Monday, 21 December 2009

There Can Be Only One

While joking with some friends a few days ago, this thought came to me, “I am not the other one, I am the Only One.” Now I know you’re wondering what we were talking about, that prompted this mental response from me. We were discussing in short how for, and in some countries it is “normal” (not something to be avoided or resisted) for married men (not women) to have another woman on the side, (left side or right side, not sure it really matters which) and that the wedding band means nothing.

Even though I laughed, I laughed even harder inside because I know who I am, my lineage and background, what we stand for, and most of all WHOSE I am. I laughed even harder because I knew (and know) that I would prefer to be alone than to lower myself on purpose to KNOWINGLY enter a relationship with a married, taken, or not-married-to-me man. My soul rolled on the floor laughing because I know I am a princess desired by many and resisted by few, but I can only be won by One who is worthy of my love, loyalty, allegiance and adoration as a hot-blooded woman. Yes this is true. :-)

After I wiped the tears of hard laughter from my eyes, and brushed myself off of the lint I met on the carpet, and brushed my short cropped hair, I thanked God for the gift of laughter, joy and happiness I finally now experience with, and in my alone state. Even though I know it can be difficult and sometimes very lonely living life without a matrimonial companion, I also know how challenging it is, and can be being with one who is “right for you”, and how detrimental it is being with someone whom you never should have met.

I am grateful for the restoration of my soul, and the reparation of my fragmented personality through time spent basking in the love of God through His written and inspired Words, and people who truly love me patiently, and patiently love me. LOL! Having been where I’ve been, met the people I’ve met, experienced the good, the bad and yes some ugly things that I’ve experienced, and become the person I’ve now become – a whole and healthy woman – I am happy to say I know I deserve to be the only one, not the other one, in the life of a special prince.

Do I believe in fairytales? Not at all, but I do believe in fairy tale endings. LOL! Most of all, they inspire me to believe that all things are possible, (Philippians 4:13) and that there are still some real and good manly men in this world, and from my culture who believe like I do, and who desire to be with a real woman. They too refuse to settle for second best and so they refuse to give second best. They also believe they deserve to be the only one, so they refuse to settle for being the other one, and they refuse to place women in the position of being the other woman in their lives. To me, this describes a real man.

Now, my conversation with my friends was specifically about male-female relationships, but we all know that there are many things on earth and in our lives which we sometimes place before the most important ones in our lives. For instance, some of us spend more time at work or at play than we do with the ones we pledged vows with before God, and family and friends. Others of us place our children before our mates and good common sense. Still others of us put money and careers (not necessarily the same as work) above all others, and on and on. We could therefore refer to these “others” as “the other one”.

In Old Testament scripture in the book of Hosea, God tells this farmer-prophet to go marry a prostitute. Well, we all know what prostitutes do and they usually do it with more than one ;-); safe to say several “other ones.” Why did God tell him to do this? Well, first get this, even though he gave her a house (possibly a large colorful tent with a spiral staircase in the center), and car (maybe a camel with two humps, or horse), clothing, and cash (hmmm, yeah money), etc. she, her name is Goma, still went back out “to work”, and to be with “the others”. Why? Because it was in her heart, and soul to do so. She herself was not a whole person inside, within her soul, and thus she gave her fragmented personality (and body) to different fragmented “other ones.”

Yet God told Hosea to marry her for at least two reasons we can see explicitly explained in scripture: 1. As a sign to His people Israel of how they’ve treated Him. Hosea 1:2-3; 2. As a sign to His people Israel of how much He loves them, and the lengths to which He would go (and did go) to restore them to their place in His life – a vital and vibrant love relationship with Himself. Hosea 2:14-20, 23b. Through Hosea and Goma’s turbulent marriage God said to Israel, “there can be Only One,” and “I AM not the OTHER one, I AM the ONLY One.” The first of the Ten Commandments is God’s declaration of Who He is – "I AM the Lord your God . . . and don’t worship nobody else.” (AllntheJeans’ version.)

When we know who we are and Whose we are, our lives will reflect ones of wholesomeness and wholeness, and wellness. But when we are divided in our heart and soul about our identity, esteem and value, then others will treat us accordingly, for our words and actions will signal to them and thus give them permission to treat us like “the other one” rather than “the ONLY one.”

I love the movies and the television series, “Highlander”, and especially the soundtrack which accompanies them performed by the group, Queen. “We’re the princes [and princesses] (my lyrics) of the universe!” In every episode the star Duncan McCleod has to face and have a showdown with a fellow immortal who has evil motives and intentions, fueled by a black heart. The duel must end with a death by beheading, because "there can be only one". And Even though McCleod can be injured, as long as he manages to keep his head ;-) he will recover quickly to live, and fight again (another episode for sure). LOL! He is a type of the Christ except for this one important difference, if you will allow me this analogy.

Our Lord Jesus the Christ was mortally wounded, was buried in a grave for three days, resurrected on the third day, ascended to heaven, and is coming back again (okay, that's more than one difference) for our very lives to redeem, restore, renew, repair, rejuvenate, and reconnect (and eventually resurrect) our spirits to our souls to our bodies, that we may live no longer as fragmented beings (individually and collectively), but as whole persons. In Christiandom we are One in the Spirit – His Spirit making up His Body, and therefore our hearts and minds are one in Him, because He is not divided or fragmented. He is THE Head of ONE Body and We are His Body. We are not the “other one” but in Him we are “The Only One.”

