My Parents Were Right . . .Again

Hello Friends,

close up photo of person s eye

Photo by Mark Arron Smith on Pexels.com

Over Easter Break I was home from school with my family.  And I was experiencing a bit of an emotional low, which of course my parents didn’t notice because you can defiantly hide things from your mother. Just kidding, you can’t hide anything from my mother.  We call her, “The Great Eye,” because she knows all and sees all.

In talking with them I expressed some of the frustration and anxiety that I was feeling about things like finding a summer internship and disappointing people.  Often in these conversations (particularly the ones about jobs) people try to help by saying something like, “there is something better waiting for you.”  And while this is good and true advice, God does indeed work all things together for the good of those that love Him, my parents also added a little something else.  They told me to stop worrying about the results and start enjoying the process.

beautiful cascade environment falls

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

They reminded me that God is working all things together for my good, and that in order to truly trust that, I need to stop worrying.  Life is a journey not a destination. There is, of course, a place for living faithfully.  But my Mom reminded me that that looks more like getting up every day and doing the best I can, the rest comes in time.

See this past year my family has been going through a somewhat scary time of turmoil.  My Dad lost his job and my parents sold their house and moved in with my grandmother.  But now God has given my Dad a new job, and my family a new house.  And as my Mom said, “that would have been a great time to worry, but I look back at this year and all I can see is how good God has been to us.”

And indeed, in spite of all my worry, God has been good to me to.

Thanks for Reading!

Until Next Time, Stay Out of Trouble!

Going to Nineveh

Hello Friends,

Today, I have a question for you: what is your Nineveh?  This is something that has been on my mind this week, as all my plans for the summer seem to be falling through.  For me, I believe my Nineveh is the Unknown.

Over these past several months, I have been working desperately to find a Summer Internship, and things seemed to be going well.  I’ve had interview after interview, and I even got one job offer. But, these past two weeks have been silent, and every moment that my phone doesn’t ring is a moment I lose hope. The job I wanted the most is now out of my reach.  That was a really hard one for me.

Last week I heard a sermon in which the pastor said, “When you pray you should say, ‘God, I want this thing; I think you want this thing for me, but if you are not going to be with me in this thing, don’t send me.’”  I prayed that this week, and God answered.  He’s not sending me.

Going to NinevehI’d like to be able to smile and say, “this is exactly what I asked for.  God works all things together for the good of those that love Him.  It’s not what He wants for me.” You get it.  In my head, I can say those things, and I do believe them.  But that doesn’t change the fact that in my heart I feel lost and disappointed.

So, what can I do with those feelings?  Is it possible to praise God for answering my prayer and at the same time mourn over the way that He answered it? Can I trust God with my future and at the same time fear the uncertainty of it?  I think a lot of people would say, “no,” that fear and disappointment show lack of faith.

I think those people are wrong.

Before he was crucified, Jesus was afraid.  He asked God not to send Him to the cross (Luke 22:42), and I’d be willing to bet that when God’s answer to that prayer was to send Him to the cross anyways, He was disappointed. Yet, He went.  And that’s the kicker, isn’t it: He went to the cross with fear and disappointment, not in spite of His trust in the Father, but because of it.

Refusing to go where God sends us, like Jonah refusing to go to Nineveh, that is lack of faith.  Feeling afraid of the Unknown and disappointed when plans don’t pan out, that is natural.  The question of faith is not necessarily a question of how you feel about the events of life.  It is more often a question of, when you feel disappointed and afraid, will you go to Nineveh anyway.

 

PC: Marcelo Vaz

A 5 Haiku Time Block

Alarm going off,
time to get up, start the day.
When will you return?

Look at the planner.
Places to be, things to see.
Have a sec to talk?

Running here and there.
Checking phone, watch, calendar.
No time for talking.

9 to 5, long drive,
clubs and sports, late practice time.
Not in time to dine.

Clock in the tower,
on the wall, phone, digital
ticking life away.

PC: Jon Tyson via Unsplash

Family and Home

The floor boards groan under the weight of time,
and the walls whisper tales of days now past.
Porch-bells are heard, winds carrying their chime.
Wallpaper fades, but memory paint lasts.

Under this roof a family once slept.
Children once played in the grasses that grew,
at night, in their beds, they peacefully dreamt
of the love, the joy, they blissfully knew.

Now this house stands in a state of decay.
Its windows are cracked, its roof has a leak.
Parents aren’t sleeping, no children at play.
But if you listen you’ll hear the walls speak,

of the people who walked all through its halls,
and what changed when all of the kids grew tall.

