Woe! It’s Wednesday: The Only Thing to Fear …

Last week I got to enjoy a little vacation away with my daughter and her two daughters. We drove to Carlsbad, California and visited Legoland and the beach and the hotel pool.

At Legoland, I sat on a bench and watched my three-year-old granddaughter run around Duplo Town, AKA Pre-schooler’s Heaven. There were various play “houses,” scattered around the area. A barn. A grocery store. A jail. A fire house. The all had a lower level with some sort of educational game (push buttons to hear animal noises, for example) and an upper level reached via stairs and with a slide to return to ground level.

Grand-daughter loved the whole area, but she refused to use any of the slides. I had to hold her hand while she came downstairs, a little salmon coming downstream against all the other kids eager to get to the top and ride the slide down.

poleThe firehouse playhouse had a pole the kids could grasp and slide down. The drop was only a few feet and parents were always nearby to help if the descent didn’t go as planned. With her refusal to even slide, I knew there was no worry my Precious Girl would attempt the pole.

A young man about seven or eight years old did though. He grabbed the pole in the classic grip, one leg curled around the cylinder, the other leg still safely on the solid floor.

“Come on,” his mother urged. “You came down it twice already.”

“I can’t,” he wailed.

Mom rolled her eyes. “Just come on, we’re going to eat lunch.”

At this point, I was needed to help someone down the stairs, so I moved away. A minute later, I returned in time to see the young man in tears leaving the area with his mother. “I can’t believe you wouldn’t just ride the pole,” she said.

He gripped both his arms. “I hate my fear of heights!”

Mom sighed. “You don’t have a fear of heights, Silas. You’ve done it before. You just didn’t want to do it this time.”

Then they were gone.

MICHELLE'S PIC'S  WA. DC 099

 

Then it occurred to me.

I tend to think of myself as a fearful person.

But for a fraidy cat, I’ve done some pretty brave things.

 

I’ve:

  • ridden a bike down a mountain
  • ziplined
  • snorkeled in the middle of the ocean
  • scuba dived
  • driven a Segway around a major city’s downtown area
  • ridden a horse
  • seen a two-headed rattlesnake
  • shot and reloaded my own gun
  • written several novels
  • driven alone into really, really bad areas
  • ridden BART at midnight in San Francisco
  • lost a parent

For almost all of those, I was scared spitless.

But I did them.

And I survived.

So I guess it’s not the fear that stops me from doing/attempting scary things.

I do them anyway. In spite of the fear.

I believe one of these days both that young man clutching the pole and my grand-daughter will figure out how to stop letting their fears keep them from enjoying the trip down the slide or the pole.

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Woe! It’s Wednesday: And Have I Got Woe…

Our family is undergoing an extreme season right now. It’s too soon and not my story to share, but suffice it to say we’re all reeling and scrambling to find our footing in our new ‘normal.’

I didn’t post yesterday for Book Talk Tuesday because I haven’t finished anything in the last week and I didn’t have time to sit down and blog.

But even though we’re in crisis mode, real life doesn’t stop.

I have a freelance job to work on. I have my own stuff ready to be edited and proofed. The dust bunnies are snickering at me.

Last week, I left the house for what turned out to be a few days and I locked the cat out of the bathroom with his litter box.

Twice.

The first time, someone else found him in front of the bathroom with his little legs crossed and opened the door for him.

The second time …  He had a backup plan and used the kitchen rugs instead. Considerate of him, no?

By the way, this is the cat with the broken leg and a limp who climbs trees and runs faster than Mavis Beacon types.

I’ve never understood that John Lennon quote: Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.

Until now.

Now, I get it. And I don’t like it.

Not even a little bit.

I made my plan.

We should stick to it.

Or … I could take a lesson from the cat: Have a backup plan if things don’t go the way I expect.

When we left him in the house without access to his box, he made do.

Not in the way I would have preferred, but you know what? He did good. I didn’t have a mess to clean up in the living room. The rugs are easily washed and replaced.

Turns out the crippled cat is pretty good at making do.

Perhaps we can all learn a lesson:

When life throws a curve ball, just keep swinging at the fastball?

    Or …

Keep a kitchen rug handy?

I don’t know. I just know we don’t have a choice sometimes.

So we keep swimming.

Woe! It’s Wednesday: New Year, New Goals

 

I don’t really make New Year’s Resolutions, but I do often find a verse or a word and try to live out the spirit of it.

So far this year though, I’m only hearing crickets.

The last two years my word was fearless. I don’t know that I’m more or less fearful than I was in 2012 but having that word at the edge of my consciousness did help a few times when I was faced with uncomfortable situations. And I get the sense that I’m about as fearless now as I’ll ever be.

So, it’s time to focus on something else I want to be better at.

Whatever it ends up being, I know one thing already:

I need to be intentional about it.

It’s the vague goals that I fail to meet.

So, time to take a day or two, pray, read and think.

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? What are they?

Woe! It’s Wednesday: Who’s True?

Stud Muffin and I have been discussing truth and whose truth is more true and who gets to teach truth and when does enough untruth creep in that a teacher should be called a heretic, a bad shepherd, or a false teacher.

If we start with the premise that we live in a fallen world and the only thing/person that is perfect is the Trinity and their creation until Adam and Eve decided to snack on the forbidden fruit, then everything has an element of unperfection inherent in it.

No church is perfect.

No family is perfect.

No life is perfect.

No cupcake is perfect.

Maybe somethings are perfect … no. Never mind. Nothing (not even a cupcake) is perfect.

So if no church is perfect, it follows that no speaker/teacher/pastor/person/staff member/elder/deacon/mother/son/barista/candlestick maker/farmer/baker is perfect.

I’ve decided on a sliding scale. Not for truth. Truth is truth. Our perceptions of truth may differ, but they don’t change the trueness of the truth.

