The Woman

“During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

“Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say “hello.”

I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.”

~Anonymous

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15 Minutes

I’ve got 15 minutes until the cupcake shop closes, and I’m kicked out.

You know what I think is amazing? That we don’t matter (No, not like that. Don’t be silly. Sheesh).

Our good works don’t matter. Us being perfect doesn’t matter.

Us making mistakes doesn’t matter.

It’s God. Our holiness and righteousness is completely and totally dependent on God, and He never fails. God, the one that makes us beautiful, righteous, unified and sanctified never fails. We rush about like so many little ants, moving our motes of dust around, and God is there saying, “I’ve got it. I can handle it. Relax. Trust me.”

I never have to worry about my righteousness, because it’s possessed by God, and He never fails. I’m never going to be trapped by sin, or left unable to pick myself up, because I’m walking hand in hand with God, and God never fails me. How many times do I have to say it.

It only hit me just this morning, praying for a friend who’s struggling with some sin in their life. I was interceding on their behalf, and it hit me in the gut like a sucker punch, but not unpleasantly. Their righteousness, my righteousness, is not dependent upon my piousness or spirituality. It’s dependent upon God, and He never fails me.

Oh, this is good.

 

 

Day 13 (Righteousness and self should not be found in the same word)

Oh dear; blank  spaces can provoke such feelings of.. diffidence .

Every time I am provided with some white space, I always wonder why my first compulsion is to fill it. Does it need to be filled, and with my words? What can I write that will justify it taking up its space? Where is the line between true discipline, and not taking yourself too seriously. Maybe one day I’ll discover it.

Yeah.

Do you ever notice how people like to feel superior? Actually, I think that might be the wrong word… like when someone says something you agree with, and you smile indulgently in agreement, and laugh over how anyone could think anything contrary? Christians are good at this. Atheists are good at it, too. Women are great at it. We all hate it when we can see the laughter in someone’s eyes directed at us, but we forget that as soon as we’re the one’s that have the platform, have something to say or listen to.  We love to be justified more than we appreciate being made to see a different way, or correction.

How many times have you honestly set someone straight, or offered them wisdom and Scripture, and after understanding the truth, realizing they were wrong, they gave the the biggest, most thankful grin you have ever seen? When has anyone really rejoiced at finding the truth through correction? I can only remember one time, for myself. The moment of my Salvation. Yep, that summarizes it.

Bam. Forgiven.

Forgiven of what?

Everything you have every committed that was contrary to My will.

Oh yeah? Let me see the list on that one.

Where can I tell him to back up?

What? Back up what?

That semi truck.

Huh?

The list. You asked for your list. Here it is. Well, most of it.

Oh.

And that fountain that runs red?

Yes?

That was for you. Because We love you.

And that was the end of the era of my utter incredulity.

I like how God works. Instead of replacing and tinkering with all my broken parts, He chucked the whole thing and made me completely new. Clean as a whistle, singing His tune.

And there’s just something about looking in the mirror and allowing yourself a few moments to ponder the fact that your righteous was paid at a price, and sustained by the blood and faith. Sometimes I get this feeling where I become unimpressed or exasperated by how much I am ‘suppose’ to owe Christ, about how it’s a little overwhelming how much I am suppose to adore Him.

Oh man. Really?

I can’t…I can’t even find words right now. I am so undeserving, yet I possess that which I do not deserve because it was given without regard to my merit, only according to the capacity of His love. And that self righteousness I was talking about before? It grows strangely dim in the light of that glory and grace.

Things we are missing

“A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that 1,100 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by, and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace, and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping, and continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally, the mother pushed hard, and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?”

The man with the violin

 

Read the entire Washington Post article.

Watch the video of Bell playing in Metro station.

It’s way too late [or early] to be writing.

I’m only beginning to notice how it as that people who have not suffered are repelled be suffering.

It is the girl who was never disciplined who grew up to be the child specialist who condemns spanking. It’s the mother who sends her kids to school every day who deems full time mothering as ‘boring’ and ‘constricting.’ It is the person who has never been made to endure physical pain that fears persecution. It is the privileged individual who faints more readily under aggravation than the one who’s hands have spent a lifetime developing calluses.

Why are those who have endured something outside of our society’s expectations the ones that are last to complain? And why is it that those who have suffered the most hardships are the most resilient? I have come to recognize true heartache when the teller takes little satisfaction in the telling. And when they share their story, there is barely a shadow of self-pity or complaint.

It is as if all the complainers, the ones with the words and cries, are whining about injustice, and the man who has actually lived through what they are crying about is the one working silently, diligently. He is the one changing the world. It is the man who comes home depressed because his life gives him little little affirmation for his being, his entitled lifestyle allowing him to indulge in the thought that his life is boring, and it is the small child who is slaving day after day, weaving fabric in India for that man’s pristine shirt, who has the largest, most content smile to offer.

Oh World. What to do with all your conundrums and dreams…what sets your standards of normal and happiness, and why? do not forget Who’s shadow you are.

Arise, ye sluggard.

Sunrises, I’ve come to realize, are greener than sunsets. I’m fonder of the later, usually.

A friend from the East coast called my at 6:58 and told me good morning. It was his part in getting me out of bed, and it worked. I rolled out of my ridiculously warm and snug nest of covers, changed into shorts and slipped my tennis shoes on. I set my ipod to my worship playlist and headed out the door to run.

All my life sunrises have mocked me; “Haha! Loser. You’re watching me because you’re awake. And tired. And not in your comfy bed. Score one for The Sunrise.” My outlook on life in those moments was fairly bleak. I had no idea why people got up so early to watch them. Sunsets always seemed far superior in their colour and depth. Sometimes when I wake up too early my stomach is possessed by debilitating hunger cramps. Sometimes they’re so bad I can’t even eat, because I start to feel sick. It’s all pretty ridiculous. It’s cold in the morning, and wet. Sure, the birds are chirping, but they chirp during the middle of the day, too. Guh, it’s like you’re the owl from Bambi, and all the inane chipperness is abrasive to the thick wall of disregard and, yes, contempt.

I made my (very) short round about the neighbourhood, I crested a hill and came down around the corner. My chest burned from the frigid air I had to take in, and my hands had turned red and also tingled and pricked in an unpleasant way. I was gingerly trotting over slick moss as I made my descent, and dodging some sort of willow like branches at the corner near the bottom, and there it was.

I don’t know what was different about this day.

Imagine you are married to someone you despise. Every morning you bury your face into your pillow and shrug the covers over your head, and ignore him disrupting your sleep as he prepares for the day at an unholy hour. Every morning it’s the same. You live separate lives, from the moment you part ways, and you’re content with it. But one morning, while the room is still dark and silence pervades every shadow, you open your eyes and there is his face, and he’s staring at you, watching you as you slept, and in a moment you see all the light and colour and life in those eyes, the unfailing devotion. You see and you know the gift you have beside you, and an unconscious smile plays on your features.

At the bottom of that hill, when I saw that sunrise, in all it’s paleness and green-ness, and light, that’s how I felt. I smiled suddenly, and my first reaction was to stop and look in wonder at what had been made for that day. And I felt my mouth form “Thank you, Lord, for making such a beautiful day.” I was simply happy and grateful for the day the Lord had made, because it was good. He had given me this gift day after day, unfailingly, and I finally realized its worth. He had given me a day. And it was good.

I left with the conviction to leave my curtains open, just so the sunrise could reach my face every day.