Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Joy and Disappointment

I have to admit, I've been lax about moderating the Topical Blog group over the past couple of weeks. We take turns choosing topics, and all write based on that. So, to get back on track, at least for myself, I'm using this week's topic from Logan's Blog:

How am I doing today?

That question is so ... I don't know ... begging for honesty. So, I'll answer with honesty.

Today, I am filled with joy BECAUSE I am filled with disappointment.

Over the past ten days or so, life has been happening. I wrote in my journal about a specific desire that I have in my heart of hearts, having to do with a situation at home having to do with a conflict between his values and mine. Psalm 37:4 tells us, "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." Well, this desire, which is something very, very important to me, is something that Jim really wants no part of. Not in the past, not now, and not in the future. (No, it has nothing to do with children!)  I got so caught up in the disappointment of not having a "complete" relationship with my husband because there may never ever be a resolution to this particular rift. The disappointment was so great that I'm sure the "d" word entered our imaginations, even though neither of us wanted to admit it.

Today things changed. Today I was reading a book that takes a look at the themes of the Twilight series of books, from a Biblical perspective. (More on this book in a later post.) The section I read today had to do with chasing after your desires. You see, we are imperfect people, living in an imperfect world. Whether your desire is a car, a new job, money, love, or a closet full of shoes, eventually you will be disappointed. The only thing that will truly give you fulfillment and not disappoint you is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

I felt as though I got whapped upside the head. People will eventually let me down, no matter who they are. It's not necessarily intentional, but it's gonna happen. It's supposed to happen! When it does, it will hurt - for a while. Sometimes it will hurt a lot, for a long while. It's part of this imperfect life, with imperfect people, who act imperfectly.

God in His divine providence gives us the gift of disappointment. I refer to it as a "gift" not because it is anything we particularly enjoy, but because God gives it to us to draw us closer to Him, where we can receive His abundant grace and unfailing love.

Yep, today I am filled with joy because I am filled with disappointment.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day 2009

blog action dayImage by sniggy via Flickr
Today is Blog Action Day 2009, also referred to as "BAD09". You're probably asking, "What the heck is Blog Action Day?" Since I just found out about  BAD09 only two days ago, I was asking that very same question. In a nutshell, BAD is a day when bloggers all over the world post a blog on the same topic.  (You can read more about it here.) The topic for BAD09 is "Climate Change." 

Just think - I get to participate in a worldwide Topical Blog!
The downside of this topic is that it is not one that I have followed with much interest. I don't know the facts concerning global warming, except that there are some scientists who say that it is a myth. I don't know if we are in a current long-term era of climate change, or what the direct causes would be, if we are. I suppose that the only "climate change" issue I can speak of would be the short-term ones, specifically the short-term one that California has seen in recent years:  drought.

I am not in any way suggesting that the current California drought is the "worst" drought that the world has ever seen. We are so spoiled here. But it has opened my eyes to some effects that long-term climate changes can have. 

One impact that our water shortage has had is in the area of farming. The Great Central Valley of California produces incredibly vast numbers of crops, both in volume and in diversity. Yet there are farmers who have had to deal with water rationing, and in some instances have not had sufficient water to grow crops. On the short-term, local level, this has hurt the local economy with higher food prices. If that same scenario were escalated to a global level over a period of many years - worldwide water shortage, with farmers unable to produce enough for their local economies - the end result could manifest itself in a worldwide famine, with dwindling hope of relief.

Another impact of a severe water shortage and dry conditions have had on our local level has been the increased risk of wildfires. Six weeks ago a wildfire started in Southern California that burned over 160,000 acres (that's 250 square miles, more than half the size of the city of Los Angeles!). While the official cause of the fire was determined to be arson, the lack of rainfall certainly contributed to the amount of dry brush on the hillsides to fuel the fires. The cost of this one fire? 89 homes, three commercial properties, 104 outbuildings and two communications sites either damaged or destroyed.

Unfortunately, fire damage is not limited to just property loss. Along with the homes being destroyed, families lost belongings, some which can never be replaced. Wildlife lost their natural habitat, forcing them to "invade" developed residential neighborhoods. In fact, in my suburban Los Angeles neighborhood about 50 miles south of the burned area, we are being warned of coyote sightings because of the wildlife migration. And this particular fire has not been the only devestating fire in Southern California in recent years. In 2007 the Southern California wildfires burned over 770 square miles, destroyed entire towns in some mountain areas, injured 85 people, killed nine, and forced over 1,000,000 people to evacuate their homes, many of whom had no home to return to when it was over.

I could go on and on about why regular rainfall is so important. Again, I have not studied the long-term global effects of the climate changes. However, being part of this Blog Action Day has brought the issue to my attention, and perhaps the attention of a reader or two.
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Friday, October 09, 2009

Cleaning the Garage

I usually do not go into my garage, and for a couple of reasons. First, Jim and I have agreed that since on-street parking may be limited when he gets home he should have the option of parking his car in the garage. And secondly, my garage looks like this:

OK, maybe not exactly like this, but you get the idea.

There will be a day in the future when, with the help of a fairy godmother - aka FGM - (Bibbity, Bobbity Boo), my garage will be transformed to something that more resembles this:

But until my FGM answers my desperate pleas, I have some work to do on my own. Out of all the piles of boxes, books, knicknacks, games, spiders and webs, yard tools, furniture, mementos, documents, and just stuff, I must make some decisions:
  • What is worthless and, therefore, must be discarded?
  • What is of value to me?
  • What could be of more value to someone else?
  • What of this overwhelming collection of stuff is nothing more than sentimental rot?
I am aware of some of the across-the-board methods that the "experts" swear by for eliminating clutter, such as the two-year rule (If you haven't used it in two years, out it goes). But there are some things that you simply cannot apply that rule to. For example, I have a drawing of a half-beagle/half-salamander creature that a friend drew for me way back in high school. I'm sure it's tucked away between the pages of a yearbook (it's in one of these boxes ... someplace ...)  Is this drawing sentimental rot? To most people, perhaps. But to me, it is a treasure worth gold, because of the memories it represents. My eternal optimism says that since this is the only known picture of the world's only known "beaglemander" its value would be exponentially multiplied if I share it with friends who are part of that memory.

Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount that we are the light of the world. We are given gifts to share with others. Often we allow the endless clutter in our lives, such as relationships gone bad, overwhelming commitments, unexpected circumstances, worry, sinful tendencies, fear, procrastination, etc., to bury our gifts so deep that we have difficulty finding them, let alone putting them to use. Leaving our God-given treasures buried not only insults the One who gave them to us in the first place, it also withholds the blessing from those who would benefit from our sharing them.

I have been incredibly, infinitely blessed over the past years by someone who continues to take the time to walk me through the process of cleaning out my "spiritual garage" and uncovering my gifts, and continually encourages me to make the most of them. This has not been an overnight process, to say the least, but the journey is well worth the effort.

I would like to pay this blessing forward to someone who would like help in cleaning his or her spiritual garage and uncovering gifts for the benefit of others. If that person is you, please let me know.