Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Game-Changer

Needless to say, the length of my hospital gown, and whether my behind is exposed or not is the least of my concerns if I am the one wearing it. Or if it’s the one I dearly love wearing it. 

Even how exactly I got here doesn’t matter that much.

It could be an illness. It could be an accident.  An ‘act of God’. My fault, your fault, everybody’s fault, nobody’s fault – it doesn’t matter.

Just the fact that I am here.

The simple fact that life has side-swept me off its highway,  knocked me of my feet and left me half-dead in the ditch while the rest of the world is happily zooming by.

I am out of my depth, in-over-my-head.  This is way more than I could ever handle on my own. 




Suddenly all my priorities are rearranged for me.

Suddenly, my scheduled is completely cleared up on my behalf.

Suddenly, what I do, what I call myself and all the stresses and worries that are attached to my silly titles - matter very, very little.

And in an instant, what matters A LOT is what I’ve been taking for granted most of my life.  What I’ve been shortchanging and squandering and sacrificing on an imaginary altar of more important, more urgent things.

Suddenly, I have a lot of time to kill.  Honestly, more time than I really want to have on my restless hands.

And as the seconds drag like molasses into minutes, and minutes drag into hours I would kill to have my old life back, at least some parts of it, but with these new eyes that have been opened. 

Because I am seeing myself – my life and everything in it, as if for the very first time.

And the worst thing that ever happened to me, that very thing that left my soul in the ditch, that clothed her in the threadbare hospital gown, slowly, imperceptibly becomes one of the best thing that ever happened to me… 

And I thank God, from the depths I didn’t even know existed in my heart, I thank God for it. 

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:26

Monday, May 25, 2015

Hospital Gown for the Soul

Instead of shooting out a rapid verbal fire fueled by my usual well-stocked arsenal of not-so-well-thought-out answers, I do something quite out of ordinary.  

I slide the question right back into her court:

What do you think? What does a butt-naked soul look like to you?

Just like that. Then, I wait for the little Facebook notification letting me know I have a new message. I hope it's quick.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but it couldn’t have been something revolutionary different from what I was already thinking. After all, Susan and I are so alike. Like two peas in a pod.

Maybe that’s why her answer blind-sided me so much.  Or perhaps, one can say that it opened my eyes to something I didn’t really see before we started our conversation.

This is what my dear friend, who, incidentally is recovering from a knee surgery even as I write this, said:

I'm still not quite sure how to define a butt-naked soul. Kind of like walking down a long hallway wearing a hospital gown that's two sizes too small.

Walking down a long hallway…

… wearing a hospital gown…

… that’s two sizes too small.

I don’t know about you, but this appears to me like a major paradigm shift.  

A shift that moves us from a theatrical stage to a hospital hallway. 

From performers with wardrobe malfunction to patients waiting for the arrival of the physician who alone can give the accurate diagnosis and prescribe proper treatment.  

From stage-lights and stardom to soul surgery.

What does a butt-naked soul look like to you?

I guess the answer utterly depends on who you ask.

It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners. Mark 2:17

Friday, May 15, 2015

Sir, We Got the Visual!

Few weeks ago, after reading the One Size Doesn’t Fit All post, my friend Susan who not only reads but actually ponders what is written, sends me a private message with the following question:

What does a butt-naked soul look like?

Hmmm....I frown. I didn’t really think about it, I want to say, but I am embarrassed to admit it.

This happens to me a lot.  First I write.  Then, I think. Especially when prompted by my thoughtful friends’ questions.

What DOES a butt-naked soul look like?? I ask myself, and immediately a few images pop inside my head. 

An un-named orchestra conductor’s dress pants that split wide open from behind at the peak of an extraordinary performance (true story told by the un-named conductor!)…

The row of overgrown azalea bushes pruned way back, their lush foliage skirt stripped off, revealing their bare gnarly skinny legs and shockingly hollow interior…

The high-school principal during the awards night…

My reel goes on, revealing mostly painfully embarrassing images of inadvertent exposure – visual and verbal - soliciting a horrified gasp from unsuspecting audiences.  All my images imply deep humiliation and strong desire to hide what was exposed. 

To cover up the rip in the pants. 

The operating word - something we all are all too familiar with - shame.

Several Bible verses that speak on the subject of shame, nakedness and such also pop inside my head, and now I am getting really excited to share my brilliant findings with my thoughtful friend. I didn't realize I was being profound without even trying! 

Just as I am about to pounce on the Instant Messenger, something stops me in my tracks.  

Something pulls on me to hooooold my horses.

