27 July 2012

Getting Write With God AKA Reading Between the Fonts

Dear God,

It's me, Rosemarie. I'd say something clever like, "I guess you're wondering why I am writing" but your omnipotence sort of makes that a silly way to start things out, doesn't it? It seems a bit odd to begin a letter with adoration that you, Almighty God, deserve. Perhaps I could have a do-over?

Dear Almighty and Most High God; Creator of all that is and ever will be; God of Abraham, Isaac and Moses; The One who provided manna in the wilderness and split the Red Sea; The God who turns the hearts of men and who provides the only way of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord; God of the insignificant likes of even me,

Yeah, while that salutation is a more fitting way to address You, it doesn't roll off the tongue that easily and I haven't begun to scratch the surface. The more I start to list the more I realize I am leaving out. What's really overwhelming to me is the invitation I have as a believer to address you in a far more intimate fashion. Grateful, I think I will go with it.

Dearest Abba,

I am miserable and I am ashamed to tell you that. It's not like you don't know it. I know you do, but I have to tell you. I have to come clean and admit that despite all you have blessed me with, I am a malcontent, albeit one with a sense of humor.

So yesterday, as you know, I declared it "no conflict day" no internal or external conflict would get to me. Clever of you to let me find the ants had invaded the dog food only moments after I made that declaration. I mean, really, what better way to test me than to have those itty-bitty annoyances come inside my house, go under my sink and penetrate the plastic container with a locking lid to get at the dog food I had to drive 100 miles round trip to get and for which I paid a hefty sum. Good one. Not to mention giving me a dog that only eats that food and plunking me in a town that, despite having multiple pet stores and establishments that hawk dog food in all shapes, sizes and flavors, no where can I find grain free Nature's Recipe in the kibble size for small dogs. Also, You know I hate it when you put me in a situation that measures my heart and behavior with my words. Did I pass the test by eventually realizing that you also orchestrated my buying two bags of the food, and coincidentally purchased two larger, more secure containers to hold my dog and cat food? Did I remember to thank you for only allowing the ants to get to 1/3 of a bag, because that's all that would fit in the old container? Or that if I had to have a dog whose system only seems to work right eating this particular food, that she only requires 1/4 cup of it two times a day?

I have some other grievances I would like to bring to the bargaining table. Well, I know I can't bargain- it's just an expression, right? Far be it from me to try and strong arm the God of the Universe. I'll get right to the point then, shall I? I am lonely and you need to change that for me. Wait! I forgot myself. Please, no lightning bolts! How about, I am lonely and I am begging you to change that for me, please? Let me tell you what I am thinking and then we'll let the negotiations start, OK? I am thinking it's high time you sent me a marriage prospect. I know I am old, I know I am fat, but those are things that shouldn't matter when you consider all that I could bring to a potential life partner. Wow! Don't I sound like a bossy cow? Sorry! Here's my case.

First of all, my very stubbornness and selfishness would be an excellent catalyst for a man's sanctification, don't you agree? Imagine all the ways a man would have to seek You and to exercise Christ-like love if he had me for a wife? He would have to be in your word day and night to be able to cope with me and my shenanigans. Wouldn't that be a good influence on me, too? To see someone striving so hard to live his faith, well even the likes of me could be inspired by that sort of behavior. Yes, if you're going to do this, you'll need to make him a man with good theology and lots of patience.

Secondly, I am a good cook. There are a lot of Christian men out there who could use some good food. Here in Kentucky, I could probably save a man's life by introducing him to food that hasn't been fried or doesn't contain a pound of butter. In exchange for his patience and kindness to me, I could unclog his arteries with vegetables! What a deal!

Thirdly, I have a modest income so I don't need someone with Ted Turner's bank account. Not saying that you should exclude men with money from my list of potential suitors, but I know it has to get old with everyone asking for a handsome, millionaire. So, someone with a good work ethic would be nice. If he's retired and also has a modest income, maybe you could make him handy around the house. This home you've blessed me with is in need of minor repairs that cause major drainage to my funds. It would be nice to have some help with that in exchange for a good meal and some concentrated sanctification. I see it as a win win partnership!

