cultivate (kuhl - tuh - veyt)
v. 1) develop 2) nurture

graft (grahft)
n. 1) transplant 2) bud 3) union

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Is Our Vision Dimming?

I find, in my (ahem) young-ish age, that certain things are best viewed over the top of my glasses. Things like needle and thread, words...faces. Basically anything within sixteen inches of my peepers. And also, what's with those tiny pictures on my phone??? I think I'm ready to sit on my front porch and yell at kids to slow down as they careen along the road. 

Pass the Ensure and prune juice.

I may be SLOWLY approaching the need for reading glasses, but something was brought into sharp focus today. In case you aren't stalking the newsstand, World Vision has loosened their employment requirements. They will now be accepting applications from the gay community (provided they still adhere to World Vision's statement of faith and are in a legally recognized marriage-no cohabitating allowed.). 

And starving children in Africa withdrew their applications for sponsorship. "We'll take our chances, thankyouverymuch."* Oh wait. Maybe it was the other way around. Yes. Yes, I think it was. The sponsors are withdrawing their sponsorship. Way to stick it to World Vision.

On the one hand I get it. It's a slippery slope (which W.V. denies). However, I have searched all over their website and, cannot for the life of me, find anything in their mission that says "Our goal is to combat poverty and starvation, insofar as our hiring does not cause conflict with our denomination affiliates and our child sponsors." Yeah, I just don't see it. Their mission is crystal clear:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
Perhaps my eyes are playing tricks on me, but to withdraw financial support for the "widow and orphan" in order to teach W.V. a lesson looks a little white-wash tomb-y and plank-in-the-eye-ish. I've already disclosed the level of performance of my eyeballs, so I'll let you be the judge. 

I leave you with one last thought:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. These things should have been done without neglecting the others.
Matthew 23:23
Now, that supplies me with 20/20 vision.

Washing Smudges Off My Lenses,


*Or at least I think that was the translation.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Mundane Grew Claws

When we shrug indifferently at the mundane, the result may be shocking.

I've previously shared how altogether bland my word for 2014 seemed at first glance. You can't convince me that you were jealous of me for plucking Relationships out of the Divine Word Of The Year hat.* I mean really, God. I think I'm ready for something more out there. Something with pizzazz. Something astonishing. Something that says (and this is just a suggestion) "Here is a woman who knows her stuff, has her act together, writes remarkably insightful blog posts, which leave me running to Jesus. And to top it all off, she is supremely humble."

Again, just a suggestion for the Holy Triune Word Review Board.

And then, if you will recall, I shared how God basically said, "Shu-up, and watch me work, dimwit." (my paraphrase).**

And work He did.

And something that, two months ago, seemed benign and dispassionate has now displayed its true colors as an untamed creature loosed in my life. This morphed from an indifferent housecat licking its butt to something absolutely otherworldly with razor-sharp claws, which slice easily and swiftly. This creature called Relationships is undernourished, that much is evident. There are obvious signs of neglect. I've barely begun to brush the mats out of its fur. I've tried to harness the thing, to no avail. This is clearly going to be a process

In January, I distinctly knew this was a year to press in with relationships. I shrugged at the mundane. This past week I have been reminded in no uncertain terms that relationships sometimes pack an unpleasant punch; A message, which essentially said, "I'm moving on. It's not me-it's you. You're part of the problem. And, also, I'm jealous of your hair."*** Slice. Okie dokie. I'll stop shrugging now.

It is part of human nature to desire to have the last word. Now, add ten degrees to that desire, and you'll understand how important it is to firstborns to have the last word. Got that answer in your head? Next step: Add another...ohhhh, pffff...ten...bazillion degrees to that number, and you have arrived where the only-borns hang out. We're all just running around, wild-eyed, shouting the last word to anyone who will listen. Onlies are convinced that the last word is almost as necessary as oxygen (of which we consume at an alarming rate due to our last word shouting).

Two times in the past week, I have not had an opportunity to squeeze in a satisfying last word; No opportunity to defend myself was presented. And I survived. Did you hear that, Onlies? I survived! Another snarl is brushed out of the fur. In one case, a simple message of "I love you" was passed on to a third party, and I have no idea if said message will arrive to the intended ears (much less be warmly accepted). But if that is my only defense and my only last words, are they not the greatest? What more could possibly be said?

Why in the world would I choose to share all of this? I assure you, it's not for your pity. If I have learned anything from these two encounters, it is that there are things so much greater than the enviable last word. There is a space filled with humility and submission. Knowing more could have been said to clarify one's position, but in the end recognizing that if a relationship hinges upon a single conversation, the last word is most likely of little value. Sometimes a silent prayer and a surrendered soul to the Relationship Maker is the best move.

Come to think of it, Relationships is exactly what I needed this year. Which makes it astonishing. Quite astonishing, indeed.

Reading Taming Your Otherworldly Creature for Dummies,

*Where exactly does God hang that hat?
**Which kinda sums up a lot of the Bible. The rest is essentially "Do what I said, dimwit."
***Anyone who has seen my head knows I made that last bit up. God did not grace me with enviable tresses, because He knew it would be an utter waste of luscious hair, as I pathetically possess zero styling skills. Zilch. Someone please come do my "petite" hair every morning, m'kay? I'll pay you handsomely in sarcastic comments.