Tuesday, October 2, 2012

More than enough

I, like many others, often complain about not having enough.  Money, stuff, chances to see friends, free time, etc.
The problem is me.
I make 30,000 a year as a teacher.  That should be more than enough.  That is so much more than other people make.  There are people starving in the streets and yet somehow I don't have enough.
This really struck me tonight.
God gives us more than enough if we are willing to stop and really consider how we live I think.
I eat way too much and often get extra special food or waste food or do so many other things that aren't right.
I buy stuff.  And that is really the best way to describe it.  It is just stuff.
I have 2 drawers full of t-shirts.  I can't wear all of them.  Why do I have all of them?  If I do laundry once a week I can't get through all those shirts.  And 4 suits.  And dress pants and khaki pants and jeans and and and and.....
I have a Nintendo and a Sega and a 64 and a PS3.  And worse I have games upon games for them.  Why do I need all this stuff?  And movies and cds and books, and games, and and and....
No wonder I don't have enough money right now.
The problem is me.
I really think that if I stop and look at how I spend money I would see how wasteful I am.  And really, all I need is God.  God will provide; He always does.
God will provide what I need.
But I don't need stuff.  I only need the basics of life.
Buying stuff is fun because we all want what is shiny and new; or worse we want what we see other people getting.
Have you ever bought something because other people are buying it and they seem to be having fun?  Have you ever noticed that the novelty of having it wears off rather quickly?
Sure having some stuff is nice.  I am not saying I need to live in complete poverty.  But perhaps if I looked closer at the stuff I have I would see that I have so much more than so many other people and I don't need all this stuff.
I have more than enough.  I don't need to live so lavishly.  Maybe there are quite a few out there like me; living for stuff and bigger and better stuff and more stuff and stuff we don't need.......
I have more than enough and God has provided.  But what I really need isn't stuff I can buy.  It is something that has already been given to me for free.
Grace.  Love.  Forgiveness.  Acceptance.  Family and Friends.
More Than Enough for me.

Monday, September 3, 2012

love/hate king books - make you think

I have a love/hate relationship with Stephen King books.  I find the writing to be wonderful with intriguing plots and subplots.  I get into the books because they are interesting and well written.  But at the same time I find that the writings about people is a bit dark and depressing.  Mr. King feels that there are so many vile parts of human nature that he has to write about on a regular basis and I don't always enjoy that.  It isn't necessarily the main plot of the story either but little themes within the books talking about people's messed up thoughts and actions.
I just read "The Stand" again.  It is a great book on a post-apocalyptic world.  It really talks about good and evil and people coming together at the polar opposites to do one last battle.  But something struck me about the story.
I like to think of myself as a good person, as most people do.  I try my best to do right.  But I stop and think about the fact that most people are like that.  But in the book there are many people that find themselves on the "evil" side.  So what is the difference between me and them?
I realize that choice is a big part of it but at the same time these people in the book didn't seem to understand that they were on the wrong side.  They didn't see it like that.  They found the side they believed in and lived it.
I wonder if we would truly end up on the "right" side if something like that happened in real life.  Would I be on the side of righteousness and goodness or would I find myself in a state of mind where I feel like I am right but I am actually not?  Most importantly - I think of myself as a good person but am I really?  How can I put myself above other people and look down on them for being evil when I cannot be sure that I wouldn't be one of them in special circumstances?
Are we really better than them so much in our minds that we can automatically assume that we would end up on the right side if we came into a good vs. evil battle?  How can we be sure?
I don't have answers.  
I thank God that He forgives me even when I screw up because I don't want to be on the wrong side but I can't assume I wouldn't be led astray (that would be very egotistical of me).
One last thought - My life is not my own because I have been paid for with a steep price!  I like that thought.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Charity Case

I read today that we often have way too much pride in ourselves.  Pride is not always a bad thing, but at the same time there are situations where having pride is horrible.  It seems like I always do stupid things and then I get down on myself for them.  This is nothing that other people don't do as well, I am not trying to make myself sound unique.  But the important thing is that I remember that I am a charity case for God.
Grace is free and freely given by God and I don't do anything to earn it.  We are always earning things in the world now-days.  You earn rewards or you even earn the bad things that happen to you because you act stupid.  I have earned many things on both side.
But while I have "earned" a trip to Hell after I die I don't have to worry about going there because God is my protector, my savior, and I am His charity case.  I didn't have to earn grace, it was freely given.  I didn't have to jump through hoops or say magic words or pay Him off for it; it is a gift.  I just have to swallow my pride enough to accept free grace and know that no matter how many dumb things I do I deserve to go to heaven because God wants me to.
I kind of like that thought.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


