QUUUIIIIEEEETTTTT!

 

I like quiet. The only time I don’t is when I am at a sporting event. Solitude and Silence are wonderful disciplines. But I am finding it increasingly difficult to find silence.

Just recently after a string of challenging events, I recognized I needed some peace-n-quiet. And what I meant was total silence. So I sat down on  my couch. Then all of a sudden the icemaker activated, then the furnace kicked on, then my cellphone buzzed.

It was morning so I went outside. Surely it would be quiet there. But then I heard someone’s garage door open. Then I heard a motorcycle going fast up a nearby road. Then I heard a large truck navigating our neighborhood

Later that afternoon I went walking in the woods (or what is left of them) behind our house. Same thing, I would hear a car on the road or someone using a power tool (the sound of a circular saw travels!!)

So I tried that night. I built a fire in my small fire pit. But I couldn’t escape closing doors, music from someone’s house or simple traffic.

You can’t find silence while driving because vehicles are noisy themselves. Headphones only muffle the sound so much. I tried a closet and bathroom. You still hear various sounds. Even at night I cannot escape noise because my wife uses a white noise machine.

The more I thought about it, the sadder I got. I literally cannot escape sound. There really is no peace-n-quiet. This is not a good thing. Man should be able to escape (frequently) to enjoy the sounds of peace. If any noise should interrupt that peace it should be sounds of nature: birds, rain, the wind, thunder…

Finding solitude and silence are built in actions to help us hit the reset button in our life. Instead we opt to drown out the need of silence with…more noise! Music, TV, Internet, Socializing. I think our culture is afraid of pure silence. Silence brings to the front what is really on our hearts and minds – which can ultimately show our dark sides. Silence breaks down the ability to hide behind conversation and busyness. Silence forces me to deal with me. Noise (like alcohol) can allow me to avoid facing the hurt in my life.

I see noise treating the brain like a paddleball. Slamming it back and forth tirelessly 24 hours a day. Silence allows the whole person, especially the brain to take a much needed break.

If you have not done so, make sure to incorporate pure silence in your life. Find that place where you can go and be not merely alone, but alone with God. You will find him in the silence or gentle breeze.

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Beauty

There is a lot of buzz this week over the court case involving Erin Andrews and the hidden cameras in her hotel room a few years ago. Erin is a sideline reporter for various sports networks. A few years ago while covering college games in Columbus and Nashville a guy (with insider information to where her room was) planted hidden cameras in the peephole of her door and captured naked videos of her.

Erin is by all accounts a good looking woman. Tall, blonde and knows football….the perfect trifecta!

The events were being discussed here at work and someone mentioned how she is one of the “hottest” women he can think of. This (in typical guy fashion) developed into a “who is the most beautiful woman you can think of”.

Who hasn’t had one of these kinds of conversations? My favorite one of these types of talks happened about 4 years ago at an event at church. An older widow was leading an event for area homeless. I was up there with my daughter helping out when somehow we got on the subject of best looking Hollywood men. She is in her 60s, so we discussed men from 20+ years ago. I mentioned Paul Newman, then Marlon Brando – of course all got thumbs up.

But then I mentioned Robert Redford, and she made a one-liner I will never forget. She said “Oh my….Robert Redford can eat crackers in my bed any night!”

Nothing can top that one!

Back to my original topic. I wasn’t in the conversation the guys were having but I was in earshot. Maybe it is because my heart is in communion with Lord’s, but I didn’t go straight to physical beauty – I went for biblical beauty. Now, the bible doesn’t for a moment deny outward beauty. The bible quickly points out flowing hair, tanned skin, curves – God knows that physical beauty can’t be denied. But it doesn’t stop there. In fact biblically speaking physical beauty is only a speed bump, a mere pull off on the side of life’s highway

It is inward beauty (male and female) that Scripture repeatedly says is worthy of praise. Let’s face it, some people are just genetically gifted and are thus – beautiful! But for most of us, we are at best average. Nothing great, nothing abnormal.

But inner beauty isn’t given. It is developed through choices of the will. Things like patience, sacrifice, honor, longsuffering, compassion, esteem and encouragement are cultivated by choice. But it is these things that Scripture always points to as beautiful and worthy for our pursuit.

So while my teammates ogled over this blonde and that singer, I got to thinking “Who in my life has exemplified TRUE beauty.”