PC: Clark Young via Unsplash

The Devil’s Bird

Hello Friends,

I would like to tell you all an important fact of life: chickens are the Devil’s bird.  Little known fact: when you read in the book of Job about Satan, “going to a fro about the earth,” if you read between the lines, you’ll see that it actually says he goes in the form of a chicken.

flock on chicken on road

Allow me to offer you some proof of the evil nature of chickens from my own personal background.  There was a time, a dark time, in my life, when my own family owned chickens.  We had one rooster and probably about 8 – 12 hens.

Now nobody else in the family had any trouble gathering eggs, but when I went to gather eggs, the chickens sensed my weak and gentle nature and they took advantage.  They would attack! And 9 times out of 10 my dad would have to come, pick me up, and carry me out of the chicken coup, because they were being very aggressive.

As the years passed, we sold all of our chickens.  And over time the scars they left faded.  As I looked back on those days, I thought, perhaps, I had judged too quickly.  Perhaps my fear of chickens was a mere dramatization from the mind of a child.  So when I went to college I decided to give chickens a second chance.

During homecoming week of my freshman year there was a mini-petting zoo on campus.  They had a small pen with baby ducks and baby chickens in it, and the person I was with reached her hand in to pet the baby duck

“It’s so soft,” she said, “you have to pet it.”

There was a baby chicken sitting on the other side of the pen, not even looking in my direction, but as I reached my hand in the pen to pet the duck, it turned.  It charged at me, beak drawn, but I pulled my hand away before it reached me.

“What was that for?” I said to the chicken, “I wasn’t even trying to pet you.”

Again the person I was with reached her hand in and petted the baby duck, with no qualms from the chicken.  So I thought the chicken was going to be reasonable.  I reached my hand in the pen and again the chicken charged me.

And it was then that I learned, never trust a chicken.  Take this with you as you go forth in the world and do good.

Thanks for Reading! Until Next Time, Stay Out of Trouble!

PC: Jason Leung via Unsplash

In the Kitchen

I remember the crowded space,

the clanging of trays and plates.

The people bustling by,

A case of serve or die.

I remember how the supply

Of soup containers dwindled,

And the box, sitting up high,

Holding the needed utensils.

I remember how I could not reach,

And tried to ask for help.

I remember I had to climb

High up on the self.

I remember stretching far,

And reaching to the sky.

I slowly slide the box toward me,

When suddenly,

I remember below my waist

I felt a tightening grip.

I remember my pounding heart,

As from my hands the box began to slip

I remember my sweating palms,

And my balance almost lost.

I remember the spinning room,

As I tried climbing down,

I remember turning swift,

To take a look around.

I remember the ally full,

With no one standing near.

But most of all what I remember,

Is the ever gnawing fear.

And now when I reach for boxes high,

Or climb up on a shelf,

I remember to watch for hands,

That grope about with stealth.

PC: Kenny Luo via unsplash

An Introvert’s Winter

Hello Friends,

With this week being the coldest Pennsylvania has seen so far this winter I, gratefully, chose to stay inside.  Unfortunately, that means there was not much for me to see except the dirty white walls of my toasty dorm room.  And the lovely face of my green-haired roommate.  I did however see a few indistinguishable turtles walking around campus, bundled up in their winter shells to keep from freezing on their walks to the library or dining hall.

It was rather unnerving to pass these faceless eyes as the strode past, raising a gloved hand in friendly greeting. Personally I was afraid to wave back, and I am certain I said, “hi,” to several people I don’t actually know.  Hopefully my fellow introverts can relate, but I think there is something to be said for the social anxiety of waving in general.  Now, add the pressure of waving when you don’t know who your waving to.

We’ve all been there.  You see someone you only vaguely know, and there is a glancing eye contact.  Their hand goes up, and a smile spreads across their face.  Then as you raise your hand, surprised by the eagerness of this greeting, you realize, they weren’t waving at you.  And in that moment a small piece of you dies.  You stop believing in love and you start questioning the fidelity of all of your relationships.  But when the faces of passersby are covered with scarves, the stakes are even higher.

And so friends, unable to handle the intense pressure of simple social norms I chose the safety of my room this week.  I hope you found safety and comfort to, wherever you were and whatever the temperature.  Hopefully next well be more exciting.

Until next time, stay out of trouble.

Hello Again, Friends

I sat down to write my first blog post in several months and didn’t quite know where to start.  First of all, hello! This blog is not dead after all, and I hope to fully restore it to life over the next few months.  As you can see, there has been a little remodel to the look of this site, and there is more of that to come.  There is also going to be some new content added as these next few weeks unfold, which brings me to the point of this post.