I have a couple other traits I would like to order. Mr. Right should be an avid hunter so my brother-in-law has someone to play with. He should share my taste in television and movies because what good is a man who won't watch The Walking Dead with you? At the very least he should be willing not to complain about it if I am willing to be quiet about sports and hunting shows. That isn't to say that I commit to being willing to be quiet about such things, but it's a possibility. It would be great if he had a job that took him out of the house for a few days at a time. Maybe something in disaster relief or emergency management? I can relate to that. Or perhaps something where we both get to do a bit of traveling?

And finally, he must have a great sense of humor. Not only to put up with me but my family is a bit wacky too. You have to be kindhearted, quick witted and have a great sense of humor to get by with this lot. Oh, and please, no one named Mike. With two brothers named Mike, a brother-in-law named Mike and a sister who has three brothers named Mike, it's time for another name. Of course that's not a deal breaker if Mr. Right happens to be named Mike too, just saying some variety would be nice.

Well, it's time for me to sign off and clean up the bodies under the sink. Have I thanked you lately for bug killers and ant repellents like cinnamon? I am appreciative of them, no matter how much I grumbled about having to use them yesterday. Is it wrong that I enjoyed watching the ants freak out when their little feet touched the cinnamon? I'll repent about that if you want me to. It's up to you to change me and/or my circumstances. Ultimately I know I can trust you. You have orchestrated the events in my life as only a sovereign and kind God can. I am weak which makes it so difficult to really trust.

Your sometimes faithful servant who, if I am to be honest and I might as well be you know when I am not, only likes serving You when it's fun and convenient,

Rosemarie

PS. Could you make sure my readers know that the change of font is significant to the real prayer I am sending up? All the rest of the gobbledygook is meant to be a humorous albeit painfully honest look at my twisted thought life. Psalm 56




26 July 2012

Pardon Me, Your Indiscretion is Showing

I hate to be the one to tell you this but it appears that Kristen Stewart is an adulteress. The Twilight star has proven that money and fame don't necessarily coincide with contentment and integrity. Or good acting for that matter, but that's only my opinion. In what Stewart apologizes for as a "momentary indiscretion" she admits to having an affair with Rupert Sanders, the director of the Snow White movie she stars in...which I don't remember the entire title of ... and if it weren't for the fact that every news outlet seems to think her infidelity to Robert Pattinson is front page, hot scoop material, I wouldn't remember Kristen Stewart. I don't know why our culture is so fixated on sin that it isn't enough to wallow in your own but we seem intent to be groupies for others who are swimming in the cesspool.

A momentary indiscretion. There are so many things wrong with that statement. The brash Rosemarie wants to say if it's only taking you a moment, Kristen, you can't be doing it right. The indignant Rosemarie wants to rub her nose in it and join in with the folks calling her 'trampire' but it takes two to tango, even if the dance only lasts a few seconds. Instead, let me take the high road and list some other momentary indiscretions for your consideration.

When Adam took the apple from Eve and ate it, it was just a momentary indiscretion. Maybe he just wanted to please his wife and keep her from nagging. Maybe he caved in to peer pressure. Could be he apologized for his lapse of judgement later but the truth is that you and I are still paying for his indiscretion with our sin nature. (Genesis 3)

When Moses got cocky and deciding to be a showman hit the rock with his staff instead of obeying God's directives, it was a momentary indiscretion that cost him entrance into the Promised Land. (Numbers 20)

When Uzzah reached up to steady the Ark of the Covenant, a seemingly reasonable thing to do, it was a momentary indiscretion. He paid for it with his life. Why? He thought his sinful hands were better than the dirt. Dirt has never had a momentary indiscretion. (2 Samuel 6)