Answer: my mom.

However, it was in a way that Jean Vanier (Catholic Philanthropist and creator of L’Arche – 142 communities worldwide focused on loving and giving dignity to the mentally disabled) discusses beauty

My mom began working with the mentally handicapped fall of 1980. This was at the edge of a time when the mentally handicapped were often institutionalized. Words like “retarded” or “looney bin” were tossed around with common language. She was employed at a school that specialized with the mentally handicapped. This was not simple learning disabilities. These were kids with great pain in their lives. These were the people Jesus talks about in the Beatitudes. These were the poor and meek.

The pain was real that my mom experienced as well. She has been to more funerals for students than many of us have been to total. There have been times that I reflected on the challenges she and the rest of the staff had – and when I occasionally feel sorry for myself and complain how hard my week has been (which usually means the internet wasn’t working correctly) I feel quickly humbled. I don’t know what a tough week is.

The children my mom worked with were those that society feels sorry for. “Poor pitiful thing”. Not my mom. She gave them dignity! We all know what dignity is like. Like Jesus my mom would touch those who society didn’t want to touch. The Gospels are filled with Jesus’ being intimately personal. Jesus touched, Jesus wept, Jesus ate, Jesus taught, Jesus was in the boat, Jesus forgave, Jesus with children, Jesus healed. Jesus didn’t love from a distance. He was in the midst of the individual. He was at the well, he was at the pool of Bethsaida, he was in the home, he was in the synagogue. Born in a dirty manger, and lived his life getting dirty with broken people.

That was my mom. She got down and dirty with people. Feeding, helping use the restroom, cleaning breathing tubes, cleaning vomit, cleaning tears, wiping up spills, fixing hair, telling them “It’s OK. Don’t worry about it.” My mom, like Jesus, saw these students and sacred and beautiful. She saw through the exterior into the heart of each student. That is what biblical beauty does. The eyes of the beholder don’t stop at skin, eyes, hair – but penetrate into the heart and soul and sees that all people have beauty in them. That the true person is on the inside.

In the mid-80s my mom became a nanny for two girls with cerebral palsy. The girls were sisters and 10 years apart in age. It is one thing to love the mentally handicap in a school. After all, you are protected from society by the walls of the school building. But that wasn’t the case with these two girls. My mom would take these ladies to restaurants, to the park, shopping, friends’ houses, festivals, concerts – there were no limits.

Snow, 100 degree weather, rain, wind – didn’t matter. She got those girls out for decades.

Many summer days while school was out, I would join my mom. I recall back then, as a teenager, admiring her utmost love and affection to these girls. It was a love that ANY child would long for, and these weren’t even her girls!

The greatest challenge for our society when it came to these two ladies was dining. Because of CP, eating was a challenge. The mechanics from using utensils, drinking through a straw, and swallowing were each a hurdle for them. Of course there was a mess! And I would see grown adults (the powerful of our society) at nearby tables, struggle, struggle to feel safe. The roles were reversed: the weak were actually the strong, and the supposed strong were all of a sudden shown to be weak.

Regardless of the world around them, my mom would joyfully tend to the girls and then take care of herself last. Fast food or a nice restaurant – the routine was the same. And all the while, my mom gave them the attention that says “I love you”. Only the beautiful can leave your presence and make you feel loved or important.

Jean Vanier says that to love someone requires you to understand them. This seems obvious, but have you ever stopped to think about it? How many of us understand the world of the mentally/physically disabled? My mom does. She understands their fears and angst. She knows what makes them feel strong, and what makes them feel….well…..different.

What may have been so beautiful about my mom was her ability to receive love from the handicapped. As a culture we are more apt to humor them, or laugh at their acts of silliness (which can actually be nothing more than a cry for acceptance), pat them on the head and so on. Because we see ourselves as those having power, it can be difficult to receive this love. The love of the mentally disabled is a pure love. It is not structured on performance or conditions. It is raw and honest, and this can make the strong of this world uncomfortable – after all much of the world is built on a fat lie, a façade. I would see these girls reach up and yearn for a hug from my mom and she would authentically receive it. That is beauty! Such love is hard to look at given the kind of silly, artificial love we see on TV or in print.