Knowing who we are, where we’re from, Whose we are, and thus our true purpose for living – to fulfill our destiny/destinies on the earth, we can know how to truly live – like God is our One and Only! I am one – inside and out. I have been created to worship One and Only One. Even though He loves everyone He has created in the earth, he still loves each of us as though we are “the only one” and not “the other one,” Because in reality that is what we are. With Jesus we are His first priority. He will never leave nor forsake us. He will never put others before us. He will never have an affair of any kind against us. We are His One and only! There are no duplicates of you, or me.

Because I am one – spirit, soul, and body, I am made to love one Prince, to be loved by one Prince, and to be loved as one Princess. I am not the other one, I am the only one because: There can be only one.


Thursday, 10 December 2009


Recently I began watching a program on the internet dealing with the supernatural. I thought “cool” because I do believe in the supernatural. As a matter of fact, I think it’s supernatural that we exist at all. For example, we humans are comprised of over 90% water, breathing something we cannot see (even on a cold winter day) called “oxygen”, kept earth bound by something we cannot see with the visible eye, yet we’ve identified it to be uh . . . “gravity”. What human in his or her NATURAL mind could create a species such as we are, and give each of us our own fingerprints, blood type and features, and yet not duplicate any of us? Even identical twins (and triplets and quads, etc.) have features that set themselves apart. After all, their Creator did not get confused about grouping them together in the same womb at the same time. He just wanted to keep things interesting. ;-) So as far as I am concerned, it’s all supernatural.

Yet, in our society we don’t see these as supernatural because science has somehow been able to “explain” these phenomena and now we accept them as natural, or the norm. Thus they’ve lost their zing! So be it. But what about those things we just cannot explain? Now that’s what the program I’ve been watching is dealing with. Those things we call spooky, or spiritual maybe? Now lest you think I’m making fun or light of these things, or even doubting the sincerity and authenticity of the telecast and guests, let me make it clear from the git-go, I am not. I too have had my own experiences which, when I’ve shared with those who have not had them looked at me in either disbelief, or in sincere sympathy, “that’s just Jean. We always knew she was special.” LOL!! My focus is not on whether the content of the program (and others like it) are factual. No not at all. I want to talk about embellishments, special effects – audio and visual, flattery, enhancements, airbrushing, exaggerations, deception, overdoing it. I.E.: Sensationalism.

This morning I was reading in one of the books written by the prophet Moses, Deuteronomy 10:1-3, which records Moses’ recount of having to cut (hew) some tablets for God to rewrite the Ten Commandments on because in a moment of temporary insanity (we call that losing ones temper), Moses broke the first ones. Many of us grew up in the 70’s and 80’s watching the movie starring Charleton Heston as Moses. Well if you will recall, when he came down the mountain (in the movie that is) he was lugging a heavy load: two “tomb-stone” sized tables with God’s heavy commandments on them. Ooooh, how scary God was to those Hebrews out in the desert and how scared they were of Him too. After all, they witnessed His miracles on their behalf to get them out of Egypt to where they were now: at the foot of this mountain called Sinai.

Well, this time around I’m reading this exciting book in the Amplified version of the Bible, and I love it because throughout, it provides historical information and facts regarding the times in which recorded history of the Bible was actually lived. One such piece of information is this from a lengthy footnote on page 224 (Zondervan Publishing House): “One of the many misconceptions of articles and events mentioned in the Bible, innocently perpetuated by artists without adequate knowledge, is that of the size of the two tables of stone on which the Ten Commandments were written. They were not great tombstone-sized slabs, but probably small rectangular plates, two of which could easily be carried in one hand.” Please bear with me as I also add the last two sentences of this footnote, and I quote, “Dr. George L. Robinson brought from the Sinai area a pair of ‘tables of stone’ believed comparable to those mentioned here, which he put in his coat pocket. Moses says here, ‘I . . . went up the mountain with the two tables of stone in my [one] hand,’ and he confirms it in Exodus 34:4.”

Hmmmm, kind of takes a little weight off Moses’ shoulders doesn’t it? But does knowing the truth about the size of the tablets cause us to accept the story any less than before? Now that we know the tablets could fit in his one hand do we think God’s Word should be taken more lightly? Does the truth about this make this part of the story less exciting than before? Would we be willing to watch the “Ten Commandments” if Charleton Heston, or maybe another great actor with a booming voice came down the mountain as Moses, and presented to the people God’s Word on pocket-sized notebook paper? Maybe I’m asking these questions to the wrong generation because now we prefer things small and concise: computer chips and iPods, smaller computers and mobile phones in the ear.

Nevertheless, there’s still the need and desire in our society to see things “bigger” than they really are. This doesn’t mean we want to carry them around in our purses, or continue to house them in our homes (except for the flat-screened HD televisions. The bigger the better!), but we need our senses energized and motivated, tickled. Nothing does it for us better than special effects and sensationalism. Reality television is popular because you get to watch peoples’ lives as they’re supposedly being lived out and we all know that real life is not rehearsed or scripted, so anything can happen. That’s the sensationalism of reality TV – anything can happen at any time, and so it’s the expectation of the unexpected that keeps us tuning in again and again. Our senses remain in a heightened state.

