Friday, October 16, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I've been taking time to nurture myself lately. After raising children for 19 years, it's finally dawning on me that the airlines have it right-take care of yourself first and once you're safe, you have what it takes to help others.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
I'm sure my last post had you all thinking that I live the sentiment of the poem-whatever is, is best. Don't I wish it were that easy! After living and walking through the wilderness the past three years, ( previous posts will explain somewhat) you would think that when I get such an encouraging poem, I'd stop and check myself to see if it might be more than just an encouraging poem.
Blind sheep that I am, I simply thought the poem was worth sharing. After all, it meant a lot to me and wonderful things ought to be shared.
WHAM! Right out of left field-a test! Not just some little something that even in the midst of it you know that it will be OK. Nope! This was a gut wrenching episode in which fear, anger, angst, 'what if's', and all the rest of the peace stealers played their part.
There is no way to save myself from this- so the silver lining is that this situation is what it is. I can't change any part of it, except how I receive it.
Hence the lesson of the poem. Whatever is-is best. I can't see that right now. I'm biting my hooves reminding myself that I can't fix this and that God allowed this in my life for a reason. (I can't come up with anything that remotely makes sense to me, but that's why I'm the blind sheep and not the Shepherd)
The God graciously led me to this passage as I prayed about my situation.
"If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." Matt 6:31-34
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Viva Las Vegas!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I can't believe how long it's been since I sat at my computer to write! This is supposedly a passion with me (writing), yet it seems to be the first thing that I let slide when the world closes in and the 'busies' take over. Eventually my life slows down and then there is another force that prevents me from just picking back up and writing.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
I try to console myself by comparing my lot in life with others who, admittedly, have it worse than me. I think the hardest thing may be that I am just not used to being trashed by life, having led a charmed one for decades until it all caved two years ago. (Whew! Even I recognize the heights of whining here). Really, all the comparison game has done for me recently is to cause me to actually look more closely at others’ pain, add it on to mine, and just wail to God, “Why, on earth, did you set things up this way?” I mean, honestly, would you allow all this meanness in the world if you were in charge? I'm just sayin'...
I’m really honest with God, about this. I don’t even try to put these feelings in that room in my spirit where I don’t let Him see—He knows about this, so I’m not talking behind His back. I may as well tell you about it, too.
God actually appears to be quite fine with my stomping around, questioning Him and all. He just continues do his “higher ways” thing, just like He’s, well, GOD or something.
I move from just thinking God isn’t paying attention to thinking that He has made some mistake about all things turning to good for us. And then I move right along to the ultimate: Is there even really anyone “up there?” Are we just making all this up as we go along? It sure does not make sense that God would create something only to have it in such a fine mess—so, maybe “he” didn’t—maybe this whole universe is just creaking along on its own and we’re all duped into some cheery afterlife fantasy by our need to cope or, worse yet, by some conspiracy (who, though?) using religion as control of the masses—you know, Sheep Herding…keeping us acting better because of some carrot of heaven balanced by the stick of hell.
There's Elijah, who mightily out-maneuvered the priests of Baal and single-handedly burned up that soaking wet wood (well God actaully did) then slaying all the Baal priests as they stood in astonishment. He was so mighty in his faith in God. But what happened when Jezebel showed a little chagrin? Elijah, who had been so mighty in the Lord, ran and hid! From one woman! I love it that God not only did not smite him, He came and just said, “What are you doing here?!” and fed him and provided water. He knew how weak Elijah was. (Look at 1 Kings 18 and 19 for this story).
John the Baptist was such a strong figure: “Make way for the Lord!!” Standing up to everyone, including Herod (taking him on for shenanigans with his brother’s wife). But, then John went to jail. And what did he do? He sent one of his guys to Jesus to ask if he could have made a mistake (and I paraphrase rather loosely here): “I’m down here in jail because of you…please tell me I haven’t made the biggest mistake of my life, because this jail is not so good, and my future doesn’t look so good, and I need to really know…” Again, Jesus patiently instructed the runner to return and tell John, and, again I paraphrase loosely, “It’s okay, John, just think about all these miracles and calm down…” (To see the real words of Jesus, read Matthew 11).