Those who are strong feel a need to prove it. There is a hidden need to validate myself in front of others which naturally leads to oppressing others (Vanier). The handicap can’t do that. The only weapon they have is their heart. THEY ARE THE OPPRESSED! Yet they joyfully give their heart, but the world struggles to receive it. My mom didn’t.

One of the girls went to the Lord a few years ago. My mom continues to work with the other every week. This has been an ongoing relationship of love for three decades.

The bible says that God looks upon the heart – this is the center of our personality. My mom, spent her whole life reaching into the hearts of the mentally disabled and giving them joy and dignity. Good luck finding someone more beautiful

FG

It is Super Bowl week. And I live in the market of one of the two teams. Unfortunately though I am not excited. Not one bit. If anything I am rooting for Peyton Manning to go out a champion. He has been a great ambassador for the game, and for him to win his last game (Super Bowl 50 no less) and to announce retirement in the post-game interviews would be great.

Football fans know that “FG” stands for field goal. Those pesky 3 point attempts that essentially say “We are not good enough to score a touchdown, so we will settle for 3 points instead.” I have often made the comment that field goals lose games.

But for this blog “FG” represents forgiveness and grace. Two items that are not the lessor of two options (like a field goal) but something even greater than a touchdown. As for me, I am horrible at both. In fact, I am miserably horrible at both. If the New Testament is right (and of course it is) that forgiveness and grace are signs of Christian maturity, then I am a mere embryo, I am not even out of the womb yet. This June will mark my 15th year of being a servant of Christ. I have a lot of head knowledge, I have served on the board of a Christian ministry, I faithfully served Christ in many capacities, I have lead small groups, I have lead children’s Sunday school, I have lead mission trips, I have read the bible front to back several times, I have debated and won, I have knocked on doors, I have fed the poor, I have tithed, I have brought my children up in the ways of Christ, I have read COUNTLESS books, I have lead people to the Lord, I have a solid prayer life, I live (by all accounts) a solid moral life, I am known by my co-workers as a follower of Christ……but I fail at forgiveness and grace.

It wasn’t until the past few years that I realized just how impotent I was in these areas. I thought I had forgiven people for past hurts – in fact I was positive. But the older I got, and the more I realized the symptoms of an unforgiving heart, the more I realized just how unforgiving I was. I first recognized it in other people. I have never been a big fan of gossip – just a waste of time in my opinion. But I recognized this was a sign of someone unforgiving. Passive-aggressive behavior, browbeating, never letting an issue go, intentionally withholding good (or its twin sister, intentionally doing evil) were all signs I saw in other people of unforgiveness. It was like a neon sign across their forehead. But I was ignorant of my own guilt.

As for grace….oh my I have been horrifically bad. And no, I am not exaggerating, I have been flat out bad at this! I must admit a bit of frustration with God for not addressing this a decade ago. However, for all the good on my resume, I have been a man with little grace. I get an “F” in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5). Grace is at the core of Christ’s redemptive message. Even the skeptic of Christ will admit the beauty and strangeness of grace. It is utterly nonhuman.

The beginning of becoming a person of grace is first recognizing your absolute need of it from God. That your relationship with God through Christ is rooted in grace alone, not merit. You never earn it – yet you never fumble it away. Grace isn’t acting like bad things don’t exist, and it certainly isn’t simply sweeping things under the rug. Grace is a constant desire to see a person become who Christ desires them to be. It is a humble reminder of how broken I am, and outpouring the same patience God gives me in my moments of weakness, and to in turn give that kind of love and patience back to others. It is all about putting other’s well-being ahead of my own. Other’s status, accomplishments, desires, time, and needs ahead of mine. It is all the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5) into action….24 hours a day.

My life has been filled with score keeping. Especially in the areas of how people have wronged me. My ability to recall in great detail a moment of being let down by someone is frighteningly accurate and vivid. My “inner lawyer” (that voice in your head that is always telling you how you’re being mistreated, and to be careful, and remember how this person treated you that one day….) is phenomenal. My inner lawyer could’ve been on OJ’s defense team. He can argue my position and build a case in two minutes. Really he deserves a raise. Only problem is he hasn’t had an hour off in 35 years. My inability to be a man of grace and forgiveness has kept him working every day I am alive. He is constantly reminding me of my hurts. He is in short constantly reminding me that I haven’t forgiven.

