There have been times in my life when I have gotten into arguments. No, really, I have. I know you find it hard to believe, but it is true. Nine times out of ten (or maybe eight, at least seven, I know) times it is because of miscommunication. More specifically on the definition of a certain word or phrase that I thought was a “given” meant something different to somebody else. I recall one time my wife and I got in a serious disagreement over the Bible. She said it was an ‘Instruction Manual’, and I corrected her (yep, mistake no.1) and said it was a ‘Guide Line’. When someone says ‘Instruction Manual’ I think of “place screw 15786509 into hole 344476349 and tighten until snug” or some such. You see it names the screw and the hole and tells you what to do with them. A Guide Line is more of “a good way to take connect these two boards with a screw. You may also use a nail or some twine, but the screw is the best way.” Do you see the difference there? It may only be a subtle difference, but there it is. It was enough that the Devil could stick his foot in the door and cause stress and dissention in the ranks. We argued over that particular subject for quite some time, and I had no idea why until much later. We were both saying the same thing, but using different words to accomplish it. The Bible tells you how to handle situations without getting bogged down with the specifics (like names of screws and pegs and what-nots). Now-a-days, with the advent of texting and social media we have to be extremely careful of how we phrase things, lest we give the enemy an opening. We as partakers in social media need to also keep this in mind and not take offense at the first perceived insult. It is really hard to apply the right ‘tone’ to some messages, and sarcasm often doesn’t translate well either (imagine that!) So when you read something you may find offensive, before you fly off the handle and start a three page rant about someone, and then unfriend them, you might stop a moment and try to figure out if what they ‘said’ was actually what they ‘meant’. (And to finish the story about me and my wife arguing, all was well as soon as I admitted I was wrong. There see how easy that was?)
I’ve always been a little forgetful. It’s usually because my mind is going in twenty different directions at once. No lie, I’ve got five different projects in the works right now. And that’s not counting my paying job. Anyway I proved to myself once again just how forgetful I can be this weekend. I was mad. I usually try to hook up on the net with my son who is out of state. We try to play a game together and just be part of one another’s lives over the great distances between us, but this particular weekend my router was determined not to cooperate. Apparently some of the settings had gotten scrambled (not exactly accurate, but close enough to give you the idea) and it was preventing us from playing. It was the first time me and my son would have been able to play in several weeks, so I was really disappointed. And I said so in no uncertain terms and with a few words I shouldn’t have towards my router. What I had forgotten was the fact that I was lucky to have that router. Late last year a thunderstorm came through and fried my old router, and I didn’t have the money to replace it. My mom just happened to have an old one she wasn’t using. That little fact had slipped my mind as I searched, poked and prodded, changing settings and fuming because it wasn’t working like I wanted it to, when I wanted it to. Forgetting to be thankful for even having it. I finally got it working right (after many a headache), but I still feel bad about having forgotten to be thankful.
I heard a story once about a monkey jar trap. The basic gist of the story was that a jar was secured to the ground with a banana or some other bait inside. The mouth of the jar was just big enough for a monkey to put his hand in. When the monkey puts his hand in the jar, grasping the bait he finds that he cannot get his hand back out of the jar. All he has to do is let go of the bait and his hand would be free, but the monkey usually lacks the sense to do that and remains trapped. Sometimes I think I’m that monkey, holding onto something so hard that it keeps me trapped, unable to move forward, and unable to enjoy the ‘treasure’ that I am holding onto. Things come an go in this life. This physical realm has a lot of desirable ‘bait’ for you, but if you can’t let it go, you won’t be able to enjoy having it either. It remains stuck in the jar, held in your hand, but out of your reach. Sometimes it’s better just to let go. It’s not always the easiest thing to do, but sometimes it’s the best thing you can do.