The other night I put out a blanket and looked at the stars (until the bugs drove me inside.  Even with bugspray they got to me).  I realized how much I miss just looking at the stars sometimes.  When I was a kid I used to put the glow in the dark plastic stars on my ceiling in my bedroom so when I went to bed I could look up at stars as I fell asleep.  I don't remember why I ever took them down; I think it had to do with either moving out or feeling like it was too childish.  Or perhaps something about too much light to sleep?  I really don't remember.  But now that I look back I really wish I had never taken them down because you know what?  That isn't childish; it is who I am.  I like to look at the stars.  It makes me realize how insignificant I am but at the same time I know that people care about little me in this huge universe.  That is a comfort.  I am nobody but to some people I can still be a somebody.  If we all looked at the stars a little more perhaps we would view ourselves and others a bit differently.  And perhaps when we realize that even though we are all insignificant in the large picture but very significant to someone else we would treat people like they deserve to be treated.  I miss my stars.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

running for shelter in the rain

I found a new metaphor tonight while I was talking to my friend Megan.
You are walking along with your significant other and it starts to rain.  So you grab their hand and take off running for shelter or an umbrella.  That seems like the normal thing to do right?
What if instead of running for shelter you stopped instead and grabbed their hand and instead of running with them you kept them in the rain and instead you kissed them in the rain?
It feels to me like the proper thing to do is run for cover when the rain comes.  It is the way we have been trained.  I am not sure if it is the whole getting sick thing our parents talk to us about when we are kids or if it is the idea of walking around in wet clothes after that or what but we always run for cover when the rain starts.
I am not sure I always want to run anymore though.  What if I were to just stand where I was and look up and see what happens.  And if I am with the person I love I would kiss them in the rain and know that even though the rain is falling we are showing love to each other.
I am not sure if this is a life metaphor or even if this makes sense to anyone but me but it seems like the people that are successful are the ones that would typically run out of the rain or grab the umbrella.  They watch out for storms, come prepared, and always move for safety.  And as a result they are successful.
I guess I have been trained to do that as well but part of me wonders what it would be like to not run but to just  stay where I am and realize that even though there was a storm all around me I was satisfied because I was with the one I love and showing how much I loved them with that kiss.  And if they stay and kiss me back it would mean that they felt the same way.
Sometimes it doesn't matter if it is raining on you if you are kissing the one you love.  At least that is what I think.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The sound of New Ulm

Tonight I sat outside for half and hour and listened to New Ulm.
First a special thank you to my brother in law Bob and my parents because without them buying me warm stuff for Christmas I wouldn't have sat outside that long.  It was definitely cold and windy.
Tonight, for some reason, I decided I just wanted to sit and listen to the world go by for a bit.  I tossed on all my winter gear and sat out on my front step and just listened.  It was just something I decided I wanted to do.
First, there is a lot of noise out there.  I don't mean the earth, I mean city noise.  I heard trains and cars and I heard them a lot.
But then for just a few minutes I was able to sit back and really hear the wind and the snow.
It was really nice.
We would get big gusts and little gusts and you could hear the snow as it fell from the trees and onto the sidewalk and onto me.
I didn't hear anything special and I didn't come away with some earth shattering euphoric moment but at the same time it was really nice to just sit and let the world come to me for a bit.
I think that sometimes I am so busy or I make myself so busy that I don't sit and really just listen enough.
I always seem to do something to entertain myself but I don't always find it entertaining.  It is like I am out there trying to make life come to me or value in life come to me even when I do things like play video games or read books or watch tv.
But tonight it was different.  I don't know how to describe it in words; perhaps it that is because it can't be described in words.
It was nice to just sit back and listen for a while though and know that the world is going on around you and you don't have to be moving or making noise yourself.  You can sit and listen to the world make noise around you and both be a part of it and an observer of it at the same time.
I will have to do that more often.