Last month I began seeing a Christian counselor. Some on the outside may think it is for marriage, but in reality it is to work on me. One other sin I have been guilty of is the sin of self-sufficiency. I have always been self-sufficient. I have always felt in my heart, no matter the challenge – “I will beat this.” Well, the issues of forgiveness and grace are two areas I can’t beat. Try as I may, I only get worse and worse. I think my getting worse and worse is God’s grace towards me. He essentially has to let me fail miserably before a U-turn is made.

Later today is my third session with the counselor. Part of me is humiliated. My self-sufficiency says that “asking for help is a weakness”. But part of me is extremely proud, because it takes a lot of courage to go to counseling. I am also a very private person (nothing sinful here) and I know how folks love to gossip and make assumptions, so I am sure I am part of the occasional group discussion.

As the Christian message often is – there are a lot of paradoxes going on. While I am at my lowest (since cancer) I am at the same time experiencing Christ in a fresh new way. I haven’t been this “alive in Christ” in years. While on one hand I am exhausted, on the other I am full of energy. While part of me sees Satan working through people I would’ve never guessed, I also see Christ working through people I would’ve never guessed. While part of me wants to crawl in a hole, part of me wants to dance in the streets. While part of me is uncomfortable with the rest of 2016, part of me hasn’t been so excited to live life.

Because forgiveness and grace are heart issues, the road to victory is going to be long and full of peril. I am frustrated when a Christian message gives a one, two, three formula to dealing with heart issues. BS! And the opportunities to quit will be plenty. Quit and run back to what I am used too. Those things I am used too are what Jesus called idols.

I shudder at all the people I never forgave. Our world isn’t one to forgive, we simply move onto what appears to be something better. People are like socks (whether family, friends or lovers), if you don’t like it, get a new one. And trust me, the world is full of people that will encourage you to do what is easiest. Very, very few people (including Christians) will encourage you to take the long, hard road, which is primarily not looking at the person who has wronged you, but taking a strong look at yourself.

Last week I told my counselor that I was fearful of what Satan had up his sleeve. His comment “That’s nothing, you should also be fearful of what God has up his sleeve as well.”

Well said.

 

No Longer Useful

My apologies for completely dropping the ball with blogging. I suppose I have legitimate excuses (parenting, work, Christmas….), they would be merely that – excuses.

One of my most recent blogs was regarding a bench I had made for my garage. I made it out of recycled wood (pallets and building materials being discarded). Given my desire to save money wherever I can, find my building materials free is great! So not long after wrapping up the bench I began my next project, building some organization shelving in my garage along with a workbench. This was far more challenging because shelving will be in constant use. It will be constantly bearing some form of weight, while my bench is only holding weight every once in a while. It took the better part of two weeks, but here is the final product

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The wife was happy too which makes it  a homerun.

Then the flurry began. I couldn’t stop thinking about other things to build. So I made a Christmas tree out of a pallet

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 Then I made some Halloween decorations out of scrap wood

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Then I made a wine rack

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 Then I built a painting pallet and painted this

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 Then a neighbor was throwing away some lattice so I took it and painted this

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 Then I made this mason jar craft

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 Then a neighbor asked me to make them a coffee mug rack

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 But my masterpiece is this hutch I built

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It took a few weeks, but  i did it! I was very proud. And, I was able to see it to a young girl that fell absolutely in love with it. She claims she is going to send me photos of other pieces of furniture she might want me to build! A little pocket money never hurt anyone.

 My daughter especially likes my new hobby because she understand this wood is considered useless. Much of it I dig out of construction dumpsters. She understands that the next stop is the dump or a furnace. It is deemed useless. But dad comes along and gives it new purpose and meaning. It goes from worthless to having a lot of personal and financial value.

God does the same with humans. Just when we think we are useless or don’t have the purpose and value we once had, he comes along and says “I have a new role for you. Follow me”

Washington, Lincoln, God

Smiling Dan will relate well to this post!

A few weeks ago I was reading something written by Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias. He was speaking on the issue of “giving to Caesar what is Caesar” (Mk 12:17, Mt 22:15-22). The attempt by the Pharisees to trip Jesus up over his loyalty to God or Rome using taxes as the snare. As always, Jesus trips them up with their own rope.

I’m not worried about breaking down the event captured in the Gospels. Instead I want to talk about Ravi’s extension and use of this lesson in our lives today. Ravi points out that indeed, taxes were expected to be paid to Caesar – it was his rule. So Jesus says “Whose image is on the coin?” “Caesar’s!” they replied. “Correct, so give to him what is his.” The point being give to him what is his, after all his image is on the currency itself.