I have a bad tendency to look to far ahead. I try to plan things out, and always have contingencies in place in case something unexpected happens (which usually does). And when it does it totally undermines my positive attitude. When those things happen I have to just pick myself up, brush myself off and say ‘this too shall pass.’ Which helps a little, but it’s not the ‘insta-fix’ I wish I had. Usually the only way to recover from it is to endure it and focus on damage control. Try to lessen the backlash of events that are caused by the crash. I find myself in that situation these last couple of weeks, and it is very hard to find something positive and uplifting to post about when you’re at battle stations trying just to maintain. My wife, ever the optimist doesn’t understand the fugue state I find myself in, and I’m glad she doesn’t. I actually hope she never does. She is one of my anchors that helps bring me through those storms, and I thank God for placing her in my life. Her optimism may rub me the wrong way sometimes, but it also keeps the darkness from taking me back over. So this week I’m just going to shine the spotlight on her for a bit. Thank you for helping me keep swimming, my love.
There are a few words in every language that have double meanings. Sometimes even saying them with a slightly different tone or emphasizing different syllables can completely change the meaning of a word. The Devil has known this for a long time. Known it and utilized it for his own ends. Suddenly ‘love’ and ‘romance’ has been confused with ‘sex’. ‘Darwinism’ has come to mean ‘scientific’, regardless of the fact that is not. ‘Christian’ has become synonymous with ‘intolerant’. Evil has blurred the meanings of words and in so doing, a whole generation of people have been raised without an understanding of the true meaning of such words. What would the Devil have to gain by confusing these words? I can answer you in one word. Confusion. If you can keep someone confused and off balance, they are a lot easier to manipulate. Someone who is not thinking clearly are unsure of their actions. They make bad choices and cause bad things to happen. What people do not understand is that the Devil hates human. God created us and elevated us above the angels. This made him jealous. That jealousy is what prods him to torture anyone he can. And he has done this by simply blurring the meanings of certain words. Without those words, ‘morality’ has a totally different meaning. ‘Normal’ has a totally different meaning. ‘Marriage’ has a totally different meaning. And ‘honor’ has almost lost all meaning in today’s day and age. When you are raising your family in these troubled times, be sure they know what you mean.
I had a dream last night. I was out with my wife, and we were having dinner with another couple. When we left the restaurant things got a little strange(as they often do in dreams). We wandered about the city, trying to get our bearings and find out where we were (our guests were the ones showing us around. It was their city). I noticed that everyone was wearing masks. They were all staggering around, but they were basically headed in the same direction. One of them approached us. It was a woman and she was wearing the mask of some kind of alien. Do you know who you were? She asked my wife. My wife said yes she knew who she had been. Do you know who you are? She asked my wife. No was my wife’s answer, she didn’t know who she was. The strange lady then turned to me and said; Do you know who you were? As I nodded and thought about all of the bad things I had done over the years, I realized there was a reason this woman was asking these particular questions. I already knew the next question she was going to ask. Do you know who you are? “Yes,” I answered, but I didn’t stop with that answer. “But it doesn’t matter,” I said. “If you focus on who you were or who you are, you lose sight of who you can be.” And then I woke up, but the words stayed with me, a gift from God. What will you focus on today?
I remember growing up and seeing Robin Williams playing Mork from that T.V. Show Mork & Mindy. He was always acting so goofy and making people laugh. He was a truly talented and amazing actor. He fooled the world. Even those close to him had no idea how bad his depression was. They didn’t know that it was that bad. Perhaps it didn’t seem that bad to them. Sure, he had a little problem over here, or that was going on over there. The truth is we may never know ALL of what someone is going through. Chances are, if you see someone going through a difficult time its just the tip of the iceberg. The part that we see is just a fraction of the whole picture, because we are only brushing up against it as we pass by. Barely glimpse it as we hurry on to our next appointment. You never know how close someone is to the edge. Maybe yours could be the hand that pulls them back. Perhaps that one smile or pleasant “good morning” you offer them could be the anchor that keeps them from taking that last step into oblivion. Robin Williams will be missed sorely. He was loved by millions, but he just couldn’t find that balance that everyone needs to make it. I will mourn for him, and hope that he found the peace at the end of the journey.