But if you’re familiar with biology, psychology, and the human body, you will understand that it is not healthy or NORMAL for humans to remain in this state of mind, and thus keeping our bodies in what is called the “fight-or-flight” mode. Even, and especially, when there’s no reason to run and no reason to fight. It’s like leaving on the lights in rooms that are unoccupied; an unnecessary waste of energy that cannot be retrieved, but yet must be paid for. This is what happens to us when we’re surrounded by constant excitement – our bodies and minds are paying for wasted energy, but we don’t want to stop it and change, until we’ve run out of time.

This is what sensationalism does to us. First of all it’s like airbrushed models – covering up what’s truly there hoping to cause viewers to like and accept the product right away, and also desiring to not only LOOK like him or her, but for some people, they want to BE them. Sensationalism is like flattery too – it’s a lie people tell themselves and each other to hide the truth. Sensationalism is embellishments, and enhancements of the facts, but to a level of overdoing it, like wearing too much makeup, or gaudy big jewelry with a sequined outfit. ;-) Many times what we refer to as “special effects” – visual and audio are just forms of sensationalism. They appeal to the five senses to draw and captivate our attention. Now I will be the first in line to see a good sci-fi movie because I love special effects and especially wonderfully scored music to accompany them, but there comes a time in all of our lives when we must push back from the table of . . . hmmm, I cannot seem to find an easier way to say it so I’ll just say it, deception and lies, and face and embrace TRUTH.

Real everyday life can sometimes be boring, I know this, but it is what it is, and it is what we sometimes make it too. We have choices, and I’m learning more each day that within me are choices that can create excitement for me and others, and there are decisions that can keep me in a dumpster mood. It’s all up to me, for I’VE GOT THE POWER! ;-) But as far as I’m concerned, and I don’t know about you, but when a person says they are bored, it’s because they are BOR-ING. Duh. It’s like “we are what we eat”. Therefore we are what we say we are, we are what we think, and we are what we do. Yes we are! “And you will know The TRUTH, and the TRUTH shall set you free.”

We choose sensationalism because we don’t like what we see and know, it’s not good enough, it no longer satisfies. We choose sensationalism because the truth is not exciting enough, it won’t “sell” on its own, the fans won’t like and accept us if we’re not airbrushed, the record companies won’t record us if we don’t sound like someone else. And on and on and on. Sensationalism will take us out on a limb far away from the tree, but it cannot keep us safe there when the storm winds blow. Nor can it keep the limb from breaking. Sensationalism cannot bring us true joy and happiness, and it will fade away with the credits. Sensationalism never fulfills, and we have to continue “using” it and “eating” and “drinking” it, and “inhaling” it just to keep up our moods. Sensationalism takes on a life of its own, yet it has no true or lasting life to give.

Yes, I use makeup, and sometimes I find the need for certain clothing to help un-enhance my figure if you will, but I never lose touch with my reality, who I really am, when using these tools. And that’s all they are – tools, or gifts if you will, to help us, not use us, or drive us, or to control or change us. To enhance what we really are but not to the point that God doesn’t even recognize us! And not to the point where we don’t know who we are and we forget we’re not perfect, nor are we invincible (sorry MJ). Enhance, but don’t deceive. Be attractive, but not a sellout. Let’s not sell our souls for things that don’t last. Let’s not allow ourselves to be led by the nose into the latest fads and fashions, diets and exercise, religions and spiritualists, celebrities and musicians, presidents and governments, etc. Let’s learn to use the God-given minds we have. We don’t need to let others think for us, making our life’s decisions for us, turning our homes, minds and health upside down because of something flashy and big.

In Matthew’s Gospel chapter 23:1-12, Jesus talks to his disciples about sensationalism. He shares with them what “religious” people (and we can be religious about anything from collecting candles to riding horses. Being religious is not just about the church or other religions.)look like, their tendencies, so they will know what to avoid in their own characters; not so they can play the blame game, or I’m-better-than-you dodgeball. Sensationalism empowers us to elevate ourselves, our cause, our desires, our business, our beliefs – ours, I, me, mine, us – to “be” more than we are. It is a form of deception and lying which introduces and or feeds (and feeds on) an attitude of pride, arrogance and haughtiness. In verse 12 Jesus says, “Whoever exalts himself [with haughtiness and empty pride] shall be humbled (brought low), and whoever humbles himself [whoever has a modest opinion of himself and behaves accordingly] shall be raised to honor.”

As I said in the beginning, I believe in the supernatural, and I love special affects and ear candy, as one musician termed it, in music, but icing is spread on cakes, not on flashing lights or moving photos of cakes. When we’re sharing our life-stories and expressing ourselves, the cake of the matter – the truth is what’s really wanted and needed. If we don’t like our truth, then we do have the power to change it, for good or bad, but using sensationalism to change its appearance just delays the inevitable: curtain call! We can be transformed (from the inside out) by the renewing (changing) our minds (our thoughts and beliefs). Sensationalism does not have the power to do this, only Truth.


Saturday, 5 December 2009

Horse Chips

If you live long enough and travel outside of your neighborhood, city, state and country at least once, and stay away for any length of time . . . say, about a month at least, I can guarantee you will meet some special people along the way. What I mean by meet is you will become acquainted with people to the degree that you can make some fairly accurate conclusions about them without being judgmental, or critical. For instance, I’ve been away from what I grew up as being “home” for about five years now. I’m no longer residing in the country where I was born, so we can safely say I’m in another world.