Ravi then says “whose image is on the one dollar bill? Washington. Whose image is on the five dollar bill? Lincoln.”

In America we are especially possessive of time and money. Beyond addiction! It is “our money” or “my money” we proudly proclaim as we balance the checkbook. In a sense it is. We have gone out and earned it. In that sense it is ours. But we are often controlled by it. The money owns us, instead of us owning the money. It is more important to us than people because of the image on it (Lincoln, Benjamin, Jackson…). Image – whose image is the currency made of?

Now the killer question. “Whose image is on you?” God’s

Ravi continues to explain that the image imposed on anything is important. But given that truth, then that means nothing, literally nothing, is more important than humans because of the image engraved on us. We are made in the image of God. Sorry, folks, but humans are more important than pets, trees, oceans and yes, money.

People, other people are more important than material possessions. It has to be wonderful to not only accept this truth, but live it out. Not because of race, wealth, last name – but simply because people are made in the image of God gives them immense value. Human lives and well-being are important – absolutely important.

This gives me a new perspective on money in my wallet. I now carry a few dollars lose in one pocket to giveaway when approached by homeless people on my way to work. Yes, I can easily stand in judgment of them (that makes keeping my $3 so much easier). But if I understand the biblical landscape correctly, because that person is a human, if I were to shun them in order to keep my few bucks, then what I am saying is my money is more important than them.

God gave his Son because I was so important. I wonder just what I am willing to depart with for the sake of another person?

I Smell a Rat

The following is an excerpt from C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity:

“We begin to notice, besides our particular sinful acts, our sinfulness; begin to be alarmed not only about what we do, but about what we are. This may sound rather difficult, so I will try to make it clear from my own case. When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious one is  some sin against charity; I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stormed.  And the excuse  that immediately springs to my mind is that the provocation was so sudden and unexpected: I was caught off my guard, I had not time to collect myself.  Now that may be an extenuating circumstance as regards those particular  acts: they would obviously be worse if they had been deliberate and premeditated.  On the other hand, surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly.  But the suddenness does not create the rats:  it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man:  it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am.  The rats are  always there  in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.”

Lewis at his best! Selfishly I am glad to know someone as great as Lewis was an “ill-tempered” man like myself. He is so spot on. I am at my worst when I am suddenly provoked. I have seen this play out at work. I will be deep in thought (on something work related) and someone will interrupt me. It has happened more than once where I let the individual know that I am not happy with their interruption. Maybe it was responding with one word answers, a quick “huff”, a sharp “what?”, no eye contact, or an emptiness in my eyes – either way I want to other person to know that they interrupted me and it was not welcomed. And what a man does when he is taken off guard is an indicator of what kind of man he is.

I wish this weren’t so. I have known a few people in my life that never seemed to be interrupted. They could be losing pints of blood from a cut on their leg, be on their way to the hospital, but couldn’t care less that you are asking for their pumpkin bread recipe. “Oh no problem at all” they would say……as they slip into a coma.

My cellar has far too many rats. Heck, I am not sure you even need to come in unannounced! Hang around me long enough and they will pull up a seat next to you. This is something that has always leaped off the pages of the four Gospels. Jesus never seemed interrupted. It wasn’t that he was indifferent, or didn’t have things on his mind. Rather he seemed to graciously accept that he would be interrupted – A LOT! He never lost his cool. He never scolded or humiliated anyone for doing so. In fact he scolded some of the disciples for their lack of patience with the crowds (as if it were them that the crowds wanted to see). And it wasn’t because he was a “yes man” – nor someone who had a need to feel wanted. He accepted the fact that he had to put himself last – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Outside of prayer, I really don’t know how to go about exterminating the rats in my cellar. I don’t mind the cobwebs and dust, but the rats really need to go. I want to be a person who joyfully and willfully puts himself dead last. I want to know what it is like to be the Cleveland Browns….OK that was low. But honestly, such a condition (impatience) is an ugly disease. It isn’t good for anyone – not me, not my family and not those that come in contact with me.

Please let me know if you have the number to a good exterminator!

