Friday, September 26, 2008

Got What I Needed

When John and I married, we waited a few years before sending our request to the stork. And waited. But alas, there was no sign of the phantom bird. After a few more years we couldn't wait any longer. We decided to adopt the first available baby.

January 7, 1996 we adopted a tiny helpless 7 week-old baby. But, I was baffled at what God was trying to tell us by sending this baby. She was a dog! Oh, I don't mean that she was ugly - she really was a dog - a Miniature Poodle! Not a Great Dane, a German shepherd, a Golden Retriever, a Boxer - no- a Poodle! Just what was God thinking!

Slowly our focus shifted from us to someone else - okay, something else. We learned many new things such as; how to read body language - the dog's as well as each others'; we learned when a hug is needed; a growl means space is needed, especially when "mommy" growls; sharing is a good thing - the couch, the arm-chair, sharing food but not from the same dish; we show great excitement when someone comes to the door and whimper when they leave; when "daddy" returns home from work he is smothered with kisses - well...mostly by the dog; playing tag and hid n' seek are fun ways of exercising; and it's nice to spend some quite time together watching a movie.

There are many things we will never experience as real parents, such as ; parent-teacher interviews; art work on the fridge door, sleepovers; school graduations; weddings and grandchildren. But none-the-less, it has been a joy and a learning experience to look after one of God's precious creatures.

God doesn't answer prayer like a genie in a lamp. He doesn't pop up and answer when we rub the Bible and say a quick prayer. He may not answer the way we expect Him or within our time schedule but He always does answer. God gives us exactly what we need, in the amount that we can handle, with usually a lesson to learn because He cares enough to see us grow.

Psalm 25:4

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Me! Me! Me!

At a spa in Switzerland, Jean and I watched people playing on the water tubing ride. Water flowed down levels like a fast flowing river and swirled in small pools where tubers bobbed about before being whisked down to another level and on and on it zigzagged to the bottom which wasn't visible from where we were standing. It appeared to be a fun easy activity; one I'd never tried but was curious about.

I handed my eye glasses to Jean, picked up a yellow tube, hopped onto it and away I went. Down the first level I floated and came almost to a halt in the first tiny pool. Yup! It was fun and easy!

Suddenly the current picked up the tube and carried me swiftly down to the next level. In desperation I grabbed the slippery tube's sides. A wave rose up, overturned the tube and I went under.

The thoughts that race through one's mind while in the mist of a crisis are startling. First I thought about my looks, particularly my hair. I had washed it that morning and didn't want to get it wet. Then I fretted about breaking my glasses. But I was comforted by the remembrance of leaving them in Jean's care.

The strong current pushed me to the bottom where I walloped my head. That's when I felt panicky as I feared the bump would knock me unconscious, water would fill my lungs, and I'd drown. My next thought was; 'I don't want to die on a tube ride! I don't want to go home in a box in cargo! I paid for a window seat!' I floundered in the current for some time before stumbling to the edge where a teenage boy helped me off the slide, over the railing and back onto the walkway.

Although I was relieved to be alive and well despite the bump on my head, I was dismayed to discover my true colours. Throughout the whole but short ordeal, my only thoughts were of me; not one thought about others. If I had met my end; would Jean be left with guilt about bringing me to the spa; how would my husband feel about receiving his wife in a casket; how would my family deal with the shock of my sudden demise? Shameful isn't it? I thought about my hair, my glasses, and my airplane seat.

It is human nature to focus on ourselves especially during a crisis. In fact, some news stories have reported how stronger passengers on a sinking ship literally run over the fallen weaker ones to reach the life boats.

As Jesus hung on the cross, He looked upon his accusers, some of whom were laughing and casting lots while dividing His garments among themselves, He said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." In His anguish, Jesus thought about us and remembered the sole purpose of His visit. He was and is the gentle Lamb who died in our stead for our inherited and self-made sins so that we won't languish in the eternal pit of hopelessness but be reconciled into God's loving presence. He thought of us. Jesus is the way home, if we accept this truth.

Luke 23:34 KJV

Thursday, September 4, 2008

No Big Scene

There was a long lineup, as usual, at the coffee shop yet many tables were vacant. Most customers were taking their coffee on the run.

After I received my coffee and tea biscuit, I scanned the room for a quiet spot. Aha! My eye caught the “bird’s eye view” table in the corner – perfect spot to write. I made a bee-line to it and got there safely without spilling my coffee. Carefully I set my coffee cup and tea biscuit down.

Just as I was about to lower my behind into the chair, a young boy about twelve years of age rushed over with his cold drink and straw and said, “I was sitting here!”

Apparently he had gotten up to get something when I honed into his territory. I mumbled, “Oh, you were sitting here?” I departed feeling a little embarrassed and put out. I wanted that table.

Can you image the scene if I had refused to leave? What if I had just plunked myself down and said, “Too bad, kid! You snooze, you lose!”

Then what would he have done? Perhaps thrown his drink at me? Aha! A food fight! I would have tossed my hot coffee into his face. He’d scream, then punch me, I’d kick him…the police would be summoned...we’d be charged for disturbing the peace and possible destruction of restaurant property.

But nothing like that happened. I quietly left and found another table to write at. I’ll take revenge with the pen! Not!

I wonder what others thought as I got up and left. Did they think, ‘Poor lady, ousted by a kid.’ or ‘What a nice lady to quietly leave and find another table.’ or ‘What a wimp! She should have stood up to that kid! Shame on that boy for treating his elders like that!’

You see how easy it is to avoid a big scene? Just walk away. Here is what I learned from that little incident; it doesn’t matter what others think as long as I’m doing what is right; arguing over a trivial matter is a waste of precious time; everyone deserves respect even children; holding a grudge, wallowing in feelings of offense, or allowing our minds to plot revenge only keeps us from maturing in our character and stifles grace from blossoming. A big scene can be avoided by turning the other cheek.

Matt 5:39