Saturday, May 31, 2008

Stupid Picture Chronicles #21

You know, I don't mean to poke fun. Really. I'm not the type to do that. (STOP LAUGHING.) And I certainly don't mean any disrespect. But sometimes, well sometimes you just have to say ... "What?"

Like with this statue. I came across it this week.

Now let's make one thing clear. Jesus is my Lord, my King, my Savior, my Hero, my Everything. And I'm positive He held children just like this one in His arms. No doubt. I am not making fun of Jesus or children. I'm not making fun of any person's faith. It's the expression of faith that sometimes makes me cringe.

Having said that ... do you really think Jesus would have given that child a cross to hold? Obviously, this statue of Jesus was pre-crucifixion. There are no nail scars on the hands. No thorn marks on his brow. I kind of doubt that He walked around handing out miniature crosses to children. Actually, I doubt that He met many children with blond hair. Maybe I'm wrong about this and if so I'm sure you all will let me know. Still, I have my doubts. A cross was an instrument of torture and execution and I kind of doubt that the God of love would have tormented children by passing out trinkets of the equivalent of the modern day electric chair or a gurney with an arm rest for your pending lethal injection.

I do like the Lilly's though. That's a nice touch.

Friday, May 30, 2008

That Girl

I will go ahead and confess. The title for this blog post has been ruthlessly ripped-off. I stole it from a song my son-in-law, Joe, wrote about his daughter, Elle. Joe looks like this ...

Ignore the bars in the background. Joe was not in jail. His band, the "Fundamental Elements" were in a battle of the bands before a Cardinals game at Busch Stadium this week. The bars are to keep out the non-paying Customers. Anyway ... If your brain is engaged you will have already figured out that his daughter is my granddaughter. The song is amazing. It will be available in a few weeks on i-tunes. If you like love songs ... especially love songs from a dad to his daughter ... you will want to check this one out. The bands name is the "Fundamental Elements." They already have a cd available but the one with "That Girl" will be out soon.

This blog is not about the song. It's about ... that girl. Elle turned two years old this week and she looks like this ...

Now I ask you. Is that not a face that could conquer continents? (Hint: Go with "Yes.") Elle is an unusual child. I know, I know. I'm suppose to say that. I'm her grandfather. It's a girls birthright for her grandfather to brag about her. To be proud of her. And I am. For all of the usual reasons. But there is one reason that is ... different.

You know what is most remarkable about Elle? She loves me. I mean, it's just that simple. She doesn't ask questions about whether or not I've been good. She has no idea what I do for a living. She doesn't care if my shirt matches my pants. She just loves me. Just because. I can't talk too much in her opinion. She doesn't think I am capable of saying something stupid. She never gives me "the look." She loves to talk to me. She loves to sit with me. When I ask her for a hug she always gives me one. How is it that two little arms can bring so much peace?

You see, my granddaughter is ... is ... well, she's the best granddaughter God ever created. No, I have not met them all. I don't have to. I've met Elle. That's quite enough. I got to spend some time with her this week in between dragging branches to the street at my house that has been empty all to long, trimming bushes, dusting furniture, and doing all of those things you have to do in order to make your house attractive enough for some unknown person to buy it. I spent the nights at Elle's house. We celebrated her birthday in her garage on Memorial Day. (Don't ask.) We ate cake. We played with toys. We read books. And in the middle of all of that Elle did something to me that very few other people can make me do. I simply relaxed. The world went away. There was just "that girl." And that was more than enough.

When I am with Elle I understand a little better what Jesus meant when He said we must become "childlike" in order to inherit the Kingdom of God. We have to love like Elle, without reservation. We have to trust like Elle, knowing that the one in charge is trustworthy. It helps to laugh like Elle. Her laugh makes me laugh. It makes all of the darkness that likes to gather in my heart melt away into pure light. (Yes, I admit it. Elle has her moments. Every now and then she gets crabby. But it's almost always because she's over tired. No, she isn't perfect ... but she's the closest person to it that I have seen in a long, long time.)

Okay, well I just wanted to make certain that you got the opportunity to meet "That Girl." At least you can see her through my eyes. Do yourself a favor. Find yourself an "Elle." There are more of them out there than we realize. And then do what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to build a little bit of "Elle" into my life. I want to be childlike again. I want to remember the simple, the awe inspiring, the trusting. I want to be worthy of The Kingdom.

That Girl

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My Next Career...

After much thought, deep pondering, and a bit too much pepperoni I have decided on a post-ministerial career. (Note: I don't plan on having a post-ministerial career. But should I be wrong, I've got my next gig lined up.) I am going to be ... (drum roll) ...


Yes, indeedy. I will never trade in my bible for a trucker repair manual but I will set it beside me on the big seat. And then I will creep northward in my growling rig, edging my way toward the hinterlands and the frozen tundra. (This is going to be so cool.) By then I want to look like that guy they call "Polar Bear." This will be a challenge because I absolutely cannot grow hair anyplace but on my head. And that is getting more questionable by the year. Okay, by the month. Week? Geez. Alright. By the day, darn it.

Just last night I woke up thinking I was listening to the creaking of the ice under the weight of my massive rig. Then I realized it was my spine. (We are sleeping on an air mattress this week. My back is reliving November, 2007 - February, 2008.) Still, it SOUNDED like cracking ice and that's what counts.

Ice road truckers don't have meetings. They don't have to ever wear a suit. Tie's are unheard of. They get to whip around big chains and use neat stuff like ratchets and winches. It's just them, the rubber, the ice. And, of course, the stray shark ten feet under them hoping for a mid-winter snack.

Did I mention that I don't swim? I mean, not even in the summer. I just don't. So I plan on staying on TOP of the ice.

I'm hoping that Kevin Costner will play me in the Hollywood production they are destined to make about me. Buy popcorn. I might get a cut of the proceeds.

(P.S. My next post will be about something deep and meaningful. But it's gotta be "in ya." And tonight I just want to cruise the polar ice shelf. Does it help if I say, "Jesus is my co-pilot?" I didn't think so.)