And, then, there was that whole Peter fiasco in the 22nd chapter of Luke. You know, the Rock on which the church was to built? The one who denied even known the Lord at the first stumble?
So, I have good company in my wonderings, and I’m really not afraid of offending God, given the examples He chose to leave in His Word for me.
But it feels good to be open about it with you, and the writing about it causes me to analyze and examine. That little exercise of remembering how frail the mighty men of God in the Bible were has reminded me of His presence in my life and helped my attitude already.
Thanks! Sheep C
Friday, June 26, 2009
We sat and talked and talked and talked as only the three of us can. We talked about our lives, we talked about a recent church conference, we talked about God and plans and food supply v. population and nanotechnology (about which NONE of us has a clue, but we loved talking about it), and on and on—you can see that our conversation covered lots of ground. We had not been able to be together like this in a very long time, and few other people are wacky enough to tolerate these random wonderings and soundings. Really, we need each other for this.
I don’t think we moved from the table all evening except for short bathroom trips and when I got up to throw steaks on and heat the rest of the easy-fix dinner. It was fun, it was restful, and it was restorative.
M stayed the night and, after we talked til noon, I went out a couple of hours to ride first on the tractor, bush hogging, and then the lawn mower around the large yard to the side of my house. On those implements I do lots of thinking, and I thought a lot about the evening with my friends and how restful it all was in spite of my frantic cleaning frenzy.
In fact, I found myself thinking how restful my tractor and lawn mower were! It was hot (90’s), but the humming of the mowing, the smell of the grass and the visible strips of progress as the grass became shorter were all mesmerizingly relaxing! Such a paradox! Activity—even hot activity— can be restful, which led my ADD mind to consider the meaning of rest. I think that for me “rest” equates with “peace.”
Of course, the first Bible verse that comes to my mind when I think of rest is Jesus’ saying:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is
light. -- Matthew 11:28-30
I pretty-much know for a fact that Jesus did not mean exclusively the lying-on-the-couch kind of rest, here (although that can, obviously, be rest, too). He meant, rather something He calls “rest for your souls.” Again, for me, this equals “peace.”
I had considered just lying around all afternoon after M left, watching old movies and eating junk food rather than working in the hot sun. That actually sounded more like rest at first. I had earned this—it was easily justified after my stressful week with not enough time (besides, I have a lazy streak a MILE wide…). But, you know, that grass beckoned to me. It isn’t so much that I was stressed out about the state of my lawn and surroundings. It was more like the grass mowing was calling me in an alluring way, as something pleasant awaiting me.
So, off I went, because lying on the couch, while restful to my body, would not have been restful to my soul. It was the right choice. It gave me time to think about that nanotechnology thingy S was talking about last night. It was restful, and it was peaceful.
One of the paradoxes of the spirit! I loved being with my friends--even the work to prepare for them was restful...pure peace! - C
Thursday, June 25, 2009
A new season is upon me! One that has been slowly making it's appearance and yet has now suddenly burst forth. Like spring after a harsh winter, the signs appear long before the warmth.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
To me, my situation is huge. I have been betrayed. I have been abandoned. I have been wronged. I have been dealt hardships. I am lonely. I am alone in my worries. (Can you hear the “whine” in these words?) Should I go on and on? I can, believe me; I proved that to myself again just this week. And then I saw, of all things, a bumper sticker that just put everything in perspective. It said:
one-six-billionth about you.
