Tuesday, August 06, 2002

I plopped down in my new mega-chair, allowing my bones to sink gently into its depths. I kicked my shoes and socks off and allowed my new "fuzzy buddy" to caress my weary feet. Ahhhhh… nothing like it after a long day at work. The air conditioners have been humming but nothing has yet cooled the air in my helmet as I "roar" the 4 blocks back and forth to work on my huge Honda. My hand flops over the side of the chair and, oddly enough, comes to rest on the remote control. Hmm. Must be a sign from God. As I press the "Power" button ESPN comes into view. Talking heads are telling me about last night's baseball games. What they are not telling me is why I should care. I gave up on baseball after Bud Selig declared the All-Star game a tie. Not enough pitchers. "You paid $175 for a ticket? Too bad. You got 11 innings and you should be happy." This is the same mentality that says "Go to Tony's and order up a full-scale Pepper-Loin. Cut it with your fork. Place it tenderly in your mouth. Chew it slowly and savor its flavor… its juices… the cutting edge of the pepper… and then spit it into your napkin. Hey, you got your taste. You now know what the steak is all about. Swallowing… well, that just isn't necessary." Sorry, Bud. I declare the season a tie. Everybody finishes in last place. I do not care anymore. Maybe next year. We'll see.

But back to our story. My fingers go on "remote" themselves and press in those peaceful digits… "31." Ahhh… channel 31. Here is a place my brain can rest. Here is information at my fingertips. With a simple "31" keyed into my remote control I can have instant peace. Here I will find a neatly dressed young adult telling me that it is now 106 in Phoenix. It is raining in Seattle. The water temperature in Lake Superior off the beaches of Duluth is… well, it's way too chilly to go swimming. You see, channel 31, better known as "The Weather Channel", tells me that all is right with the world. It is summer in St. Louis and everyone is whining about the heat. These are the same people that whined about the cold last January. There is no pleasing them. Come on, people. Choose. As for me, I take winter. Give me a good sweat shirt over a tank top any day. I don't want to wear sandals. Why expose my toes to the world when I can wear my Timberland STOMPING boots? Summer means sweat. Winter means cuddling. 'Nuff said.

Did you know that the hail in Montana yesterday was the size of marbles? Though that is decent sized hail it would not impress the woman that I met during a thunderstorm in the Missouri bootheel a couple of years ago. I had been driving behind her as the rain began. The clouds ... ugly green clouds... swirled eerily in the sky above us. The rain came in sheets and then the "ping" of hail began beating against my van windows. After a mile or so the car in front of me swerved crazily and darted down an entrance ramp into a conveniently placed rest area. No other cars were around and I had noticed as she passed me earlier that the driver was a lone female. I made the split second decision to follow her onto the ramp. She didn't bother pulling into a designated parking area. Instead she pulled to the side of the ramp. I pulled around her and stopped in front of her car. I didn't want to frighten her by appearing to sneak up from behind. The storm was blowing furiously as she got out and ran to her trunk. She opened it and disappeared from my view. I got out to see if she was ok and saw quickly what the problem was. There was a hole in her windshield bigger than a baseball. I asked her if she was ok. For a second I thought she was crying but I decided it was probably just the rain, which still pounded down upon us. She said yes as she grabbed a cloth and ran to her front seat. I watched her try to plug the hole in a vain effort to keep the rain out. That was when I saw it. The hailstone sat in the middle of her front seat. Wow. After she did the temporary repair job as best she could I waited with her inside the rest area until the storm passed. A cleaning attendant said that a tornado had been reported in the area and we felt fortunate to be off of the road. After the rain eased I left, knowing that a repair truck was on its way. So I guess that there is a lesson here. When it comes to hail, size matters. Little hail... like marbles... is no big deal. Big hail... like baseballs... big deal.

I remembered that event today as I read the story of Jesus talking to His disciples about faith. He was trying to get across to them that they really didn't need much faith. A little would do. As a matter-of-fact, if they only had faith the size of a mustard seed they could move mountains. I don't see many mustard seeds laying around in my neighborhood. I'm not even sure how one goes about growing a mustard plant. Or is it a mustard vine? Or maybe a mustard tree? But I did come across a mustard seed once and it's not much to see. My girlfriend turned wife wore one as a part of a necklace when we were dating. Pretty plain necklace. Pretty unimpressive. I think that was the point. When it comes to most things in life... size matters. But when it comes to faith... size just doesn't come in to play. Faith simply has to exist to be potent. Faith is like the little pill that I take every morning to make my blood pressure behave. It's smaller than an asprin and yet it saves my life on a regular basis.

And now I feel kind of bad about myself. If it only takes a pinch of faith to move a mountain... why do I continue to travel around them? Why don't I whip out my mustard seed and put it to work? Why should I have to move? Shouldn't it be the mountain that moves? Oh, don't get me wrong... I've sent some foothills packing. And once or twice I've slipped and actually gathered up enough faith to actually make a decent sized mountain step aside. But MOVE completely out of the way? Never. Not once.

So anyway, I think I am cursed. I come home tired, turn on the weather channel, and wind-up dealing with the issue of faith. How unfair is that? That's the thing about God. No matter what you do... He's there. And He usually wants a word with you. Oh wait... I think that means I'm blessed. And how pathetic am I when I often can't tell whether I'm blessed or cursed? Pretty pathetic, I would imagine. Fortunately God doesn't think so. He's just waiting... patiently waiting... seeding the clouds of my faith. Man... I sure would love to give him a hunk of faith the size of a baseball.