And Coming in 2016....

"She-Bear in the Beautiful Garden," to be published by Cranberry Quill... an allegory for children of all ages, beautifully illustrated.

Friday, July 22, 2011

July 22, 2011 A Reality Check

My dad and I were on our way back to my parent's house in Siler City, North Carolina. I was driving my sister's car and popped in one of her CDs - the soundtrack from "Forrest Gump." My dad held the case and announced the names of the songs. I'm not sure why.

A familiar tune came on.There's something happening here...Classic anti-war song of the Viet Nam war era, instantly recognizable. My dad read, "For What it's Worth."

What? I thought. Apparently, songwriter Stephen Stills presented the song to a producer with the words, "I have this song here, for what it's worth" and the rest is history. The title's words appear nowhere in the song.

Since this blog bears the same name, I decided to look up the lyrics, and then, in a burst of narcissism, thought I'd keep scrolling through to see at what point my blog would appear if I googled "for what it's worth" rather than those words plus my name. Second page? Fifth?

Try 43rd. It was humiliating. To top it off, there are several OTHER blogs with the same name. And I thought I was an original. Reality check!

Of course, the REAL reality isn't based on what we google, or on what we read, or even on what other people tell us is the truth. It's certainly not based on how we feel at a certain moment. I'm sure you can relate to the fact that some moments are better than others.

Where should we go for reality? I submit to you that as created beings, we are much better off looking at the opinion of our Creator to get our best "reality checks." We can find them in the Bible, and when others let us down or put us down, we can always find encouragement (various translations):
  • Ephesians 2:10 - For we are God's masterpiece, created in the Messiah Jesus to do good works that God prepared long ago to be our way of life.
  • Isaiah 49:15 - "Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you."
  • Psalm 91:14 - Because you love me, I will rescue you. I will protect you because you know my name.
Some days I look in the mirror and see one thing. Some days I see something else. I haven't changed from one day to the next, but my perception has suffered (or been blessed) by events, words, hormones, and more. Every day our perceptions of ourselves can suffer from the opinions of others, from unkind words, from being ignored  - whether real or imagined, these perceptions share some qualities. They are not Truth, and they are temporary.
 
God's word is eternal. God's word is truth. We don't always feel like reading it, or enjoy the words we find there, but always, always, we can turn to the pages of the Bible and find the ultimate reality check. God loves us. We are engraved on his hands, Isaiah wrote, not buried on the 43rd page of a search engine.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

July 3, 2011 A Wrinkle in Time

Maybe it's because we're currently obsessed with "Lost" (even though the frequent time travel is getting a little muddled in the currently watched Season Four) but I have been doing some Deep Thinking of late.

Maybe it's because I recently saw my 7th grade science teacher and was reminded of her steadfast belief in a parallel universe. She told us that not only was there a parallel science class there, peopled by parallels of herself and the class, but AT THAT VERY MOMENT our counterparts were discussing the fact that there is a parallel universe. Weird.

Maybe it's several surreal experiences recently, like driving by myself to meet my sister in Orlando (like no other place on earth) for a mini-vacay, or simply the old, old human tendency to think about the what-might-have-been-if's. If we hadn't moved to Florida when I was a child. If I'd married earlier, or later, or someone else. If I'd gotten help sooner with an abusive situation. If I hadn't helped our youngest son buy that blasted Ford Explorer. If I hadn't written that. If I'd gone back to school. If we hadn't moved away, or moved back, or sold our first house, or gone to another church, or saved more money along the way.

Deep Thoughts are cheap entertainment - you can spend hours analyzing decisions. second-guessing - but they are not always the best use of time. Recently, I woke up during the night with a thought that had me tossing and turning when sleep would have been far more beneficial:

Jesus is called the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the earth (Revelation 13:8). So why was the crucifixion necessary? Why, if the penalty had already been paid for sin, did Adam and Eve get booted out of the Garden? Why was the Law given, if the New Covenant had already been signed in blood?

There are different interpretations (google it, if you don't believe me), but a few thoughts that help me wrap my head around it are these:

1. God created Time and is thus outside of it.
2. It doesn't really matter.

We might not agree with God's handling of things. We might frequently find ourselves saying, "I don't understand." We might even (being full of pride) question God's character at times. It is a great comfort to me, however, to read Proverbs 19:21: "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails."

Obviously, we're talking about the Big Purpose, the Eternal Purpose, here. Some, perhaps all, of our decisions and actions are too inconsequential to even affect the Grand Scheme of Things. But it's comforting to me to realize that no matter what, God's will is done. Eventually.

I'm not important enough in the universe to really screw things up, in other words. I'm not the Oceanic Six, who believed the world would end if they didn't return to the island. If I really, really blow it, there will be consequences, but they will be largely my own, with little effect on, say, tribal conversions on Papua New Guinea.

Of course, the parallel Ellen will screw up simultaneously, proving that misery loves company. I wonder if she exercises more than I do, or if her set of stresses is less than mine or if everything is EXACTLY THE SAME, as my science teacher thought. I hope not. I'd like to think the Other Ellen makes better choices. And yes, sometimes it almost feels like I've traded places with her for a few minutes., taken a little vacation from reality.

A four-star hotel in Orlando for the night? Really?