Since being away I’ve met so many people, even some from my “neck of the woods”, or at least our woods may have connected over some common borders. One person in particular really believed that he had most of the answers (if not all) to solve everyone else’s problems, at least in theory. So he felt that he was right most of the time. I’m trying to be fair and not label him as an extremist, so I won’t say he felt he was right ALL of the time, even though when interacting with me this was the case. Anyhoooo, whenever one did not meet up to his expectations and standards and he wanted to know why or why not (depending on your perspective of the half-filled or half-empty glass), he would reject their explanations as “excuses”. However, whenever he dropped the ball when promising to perform a task for you, he always had a good REASON. Hmmm, to that I say “horse chips”.

There are so many different types of horses from different parts of the world, I couldn’t begin to name them all. Beautiful shiny blacks, whites, browns and reds, golden and mixed colors. Wow! This is one of the good reasons for watching western movies and documentaries of the western territories of the United States, to see the beautiful horses. Wars were fought because of horses (remember the Trojan Horse?), and also they were fought on the backs of horses. Many horses have saved peoples’ lives (The Lone Ranger's "Silver", and Black Beauty to name a few), and many have lost their lives for good and bad reasons. Horses are not only beautiful but intelligent animals. They can sense fear in humans and they know their owner’s scent and voice. They have excellent memories and impeccable hearing. They know how to lead and to follow, and they know how to find their way home. They can be trained. (James 3:3)

Horses have a lot in common with people too. They’re sensitive and they have five senses. They have their own language and they have to mate in order to procreate. They eat and sleep, drink and play. They walk and run and they know how to play tricks too (watch the circus). Just like humans, hours after they eat, they have to let go of the stuff they’ve eaten. You get my drift don’t you? You don’t have to be rocket scientists, lawyers, Indian Chiefs or doctors. Just, human. ;-) Let’s just call them “horse chips”.

Just like there are many different types of horses in the world, there are now several different types of chips and chip companies. For instance, potato chips, rice chips, corn chips, black and blue chips, with and without salt. Stackable chips, broken chips, Pringle’s, Lay’s, some generic names, and Frito-Lay. We all have visited the world of chips in our favorite super markets. Now there seems to be almost a chip for every type of person on the earth. Sugar-free and salt-free chips, vinegar and salt chips, pickled chips, you name them, men and women have fried, baked, sliced, tye-dyed, dried and tried them. And just as many people as there are in the world, there are also just as many horse chips.

What are horse chips anyway? Well, I knew I would never forget what they are once my fifth grade teacher taught us the meaning of the word. (And she loved the wild west too!) And guess what, whenever she put them on a test (not the chips!), we all got it right!! LOL!! Okay. Hmmm, horse chips are those things horses no longer have need of at the end of the day, yet in the places they leave them behind, the grass and vegetation seems to grow mighty fine. ;-) Sounds like a line for a country song doesn’t it? LOL!!! That’s the literal definition of HCs. Now on the social side I refer to “horse chips” as those stories we all tell when we cannot tell the truth, or we don’t want our truth to be known by others because it’s so ludicrous or ridiculous (did you notice that you spell both of those words with the same letters?), or we just don’t have a really good enough reason to explain ourselves. You see what I mean? Some people refer to them as “BS”, and others as “n’importe quoi” en Francaise. I’ve heard other expressions too – poppy cock and “I ain’t buying it”. Oh well, I guess it depends of course upon where you were born, and how your familiars expressed their frustration. Or where you find yourself in the present; right now, no one I know expresses their frustration as “horse chips”.

I say "horse chips" when people try to make me think I was born yesterday just because I’m new to the current situation and scenario. "Horse chips" when they’re always right and you’re always wrong. "Horse chips" when arguments are one-sided and lack focus, yet you’re being forced to swallow them hook, line and sinker and make major life-changing decisions upon. "Horse chips" when what’s good for the goose IS NOT good for the gander. "Horse chips" when the pot wants to call the kettle black. "Horse chips" when it’s quacking like a duck but they’re trying to convince you it’s a dog. Both begin with the letter “d”, but that’s about all. "Horse chips" when the only one worth hearing is always the one doing all the talking, but never listening. "Horse chips" when men are the only ones who can become angry and show it because it’s not “lady-like” for women to display their anger. "Horse chips" when people insist this is a “man’s world”, but he’s always looking for the perfect woman. If it’s a man’s world, then men don’t need women. "Horse chips" when women insist they have to be naked to prove they’re beautiful. "Horse chips" when people insist that white is always right while all other colors of the world are inferior. "Horse chips" when people conclude that racism is the major problem of the world when in fact “fear” is the foundational problem of human existence. All the others are just pawns on the chess board.

"Horse chips" when it’s not cool to be your real self. "Horse chips" when people say "I love you" and then turn around and abuse, accuse, and misuse you. "Horse chips" when others insist you do what they’re not willing to do, or you will lose your job, home, etc. "Horse chips" are those “excuses” we all put out there and hide behind, and blame others in order to keep from doing what we know is right. "Horse chips" when thieves in black, grey and navy blue suits and ties tell their victims “we did it for your own good”. "Horse chips" when politicians push for laws they refuse to live by, or think don't apply to them. They're for the "underbeings". "Horse chips" are what keep boys inside men’s bodies and little girls walking around in 44D bras trying to convince the world “this is how we do it” i.e. the adult thing. "Horse chips" are what cause people to say “the devil made me do it” and then turn around and say “God doesn’t exist”. "Horse chips" are the stupid statements that God is causing our troubles and then "where is God when we need Him?" "Horse chips" are put out by those who believe you should do as they say and not as they do. What happened to leading by example? Horses do. And do. ;-)

