All Things Aren’t As They Appear

I hope you read this blog post to the very end, you will have a funny surprise. Forgive my long absence. I’ve not felt there was much to laugh about these many months. I feel as if the world has become a Wiley Coyote and Roadrunner cartoon. I see futile attempts at chasing dreams, only to see them blown up, run over by an oncoming train, all the while trying to escape a taunting adversary. And I’m only talking about politics.

Have you noticed lately that in life everything isn’t seeming to be what it appears? In a major town in America this week it was announced they they were banning the American Flag from all their fire trucks. The reason? They feared the red, white, and blue could offend people. Imagine, an American flag! For the sake of political correctness, why doesn’t the town approve a flag with Chucky Cheese on it? After this long political season, aren’t we all used to seeing rats?

I’m envious of individuals with few surprises in life. Consider the port-a-potty cleaners. Everyday they jump out of bed, they jump into their thigh-high fishing boots with the confidence that they are the number 1 employee in the Number 2 business. Imagine starting your day from the premise that it can’t get worse. I could find solace in that.

So what do I mean by things aren’t always as they appear? Consider my original story I wrote sometime ago entitled, “The Almost Love.”

The moment my eyes gazed upon you, I was drawn to you. Petite, your cute little lip, almost begged me to draw mine to yours. I placed my trembling hands around your midsection. I could feel the perspiration upon my palms.

As I drew you closer, I breathed in your essence. I couldn’t believe my fortune in finding you. The dreams I had of you in the wee hours of the morning, only created a hunger that couldn’t be quenched. As I closed my eyes and I drew you close, I smiled as our lips made our first gentle contact. Yet this moment I had savored, when I needed you the most, you fell apart. The cruelest of betrayals had left me heartbroken and you crushed.

How could you not contain what was within you? How could you have ruined this moment? It only confirmed what I had suspected all along….Dixie cups, only Dixie Cups from now on!

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If the Apostle Paul had Teenagers

A young Catholic priest decided to enter a monastery. He joined one particularly strict sect. The head monk told him, at his indoctrination, that they were sworn to TOTAL silence. That meant that they could not speak one word at all. However, every ten years, they would be permitted to speak two words.After 10 years of total silence, the head monk at the breakfast table indicated it was now time for him to speak his two words. The monk said, “Hard Bed!” And then he resumed his silent study and work. Another 10 years passed and the head monk again indicated it was time for him to speak at the breakfast table with his two words. The monk said, “Lousy Food!” And then he resumed his silent study and work. A third decade passed and the head monk again indicated it was time for him to speak his two words. The monk stood up and said, “I quit!” To which the head monk shook his head and said, “You might as well, all you’ve done is complain ever since you arrived here!”

The Good Book has excellent advice on every aspect of life. But sometimes I wish it was more specific when it comes those who complain.  When it comes to complainers, I would have to assume children would be at the top of the list. I have often asked myself, “What would some of our greatest biblical characters have done if they had children?”

I know the biblical characters Aaron, Issac, and David had their hands full with their offspring. I was spared their indignities, but as I look for added wisdom on how to work with my own children I sometimes draw a blank. I took them to church, taught them to respect God but how do you keep them from grousing?

During the years of AD 46-to-57, it is estimated that the Apostle Paul traveled 10,282 miles. The fact that the majority of that was on foot, means Paul had a reason why he never married. How many wive’s would want to travel that far without the convenience of wheels? I can only imagine if he had been married, a conversation with his wife Pauline would have gone something like this…..

Pauline: Paul Dear, Are you going to stop and ask for directions or are we going to take the long way to Troas again?”

Paul: “At least we don’t have to travel by whale like Jonah did dear.” Then I imagine the children grumbling how hot it was and the constant griping of, “When are we going to get there?  Paul never married, my exegetical understanding has to be because he never wanted kids. Don’t believe me? How effective would his ministry have been if he had two teenagers, a boy and a girl? Every trip he made would sound something like this, “Hey Dad, can we go to that new restaurant in the valley called, “Get Agrippa?” “Do we have time?” Yeah, I would love a tall glass of Root Beer-Sheba right about now.”

Later I see the daughter whining, “Do we have to go to go back to church there again? You were thrown out with Uncle Silas last time. All my friends on FaithBook are still talking about it.” Yeah adds the brother, “I hate these trips, the last two times we went to Antioch, you got stoned.” “Remember Dad when you had to be let down in a basket over the wall in Jerusalem? Do you even have any friends?”

As I recount this fictional story on ancient parenting,  I now know why Paul wrote to the Philippians these words, “I have learned that whatever state I am in,  I will be content.” I have to believe it was because he had no kids. And no kids means no complaints.

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The Old Man Vs the Young Man

I present to you an old joke that still makes me laugh. Apologies to comedian Jerry Clower (The Mouth of the South) for the updated version.

