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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I've Been Having a Vacation...

...of sorts. While it's a vacation from the daily grind of my paying job, it is by no means a lazy, cool drink in hand, day at the beach. Instead, I've had my yard tools and paint brushes in my delicate hands, sweat pouring from my generally dry brow. The fact is, I really need to get back to the paying job for a little break.

It starkly reminds me of the lack of manual labor I do in my life. Now, over 40, I usually sit in a car or behind a desk and push papers during my workday. I complain about my anticipated carpel tunnel syndrome and my very real paper cuts. I'm angered at a lack of follow through by employees on my "action required" items as well as the number of "action required" items sent to me by the boss. I raise my fist in white knuckle frustration at the length of a conference call and balk about how things should be done differently!

Elsewhere, a good friend struggles to make ends meet by working multiple jobs. Another friend is a soldier celebrating his wife's birthday with a blog entry. And another friend has recently lost her healthy mother to a sudden and catastrophic illness.

Be careful though, I'm not making comparisons. Comparisons in that way (a life to a life) are never apples to apples type scenarios. I am, however, helping to establish a baseline for myself. A baseline of what is good and what is hard in my life. If you will, even what is acceptable. Someone once said, "Don't sweat the small stuff... and it's all small stuff". Well, for the most part that is true. After all, right now I have a rather average life when it comes to hardships. My friends mentioned in the paragraph above are travelling some rocky roads right now, but they are not roads which have not been walked a thousand times by others and at select points in a life, by everyone. Oh they are not the exact situations mentioned, but situations which elicit the same emotional states that they are in right now.

So back to the opening point, which is, much of my frustration in life is... "small stuff". Frustrations which create an emotional storm not because of their size, but because of my lack of perspective on what is important. Much like the poor stamina I have with my yard work this "vacation", my mind has become forgetful of the truly difficult situations in life. In that way, perhaps the challenges in life are workouts for better emotional endurance and to make us stronger, and arguably better, people. I realize that's easy perspective when you are not in the storm. However, everyone knows that in the end a difficult situation always turns into a changed outlook. The sky is never brighter than after the pelting rain and damaging winds have passed. The clean up, however, is another matter.

Whatever the case, I have to go now. There's a paint brush, a shovel and a plunger that awaits my expertise. And afterward, a good hand washing, a cold iced tea and a very special episode of Judge Judy. I'm so thankful for that 2 hour conference call that awaits me this coming Monday!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Let's Squish Our Fruits Together...

You're A Member of the Rebel Alliance...

...and a traitor! Take her away. And let's get off at Bowling Green station to get a quick photo in front of the Statue of Liberty.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Funny Thing About Courage... that it can only be tested in the face of your fear. Oh sure, it's easy to say your courageous while sailing the smooth waters of life. It is quite another animal however when you're in the midst of facing a murderous giant, your leather sling shot in one hand and a smooth river stone in the other. The story of David and Goliath was always a childhood favorite of mine. Even as an adult there remains a certain poignancy about this story. To me it tells of human nature as much as it does faith and courage.

Remember how the story opens? Saul, The king Israel has a problem. The Philistine army has gathered for war against Israel. The two armies face each other, camped for battle on opposite sides of a steep valley. Goliath, a Philistine giant measuring over nine feet tall and wearing full armor comes out each day for forty days, mocking and challenging the Israelites to fight. Only tiny David and his slingshot eventually stepped up to the challenge.

To King Saul's credit, he did try to equip David some ill-fitting armor and gear. However, David decides to use what he knew best- a slingshot and some stones. In the end, God took David and used him just as he was- a kid with a keen eye and makeshift weapon.

Do you feel ill-equipped to take on life today? Perhaps it's not that you need to be any different than who you are. Maybe what you really need is a willingness just to step out on faith and trust in a God who's bigger than your giant. Face your fear as you are, leaning on him, and watch your courage emerge. The reality is that your giant, whatever or whoever that may be, is not as big as you think. And you are bigger than you know.