Could it be the reason our society is suffering from split and multiple personalities is because of all the "horse chips" put out generation after generation, creating horse chip landmines called “laws”, and now we’re trying not to step on them moment by moment lest we get blown up, as we try to live in our homes, raise our families, work our jobs and have a little fun on the range? (Where the dear – yeah I know – and the antelope play . . .) After so many years of saying what we don’t mean and doing what we didn’t say, and meaning what we thought we did, gheesh, hmmm bipolar, schizophrenia, dementia, anger, rage, depression, fear, etc. you name it, begin to create the normal dysfunctional society. What then, could possibly be the answer? Well, lest I sound like the semi-extremist I described at the beginning of this monologue, the answer lays with the One Who created our universe, (and I believe He has deserved the right to be Extreme in every way.). In Holy Scriptures He has spoken these words, “A double-minded man (person) is unstable in all his/her ways.” (James 1:8) Now even in regular English, or whatever language you prefer, this is not difficult to understand.

Double means . . . duh “for 400, what is two Alex?” Your mind. Now, hmmm that’s a more difficult one. A person who says what he means, means what he says and whose actions line up with his words and thoughts, is a focused person. Multi-taskers may refer to this person as having a “one-track mind”, but I believe that is better than having two tracks and your brain, I mean train derails because at the crossroads you cannot make up your mind on which one to send it. Whatever you believe in your heart or mind about anything, then your words and actions should match that, otherwise why do you believe it? We put out horse chips when we believe one thing, say another thing, and do something entirely not in line with the former two. That’s when we appear to be a person with multiple personalities. Yeah and we say “appearances can be deceiving”. That’s exactly what we’re talking about here. Deception, lies, untruths. In order to get others to believe it, you must first believe it yourself. Horse chips.

It’s time for us to tell the truth, first to ourselves, then to everyone else. There is however, ONE person in the universe we can lie to, but He’s never snowed over, and that is God. He’s never deceived and neither does He deceive. And He knows just how to reveal all those horse chips. It’s called “heat”. LOL!! When the heat is on, the truth comes out. Hay, I’m not a horse and if you’re reading this you aren’t either (unless you’re Mr. Ed, of course). Neither am I a chip manufacturer. Are you? But if we catch ourselves, or each other putting out chips which benefit no one, or only someONE, we need to put ourselves out of business. I don’t think anyone wants to buy Horse Chips by Frito-You, Frito-Me, or Frito-They. I ain’t buying it. Crunch!!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Some Things Take Time.

I’m in a good place right now. The sun is shining outside and it’s after 5pm; it’s cold out there. But I’m inside, snug and warm, sometimes too warm. I have all the things I need to live in this tiny place for a few more days without leaving, if it comes to that. But I hope I can venture out tomorrow. We will see. Okay, I will come clean. I’m one of the victims of a silent and invisible predator, but once it lands silence is the last thing you hear and feel because you’re coughing, sneezing, and wheezing all out of key. There is no three-part har-mo-ny, anywhere. (Did you catch that rhyme? Trying to write a new song.) Then you become a hypocrite because first you’re hot and then you’re not, and you cannot make up your mind which side to lie on in the bed or to keep the covers on or off of you instead. (hmmm, a little bit wordy don’t you think?) You’re hungry but you don’t feel like eating because your throat and chest hurt from all the coughing, and you’re too tired to even hold up your head.

Oh, the heavy head. Yes full of congestion, so you try to b-r-e-a-t-h-e, “respirer” en Francaise. (Now that’s the hook. Whatcha think?) No, this is not the H1N1 taking vengeance on me because I made a joke about it in a past blog, for I don’t have the pain in the arms and legs, and I did have a fever from time to time. Thank God for fevers! Why do we fight them when they are the body’s signal that something needs to get out, and quick!? This is a subject for another time but some things don’t need to be fought but “caught”, studied and understood. Like fish. Remember that the next time you or a loved one encounters a fever. Catch and eat fish!! LOL!! Seriously moving on.

It’s taking me longer than usual to type my thoughts because I’m tired and coughing sometimes, chasing my nose . . . you know all about it because you too have either been tackled recently, or someone close to you has been run over and you’re helping them to repair Humpty Dumpty’s shell. I guess sometimes, some things take time. Even the things we usually take for granted, moment to moment, day after day, etc. eventually encounter road blocks or stop signs where there haven’t been any in the past. We’re taken by surprise and even sometimes angered because it usually happens at a time when we’re on our proverbial role, or roll (both are correct if you expand your mind) and we don’t expect to be stopped by an “officer”.

“Excuse me sir, but what laws did I break?” “None ma’am.” “Then why are you stopping me?” “Because you’re just merrily rolling along, not looking to the left and right, not enjoying the scenery, the countryside, the journey, those in the ‘vehicle’ with you. You’re just focused on where YOU’RE going and what YOU have to DO each and every day, and not only are you rolling along, so is time, so is your life. So we decided to arrest you to help you refocus, adjust your route, your speed – even though you were ‘driving’ (or were you being driven?) the speed limit you were using the ‘cruise’ feature, assuming all was well and going ‘your way’.”