Probably because I needed to hear it so badly, this message was almost jarring to me. Wow! You mean to tell me that it’s not all about me? A picture flashed through my mind. Here is what I saw:
Now, when I have been down in the past, I have tried the comparison thing to help me count my blessings. It is my profession to deal with people in my same marital boat. In terms of objective factors, my situation is so much better than that of many of my clients. I have said many times (maybe even in this blog) that Sheep M’s situation humbles me when I compare it to mine. Still, as Sheep M graciously pointed out to me, knowing that others are having a harder time really doesn’t help all that much. You can only feel your own situation.
But this bumper-sticker thought got to me in a way that my own comparison game did not. I thought about all that God sees. The Scripture that came to my mind was Psalm 50:10, where the Lord says that the cattle (sheep?) on a thousand hills are His.
Oh, dear! He sees it all, and then, way down here in the American south is little Sheep C, bleating about being a little lonely (a good part of that being by her own self-imposed isolation so she can pout). It made me feel humble and small, indeed. And, for some reason, it made my troubles seem smaller (thank you, Lord!). Yes, it brought relief! I think I’m going to put that bumper sticker on my office wall so I can keep it fully in mind.
I pondered this six-billion-sheep thing while I was on the lawn mower Sunday afternoon. Does that mean that I don’t count; that my troubles are too small for God to worry about? Maybe heaven’s switchboard lady-angel (think Lily Tomlin) is saying, “Sorry, He’s very busy right now with that starvation thing in Africa and that war deal in Iraq. You know, honey, your problems are way down the line for Him, just wait your turn.”
No, I don’t feel that way at all. Knowing that God has the sheep on a thousand hills to tend only helps me sharpen my perspective. For some reason it does not make me feel neglected or small in his eyes. And I thought about that, too. Why is that? If He really has six billion sheep, who am I to even think He knows my name, let alone about my troubles. I mean, if I were God, I wouldn’t give my situation so much as a second thought. I’d be saying things like, “She’s got a roof and plenty (oh, yeah, plenty) of food, yadayadayada. I’ll deal with her later—maybe—because in the broad scheme she’s perking along pretty fine on her own.”
But that’s not true, either. And God is not me (again, thank you, Lord!). His priorities are different than ours…I believe that we are all and each His number one priority. It’s a God thing—only He can do this, but parents who have multiple children must see a glimpse of this, loving each child the same AND the most.
I am reminding of another saying that buoyed me one time. I think it would make a good bumper sticker, too:
God loves each of us as if there were only one of
us. --St. Augustine.
So, hope you can take heart, too, that you are one of His six-billion-plus-strong flock and that you—yes you!—are the most important!--Sheep C.
Monday, June 15, 2009
I got inspired this past weekend to work on my rock/flower garden in the front of the house and had my trusty camera hanging from my belt loop. This is not my strong suit, gardening of any type. I love to see flowers; I just don’t like working at them. But, I am finding that gardening is a good way to think and to hear God. And it can make my place look better (that is if I ever actually finish a project).
I set aside one rock to discover a toad. How do they do that—fit under something that should squash them flat? In fact, I know for a fact that it did squash him flat; I know enough physics to figure that one out. But the amazing thing is that he doesn’t stay squashed.
The toad gave a momentary flinch as I moved the rock and then just sat still as stone. I sat back to look at him and, as I did my change in posture must have made my dog Scout (ever the helper) believe I would now give her the attention she so richly deserved. She hopped over the pile of stones and plopped right down next to the toad. I had a flash of concern as she did, thinking the toad might hop away and Scout might pounce on him. Still, he did not move. He just sat there. Can you spot him in the picture below? He's just to your right of Scout's foot; I've put a little circle around him.
Be still and know that I am God... Psalm 46:10
There is a way that seems right to a man, but
its end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:12
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14
Sunday, April 12, 2009
My children are older now and I am finding a new pleasure in holiday traditions. There is the nostalgia of past holidays and the wistfulness of knowing that it won’t be long and the children will be gone. Life is full of seasons, each to be lived and enjoyed while it lasts.