I would like to introduce a new segment, which I think will be a lot of fun for all of us.  For now, I am titling this segment: My World.  Though the title is subject to change, the point of this segment is simple: I would like to invite all of you to see the world as I see it.  In my life I often see people, places, and things and imagine them into new stories.  So, each week I will write a short little blurb about my imaginings of the world around me that week.  I expect we will meet a lot of new characters along the way, as people-watching is one of my favorite things to do.

What exactly this will this look like? I don’t know.  But don’t worry, we’ll figure it out together.

Until next time, stay out of trouble!

 

In Too Deep

There is peace found with the river,
There is treachery too.
The water rushes and you shiver,
Then it stills into a pool.

And you watch the up and down.
And you fear the push and pull,
‘cause you think that you may drown,
‘cause you know you are a fool.

You’re a fool to stillness, fool to peace.
Looking at the surface, standing on the edge,
blind to its secrets, buried too deep.
So through the muck you try to trudge,

But it bubbles up in anger, and
crashes against the shore, and
you run from the danger, and
you fear it’s raging roar, and

when you’ve gone a distance
the water stills and calms.
You may wade without resistance,
In the shallows of the pond.

Penny’s Birthday Surprise

Penny looked up at the worn white house, with its dirty, chipped paint.  Ivy crawled up its sides.  Every window was broken, except for one, the upper right hand window.

“Grandpa, how come that house is so dirty?  Penny said.

“Because no one has lived there in a long time so it got run down,” Grandpa said.

“How come no one lives there?”

“Because of Old Maid Micknely.”

“Who’s that?”

“Old Maid McKinley was the last person to live in that house.  People say she went crazy.  My dad used to tell me stories about her from when he was a little boy.

“Oh tell me Grandpa, tell me!” Penny begged.

“Well, when my father was a little boy Old Maid Micknely and her daughter used to live in that house.  Great Grandpa became could friends with both of them and he and Old Maid McKinley’s daughter used to play together all the time.  Then, one day, Old Maid McKinley’s daughter was going to come over to Great Grandpa’s house to play, but she never showed up.  When they called Old Maid Micknely she said she hadn’t seen her since she left the house.   The police searched and searched, but the 8-year-old girl was never found.  It was then that people thought Old Maid Micknely started to go crazy.  She used to sit by that window in the upper right hand corner of the house with a candle all day and all night, rocking back and forth in her chair.  Everyone said that she was waiting for her daughter to come home.  She waited for years and years, but her daughter never came home.  Then one day someone noticed that the candle in the window had burnt out.  So they went to check on Old Maid Micknely.  That was how her body was found, upright, in the still rocking chair.  The townspeople decided to bury her in the front yard, so she could keep watching the road.  She had no family, no one to mourn her, and no will. So the bank seized the house, but no one wanted to buy the house that Old Maid Micknely died all alone in.  No one wanted their children playing over her dead body in the front yard.  So there sat the house, alone and empty for years.

One day, when I was about 16 years old me an a few buddies decided to go and explore Old Maid McKinley’s house.  When we went inside everything was exactly as Old Maid Micknely had left it, just a little dustier.  We went upstairs to the window and found Old Maid McKinley’s rocking-chair sitting by the window.  It was so strange; the chair wasn’t dusty at all, everything around it was, but not the chair. On the windowsill was a candle and a box of matches, just like Old Maid Micknely would have had. So one of my pals decided to light the candle and right when he did chair began rocking back and forth.  We could her the chair creaking against the floor as we ran down the stairs and out the door.  We never went back, but that candle burned for the rest of the week.  Great Grandpa joked that Old Maid Micknely was home because the candle was glowing, but he didn’t even know the half of it.

“Did anything ever happen after the candle went out Grandpa?”

“Only once, on your mother’s 8th birthday.”

“What happened?”

“The day your mother turned 8 years old Old Maid Micknely must have been home because a candle glowed in the upper right hand window of the house all day and all night.”

“Oh Grandpa,” Penny said, “that’s silly.  You’re just trying to scare me, because it’s my birthday too, but I’m too big to believe in ghosts.”

“Suit yourself, but that is a true story Penny.”

“Sure it is Grandpa,” said Penny doubtfully.  As they began to head for home Penny turned for one last look at Old Maid McKinley’s house and she suddenly started to believe her Grandpa’s story.  It would seem that Old Maid Micknely had come for a visit on Penny’s birthday too.