“Yes officer, but that’s not illegal. It’s there to make ‘driving’ ‘easier”. Surely you cannot fault me for using this built-in feature from time to time.” “No ma’am, we don’t fault you for using it from time to time, but we noticed that you use it all of the time. So sometimes we stop people and give them a warning to slow down, other times we stop them and write up a ticket. But in some cases we find it necessary to stop and arrest them, handcuffs and all, and confiscate their ‘vehicle’ for a time until they get ‘rehabilitated’. Ma’am, you fit the third category. Please park your ‘vehicle’ and come with me.”

Hmmm, sounds like that might be a good story, but I will stop here because I think you get the picture. Sometimes we are just doing our thing whether it’s working well or not working at all. We stop long enough to fill the “tank” with petrol but usually neglect the tires, the engine, the fan belt, all those things we cannot see and don’t care to see and names we don’t know, and don’t want to be acquainted with. We just want “them” to “work” for us and keep us going.

Cars are not the only things we treat this way. We treat our bodies, our relationships, our employees and coworkers the same way. We don’t know the names of our hidden body parts and we don’t take the time to learn them and why they even exist inside of us. Yet each day, no matter what we do or don’t do, to, with or against our bodies, we expect them to work for us 24-7 and not break down.

Sometimes our friendships, marriages, parent-child relationships experience “cruise” times, more on than off, and after many miles and states covered then we notice Janie is no longer sleeping in her bed because we didn’t realize she wasn’t in the car two days ago, two states away.

Employers many times don’t know the names of their employees because they’re too far up the totem pole (sorry, “corporate ladder” for the politically correct. They just take away all the good fun.) to deal with the pawns below. Sorry, but that’s the way it feels “down here”. I’ve been down and half-way up and everything rolls down hill. Anyhoooo, they’re “hidden” and don’t need to be seen. Just put out the product and get your paycheck and go home and be happy you have a job. And be grateful you got the benefits you do have, even if there are none, because others would love to have what you don’t have either. Hmmm. Some things take time.

The past five years of my life have seen the most life changes in quantity and quality than I can remember in any other time of my life. Yet it is during these years that I have learned to appreciate time more than ever before. Yes, part of it is because I am older and still have not accomplished dreams and goals I thought would be a good 15 years old by now. I was burning the candle at both ends on the calendars and clocks of my life to “just do it” as Type A personalities like to live by. But I was using more time than I was saving because I did not want to stop to smell the roses, kiss the babies along the way, pet the dogs, or to sharpen my saw. I read a story earlier this year, whether based on facts or not, you will see how “truthful” and applicable to real life it is. (I don’t know the author, but if you do, please send me the name so I can do the right thing. Thanks.)

There were two lumber jacks working in the same vicinity. The older one used an axe all of his life and career and saw no reason to change. But when the younger guy saw him with the axe he kind of ridiculed him saying there was no way he would chop down that great big tree and split it faster than he would with the chain saw. The older man just humbly smiled at him and prepared himself and his axe to get to work.

So they both began to work on their trees. You could hear the chopping of the axe and the buzzing of the chainsaw at the same time, but every so often you would only hear the chainsaw. Then after 15 or 20 minutes you would hear the chopping in the background with the buzzing. Then sometimes you would hear only the chopping for a few minutes, then the buzzing would resume.

Finally at the end of the day both trees were down, but the older man’s tree had been split into log-sized pieces, while the younger man’s tree was still in huge chunks. The young man approached the older man and said disbelievingly “how were you able to do all of that with that axe, while I was using a chainsaw and I still have much to do? You kept stopping and taking breaks, but I kept working, only stopping to put gasoline in the chainsaw. Tell me old man, how did you do it?” The older man sat down, grabbed his water bottle, wiped the sweat from his face and patiently, and quietly responded, “I stopped to whet and sharpen my axe.” The young man never stopped to sharpen the blade of his chainsaw.

Most of us alive now have been raised in, or are just intimately acquainted with “fast lane” and “fast food” living. We live in the era where from corporations on down to dog houses in the back yard “faster and longer is better”. We believe that if we stop for anything, or stop too many times we will lose time and momentum, we will lose our edge, we will lose our spot or our place in line, our opportunity, our prize, etc. blah blah blah and yada. Everything must be done NOW and FAST and keep it moving, don’t stop. Yeah, it takes time to sharpen your axe, but it takes more time and energy to struggle with a dull chainsaw.

One of the Proverbs, chapter 27:17 in the Bible (NKJV) says, "As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance (character/personality) of his friend." Real change and progress in all parts of life can only happen when we take the time to deal with ourselves face-to-face, and sometimes in the face of safe friends. (Be careful with the bisous-bisous at this time, please.)

Sometimes we don’t take time to look others in their face, or eyes to say "hello" or "goodbye", to ask “are you okay?” or “what’s your name?” or “are you going my way”? or “can I give you a lift”? or “can I give you a hand?” or "have a great day!" and on and on. Why not? Because this takes time, something we don't seem to have enough of? And I’m talking about with family and friends. Strangers don’t stand a chance. (Or do they? Hmmm, that’s a thought for another time.)