Patience, or Lack Of

A lack of patience is probably my greatest downfall. I have plenty of downfalls, but poor patience is my worst. And it’s not just being impatient with traffic, or the waitress at the restaurant. It is impatience with the most important things in life as well. My worst decisions, most hurtful statements, worst purchases, dumbest ideas – can all be tied back to impulse, or lack of patience

When I go through the landmines of my life I cannot help but conclude events would’ve turned out different had I been more restrained and disciplined. What is sad, is that I cannot figure out why I am so impatient, what is it exactly that I am in such a hurry to do? What am I afraid that I am going to miss? How can taking a few minutes, or even days to make a decision be negative? Got me? But somewhere in the recesses of my mine, I am focused on getting it done now.

The world of course does benefit from “get it done now” people. We do keep the herd moving and not wandering astray. I am willing to step in and say “let’s go this way” where others will waffle and overanalyze. But when not harnessed correctly it can be destructive

I’m like a defensive end coming off the corner. At the snap of the ball I am bull rushing – full speed ahead! I have no reverse gear or brake – just a big green GO button (another form of impatience) – that always seem stuck in the “on” position. Here is some home video of me taken from 2012-2014. You will see what I am talking about

The Apostle Paul lists patience as the fourth fruit of the Spirit in his letter to the Galatians (Gal 5:22-23). My “fruit salad” would be missing slices of patience. I am more like the Apostle Peter, often meaning well, but always getting that “why did you say that” look from the crowd? “Really Peter, really? Walk on water, really? Why didn’t you just stay in the boat!” “Genius Pete! You really had to go and say “Let’s pitch a tent for Moses and Elijah.” Don’t you ever think first.”

I am grieved most when I mean well, but total drop the ball due to patience. I am the guy who bakes a cake for someone, but can’t wait for it to cool down before putting icing on. i go to help paint the trim in your house and end up getting paint on your floor, ceiling, cabinets, dog, cat, yard, driveway, lawnmower, checkbook….I am that bad! I would be so horrible at golf, the downtime would kill me! I have to hit something! For the love of God MOOOVE up there!

I can think of several moments over the past 14 years where God distinctly shut the door on something I was getting ready to do. They are very clear and direct, no mistaking the intent. At the same time I wish he would’ve slammed the door on other decisions/choices I have made. But He didn’t, and I live with those decisions.

While I am sure I will get better with time, if for no other reason that the fact that I am aware of my weakness, I have to be honest and admit this will always be an area of weakness for me. I don’t take it lightly either. My lack of patience has definitely caused others harm. To just shrug my shoulders at this would be very selfish. It is an embarrassment, and will continue to cause me grief (and others) until I somehow submit to God’s way of working in His timeframe – on everything.

Chicken Soup for Hazel

Yesterday afternoon our small group from church had a small summer outing. We were hanging out on the screened in patio, just us three couples. It was your typical small talk: women in their huddle, men in theirs. Then one of the ladies, Sara, said “I have been reading to a 93 old woman named Hazel who lives in one of the area nursing homes.” I shot my head around and started probing. My favorite kinds of ministry are the behind the scenes, quiet ministry work. The few hours a week type of stuff done outside the church. And this is exactly what Sara was doing.

I found out that it had nothing to do with our church. She knows someone affiliated with this nursing home and one day said that she had a heart to read to someone, was there anyone at the home that would be a fit? Sara was introduced to Hazel. Hazel’s lone next of kin is her 88 year old sister. In short, Hazel is very much alone

Sara has been going up for awhile and reading a children’s bible to her. It sounded like she was about complete with the New Testament and so she was going to have to get some new reading material. Sara felt one of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books would be ideal.

I also learned that Sara has been taking her 14 year old daughter to the nursing home while she is home on summer break.

After a story about playing bingo and winning dimes and quarters for a prize, Sara wrapped up by telling us Hazel’s “Dream Day”. Instead of a trip to the beach, or a day in the mountains or some other event that would be a logistics nightmare, Hazel’s dream day would be a trip to the local department store to go shoe shopping. I had to wonder if there was more than simply needing shoes? Would a trip to this particular store stir up wonderful memories of years gone by? Was this store full of memories of years filled with exciting Christmas shopping or possibly a place where she once worked?

Sara’s story was the highlight of my day. No one knew about her serving the Lord in this manor. I know I look forward to hearing more stories from Sara about chicken soup, bingo, and shoe shopping