When David looked at Bathsheba and didn't avert his eyes, that momentary indiscretion resulted in murder, the death of his son and the sword being ever present in his household. To put it in modern terms the consequences, like the sin ....er indiscretion, were bundled. That's not a bundle anyone wants. (2 Samuel 11)

When Ananias and Sapphira told a fib about the price they received on their property, it was a momentary indiscretion with eternal consequences. (Acts 5)

Here's the thing. Nowhere in the examples I gave you, nowhere in the bible do we see sin being called 'momentary indiscretion'. Christ did not die for your indiscretions. He did not die for your mistakes. When you call sin what it is, there is a remedy for it. Christ died to pay for our sins. The debt that is ours for what we call our momentary lapses of judgement and God calls sin, was paid and Christ's righteousness is imputed to us when we repent and believe. (Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9-13)

Don't be too hard on young Kristen. Her sin carries the same penalty as yours and mine. (Romans 3:10; 23 and 6:23) Instead be grateful your 'indiscretions' probably will never make headline news and if you are saved, you'll never have to pay the debt you owe for them.

21 July 2012

Now Here's a Blog Worth Following (Hint: It's Not Mine)

This morning I was watching Good Morning America, which is my habit each morning since terrorists targeted the World Trade Center. It's a habit I can't seem to break and one that makes me crazy because of what passes for journalism these days. Today I got up and walked away from the TV and took my coffee with me, a sure sign I had no intention of actually watching the program. The folks at ABC decided to make an entertainment event on the tragedy in Colorado again. They ask the stupidest questions of people. "What were you thinking when you saw the gunman?" "What did your hero say to you as he was leading you out of the theater?" "What were you thinking when you used your body tho shield you daughter?" It makes me want to scream and throw things and rather than risk the loss of my television, I left and went to my office.

I was surfing Face Book and grumbling to myself when one of my friends posted an article with an eye catching title. "So you STILL think God is a merciful God?!" I read it and am I glad I did. Here is something worth sharing. Here is where faith meets an unthinkable event. Here is where I find inspiration and encouragement. Here is where I am reminded that every single person in who was in that theater and who responded to the shooting has had their life changed. Their very core has been altered and the ripples will effect every person in their lives. The theater workers who thought having enough popcorn ready to sell was their greatest challenge, the public safety personnel, the medical personnel, even the journalists whose work I have come to deplore. All of them and those who love them have had their reality permanently tweaked. They may not even realize it yet. They might not know for years. How do I know? I have been down that road.

It is amazing how quickly empathy can change your mind about events, the value of life and people you've never met. Just to make certain my heart isn't hardened and my reality isn't unaffected, I find this gem on Face Book and am reminded to pray for the folks who were there. I am reminded that people went to their judgement and I haven't a clue if the One who judges us all granted them pardon or gave them justice. It happened in an instant. It happened when they least expected it. It happened as the Sovereign God of the Universe ordained it. As the author said it best, "God is always good. Man is not. Don't get the two confused."

I should put more effort into praying and less effort into the easier task of disliking journalism.

20 July 2012

Disappointed with Good Morning America.

I hate what passes for journalism today. I meant to say despise. No, wait...loathe. Really, really dislike. Argh! It makes my skin crawl. I understand all the reasons that it has become what it is, a gladiatorial entertainment grab at our pocketbooks, but that doesn't make it right.

Something terrible happened in Colorado. Something that is unspeakably sad and it is right that we as a nation should be made aware. It is wrong that it should be the focus of the majority of newscasts for the entire day. A horrible thing happened, a man believed to be responsible is in custody; that much we should all know. What the survivors saw, what the alleged perpetrator had for breakfast and how his mom feels are things that should not be focused on ad nauseam. It can only go downhill when you focus on entertaining instead of informing.

I like the folks at Good Morning America. I am rooting for Robin Roberts as she battles for good health. I think George Stephanopoulus is charming and funny. Josh Elliot, Lara Spencer, all them on weekends too. I genuinely like them. What passes for news on their program is an entirely different matter. Today's comedy of errors proved that as long as you are concerned about ratings and ratings are more favorable when you incline your news more toward entertainment than facts, newscasters will scramble to say anything to keep you from turning the channel- whether or not it is accurate. Come on you guys! You're killing me.

