Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lessons Learned

I can only imagine how Mrs. Richards must have felt that Wednesday in class. She probably had about 30 fifth graders at the brink of puberty grating on every one of her last nerves. She probably had parents asking why their children weren't getting A's. Perhaps there was some hyper suck-up of a student begging her to let them erase the chalkboard. And then there was Bobby. He wasn't the brightest crayon in the box. He got distracted a lot, and here lately he was falling asleep in class. To top it off he had missed school since last Friday. She had given him homework, but of course, he hadn't done it. She was at her breaking point. She walked up to Bobby, who was staring out the window blankly. "Bobby" she stabs, "what in the world was more important this weekend than doing your homework?" Bobby looks down, "My mom died." Lucky, lucky Mrs Richards. Bobby is my now a grown man with three kids, and I just happen to be his oldest. My dad lost his mother when he was only 12 years old. Years later, when he was 24, he looked down at his newborn daughter and passed on one of the only things he had left of his mom; her name. My middle name is Camilla, and I am named after a grandmother I never knew...in person. Sometimes people leave us far too soon. We are left to question why they leave so quickly, or why, if you're a Christian, God would call them home. My father I am sure grappled with these questions. To many it may seem that my father was robbed of his mother, but God works in mysterious ways. Years after my grandmothers death my father was contacted by a woman from Wisconsin. Her name was Kathy, and her mother, Kitty, was a friend of my grandmothers. Turns out that Kitty saved everything, including about 60 letters my grandmother had mailed her. Kathy was wondering if my father would want them back and he leaped at the opportunity. Not only did he get to read these letters and get to know a woman he lost too soon, but now her grandchildren would know her too. The even more awesome thing? My children, and their children, and my great grand children will get to know her too. Lucky, lucky them. When Jesus left the disciples, he had been with them for three short years. I am sure that they also felt he was taken too soon. Believers today know the rest of the story, but they didn't. I am sure they might have felt a lot like my dad in fifth grade, and when he rose three days later, they probably felt elation that far outweighs what my father felt when he received those letters. That being said, for those of us who weren't there that day, we still get to read the letters that were left behind. We still get to learn about and get to know a man that we have yet to meet. And the awesome thing?? We get to pass these things down, and we know that we aren't alone. We have the word of God, the Spirit of the Father, and the fellowship of believers. Lucky, lucky us.

All Things New

I do not take very good care of my contacts. Really, there are some things that I am just not that good at; contact care is one of them. I wear "disposable" contacts. I am like my father though and I really don't think the things are meant to be thrown away...ever. I tested this theory and wore the SAME PAIR OF DISPOSABLES FOR A YEAR. In truth I was lazy and poor and just didn't want to spend the money on contact lenses. There was also a bond with this particular pair of contacts. I read the pregnancy test that confirmed I was pregnant with them. I cried becuase I found out I was pregnant in them. I moved to E-town in them. I looked down at my little girl in them for the first time, and cried again. And there was the fact that left contact was my JESUS contact...yes for they had been brought back from the dead not once...but twice! I once dropped my left contact in the bathroom. Jeff and I combed the floor for twenty minutes...and then we found it....ON JEFF'S KNEE. It was rolled up in a little ball and I had to be at work in thirty minutes. I grabbed the solution, rubbed a little on, and popped the bad boy in. LIKE NEW, no lie. All was well. Then came the day I thought that I had lost left contact for good. Apparently the contact didn't make it into the case one evening, and I found it in the morning dried and crunchy by the nightstand. I knew this was not good, but I refused to give up hope, or more importantly give into wearing my glasses. So I took my faithful bottle of solution and massaged left contact back to life. What next??? I popped that bad boy in. LIKE NEW, no lie. I finally gave in and got new contacts after a trip to the bowling alley. Apparently not changing my contacts in a year caused my eyes to glow under black light. Who knew? Anyway, today I was reading 2 Colossians 5:17-21 and I thought yet again of left contact. It seemed that everytime all hope seemed to be lost I loved on left contact a little and he came back to life. I like to think that God sometimes sees me as left contact. I get caught up on the wrong things and end up curled up in a little ball, or I don't get enough spirtual water and end up a little crunchy. The cool thing is that Jesus doesn't give up on me, kind of the way I didn't give up on left contact. Even better, he doesn't trade me in if I glow under a black light. Nope, He just loves me back to wear I should be, pulls me in the right direction. And you know what? I end up LIKE NEW, no lie.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Forgiveness and Toilet Seats

Jeff left the toilet seat up…again. When I was pregnant I begged him not to leave the seat up. I just had these horrible visions of getting up to go to the bathroom at 4 in the morning and feeling the cool splash of toilet water against my bum. Not only that, but if I did fall in the toilet I would probably have to yell for about 15 minutes to wake him so he could free from my porcelain prison. Well as luck would have it, one night when I was about eight months pregnant, I waddled into the bathroom. Lo and behold I looked at the seat before I sat and what did my wondering eyes behold? The seat….in the up position. I was fuming. I did my business and hobbled back to bed but stayed up half the night thinking about what would have happened if I had sat down. I was so angry. How could Jeff be so insensitive?? I was carrying his child! I could have been stuck…in the toilet!! That just isn't sanitary. I did the only thing a pregnant wife could do…. "Dear Lord, I know that this might sound spiteful…but please let Jeff fall in the toilet. If he knows what it feels like he won't do it again. Amen." Before I could even finish my vindictive little prayer this wave of conviction came over me. Having Jeff fall in the toilet wouldn't fix the issue in my heart…I had to forgive Jeff for his shortcomings and move on. Forgiveness, especially in relationships is a hard thing sometimes. The Bible studies I have been doing this week have talked a lot about forgiveness, and how much we have been forgiven of. Sometimes its hard to forgive others, especially when you've asked them not to do something, or told them how it hurts you. Sometimes what others do to us hurts us physically. Sometimes they leave emotional scars. Sometimes they get our butts wet. Either way, we can't control what others do to us, only how we react to it. In the end I know Jesus understood this concept. He forgave the very people who crucified him and put him to death. Even if you don't believe in his resurrection you have to acknowledge how phenomenal an act that is and admire it. If he can do that I can forgive people who might hurt me…or who leave the toilet seat up.