Tuesday, March 24, 2015

One Measly Talent - One Discount Desk

The last time we remodeled our house (read, "recovered from a house fire"), we made the decision to downsize our spacious bedroom to make room for a roomier utility area.  This meant eliminating the part of our bedroom which served as a home office.  Two desks, two desk top computers, including the giant, now obsolete, car-sized monitors, had to be eliminated from our floor plan.


 I was ok with this because the elimination of the giant office space came with the promise of a black Friday discounted lap top computer, that i could use on the arm of the couch, while watching t.v., visiting with friends, and listening to music, because the more media exposure one gets, all at one time, the best in the long run.  Or that's what i heard.

And i did get my lap top and my down-sized bedroom.  A couple of years later, i even got a new bed.  And i have successfully used my lap top on the couch, while watching tv, talking to my husband, and texting with friends, more than once.  Ok, more than a handful of times.  Ok, kind of often.

But there is just something about sitting down at a desk, in a normal sized chair, to make a list, or type a message, or write on a calendar, or whatever, that makes a record keeper type like myself, feel at ease.  And the need, for that "at ease" space has been gnawing at me for quite a few months.  I've browsed craigslist and facebook and garage sales, looking for something i could fit in my living room, and i've talked myself out of a purchase over and over.  But the need kept creeping up, and my calendars kept being unwrittenupon.  And then i fell upon it.  It seemed like it couldn't be true.  My tiny budget met with someone so desperate to empty an apartment that they let me take home their desk before i could pay them my 20 bucks!  Wow!

The desk was much larger than it appeared in the picture on facebook, and much better quality too.  And i worked all weekend, re-rearranging furniture and going through piles of unorganized pieces of paper, trying to finally marry my "at ease space" with the living room, without making the whole business look like i just decided to stick a desk next to the couch for grins.

And i think i finally did it.  And i'm so happy about it that this will be my second blog post in one week (and if you've been not reading my blog for a while, you know that the twice a week thing has been missing for a lot of months), so i have to show you.  Here it is!


O.k. it's not that much.  And i really need to put some effort into finding a real curtain for that window.  But i have an at ease place now.  See?  And i can use a real mouse too, because of flat surface area.  I feel so ... civilized.

O.k. i don't really have any deep spiritual lessons for us to learn from the pictures of my new secondhand desk, except may be this:  we are all given gifts by God, abilities, places where we shine, places where we feel most "at ease," where we are of greatest benefit to others.  And while there are things we will always be better at than other things, it isn't very fair of us to expect those gifts and abilities to just force their way out of the that box on the arm of the couch, while we keep stuffing them back in.  Our gifts will likely have more success in our lives, if we give them an at ease place where they can grow and be matured and learn the best ways to benefit others.  If they spend our lives trying to gnaw their way out of our tiny boxes, well, at the very least, they won't be living up to the potential for which God placed them in us.  Remember the servant who buried his one talent in the ground because he was afraid to risk using it?

As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:10-11)

 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you... (2 Timothy 1:6)

Friday, March 20, 2015

Knowing the One and Loving the One Anothers

Do you know that verse, "Beloved, let us love one another."   ?

I know it.  I learned it as a song when i was a child.  Teaching scripture in song is a very successful method for me.  I can't forget it.  Recently, i read that scripture again, and it was the part after the song that caught my attention.  Well, first, let me sing you the song.

Queue piano.

Beloved.
Let us love one another. (echo: love one another)
For love is of God, and everyone that loveth, is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is Love. (echo:  God is love.)
Beloved.
Let us love one another. First John, four, seven and eight.

I turned 39 1/2 this week, and i've known this song since i was something like 4 1/2.  And all that time, i think i've been reading it wrong.  I've been reading the words of this song as an indictment.  I hear this snotty voice in my head, mocking me, "you just don't know God.  you would act right if you knew God!"

