With life it often seems like we have just two choices to make - wrap ourselves in plastic bubble wrap to protect us from falls and pain. Or we can wear a crash helmet and keep charging on! Actually, I think there is a third option – a little bit of bubble wrap, a crash helmet, and some time planning out what is in front of us. There’s always gonna be stuff that knocks us for six! However, more frequently if we’d simply taken a pause before charging along, we could have spotted the issues, or busyness, and figured out a better plan or route!
It’s really healthy to look back at what we’ve accomplished. It’s good to remember what we’ve done, or how we tried to do something last time. It’s great to reflect on where we’ve done amazing things, and even not so amazing things. It can even be healthy to remember the foolish things we did and managed to escape serious injury. However, if we look back too long, we end up risking falling over. Because we’re still walking forwards at the time!
Today is a good day! We’ve got two loads of washing on our washing line blowing in the gentle breeze and sun. As a stat at home dad, this makes Andy B very happy! Inside the home, the hoover has been finally repaired and the carpets have been thoroughly gone over. As has the stairs, and lots of dusting has happened too. In our homes, and in our Spiritual lives we need lots of maintenance. Dirt and dust appear no matter what we do, especially if you use a wood burning stove a lot! In our walks with Jesus Christ dirt and dust constantly appears too, blocking our ability to see God, and who He is.
There is so much in life that can drag us down and make us give up. But, there is much reason to keep going! Andy B started a project in September 2021 – writing a book. This is a project a friend had asked him to undertake. And it’s quite a rapid turn around. But there are so many things that Andy B never got to do.
Bathrooms can be hard to make look both pretty and functional. The pipes that make it all function can appear pretty ugly, so it’s become a trend to box pipes in. However, this comes with a cost. Whether it is the shower body behind lovely looking tiles, a toilet cistern placed behind a wall, or pipes concreted into a floor, it’s tempting to hide these things away, but the cost comes when something breaks. Tradespeople, especially plumbers, will tell you that pretty isn’t so pretty when something simple breaks, and you’ve got to tear down a wall to get to a part that takes a few seconds to replace, and a few days rebuilding a wall!
In the first part of That Sinking Feeling, Part 1, I talked about a used chair that I’d bought that wouldn’t stay up. The gas cylinder wasn’t working very well so as you were sitting there it would suddenly, or slowly, drop. With a mug of tea in my hand, that became a little less than safe or ideal! While this isn’t the ongoing saga of Andy B trying to find a working chair, it does remind me that there are often things in life that we try to fix, but we simply can’t do it.
When you’re broken down you want to see a recovery truck. When you’re broken down physically you want to see a doctor and a hospital. When you’re broken down spiritually or emotionally, you want a compassionate person who looks like they have something of their life in good order. It’s easy to only want to speak out, and to hear, nice and positive things. We all like that, and we all need that.
Being able to tell the time is a benchmark in our family. As each of our children has learned to tell the time, on an analogue clock, they get their first wrist watch - and a special trip with Dad to go pick out their very first wristwatch. Knowing what time it is, at any point in the day, can be incredibly useful - so we’re not late for work (I’ve been there), or collecting the children from school (I’ve done that), or being in the house so a parcel can be delivered – even if you know that that 0800 to 1300 window of time you’ve been promised simply isn’t going to happen (I’ve popped out and missed it expecting them to fail to deliver when they said they would). Every year we mark time by celebrating birthdays, and Easter and Christmas, or an Anniversary. And time marks occasions - reading the time helps us not miss out on those occasions! Well, mostly, anyway. Admittedly I’ve been late taking medication, despite having two alarms, that go off twice a day to remind to me to make my medication at the right time! Knowing the time is great. Being able to tell the time is even better. But it only helps if we do what we’re supposed, at the appropriate time.
"Broken beyond repair." "Needs some TLC." "Don’t know what’s wrong, but it’s yours if you want it." Looking through Facebook Marketplace at “FREE STUFF” and you can be surprised by what people give away for free. Now, admittedly, some of that free stuff is not. There are people who list as free, but have no intention of giving it away for free – they’re just hoping to get more ‘hits’ of people looking at something they wish to sell. To be honest, that’s just a bit foolish.
Crutches can be a hindrance to getting on with life, easily. However, if you’ve broken your leg, it is a necessity to enable you to walk, while your leg heals. Christians can be negatively accused of using our relationship with Jesus, or our choice to become a Christian, as some sort of ultra-negative thing. As a Christian, I’m happy to state that I lean on Jesus more than I’ve ever leaned on any other crutches in my life.
It’s so encouraging when we can advise someone, or help them, and see a burden lifted from their shoulders. It could be as simple as lending someone a phone, or giving them a life. Perhaps we take them a meal or two when they’re ill, or even just moving house, so they don’t have to think about preparing a meal for themselves. It can be so very simple, easy and straightforward to help others.
We love accomplishing things. Perhaps, like me, you use a digital To Do List. It is immensely satisfying clicking that little tick box, and having the satisfaction of having accomplished something else. It can be addictive. We can end up working so hard in order to have achieved something, that we miss out on the actual achieving! We’re really good at being busy. The church excels at this, sadly. I think we sometimes feel that if we work really hard then, perhaps, God will love us more, or we’ll feel less guilty about something else.
It’s easy to be bamboozled by people telling us their truth. And we’ve seen, during COVID, media sources confuse everybody by spreading their own opinions, while calling their opinions fact and, at the same time, deleting and blocking any, and all, comments that they simply didn’t like. The truth has been belittled to opinions, just shouted ever louder! MSM means Main Stream Media – I had to look it up. And the trouble with MSM is that they do exactly the same thing as social media, only they do it while wearing business suits on our television sets. So, where on earth, do we seek out the actual truth? Certainly not from fact checkers, who have already been forced to admit that they are nothing more than opinion think tanks, and not – as we were told – conveyors of the absolute truth
We all like to think we’re special and unique. And, in many ways, we truly are. But, we’re gonna have issues when we think that our specific uniqueness is somehow superior to that of someone else. You may not be in to Star Trek. But, whether you are not, there is a fascinating point worth noting from the Mission Statement of the United Federation of Planets, of which earth is a part (that only Captain Kirk ever seems to be able to save!). And that, in really bad paraphrase, is that no culture will force another culture to be like them – cultural differences will be, essentially, accepted as they are. As bad as that paraphrase is, if you’re a Trekkie, let my bad paraphrase go – I’ve been to Star Trek conventions and I can even tell you what the Ship’s registration number is for either Captain Kirk or Captain Piccard!!
It’s easy to shut a door, or close a window, without it actually working. My grandfather once, because he was so busy concentrating on leaving for a holiday, actually was in a taxi, being driven to the airport, when he realised he had lost his keys. When the taxi had popped back for him, he found the keys! They were in the front door, with the door wide open. It’s easy to think we’ve done something we haven’t.