This year as I was assembling Easter baskets, the phrase, ‘Don’t put all your eggs in one basket’ filtered through my mind. It’s a phrase we’ve all grown up with and probably adhere to without even realizing it. My mind wandered, as it’s prone to do, along a path that only a blind sheep could find.
You have to be a risk taker to place all your hopes in one thing. To believe that one person is worth all your effort. To leave no alternative plan in place, ‘just in case’. I don’t know that I could ever live like that. I mean, what if I did and it didn’t work out?
Then it hit me. God did just that! He placed all His plans in the form of His Son. His only Son. There was no Plan B (or any other letter for that matter) God’s plan of redemption rested completely on His Son. God placed all His hopes and dreams for humanity in a single person.
In turn, Jesus placed all of himself in His Father’s hands. He emptied himself to walk in obedience (blindness to his own will), willingly taking on the role Lamb. What an example to this blind sheep!
Sheep M 4/12/09
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Well, for those of you who follow this rambling blog, it's been awhile since we've managed to post anything. That usually means we are, collectively or individually, walking through a hot spot. Not the first, and unfortunately not the last one for any of us. I can't speak for the other blind sheep, but it seems that once I decided to live my life in the 'blind' lane, choosing to listen to the voice of my shepherd and not the voice of the world- things have gotten a bit...warm!
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I am usually not much of a whiner, but a few weeks back, I entered into a season that was bleak. I truly felt like Chicken Little, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Well, that just did not happen. I did not have the expected time in the morning when I would pray and read my Bible. In fact, our trip did not seem to center on the Lord at all in the way that I had anticipated. Instead, it centered on rest and relationship. There was a time on the trip that I commented on this to my roommate/sister-in-law. It wasn’t that I was disappointed or felt badly about it. It’s just that it seemed odd. She felt the same way. In retrospect, I think God just wanted us to be together and enjoy one another, resting as we all needed to do so much. It was just right to have that kind of low-key downtime.
Other than that conversation, I confess that I did not think much about my lack of meditation or other spiritual exercise, so imagine my surprise when I clearly heard from God! (He surprises me that way.) I was standing on our balcony one night near the end of our cruise. In the faint light from the ship I could see the water kick up into little waves as the ship cut through it. The water was pitch black. There was really nothing to see out on the ocean; no lights, no forms.
As I stood mindlessly looking over the edge, I began to see lights coming from the deep. Little specks of glowing light, just small pricks here and there in groups. I knew some about the existence of bioluminescent marine life, being a veteran of National Geographic Magazine and Discovery channel. It was intriguing to watch in person.
As I watched these little lights in the sea, the strong message came over me that I should be mindful to watch for light in unexpected places. I wanted badly to make that message “watch for light in dark places,” after all the sea was dark, and I had been in a dark place the last two years. But that is not what was said. Rather, it was, “Watch for light in unexpected places.” (Although I can’t resist the last word on this: that dark places are unexpected places for the light!).
Standing on the ship I thought about all the unexpected ways God communicated with His people in the Bible stories: through a donkey, handwriting on the wall, a burning bush. Yes, there was definitely precedent for the God speaking in odd ways to people, although I guess for some any direct communication from God would be odd.
This ship experience came back to me this morning—a Sunday, nearly a month later. Early this morning I found an e mail awaiting me from an old friend. She inquired after me, and I replied to her, saying that I was “…taking it day-by-day,” adding that I have come to believe that the day we are in is all any of us have—not what happened in the past, not the future, just the present.
I was amazed to hear the sermon later in the morning on this very thing: living in the “now.” We must let go of the past and avoid worrying about the future. It was good to hear this on the heels of my own e-mail statement of that philosophy just earlier that morning. And it made me think of the message of the light in the seas once again, understanding that God had used e-mail (of all things) to reinforce to me something I needed this morning. The repetition of the theme caused me to pay attention and to reflect, as I needed to do. It was light from Him in an unexpected place.