Living in Paris I’m surrounded by an unbelievable paradox and yes, here it is, I’m going to explain it as I see it and have experienced it. On the one hand, or both hands comme tu veut, you run into (no they run into you) impatient people running to get here and there, everywhere and nowhere, chasing trains like dogs chase cars, running through the metro quais like herds of cattle, and yes, that’s what I call them. You can hear it in their feet on the pavement and then the “whoosh” as they pass by you if you’re fortunate not to get thrown down, or caught up in the fray. The only thing I’ve not yet heard is the “mooow” and “Hello, I’m Mr. Ed”. Head ‘em up and move ‘em out!!! I usually slow down my pace and let them pass, and sometimes I pull my “vehicle” off to the side until all the Rushians ;-) pass by. Occasionally I’ve thought out loud to myself “who let the dogs out” when some humans start barking at and biting one another. But still, some things take time.

Then on the other hand, once that impatient person makes it to the front of "the line" (whatever line that may be), they want to stand there and take up all the time discussing current events and dog food with the cashier while everyone behind him/her now waits on him or her to move on. It seems impatient people have no problem making others wait. France is like that. Very impatient driving and running here and there, but they want to sit and talk about nothing all night long, and smoke cigarettes, and keep you waiting, which takes time. You figure them out.

Trying to become well and whole physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally, and financially – they all take time, and guess what? We can either give the time willingly, voluntarily, and cooperatively, or we can wait for the “life’s accidents police” to come and arrest us. But either way, time is going to be “taken”. As I stay in this tiny flat and deal with the coughing and hacking, etc. mostly by lying down and breathing and sleeping, I notice that my body more easily and readily surrenders the fluids sitting inside my lungs having a tete-a-tete at my expense. But this takes time.

I have no voice with which to sing, or to even speak well. I have no desire to travel in a car, train, plane, bus, box with or without a fox. I have no desire to put on my public persona, which is the same me, but just with clothing on. LOL!! I had to cancel myself from two paid engagements with no insurance to cover what I am missing and no backup. Hmmm, years ago I was very nervous of missing work even with insurance and backup, but now I realize, what’s the use? I cannot recover by lying here being nervous and afraid because I’m ill in my body. My primary relationship – the one I have with myself inside this body – takes time. And if I refuse to enjoy the journey with me and take care of me, I will have nothing to give to anyone else, and I will be a poor testimony to the love of God for me. I won’t even have me to give to me to live out my dreams.

It takes time to learn how to love yourself like God loves you, but when you do, you are really available to love others, because then and only then, (and not before) you will really see them as the special people God created them to be. Because you will know by experience what it means to be special. The same hands and feet God uses to love others through you are the same ones He will use to love you first – you! I learn how to touch you by touching myself. I learn how to “feed” you by feeding myself. I learn how to serve you, by serving myself. I learn how to forgive you, by forgiving myself. I practice on myself and learn what works and what doesn’t, but under the watchful and loving eyes and care of a Holy and wonderful God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Practice makes perfect, whether you practice it wrong or right. It will be perfectly wrong, or perfectly right. :-)

The most important things in life take time, and so do all the other non-essentials we’re convinced we must engage in. We must decide now, or later when we will “serve time”, but we must remember, we will make or take the time. Otherwise, time will make us, and then take us. Let’s get it right.


Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Rubber Bands, Trampolines, and Basketballs.

I watch people everyday going and coming, running and walking, rushing to the red light and chasing trains only to arrive and miss them. Sometimes I never turn on the television, and some days I just stay home for some much needed quiet and relaxation, because I never have to go far to see people. Granted, living in Paris you bump into people even if you’re living alone, sleep-walking on your way to the bathroom at 2 am. You only have to go as far as your mirror to see people, and who or what do you see? There’s no need to send email responses etc. revealing confidential information. That’s an “in-house” question. ;-) Me? Sometimes I see rubber bands of many lengths, colors, widths and depths. Other times I see mini-trampolines and the huge Olympic sized ones. (Please no comments from the chocolate factory.) And sometimes I see basketballs. Again, no comments. :-) What do these three have in common? Their ability to be stretched, and bounce back. (And yes, they are used in sports and for exercising, but let's talk about that later.)

People are not made of rubber material, but sometimes I think at the subconscious level we think we are, because much of the time we act like the Energizer Bunny: we keep going and going and going. But eventually EB stops too because as good as the energizer battery is, it has a shelf life. And so do we. Many times we take on more tasks i.e. assignments and projects than we truly can bear, and to justify it we quote a favorite scripture in martyr-like fashion, God won’t put more on me than I can bear,” or something to that effect, when most of the time we’re delivering pizzas He did not order. And then we wonder why we’re not “getting paid”, say nothing of a tip. Extra cheese please!

Rubber bands tend to wrap themselves around “things” (and people) to keep them together, which is not a bad job to have. Public relations and organization. LOL!! Just make sure the retirement package is substantial, because rubber bands: 1. Lose their rubberability (I could not resist making up that word), and dry-rot around the objects they were designed to hold together TEMPORARILY. Ouch! (It’s time to let some things go, for the pain is . . .) 2. Can be stretched out of shape and no longer return to their original shape, and thus lose their usability. (Okay, that’s already a real word according to spell check.)

Have you ever stored items you wanted to keep forever, or that you just planned to return to maybe in a month or so, but you don’t have an appointment with them, so you wrapped a rubber band around them and put them in a drawer, or on a shelf and eventually you forgot they were there? Then when it’s time to spring clean three or four years later you “find it” and discover the rubber band is sticky and gooey, or it breaks off into fragmented pieces (I guess this would depend upon the dryness or humidity in the environment over time)? Hmmm, it has lost its “bounce-back ability”, which leads me to trampolines and basketballs.