Something reminds me of my old old Communications 101 professor, his life-time nicotine-addiction burnished voice trailing across the ocean, across the decades - even centuries! - still strong, still admonishing us, the young, bright know-it-alls that it is far better to answer a question, not by unleashing a horde of prancing answers, but… by… 




Thursday, May 07, 2015

A Sleepy Head's Guide to Achievement

I got so many achievements last night, Mom.

I had a rough night, after a long, rough day. It’s way too early to make any kind of conversation, much less a conversation that involves making sense of such incongruous statement.  

Hmmm… I am waiting for the java juice to work its drip magic. How can you get achievements while you are sleeping?!?? I wish my life would work like that, racking up achievements while I sleep...

You know I am talking about Clash of Clans, right?

Of course,  I lie, still fantasizing about the achieve-while-you-sleep idea, waiting for his answer and the java-juice effect on my brain.

It’s because I was attacked so many times all throughout the night!

Suddenly I am wide awake, and he has my full attention.

You get achievements for being attacked?!!!

Now I really wish my life would work like that – getting achievements every time I am attacked - day and night!

Of course not!,  he laughs. That would be silly. You don't get achievements for just being attacked! You get achievements every time the attack on you fails. That’s how you get achievements. You get attacked. Your defense wards off the attack.  The attack fails. You get the achievement. The more attacks, the more opportunities for attack-fails. The more attack-fails, the more achievements. That’s how it works. 

In addition to all this take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Ephesians 6:16

Monday, May 04, 2015

May the Forth Be With You

The following post was originally published several years ago titled Who Is George Lucas? I rarely revisit the oldies, but thought it would be fun to make an exception to the rule on this day. May the Fourth Be With You!

We can thank my mother-in-law for introducing Star Wars into our children’s lives by getting our 5 year old son his first Star Wars LEGO set. He ripped the boxes open and within seconds our home was invaded by the Imperial Stormtroopers and the Droids.

I was mortified.

Star Wars?!!! He is waaay too young for Star Wars!

It wasn’t the complexity of the building process I was concerned about, because that never seemed to be a problem for our pint-size engineer. What bothered me much more was a matter of introducing complex adult issues into his immature mind, and the challenge that creates for me as his parent. But, like it or not, the door was open and there was no going back.

From that day on, my son turned into a miniature Star Wars maniac. So far, he’s been mostly preoccupied with recreating cosmic wars against his little sister. Along the way he somehow acquired a prodigious amount of information about the characters and the plot and various twists and turns in the storyline. He learned the difference between the Imperial and the Rebel blaster, the who’s who and what’s what of the Imperial Army and the Rebel Alliance, and all the whys and therefores of the narrative that molded the worldview of generation after generation since the first movie was released. He bought a Star Wars Visual Dictionary with his own money(!) and would spend his free time memorizing its content.

Now, all this wouldn’t be so surprising if it wasn’t until this afternoon, years after the initial encounter, that he saw his very first Star Wars movie. Watching him watch the movie was as much (or more) fun as watching the movie itself. It was as if he had all these loose pieces of a puzzle, and he finally saw how they all fit together, he could finally place them in their exact spots in the larger, 4-D story-puzzle. His delight was quite contagious. During dinner, he continued chatting enthusiastically about all the fascinating trivia he picked up during the afternoon Star Wars extravaganza. In the course of the conversation, my husband casually mentioned George Lucas and what his intent might have been for the unfolding of the various episodes in a certain sequence.

George… Lucas?!!
 Our son muttered hesitantly… And who is this George Lucas? 

There was no doubt that he was utterly confused. You could tell that he was scrolling down the imaginary database of Star Wars names and faces, from Emperor Palpatine through Chewbacca and Ewoks, but there was no suitable match for the name “George Lucas”.

It was now our turn to be confused. How is it possible that with all these years of borderline obsession with the Jedi and their pecking order, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, and R2D2 and Obi-Wan Kenobi, our son never ever heard the name George Lucas?

We looked at each other and burst into laughter.

Hmm …George Lucas…. George Lucas…. Well, he is kind of like God to the world of Star Wars. Without him, there would be no Star Wars, nor the galaxy, nor anybody or anything else belonging to this galaxy far, far away. He created it all. This amazing world exists because it first existed in the mind of George Lucas.

It took several minutes for the news to settle in his shaken-to-the core 9 year old mind screaming for a paradigm shift. Until this moment of revelation he was so preoccupied with the fascinating universe which George Lucas had created that for a brief while he simply couldn’t compute the information about the existence of the creator of that universe.

There…there is a George Lucas… there IS a George Lucas and I never even knew it!

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1