So, what is the value to me of these little pinpricks of light coming from unexpected places? It isn’t that I have only now learned that we must let go of the past and not worry about the future. I have long known that intellectually—don’t always do that, but I know it. The point is not that the message was particularly profound, but rather that the message is being sent at all. I do, as a matter of fact, need to be reminded to let go of the past. But the really important point is that God speaks, and He does so in unexpected ways. The light comes from unexpected places. Sheep C, 2/3/09
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
The path appeared to become muddy but it's hard to tell when you cannot see. My feet felt heavy and each step took more and more energy until it became impossible to put one foot in front of the other.
The muddy path has turned into a mire of quicksand. The more I struggle or purpose to move ahead the deeper I sink. Choices, simple choices, are so difficult to make, or more accurately to follow through with.
The gravity of the paradox I am experiencing is distressing. I awake with NO energy each morning knowing in my head and desiring in my heart to pop out of bed and hit the floor running. That used to be such an effortless feat.
Get on the treadmill, workout, eat right, things that could help me feel better I cannot choose to do. I hate those words, cannot choose to do. It sounds utterly ridiculous in my head. I have more time right now to do the things than I have had in 5 years... writing, reading, working out, volunteering, visiting those in need... and yet I am stuck... somehow entrapped in this muddy heavy thing I cannot see.
I feel like a loser, like a whiner, like I need to tell myself to just get over it. What I am writing is incredulous to me. What a wimp! My house has become a refuge, can any other sheep identify with that, and yet staying here does not revive me. Whether it’s for a day, a weekend or Christmas break... there is no renewal, no revival, no rested feeling, and no new energy.
I am ready for my life to be reignited... at least I think I am. I know I am ready for something. The choices thing is confusing at the moment because I don't feel like I've got the oomph to choose anything. The following quote about choosing joy over despair... doesn't seem to be working.
“You have many choices. You can choose forgiveness over revenge, joy over despair. You can choose action over apathy....”
—Stephanie Marston; family therapist, author
Choosing action over apathy... gosh anyone can do that... you would think... and yet it aint working. My choosing never makes it out of my head. The action fails to materialize and I sink ever deeper into the mire.
I guess my ability... or strength to choose is really zero. I suppose it was always zero but I didn't like to think of myself that way. I can do this and I can do that and I was apparently quite deceived. I can choose joy and action as easily as you guys can choose to forgive the spouse who betrayed you, the pervert who abused your daughter or the drunk driver who took your son's life.
You may be a sheep that is experiencing rejection, betrayal, aloneness or loss of a loved one. You may feel that you are unable to choose to forgive. Is that a bad place to be? I can tell you it's a miserable place to be.
Is this where you are? If so... you are in a good place. Why, because you've given up on your own strength. You have realized that you are not in charge... you are not in control... you have indeed entered the twilight zone... the outer limits... or better yet... because it's way beyond that... the Paradox Zone!
It's a really wierd place this Paradox Zone. Those who are weak find they are strong and the meek... well... they inherit the earth. The Twilight Zone never acheived this level of twisted reality! If you hunger and thirst in this realm... you are satisfied... how wierd is that.
“To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.”
—G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936); writer, critic
Without hopelessness there's no need for HOPE, without devastating wounds, betrayal and trauma there is no need for forgiveness and without blindness there is no need for eye salve to see.
He who says he sees… is blind, He who is blind… sees
Thursday, January 29, 2009
“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me…Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
This new path I’m walking, or maybe not so new as just newly recognized, calls for a new way of living. Living by listening. Not just hearing, as that is a rather passive thing. Listening requires more than ears, it requires my whole being.
I am turning inward, seeking attunement with the still small voice of my guide, my shepherd. I can’t see the path ahead of me-blindness does that to one. I’ve surrendered the idea of control of what comes next and am residing in that hoof-biting place of releasing control and then attempting to take it back. I am after all a sheep!
