Friday, May 24, 2013

Love 'Em All ... (Day 6 & 7)

This is HARD!  Not the loving people part.  It is hard keeping on your toes looking for people whose situation you can "speak in to."  It is very difficult to remember step by step, moment by moment, that loving someone is not necessarily a BIG thing.  It's just  doing what needs to be done when you see the opportunity.  Like ...

Day six ... Today I held a door.  Yup.  I held a door open for someone who obviously needed it.  That's pretty much a small thing.  I was at a "quick mart" kind of place.  I parked my car and walked to the door.  As I reached for the handle I noticed a woman behind me walking from the gas pumps.  She was at least 30 feet away.  I mean, really she was barely in front of her car.  Her purse was slung over her shoulder.  He other hand held a cane which she leaned on heavily at each step.  But she was a long way off.  I just noticed her.  No bells and whistles.  No Voice of God booming from the clouds.  She was just there and I was just going through the door and in the process of letting it close behind me when it occured to me ... a good guy would hold the door.  Jesus would hold the door.  That last one cinched it.  If Jesus would do it then I want to do it.  I took the short step back to the door and held it open.  She kept coming.  Then I noticed the lottery tickets in her hand.  aww geez.  If I hold the door for her rather than getting in line myself she will get in line ahead of me.  She will take the cashiers time as she scans every ticket and then she will want to buy more.  All I wanted was to fill a quick cup with ice and caffienated goodness and be on my way.  I was actually in somewhat of a hurry.   But once you realize Jesus would do something, good luck talking yourself out of doing it.  I mean, if you have a soul.  The lady finally reached the sidewalk, hoisted herself up on it, stepped in front of me, walked through the door, got in line ... and never said a word.  No "thank you."  No smile.  Not even a grunt.  Nothing.  Okay.  I walked toward the cold drink dispenser, grabbed what I wanted, and waited in line behind her while she paid for her gas, scanned her tickets, bought new tickets, and grabbed a carton of cigerettes for good measure.  And I felt so very good about myself later as I left the store.  Uh-uh.  Actually, no I didn't.  I felt irritated.  Irritated at her for not even acknowledging my self-sacrificing ways.  But mainly I felt irritated at myself for feeling irritated.  I have to either get completely ON this train or get OFF it altogether.

I'm staying on.

Day Day seven ... Today I stunk at this.  I'm chalking it up as a swing and a miss.  Yes, pastor's strike out too.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Love 'Em All ... (day 3 & 4 & 5)

It has been kind of busy around my little life these past few days.  I have not had the time to sit at a keyboard and record what God has been doing or what He has been letting me do.  So this is "Catch-Up-Tuesday."  Today you get three stories for the price of one.  Congratulations.  You should feel special.

Saturday was an easy day to find someone to bless.  It was my Debbie's birthday.  She hasn't made a secret of it.  It was her "double nickel birthday."  Fifty-five.  It is very odd to think of her as being that age.  I understand and accept my own aging better than I understand and accept hers.  In my eyes she is still the beautiful teenage girl that I fell in love with and stole away from her father.  Every time I look at her I see that girl.  Even today.  And it was only appropriate that I honor her in every way possible on this occasion.  And so we began "The Party" on Friday night with our small-group meeting at our house.  Debbie had already been the lucky recipient of a mega-stand for the hammock I gave her some years ago.  In those days we actually had trees to hang it between.  Our current treeless home requires something a bit more man-made.  And then at small-group she hit the jackpot, being served a huge "Oreo Blizzard Cake" from D.Q.  It lasted all of 15 minutes before she led the group in devouring it.  On Saturday morning we had a special picnic for Towerview's  military personnel.  And when that concluded I told her to get in the car because I was about to make her very uncomfortable.  You see, Debbie HATES to shop for herself.  And so I told her, "I just filled my wallet with money and now we are going shopping for YOU."  (I didn't tell her it was all one dollar bills.  Kidding...)  It was painful to watch her walk around the stores wanting to enjoy herself but all the while knowing she would rather use the money for someone else.  That was not a choice I had given her!  And she came home with quite a haul, making her husband proud.  And finally came the part of the day I think she enjoyed the most.  We drove to St. Charles and caught up with our son and grandson.  (Laura already had plans.)  She chose the restaurant, "Christy's," a little "joint" that serves up some of the best burgers in town, complete with "pub cheese" and crinkle-cut fries.  Her smile was complete as little Judah smiled at her and at least tried to say, "Happy Birthday, Grandma!"

Day three.  Mission accomplished!

Sunday was ... Sunday.  Let us just say that on Sunday's I try to lift up an entire church.  Sometimes it goes well.  Sometimes not!  But at the end of the day, as we were in the middle of bible study with the SMALLEST crowd we've had since moving to Towerview, the door opened and a young man stuck his head in.  "Is this for members only?"  I assured him that it was not.  He and his wife came into our sanctuary and joined us for a bible study on "The Keys To The Kingdom" out of the book of Matthew.  We always have fun studying the bible together at The Tower.  Tonight was no exception. When we were finished I sought out our guests and invited them to be our guests as Debbie and I were going out to grab a bite to eat.  (Have you noticed our lives are built around food?) They hesitated.  This couple was very, very young.  Barely adults.  He is in the Air Force.  I assured them that the meal was our treat and we would just love to get to know them.  And so they joined us at McAllister's and we spent a great hour getting to know our new friends.  I'm hoping that they got as much pleasure out of the evening as we did.  They assured us that they would be back on Sunday morning.  I gave them my phone number and email address in case they needed anything throughout the week.  They have only been living in our town for a month and are still feeling their way around.  But it was nice to see a spark in their eyes as they got in their car to return to their little home near the base.

Day four.  Mission accomplished!

And then there was yesterday.  Monday.  I'm involved in a sensitive situation and so I really cannot say much about it.  But God gave me the opportunity to sit with a teenager that is deeply troubled.  We didn't engage in serious talk.  I barely know her.  She barely knows me.  That makes it easy to intimidate a kid.  We did not pray together.  But she was all alone and feeling very destitute.  And so we did the one thing that I could think of that would lift her spirits and bring her a bit of enjoyment.  This is really deep ... truly therapeutic.  Are you ready?  We played cards.  Yep.  She had a deck of cards and she wanted to play that old kid game "War."  And so "War" it was.  Right up  until they told her that she had to eat lunch.  Now maybe a nicer guy would have gone easier on her.  But I decimated her.  Look, it was just a card game.  She gave me a hug and was laughing when she left the room.  So hey ... we were far better off than we were before we shuffled the cards.  And that, my friend, is a part of blessing and restoring someone.

Day five.  Mission accomplished!