They too are made of rubber material and are made to go the distance, but time, and wear and tear take their toll on these as well. Trampolines, left uncovered to weather the elements and storms will eventually let you down (I can see something like this on “YouTube” now) in a moment of assumption. Oooh, that hurt. Hmmmm. And basketballs sometime lose their air (Jordan can’t help you then) and are no longer fun to “play” with. And over time they too will lose their elasticity. That’s the word I’m looking for, like Stretch Man in the movie the “Final Four”! Oh no, that’s college basketball in the states. The Fantastic Four”! and Elasta Girl in the movie “The Incredibles”. Hmmm, could it be that I’m overstretched with my mind wrapped around too many things at one time (snap!), or just for too long (fragmented)? Or all of the above?

I used to think one was “good” and smart, and smarter than others because he or she could multi-task mentally, emotionally, physically, financially and all those other “alleys” because it meant you could divide your mind and attention (but not your body) to be with more than one person at a time doing more than one thing at a time, or ALL things at ALL times. But people who do this long-term and lose their ability to maintain control are eventually diagnosed as bi-polar, or schizophrenic, or having Alzheimers, or dementia, or some other kind of mind “altering” condition. So why is it considered okay and normal as long as we have on a suit and tie, three inch patent leather heels, a palm pilot, three to ten phones, a gps with the mp3 usb key and mini laptop all in one? A divided mind is still . . . well a divided mind. (And “unstable in all his/her ways.” James 1:8) An overstretched rubber band – no matter its size or width is still overstretched. A dry-rotted trampoline is still going to drop you like it’s hot, and an air-less Jordan is still not going to let you cross on dry ground. (See the book of Joshua in the Old Testament for that one. ;-0).

I can look back on my short life and the lives of some of my friends and colleagues, and we don’t have to go through Star Gate or the Time Machine to see where and when we played, and won and lost basketball games, fell off trampolines, and at the end of the day just snapped! I don’t want to return to that way of thinking and living because a week long stay in the hospital, and an interview with a good looking young doctor revealed that the only place I was going fast, was to the grave. The more I looked into his beautiful brown eyes, the more I wanted to LIVE!! LOL!!! So he told me I had to remove my rubber band from around some things I was doing, and some people I was continually trying to please. I had to not only cover my trampoline during “inclement weather”, but stop letting everybody jump on it, and any time they wanted to whether or not it was convenient for, and to me. Also, I had to stop being the trampoline too. Oooh, you can take that and right (I mean write) another topic all by itself. And follow the bouncing ball? Only in a cartoon song, and not if it’s no longer bouncing. I had to learn when to say “no”, “not this time”, “I don’t have it”, and other non-popular responses when friends, family, acquaintances, and enemies “needed” my services for their situations. (Needs are water, oxygen, clothing, food, shelter and love. Everything else falls under “wants” and “desires”.)

I think we all have within us the desire and need to be needed, because it affords us opportunities to “feel” valued and to be close to people in some way, even if in a negative one. We all want to do the “greater things” Jesus said we would do, but we need to find out what they are, and what that means for us individually. We all have different gifts, talents, resources, etc. and yes we all have egos that, whether we want to admit it or not, feels better when they’re being stroked and not stoked or poked. Am I thus equipped and empowered to meet certain needs? This is the question. And another one is, am I the person for the “job”? Sometimes even though we have the resources, it may not be our assignment.

Hmmm. Even those who don’t believe in Jesus the Christ suffer from, or experience the “Savior Syndrome”: “Just call me, I’ll be right there,” “I’ll be your bridge over troubled water,” “anytime you need a friend,” “I’m the only one you need,” etc. And on and on and on. Singers, lyricists, poets and musicians are good at, and good for putting these phrases to catchy tunes and causing us to prophecy to ourselves and others that we “can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” (and without Christ too). We’re convinced that we’re invincible and in this chain of fools, even though I may be a weak link, I’m gonna stand the strain and take all I can take until the chain breaks!!! “You can stretch me until there’s no more stretch left” is not a song He will let me write. (Maybe “Stretch Marks” to the tune of “Flashlight”? Just an impulsive spur-on-this-moment thought.) This is not God’s way, so therefore it is not His intention for any of us to exist like this.

We have to know when to say “when”, when to say “no” and when to say “yes”. There’s only One true Savior of the world, and He came with the perfect plan for all of us to live and LIVE (I did not say die) this life with our bounce-back ability intact. One of my favorite scriptures through Jesus’ mouth while He walked the earth, found in the New Testament account of Matthew 11:28 is this, “Come unto Me (that would mean God) all you who labor (that would mean ‘work’) and are heavy laden (too much jumping on your trampoline), and I will (Jesus/God) give you rest. (that would be . . . rest. LOL!) Take my yoke (assignments and projects) upon you and learn of me (hmmm, you know what it takes to learn about something, or Someone – go to “school”), for my yoke (my assignments and projects and methods) is easy (hmmm, now that’s a hard one) and my burden (help a sister out here. LOL!!) is light (I think that would mean it’s not heavy.)”. ;-) And neither are you. He/she ain’t heavy, he/she’s my brother and sister for sure, but the only One who can carry us both is Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God. He IS the rubber band that won’t ever snap or dry rot. His trampoline is bouncing back the entire universe keeping the moon, stars and sun from crashing into each other. And He’s the greatest B-Baller Who ever lived because he lived, died and rose again! Now that’s true “bounce-back ability”. I’m not the Savior. I’m just your sister.