But after the song is over, and i keep reading the rest of the verses, (after roughly 35 years), i am finally starting to read this scripture another way.  Verse 9 says that God demonstrated His love to us, by sending Jesus into the world, so that we could live through Him. Dot, dot, dot, verse 11, "if God so loved us," and the purpose was to make so that we could live through Jesus, who IS love, then we ought to be using that love on each other.

Reading the rest of the paragraph, i can see that John is trying to get across that we have been equipped by God, for the purpose of letting people SEE God!  Not by wispy images in the clouds (no offense to anyone) or on your toast, but by being able to see love, because God is more than the author of love.  He IS the love!

One night last week, during the time that i had been spending time thinking about this scripture, my husband was flipping through the channels, and we heard a couple of minutes of a comedian's act on some comedy show.  I'm sorry i didn't catch the fellow's name, but here's the gist.

He said "all the greats," including Jesus and Buddha and Ghandi and Martin Luther King, all seem to conclude that LOVE is really important.  You should love people.  That's what the authorities say on living a good life.  The comedian then got the laughy part of his act going with the question, "have you met people?"  His point (or the one i got out of it) is that people are hard to love.  Did Jesus actually meet all these people He wants us to love?  It's true.  People are hard to love.  People are selfish and rude and condescending and whiny.

Turns out, however, that i am one of these hard-to-love people.  And God does know me.  Every dirty, whiny, weak, cowardly, lackluster, hidden, part of me, and He loves me anyway.  Not just out of some strange attraction to the awkward girl in the corner.  He loves me (and all of mankind) enough to actively pursue us when we had no interest in Him.  And that's why, through His amazing, unspeakable power, i can "love one another."  Because i am "one another," and if i have come to know any part of the amazingness of His love for me, i have to love all the other one anothers.  I can't help it, not if i'm paying any attention to God's love for me.

And that is why, "he that loveth not, knoweth not God."  It's an invitation, really.  If you're not loving the one anothers, you will do well to spend some more time getting to know the One who knows you, better than you know yourself, and loves you more passionately than a mother loves her child, with a love that's more unhinged than the naivete of newly weds who haven't yet discovered each others' faults, and more powerful than all of the waves of the ocean, and hotter than the core of the earth.  When you get to know the Author of that great love, you will have more than enough with which to love all the other one-anothers, like you.  "Everyone that loveth...knoweth God."  Because that's the only way to pull it off.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Morfar

I am the only child of the only daughter of my grandparents.  I was also the first born grandchild, the oldest of what turned out to be 16 grandchildren, and the only one, of all those grandchildren, who gets to call our grandfather, Morfar.  Morfar means mother's father, and since all of my cousins are the children of my mother's brothers, my position is sort of unique.

I'm not special.  I just have a lot of memories of how things were before our family was as huge and wonderful as it is now, lots of pictures in my head that i don't have snapshots of.

When i was three, i was the older of only two grandchildren.  I don't remember how it came about, but i do remember giving my Morfar a list (probably didn't write it down) of 3 items that i really wanted.

A whistle.

Sunglasses.

And a tiny black teddy bear.

So Morfar took me shopping.  We went from store to store to store, searching and searching and searching for the treasures i could see in my head.  The sunglasses probably weren't too difficult.  I remember them to be black and plastic.  The whistle was one of those round plastic ones, and i think it was some bright color combination, like purple and orange.  And then there was the teddy bear.  That was the hard one.  I could see him in my head.  I knew what he looked like, and finding him is the thing that caused all the traveling from store to store to store.

This was a lot of years ago now, and i don't honestly know how many of the details in my memory are historically accurate, but i can still see in my mind, the end cap teddy bear display where we found my teddy bear.  He was kind of in the middle left area, slightly more than half way up the display.  He was the one i was looking for.

I was a very creative and imaginative child, so i named him Blacky.

And i still have him.

Blacky has stayed with me through 30-something moves, 9 states, and four house fires.  He doesn't even smell like smoke anymore.

My Morfar bought him for me.

Today, Morfar turns 94.

One of my most treasured memories.  One of my most treasured people.

Happy Birthday, Morfar.  I love you more than i can type.