I am learning, ever so slowly, that I can trust completely in my shepherd. He’s already determined the safe path, the fresh grass, the pure water- and then he’s led me there. I don’t wander alone, for he is always with me.
Sheep M 1/29/09
(The picture is supposed to show the sheep resting-not dead. Although sometimes I can’t tell the difference!)
Saturday, January 17, 2009
As I begin to take my first faltering steps down this path of self-discovery, my first task is to examine the labels I carry with me. Mine are plenty and each of us could easily come up with half a dozen or so that we wearily bear. Labels that not only define us, but limit our own vision of ourselves.
We are born with a label-our gender. Not so much nowadays, but that was once a powerful determiner in what dreams were available. Then our birth order label was handed over. Consider high school, or rank, ACT/SAT score, college… This list of academic achievements or lack thereof piles on the labels. School itself is a means of self-labeling as we attempt to define our very self by what degree we achieve or profession we enter. Marriage state-happy, unfulfilled, single, divorced, co-habitating. Add to this children, stay at home ness or professional life, size of income and the things that can add to the growing list. Our relationships label us. Are we the kind of friend one can call in the middle of the night with any assurance of help? Are we a giver or receiver?
Up until a few years ago, I didn’t think much of labels. Oh I knew I carried some around and had grown comfortable with their weight. There was a measure of safety in them. At any given time I knew what was expected of me because of those very labels. They were my ‘Rules for a Happy Life’. As long as I behaved within the confines of those labels and didn’t stray too far afield, I felt confident in my ability to have, if not the life I’d dreamed of, a life worth being proud of.
The first crack of any consequence came in the form of a change. A good change as it turned out. My family went from being active members of one church to being part of another. Gone almost immediately was my label of Sunday School teacher. As the new year started, I wasn’t asked to serve my new church. Others before me had taught and would be asked to live within that label. I served on no committee and the distance from the church made it difficult to be as involved as I had been with my old church. I went through a mild time of crisis as I sought to find a definition for myself in this new place.
The second crack was the most personally devastating. My marriage ended. It was a slow and painful death. I spent much time in denial and trying to convince myself that there was still something I could do to fix it. When my attempts weren’t enough, I became busy. Busy as a way to push away the pain, to conceal the dismay at one of my labels failing me. I was a wife. I had defined and limited myself to that label. I had done my part and the label was supposed to do its. For a few short weeks, I was adrift trying to identify and define the new label I bore-single again.
The last crack tore my carefully crafted world apart. My son, my only son, was stricken with ALL, an acute form of leukemia. All my striving to be a good mom, couldn’t keep my children healthy! In the days after the diagnosis, my mind awhirl, all my labels were rendered null and void. It no longer mattered what I was, what I’d done, what had been done to me.
My son’s journey toward wellness became my journey as well. All the old concepts were thrown out. I examined everything! Yes, I still had titles, but where once they had defined me, now I was in a place to make my own definitions.
I am still in that place. Defining myself without limiting the possibilities of me. Seeking who I am, not what I am. I am discovering anew, the joy of a childlike faith in myself. I am not limited by labels-I have survived their betrayal and like a phoenix, am arising from the flames. I am…..
As a reread this before posting, I realized this is not the article I had thought I would write, but one that I needed to release. I am still in process. The journey has begun, but I am a long way from completing it.
Sheep M 1/17/09
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
There are things in this world that are highly contagious and infectious. A yawn is one of them. A smile is another. Try it sometime! When you find yourself in a group of people start yawning and see what happens or start smiling and see what happens. Our actions and even our facial expressions have an impact on those around us.
If you keep smiling eventually an epidemic will break out and the whole airport, school or Café will enter in. Why am I telling you this… because you have something that is contagious. You have something that has the potential to multiply and explode.