What am I talking about? This fiasco. Quick! Let's say anything to keep our ratings~! What ever happened to veracity? Verifying sources? Are we so keen on making everything a political statement that the horrifying truth isn't enough?

I am so very disappointed with you, GMA. Get back to news and leave speculation and entertainment alone. Dragnet us with the facts. Nothing but the facts.

17 July 2012

Fruit Explosion

After weeks of dry heat we've been treated to a week of steady rain. We needed it. My lawn was the brownest I have ever seen it so the week of rain is bringing it back to life. During the dry spell most of my neighbors lost their gardens. The heat of the sun and the abundance of rabbits turned victory gardens into dust bowls. In Kentucky, people depend on God to send the rain to keep their vegetable gardens alive long enough to harvest. I cheated. I used a soaker hose to keep my three tomato plants, egg plant, bell pepper and chard alive. I couldn't afford to water every day but I did water enough to keep them growing.

I was very happy to have the rain come but I knew that it would cause me some gardener's grief and not just in the plethora of weeds that would ensue. I have always had veggies growing in a garden and in California they grew with little or no fuss. You stick them in the ground and know that every couple of days you will probably have to turn the hose on and soak them. They like well drained soil. Here in Kentucky, even though my veggies are in a raised bed, when it rains several inches without respite, the tomatoes drink too much water and then explode. Seriously. The meat of the fruit expands and the skin can't keep up. They rip open wide. That's what I found in my garden. The tomatoes I have protected from drought, bugs and bunnies were ripening beautifully until they drank too much and spilled their guts out on the garden floor.

I also found my dahlias were growing in a horizontal fashion. The soil couldn't hold them upright. The wind started the lean and gravity finished it. They were valiantly trying to bloom in their recumbent position but the flowers were rotting on the wet soil. The few gladiolas that survived the rabbits jaws also prostrated themselves. The weeds had begun their reclamation project. I am overwhelmed with the work that needs to be done to put things right. Each morning I will have to go out and pull what weeds I can until the rain comes again or the soil is too dry to let loose of the roots.
I spent an hour out there this morning and that is 45 minutes more than my body thought reasonable.

I knew I would pay for the overtime in the garden with muscle spasms and a migraine. I hoped I wouldn't but I knew I would. It was a calculated risk. I thought about correlations between God's blessings and the rain. We all want to be blessed more abundantly. We want God to shower us every day, all day. I wonder if we are like tomatoes. I wonder if God really showered us the way we want would it be too much for us? Would we explode like tomatoes? If I had daily watered the tomatoes with the intensity they received during the storms, would they have been better able to handle it and not exploded? Would they have died from water logged roots? Is there some sort of Christian allegory here?

That's how 15 minutes becomes an hour. Jumping from thought to thought, trying on answers to questions I didn't know I had. The biggest question for me is this: This side of heaven, are we equipped to deal with God's abundant blessings? Does He have to give us teeny tiny blessings to keep us from exploding? I dunno. It would seem there would be something in Scripture about it if it was a problem. Are fruit explosions a good thing in God's economy? I haven't a clue.


13 July 2012

Marriage

It is time to return to important things. Here is a video that in two minutes provides more edifying information than I have produced in my lifetime. I love my gay family and friends. Your sins are no more worthy of death than mine. I love ya'll enough to tell you the truth.

12 July 2012

Fair Warning

It's back again. Ever have a friend who comes to visit uninvited? One that you feel guilty every time you see because you realize you don't really care for their company but don't have the guts to send them packing? Even though they feel like coarse sandpaper on sunburned skin, there's something oddly comfortable in being annoyed by them?  That's how I feel about this prickly disposition of mine.  It's back and I hate the way I love it.