A hip young man goes out and buys the best car available: a brand new Ferrari 550. It is also the most expensive car in the world, and it costs him $500,000. He takes it out for a spin and stops at a red light.
An old man on a moped (about 75 years old) pulls up next to him. The old man looks over at the sleek, shiny car and asks, “What kind of car ya’ got there, sonny?”
The young man replies, “A Ferrari 550. It cost half a million dollars!”
“That’s a lot of money, “says the old man. “Why does it cost so much?”
“Because this car can do up to 320 miles an hour!” states the young dude proudly. The moped driver asks, “Mind if I take a look inside?”
“No problem,” replies the owner.
So the old man pokes his head in the window and looks around. Then sitting
back on his moped, the old man says, “That’s a pretty nice car, all right…but I’ll stick with my moped!”
Just then the light changes so the guy decides to show the old man just what his car can do. He floors it, and within 30 seconds the speedometer reads 160 mph.
Suddenly, he notices a dot in his rear view mirror.  It seems to be getting closer! He slows down to see what it could be and suddenly, whhhoooossshhh! Something whips by him, going much faster!!!!
“What on earth could be going faster than my Ferrari?!” the young man asks himself. He floors the accelerator and takes the Ferrari up to 250 mph. Then, up ahead of him, he sees that it’s the old man on his moped.
Amazed that the moped could pass his Ferrari he gives it some more gas and passes the moped at 275 mph. Whoooooosh!
He’s feeling pretty good until he looks in his mirror and sees the old man gaining on him yet again. Astounded by the speed of this old guy he floors the gas pedal and takes the Ferrari all the way up to 320 mph.  Not ten seconds later he sees the moped bearing down on him again.  He’s shocked, his Ferrari is going flat out and there’s nothing he can do.
Suddenly the moped plows into the rear of his Ferrari, demolishing the rear. The young man jumps out, and unbelievably, the old man is still alive!!! He runs up to the mangled old man and says, “Oh my Goodness! Is there anything I can do for you?”
The old man whispers with his dying breath, ” Yes could you please unhook…my suspenders from your side-view mirror.

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No More Play By Play

When I envision my Facebook page, I want my wall to be a beautiful garden replete with renewed acquaintances, pictures of happy babies and fulfilling vacations. Somewhere along the way however, some of my acquaintances have turned my Facebook thread into a train wreck. As I scroll through posts, my wall has become a land mine. One moment a cute little puppy, the next a bloated baby on I’V’s. Shortly thereafter up pops a cute cartoon, then immediately following that, an abused canine that looks like it’s been put through a cheese grater. Amidst the garish crime scenes and mayhem, I am jerked yet again by friends who want me to read their scriptures and sermon soundbites. The caveat to all this is a caption that reads, “say a prayer or you are heartless”. My Facebook wall most days is the equivalent of a crime scene in a church without the full body chalk line.

Houses of Worship across America have a little thing they do each week. They ask the church family to share any praise or prayer requests before the corporate prayer time. Each week without fail, most congregants forget their praises and go directly into their organ recitals; this organ hurts and that organ hurts. If that isn’t bad enough, some “well meaning” saints want to do a play by play on how bad someone’s health condition really is. No, I don’t want to know how inflamed Sister Smith’s carbuncle is. Generally, after such a report, the reverent mood is lost. I can’t substantiate  that God likes baseball, unless you can count the Padre’s or the Angels, but He surely doesn’t need color commentary before we bow our heads. I don’t need to see a mangled anything to make me pray.

I long for the old movies where if something bad was to happen, the camera would pan away and all you’d hear is a muffled scream or the sound of a gun and you’d guess the outcome. I am not callous to the pain of this world, but can’t we look more upward than downward? Can’t we see more laughter than tears?

The Apostle Paul never had Facebook page, but if he did, I’m confident his wise counsel in Philippians 4:8 would still apply. He wrote, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Despite the state of the world, I choose to be an optimist. I want to make a point of seeing the best in the world. A pessimist on the other hand sees only the worst. The following story reflects the myriad amount of people that are in my life and on my Facebook wall.
An avid duck hunter was in the market for a new bird dog. His search ended when he found a dog that could actually walk on water to retrieve a duck. Shocked by his find, he was sure none of his friends would ever believe him.
He decided to try to break the news to a friend of his, a pessimist by nature, and invited him to hunt with him and his new dog.
As they waited by the shore, a flock of ducks flew by. they fired, and a duck fell. The dog responded and jumped into the water. The dog, however, did not sink but instead walked across the water to retrieve the bird, never getting more than his paws wet. This continued all day long; each time a duck fell, the dog walked across the surface of the water to retrieve it.
The pessimist watched carefully, saw everything, but did not say a single word.
On the drive home the hunter asked his friend, “Did you notice anything unusual about my new dog?”
“I sure did,” responded the pessimist. “Your dog can’t swim!”

This week exercise optimism. If you are melancholy, then stop by my house at the end of the month and help me balance my checkbook. We’ll set aside one day to cry together.



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