardless of how lost they are.  The only ones that will remain lost at the end of the day are those who conscientiously and repeatedly refuse to ask for and follow sound guidance and directions.