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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Human Nature

I took a run today for the first time in...too long. I had forgotten how calming it could be. When I run it's just me and the pavement. I'm not trying to prove anything - except maybe prove to myself I can improve with every step. It's me against me. It's mindclearing.

A funny thing happens when you clear your mind of all the crap life throws at us. All the bad. All the stress. All the things you wish you could change but have to accept as hell on earth. When your mind is that clear you notice the little things. The raw beauty around us. Like a bird stopping to catch its breath. A grasshopper bouncing from blade of grass to blade of grass.

As you let go of all the dirt and grime of life that drags you down so far you can't see the top anymore, you begin to ponder the good. You think of the heartwarming story that you heard of some random person helping a stranger in some small but impacting way. You think about how people describe other people who do good things as being angels. Or heroes. Or saints.  

Human Nature gets blamed for all the bad things. Someone has some self destructive habit and it's human nature to do that. Someone makes a poor choice against better judgement or advice, oh well, it's just human nature. Or is it?

Human nature is actually perfect. Genesis tells us that God created us, male and female, in His image. God is perfect. The conclusion that can be drawn from this is that we are perfect beings at our core. We were made to do good. To bring praise and honor and glory to our Maker. We are not angels on earth when we help each other. When a community pulls together after a tragedy, that is our human nature shining through - not some aberration or anomaly. 

Sin is bad. Sin is the anomaly. Society wants us to think that good is the rarity. Maybe it is but that isn't because human nature is to gravitate towards evil. It's because we are bombarded with so much bad that many of us get pushed past our breaking point. It's a choice. Everything in life is a choice. Always has been and always will be. There's a great line in a song that says something about if you decide not to choose than you still have made a choice. We have the choice to listen to our human nature to be kind, caring, considerate...good. Or not. 

What do you choose? Does your choice change often? 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Timing Skews Perception

This morning I came to the conclusion that I stink at asking for help. I have a panic attack, I fumble my words, I put it off and avoid it if at all possible. Then I decided that maybe it's worse because 99% of the time I ask for help I don't actually get help. I can count on one hand the people who have consistently helped when I've been in a bind. I could more easily count the stars in the sky than tell you the number of people who have told me that they would help me if I ever need it only to turn me down when I ask. The friends that Tracy Lawrence sings about here:

But then I did what I always do...I prayed. Now, some people pray by closing their eyes, bowing their heads, hitting their knees and formally speaking to their Maker. That's how people who don't pray a lot probably envision those of us who talk about praying like we talk about breathing, right? Well, let me break your stereotype up a bit...that's not how I pray. Not typically. 

My favorite hymn growing up was What A Friend We Have in Jesus. (Lyrics here:  ) I believe prayer is simply a conversation with my best friend. So I talk to God like He is sitting, standing or whatever right beside me. It's an unending conversation. Well, okay, so I do too much of the talking but those of you who know me best, are you really surprised? 

I do quiet my head to try to listen at least once a, when I let it all go and shut myself up, He showed me the error in my logic. 

I asked myself, how many times have I wanted to help a friend but because of timing or circumstance I wasn't available? How many times was I actually stuck in a spot where I wanted to drop everything but doing so to help one friend or loved one would break a promise or let down another friend or loved one? Too many to count, just this year. 

I am not alone. I have the most amazing Father in heaven. I have a loving family. I have the most caring friends who are my second family. I am blessed. Blessed beyond my deserving. Blessed that my loved ones have the patience to wait for me to wake up and realize that I am not a burden in their lives. The understanding to see that my hesitation isn't because I doubt them but rather because I don't want to pester them.

So, it turns out that the timing of needs can be a serious hindrance on perception. I'm awfully thankful that God's timing is always perfect cause heaven knows my timing is atrocious! 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Freedom Most Definitely Is Not Free...

Days like today I see an increase of patriotic activity...strange to me how many people only think about their freedoms and our country's sacrifices a few times a year. Here's what's on my mind tonight:

Freedom isn't free. Every freedom we have has been paid for. Through blood of our soldiers, sweat off their brows, tears from the ones the fallen have left behind. No freedom has never been free.

It's east to forget as we go about our busy lives. It isn't on the news daily. If we are not personally affected by a loved one serving, either in the military or as a first responder, than it is all to easy to only reflect on the freedoms they're protecting on days like 9/11 and the 4th of July. 

I remember. I think about it daily. I pray for God to bless each of them, and their families for the sacrifices they daily make for us. I pray His protection over them, be they near or far as they serve an ungrateful nation. I pray for their peace and comfort as I cannot begin to fathom what they go through emotionally, mentally and physically day in and day out. 

Freedom may not be free but prayer is. Thoughts are. Remember these brave and selfless men and women on more than just the days that are obvious. Because believe me, they think of us daily as they pull on their boots and prepare to face the unknown.

Gratitude is free. I give mine to every veteran, every serviceman, every first responder, to each and every person who has ever stood up and said with their actions, "You can sleep in peace tonight because I'm on watch duty and won't let you down." My thanks isn't nearly enough but it's a start. You have that and my respect forever and daily. And all my love.