Saturday, May 29, 2010

You give love a bad name...



Remember that song? Jon Bon Jovi in the '80s... what can I say, nobody's perfect. Anyway, it popped into my head this morning after mulling over the early morning events of my pastor-husband receiving a phone call from a man who has long battled a crippling addiction to alcohol. My husband had already left for Saturday morning prayer meeting, the kids were all still in bed, and I was up enjoying the quietness of a sunny, Saturday morning and thinking about what a job my husband has. As I judgmentally wondered about what name this man is portraying for Christianity itself it was as if God said, "But do you give LOVE a bad name?" Hence the song reference, and if you know me well, you know I have a song for every third sentence. And so I snickered a bit and talked with God for a while as I made my breakfast.

Giving love a bad name? Me? No, ya think? You see, I was happy to see this man's wife leave him. Yup, happy. I could sleep knowing that there would be no injury to her that night, no crying ball of degraded flesh in the church office that week. She was free of him, and I was glad. Not really the pastor's wife's typical stance on marriage, but I couldn't stand to see it anymore. Years have now passed since the initial separation, and every time it seems that their lives are getting along fine separately, another hit comes. He's drinking again, stalking her, in the hospital for his alcoholism treatment... and on and on. So, really, what kind of name is that for Christianity? Why shouldn't I be concerned for Christ's name?

I can only know that my husband does the Christian thing. He tries to help, encourage and love. I love too. I love the wife. She is such a dear friend and a help to me every time I have a need. So, hey, I love. I love the lovable.

As I sat pondering my husband's actions and analyzing his thick skin and amazing heart, it hit me. Whether or not this man is or is not a Christian, my husband is. I am! And this man needs someone to say, "God loves you. Only he can heal you, help you, and turn your life around." At what point does God stop loving him? Because I sure had a stopping point. The moment he abused that woman I love so dear, it stopped for me.

It's overwhelming to think that God's love is unconditional. Do we really know what that word means? I put the condition of sobriety on my list. God doesn't. Man, I must have a long list for requirements of "lovability". I guess He's just teaching me again today. I'll be knocking off another stipulation and trying to love more fully. I want to give love a good name, for God is love!

Friday, May 21, 2010

WORDS



I love words. I love to read, listen and learn. The pages of old books like the one I'm reading now are enchanting to me. I get lost in a good book. I have had to stop "pleasure reading" while at school because my class could run a muck and I'd be content to be reading alone at my desk, lost in the world of words that so beautifully paint a picture for the mind's eye.

Yet, the fascination does not stop with a good story. I have been pondering the depth of words lately. This book I have photographed is an old book with yellowing pages. It was discarded by a library. Its copyright is 1964, and it's a book about some of the greatest leaders of the 20th century. A little presumptuous some might say, but by the time of its writing, the 20th century had seen two world wars, and the change of a wide, vast world into that "small" world we know today. And the words are strong. Fascism. Communism. Revolt. War.

Words... how deep, and at times, how shallow. Even the small decisions of the men in the 20th century dictated the way we live our lives in the 21st, to some extent, and the words they lived by were so strong. I wonder what words we live by sometimes. As Christians we live - or should live - by the words given to us by an almighty God and yet we waste our words away on silly insults, gossip, criticism, and many other "fillers", as I like to call them. Why?

No answers from me. Just "Why"? I wonder why, truly. Is it that hard to search to the depths of our vocabulary for a reason to say something actually worth saying? I'm just wondering. I listen more than I talk, just out of habit. I am content to let others have their say most of the time so I can analyze away in my true intrinsic fashion. But I have opinions, thoughts, and contributions that seem so obscure at times that I often wonder if I'm crazy to think that some things are worth saying and others are just not.

I'm just sayin'.... :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Keeping score



I love baseball. Growing up in a baseball town I could hardly escape the excitement that the spring season would bring. The sea of cardinal red under a clear, blue sky is still an enchanting sight to me. As a child, I remember climbing the long ramps of the old stadium and getting more and more excited as further and further up we'd go - all the way to the nose-bleed section. It was the best seat in the house to me. I was at a baseball game, and I'd eat up every minute. But there was one thing that we would always do upon entry to the stadium. We'd get a score card. My father would stop after taking just a few steps inside and buy a 2-dollar piece of paper. I never really noticed or cared what it was when I was little, it just became a "tradition".

As a teenager I thought it rather comical that my dad would not only buy that score card but religiously mark each strike, foul, hit, run and play in each and every inning. It was his way of enjoying baseball to its fullest. As we would all be standing, shouting, and cheering for our team, dad would stand to see the play he needed to record and go on completing his records. He never shouted or jumped up and down. He'd stretch his legs at the seventh inning and even sing along with tune we'd all belt out with pride. But his joy was in the mechanics of the game. As I was swept into a magical world of baseball bliss, he'd be in his world of intricate detail. And they meshed well.

I recently had an epiphany. I've become the holder of my own life's score card. Every hit, I have marked down, every run that seems to plow me over, every strike that haunts me, every foul that hasn't gone my way, I've got proof. It's all stored in that secret file where I've been keeping score. I haven't left it to my Father, no. I'm keeping a record of it all.

It does not surprise or astound me that once again my own father would paint a lovely picture of what my Heavenly Father is to me. He is the keeper of the score card. The intricate plan that He has for me is never left undone. Each inning of my life is recorded, each tear stored. He can handle it just fine. No hit goes unnoticed, no foul play against me ignored. He's got the record and knows the outcome of this whole thing. I've taken that for granted.

So today I have relinquished that card. The record keeping of how many times someone's wronged me, spoken falsely of, or even hurt me openly - I'll let Him keep score. The hits and misses, the victories and failures all left in His care. For I have now realized that like it or not, intentionally or unintentionally, I am on the score card of someone else's life. And if we all leave it in His care and trust that He will bring His plan to fruition in our lives, we are left to enjoy the game, as He keeps an elaborate record of the goings-on of our lives.