I may see God as loving and kind. You may see Him as having an impossible standard and being judgmental.

Both views are true. It depends on our perception as to which view we build our life around.

My sliding scale is for those who identify themselves as handlers of the Word of God.

Those who teach doctrine and theology have the highest threshold. I expect my theologians to handle God’s Word with integrity and to thoroughly research any stand they take, particularly if it is different from most (though not all) evangelical theologians.

Next would be Bible teachers. Bible study leaders, teachers, and writers fall into this category. These people have the gift of teaching and God has given them insight into His Word and they communicate what they’ve learned. I have to be wise enough in God’s Word to recognize if they teach something that’s not purely Scriptural, but if I do hear something a bit off, I don’t throw out everything they say because they do have lots of good teaching. It’s been said that you should read and listen to teachers like you eat a fish. You swallow the meat and spit out the bones. You must have a certain level of knowledge though to recognize the bones.

thIf you’re being fed more bones that meat, then there’s a problem. That’s where we get into false teaching, heresy, bad shepherds and so on. That’s when it’s appropriate to walk away, or point out the problems.

So that’s my sliding scale. Theologians are held to the highest standard. Teachers are next. Then it’s the rest of the voices clambering for attention.

What do you think? Do you give more credence to some teachers over others?

Woe! It’s Wednesday: Doormats vs. Fishwives

I’m still learning, growing up, maturing into the person God wants me to be. Some lessons are more easily learned than others.

For a long time, when I had not-nice people in my life I thought I could change them. If I continually turned the other cheek, returned their rudeness with kindness, and reflected Jesus’ love back to them, one day they would wake up, smack their forehead, and say, “Why have I been so mean to Carrie? She’s a nice person who doesn’t deserve to be treated the way I’ve been treating her.”

Typed out like that, black letters on a white background, I see how naïve stupid that was.

Being a doormat gets you nothing except stepped on.

I’m sad to say it took me more than fifty years to learn that.

The last couple of years I’ve really worked (I thought) at not letting myself be a doormat. The trouble is that I sometimes swing to the opposite end of the pendulum and become shrill in demanding “my” rights.

As a Christian, I am taught such truths as dying to myself, being a submissive wife, serving my husband. Teachings that I agree with. In theory.

The problem lies in my practice of them. I turn into a martyr and then I’m an angry martyr when no one acknowledges rewards my suffering.

I feel a constant tug between setting healthy boundaries and being too accommodating to the bullies in life.

I have no answers except that I’m grateful for the opportunity to keep trying to get it right.

One of these days.

Maybe.

Woe! It’s Wednesday: Death, Where is Thy Sting?

As I’ve lost more family and friends in the last few years, I’ve become convinced of several truths.

Death is spiteful.

It wants to rob us of peace.

It’s ugly.

And it’s the great equalizer.

2013-03-29 16.38.33No matter how beloved a person or how despised, how humble or exalted, whether their death is memorialized by the thousands or unknown by more than a few, Death waits for us all.

I took the above picture of Charles Lindbergh’s gravesite on Maui in March of this year.

I’ve wanted to visit the site for several years, which is a bit odd in itself since I’m not one of those people who like to visit cemeteries or collect epitaphs.

I think it’s because I believe there’s more to the Lindberghs’ story. I don’t know much of it, just bits and pieces garnered here and there .

I memorized Psalm 139 a few years ago and my curiosity was piqued when I learned that a portion of it was engraved on Lindbergh’s grave marker.

“If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea …”

It’s fitting, isn’t it? For the man who flew across oceans and ultimately died and chose to be buried across the sea.

But that’s only a portion of the verse.

I memorized a slightly different version.

“If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,               even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

The fact that the hopeful portion of that verse was omitted from the marker raises all kinds of questions for me.

Did Lindbergh himself choose the verse? Did his wife? Other family members? Did they leave off the rest of it because of cost? Did they know Lindbergh did or didn’t believe the promise?

Ultimately, I know it doesn’t matter to anyone but me if those questions are ever answered. Knowing won’t change anything.

Lindbergh is still dead. Still in heaven or hell.

I do know one thing for sure.

As hateful and spiteful as death is, as a believer in Jesus the Christ, I will experience death of my physical body, but I get to sneer at Satan and his plan to destroy me. I have the hope and the promise from another portion of Psalm 139.

“All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

My days here are numbered. God knows when they began and when they will end.

Heaven has become more dear to me as so many friends and family members move into the mansions.

One day, hopefully not soon, I will get the last laugh at Satan and death. In the meantime, I still hate death. It’s malicious and I can’t wait for the day it will end its reign.

Woe! It’s Wednesday

On my old blog, when someone I love passed away I often posted my own tribute on my blog.

I have two people this week.

I called him my BGF (Best Gay Friend) but in reality, he was my only gay friend. We had some wonderful chats about heaven and faith and Jesus and what salvation looks like and what happens when we die. He assured me on several occasions that he knew Jesus as his savior.

I won’t point a finger at his gravestone and declare him in hell.

He said he believed and that’s good enough for me.

He knew for a long time that he was dying. I gave him instructions to greet some of my friends and family members and tell them I miss them.

My other friend who passed away is his complete opposite.

Female.

Conservative.

Mother.

Her illness was advanced by the time she was diagnosed and I didn’t get a chance to give her greetings to relay to my loved ones.

Of these two friends, one of them swore like a longshoreman. The other fainted (metaphorically) in the presence of coarse language.

What a hoot and holler they’re having in heaven right now.

Just the thought of the two of them together makes me smile. Something I haven’t been able to do all day.

I’ll miss them.

Goodbye Daniel and June. You enriched my life. I miss you. See you soon. Love, Carrie