What is it you ask? It’s a germ, a highly contagious unstoppable force that breeds and spreads like wild fire. When World War I came to an end the good news spread throughout Europe in a matter of hours. They didn’t have cell phones or laptops and most lines of communication had been destroyed by the fighting. How did it spread? How did it cover thousands and thousands of miles so quickly? It spread by word of mouth.
You have a contagion, a virus, a smile or a yawn that will generate excitement and change. The world is looking for an answer… you have an answer for them. The answer is so simple that many of us have been afraid to share it. The answer is good news… the good news that we are loved, accepted, forgiven and needed. God has prepared the way… the war has already been won! God needs us… not to do something for Him... but to join Him in the celebration… because we are a part of Him.
So what should you do? It’s really pretty simple… open your mouth! You cannot share your smile, your yawn or your life unless you open your mouth. Some of you started with your friends and family and someone frowned at you. Maybe they even sneered and the corner of their mouth curled slightly. Did you immediately clam up or did you go right on smiling, yawning and sharing what you had found.
Even if Aunt Gertrude gave you the most awful scowl known to man you still have a choice. Give up and quit or keep smiling. Eventually if you keep going, keep smiling, keep yawning, keep sharing in a positive way even Aunt Gertrude is going to smile. She may not smile at you… but she will smile at Uncle Clarence cause he just won’t quit and his smile is hilarious with those teeth missing!
There is something about smiles and good news that we don’t understand. When we smile somewhere between one-third and one-half of those around us are effected and end up smiling as well. As they continue on their journey smiling they in turn effect one-third to one-half of the people they come in contact with. Before long we have an epidemic.
Many think it happens over night, it doesn’t. The epidemic proportions appear over night but the incubation period was set in motion long before. In math this is called a geometric progression… what most of us would call exponential growth. How does it work? Consider the following example.
Take a large piece of paper and fold it in half and then in half again. Do this 25 more times until you have folded it a total of 50 times. How tall will the piece of paper be? I actually tried this a minute ago. I got to 7 times and then it was too difficult to fold. I measured it and found it to be about one-half an inch.
Using a calculator I doubled it 43 more times. The result… about 4 and a half trillion inches or 366 billion feet or nearly 70 million miles! Our linear finite minds cannot get wrapped around this type of progression… and yet there it is in black and white... we would need a telesccope to see that it reaches most of the way to the sun!
We are a part of something that has only been folded a few times. Right now, it still looks small and it’s hard to imagine what it can become. For those of us who know we are loved, who know we are accepted, who know that God is Love and that He is good and He always wins and always redeems… there is an unstoppable contagion in us that is going to spread and grow and multiply no matter what.
So what should we do? Me, I plan to keep on smiling! There’s nothing worse than a bunch of smiling sheep to get things stirred up. Everyone will want to know what you’re up to, what’s going on, why is everybody smiling? Who knows… maybe they’ll even ask for the reason for the HOPE within you?
Why am I smiling? Why do I have hope? I have hope because I know it’s not up to me. I know I can’t pull it off. I know I’m not in charge and I’m not in control. It’s Christ in me, the Hope of glory. I am in Him, He is in me and we are one. We are connected, interconnected and pumping God’s DNA through every part of our bodies, we were created in His image you know?!
Why am I smiling? I’m smiling because I have received “GOOD NEWS”… GOD LOVES ME! Whether I know it, believe it or not doesn’t change the facts. He loves me and wants me and needs me. Are you smiling? If not, why not? He loves you every bit as much as He loves me. Truth is… He loves everyone! The GOOD NEWS is for everyone!
Some become angry when they hear that God loves everyone. Some want an exclusive club, they want to make sure they get there fair share of love, like God might not have enough for all of us.
Others get angry because they can’t believe God would forgive such horrible people. They can’t understand that each and every one of us belongs to Him. They can’t fathom an unconditional love that is so deep, so real and so pure that it pursues us until it has us.
I want to continue... but it’s already too long.
Until next time… KEEP SMILING!