Monday, August 3, 2015

"Thankful" : my daily reality check..

This morning again I was reminded again of how much we have to be thankful for, and in that "what" we have to be thankful for.  My friends know that this scene above from the end of Saving Private Ryan is what I expect when I die. First time I saw it, I burst out sobbing. It triggered something to deep for words. It put to view exactly what my soul imagines the moment I face Christ.  Now mind you, I understand as much as i can that He whom I will face already paid the price and I can not be foolish enough to think it's about what I did. And yes I understand that He already knows everything I've done. Every good, bad, selfless and selfish choice. I have 40 years of the "Word" planted in my heart and mind.  Yet in all that I still desire to please my Father by what others say, not tooting my own horn to Him. To look at him and say to those most precious in my life behind me " tell Him I was a good man, that I did my best".  

I'm not sure that the writers of Private Ryan wanted you to see "faith" in his life, in that script, but I would submit that if you are a person of faith, you will never fully understand the significance of your journey until you arrive. We truly do see dimly now.  

I received an email this morning with a story about the "train" of life. It reminded me of a sermon series a few years ago about the train of faith. I love those analogies because on a train you truly feel time passing by. Unlike cars or planes, there is something about looking out the window of a train and seeing the near field rush past with the sounds of metal and steel and track and car fighting each other while the distant field is moving slowly and silent. I always get that "I'll never get this moment again" feeling on a train and yes, that is the truth, yet.... 

 Time is the great revealer.  

As we age we naturally begin to see a glimpse of what God has already known from the beginning about each of our lives.  We begin to dot the dots over time that we could not even see in life's most crazy moments, and in that, we do gain long term wisdom in knowing that truly God does work all things together for good for those who are  called according to His purpose.    Our greatest gains can turn into our greatest weaknesses and/or, we can find it was never about us in the "winning" it was about meeting, knowing or inspiring someone else.  Someone maybe generations later...  What if our lives have a purpose we can not even grasp in our time.  What if love really is/was the answer that Jesus was trying to die for?

Our triumphs feed our self destructive egos when we take the credit for our victories,  and our failures fuel either humility or self destructive behavior. I think we all live in between those markers and just plain try to do the best with what we were dealt.  We become parents and feel like a failure most the time and then when our kids are grown, we realize for the most part we just plain did the best with what we were given.

My mom was an only child of divorced parents. I'm sure she felt like a failure more than I'll ever know just because she had no experience at it with siblings or no dad to build her up.   I'm sure, had I said to my mother "I tell God every day mom that you're the best", it could have had a profound impact on her life through all my trials and hers but, I didn't know any better, wasn't taught to speak that way, or I was just to self absorbed to say it each day. How much could speaking words of love and affirmation affect those around us each day as balanced with our other verbal exercises? 

This photo in 1960 is the only remaining photo of me leaving Shriner's Hospital at 4 1/2 around Christmas after way to many nights, weeks, ....  alone in isolation beginning on Halloween 1960.
I am haunted some days by feelings of "alone", that surface from those months of 4 walls and only my voice.  And I wonder today if that is the reason I love to go to the Mountains alone and experience that same feeling with God for extended periods?  To face my inner fears for strength each year?  Do you do something like this in your life? Think about it. How do you face your fears and past wounds?
I do know that chapter in life has helped me for a lifetime to have a real honest opinion of all those in steel wheels and others with partial and full dis-abled abilities. 
I learned in a chair for 4 some years that for me - pity was an insult.  Hey, I'm dealing with it so let's just get on with LIFE and celebrate each as we can. 

Thankful for that time? Was it sweet or bitter?  I'd honestly say bitter-sweet, and that's ok.

Losing anything in life is painful. If you are not responsible there is pain.
If you are, there is pain and guilt. The amount of guilt is relative to your natural heart and what religion has imprinted to you.  The amount of pain is relative to each soul and I always feel for those who have the biggest hearts and who naturally just hurt the most.  Some of us can lose people in our lives and just wake up the next day and it appears to the world you're just moving on. Others are affected forever by each loss. Neither is wrong or better, just different.  I say, "make good memories" they are all you have when the chapters over. They can last a day or a lifetime depending on how you make them. Lord knows our bad memories follow us wherever we go and are equally difficult to get rid of so we know the powers at work in our beings for good and evil.

I'm just saying today for someone, sometime, (or no one at all and I'm just flatulating to my own ears), that your struggles may be your greatest moments, (and I hear the Laura Story song now playing in my ears "what if your....") not today and perhaps not even for you, but they may be to help someone not as strong or wise or loving as you deal with the incomprehensible's of their lives in the future. 

I'm reminded of Pauls instructions to stay in contact with your teachers and mentors and let them know what you are doing as a reward for what they sowed in your life. I believe this would include parents and friends or even strangers who you have been affected and inspired by.  

I'll start again this morning by beginning with Pauls prayer to the church at Phil.. in 1st chapt.

I thank God for you.. 

I hope that if I am in your life,  I have been able to make a difference, be a blessing more than a burden, light more than darkness, joy more than sadness and given love more than taken it from you.  If not, I hope I can change.

For in coming back from the mountains to the sadness of all that is political and social for personal gain today in all media, I am reminded again that all people really matter, all people are really the same with different imprints to make us hate and sin differently. 

I really believe that the God I love desires us to make His last will and testaments personal.
 Not a sermon for everyone elses benefit to puff up our own feelings of worth and righteousness.

So today and this week Lord help me apply Your Word to the changing of my life, that Jesus message of hope and redemption might actually be seen through something I do to another soul searching for the same things I am..  And if the meaning of our words are different and our paths seem strange, help me to leave the "answering of deep prayers and questions" to You.