I literally feel like my blood has gone acidic to the point of blistering me from the inside out. Creepy tingling skin, acerbic wit and sarcasm... lots and lots of sarcasm with a dollop of delusion. I am convinced few are clever enough to keep up with me.  I am charged and fusing thoughts with words like an arc welder fuses metal.  I like word humor... but is it really funny? Comic relief at the expense of others?  The sad part is, I am really funny when I am like this.  I want to shout at people, "Don't laugh! You'll only encourage me!"

Perhaps I should come with a warning label:   "Today is not the day to ask me what I really think about _______________________."




08 July 2012

Mostly Metus

I have been sitting at my computer screen for much longer than I care to admit. I have been staring at it and it has been daring me to write something.  Anything. Even if it is wrong.  Even though it will not be read.  Forget about it being edifying. Don't even try for mildly entertaining. Just write. Get it out. Emotions without expression are poison to your soul. Vomit verbiage until you've purged.

Go ahead and write about how much you miss your dog after putting him to sleep yesterday.  Describe how soft and silky his cheeks were and how not knowing you were taking him to his death, he put his chin on his bed and gazed contentedly at you as you waited for the vet to come out. All the while you stroked his head and ears trying to remember forever the contours.  Try to articulate what it feels like to know that the one creature on the planet that preferred your company to anything or anyone else trusted you as you put him out of his misery when he didn't know he was miserable. He had what he wanted. You were next to him; the one place he fought to be. He'd jumped through windows, dug through sub-flooring, crashed through screen doors all to be at your side.   Let someone know the exchange that occurred. He got to leave pain behind and now you get to carry his and yours. Let the war between intellect and emotion battle here in the meta. Win lose or draw at least you'll have done something.

Talk about how empty your house is and how the other two pets you have don't really give a rip about you as long as you feed them.  Neither of them watched for you as you went outside to water plants this morning. There was no distinctive sound of nails trotting from door to door as your guardian kept an eye on you.  No sound of snoring next to you and no too warm body snuggled on your foot.  Nothing warm. Nothing cold enough to kill you.

Tell someone about your inner monologue.  How you tell yourself it will be easier to board these two because they will eat and not pine for you the way he did, so maybe you can go do some of the things you've always wanted.  Or if you had any money how you'd be gone already, headed somewhere cooler and where you have no memories.  Running away... fugue state... whatever you want to call it, you're ready to go. Cut ties. Clam up. Incognito. Incommunicado. Inter spem et metum.   
Scratch the surface. Prick your heart on a few adjectives. Let loneliness, fear and pain sing their anthems. Unloose the hounds of childhood trauma and adult disappointments.  Scream if you have to but do something. Put your big girl pants on and get on with what little is left to you.

Wait for it- like you waited for glimpses and visits from your mother and siblings. Familiar hopeless disappointment. Pretend you're strong enough. Lie to make friends. Throw out a verse or two, ones we all know. Chime in with "His glory and my good."   Act like you mean it.   What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. Put Wonder Woman out of a job.

Am I finished?  Hardly. I have yet to begin.

03 July 2012

Peaks, Valleys, Dots.

The trouble with the high and low moments in your life are the impression they leave on those around you. People are afflicted with a strange idea of relationship.  We are like magnets that are only attracted to peaks and valleys. We gather for crises, we gather for celebration. We hold hands in anticipation of a life coming into the word and we hold hands and pray as someone we love is taking their last breath.  The best and the worst. That's when people show up with inadequate expressions of sentiments they may or may not truly have... but they fit the occasion. They are the expected thing to hear or say even when there really isn't a place to park your honest emotions. It's an incomplete picture. We play connect the dots between birthdays, weddings, funerals, accidents, great new jobs and wonderful vacations. We decide for ourselves what order the dots should be in and what picture they will make. We're wrong most of the time. People are more than their extremes.

Odd thoughts I know, even for me.  It all begs the question though, if there is no one to celebrate your highs or lows, if there's no one to connect your dots even if they do it incorrectly... do you exist?