Rain, Response and Re-Think

Rain in So Cal is a funny thing. For one thing, it makes the native Californians a little crazy. Secondly, it makes the transplanted Californians remember other places they lived with rain – sometimes with fond memories, sometimes it re-enforces why they moved. Thirdly, it never just rains in So Cal. It's always a storm. The local news goes crazy with “StormWatch.” They put our all their reporters out in various locales so they can comment on whether or not any moisture is falling from the sky yet. Sometimes it’s almost too much.

But the one place that rain really messes up, is the freeways. When it rains in So Cal, it divides people into two groups. Those who don’t slow down one bit and those who nearly stop completely. Neither of these options is the appropriate response. When the roads get slick from the rain, it’s a good idea to slow down some and take it easy. That doesn’t mean business as usual at 80 miles an hour. Nor does it mean that you should go 10 miles an hour on the freeway because there’s a light mist falling. (Does it make me a bad person to enjoying seeing the yahoo who went by at 80 facing the wrong way against the center divider a few miles later?)

Appropriate response is a good thing. Whether you are dealing with disciplining a wayward child, or dealing with an organization that has provided a poor service for your money, or dealing with a perceived slight from a co-worker or family member - take a moment to think about the appropriate response BEFORE you act. Maybe now is the time to re-think your response regarding spiritual matters as well. Have you responded appropriately to God's calling? That's worth pondering about....


Opposites Attract

We seem to love things that are opposites of each other. Sweet and Sour Chicken is a great example. We put "hot" chocolate on "cold" ice cream. If we get dressed up, we often where black and white. Snacks are often sweet and salty or sour and sweet. We like to jump out of a hot tub into a cool pool. And "good" girls like to date "bad" boys. Some "good" people like to dress up like big, "bad" bikers and go to the local bar on weekends.

Those last ones open up a whole area of strange human behavior. Many times we like to be a little bad. We don't want to kill anyone or go to jail, but we like to be bad - a little bit. We just want to have some fun. I think sometimes this how people get into big trouble without really realizing what's going on. One classic example is cheating on your spouse. It's naughty and often times we think it will be a little fun and no one will really get hurt. We won't go to jail. It just a fun way to be a little bad. Ask Tiger Woods how that's working out for him. There's many other examples of this type of behavior.

It's like we are trying to have everything. We want to be bad and good. We want the respect of being a good person and we don't want the cops to harrass us, but we also like the alure of being a little bad. Why be a fence sitter? You can drive yourself crazy trying to lead a double life. It doesn't seem to be worth the headache. Can you imagine anyone at the end of their life wishing that had just been a little more bad? Me neither. So why bother with it? That's worth pondering about...

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve... But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15 (NIV)


Obvious Moments

Parents of young children often worry about child care. When our children were young, me and my wife were no different. We both worked and so at one point when our babysitter couldn't continue, we worried about what we were going to do. We were very blessed to find a wonderful family at church that was able to watch the boys. They stayed with this family the entire time until they started going to school. It was a great situation for us, and hopefully the other family. I guess they survived our boys, as we have remained close to this family these many years later.

At a recent event, I was introduced to an extended family member of this family. I had never met this man before, but he had often been to the house where they watched the boys and he remembered them. After we talked for a few minutes, he mentioned that often saw the boys on the way home from school on the bus. He remembered the boys well. The boys didn't remember him or recognize him. But he remembered them and would watch them on the bus each day with their friends.

At first glance this seems like a neat coincidence. But I believe it was more than that. Like many parents, I have often prayed for the safety of my boys. God seems to have answered my prayers. But now it seems that God has reminded me that he did answer my prayers. He provided a man who knew my boys, that the boys didn't remember and whom I had never met, who was on the bus each day with them. Someone, who if needed, would have stepped up to help my boys.

I have a friend who says "God is good all the time, and sometimes it's really obvious." I love those obvious moments. Those moments don't always happen as often as I'd like them to. But when they do it is so cool!

Sometimes I wonder what I've done to deserve such favor from God. Then I remember, I haven't done anything. God loves me and provides for me as a good father cares for his children. Not because I am great, but because He is great.


What's Important?

This holiday season was quite a bit different than I expected. I was expecting a regular holiday. We have a bit of routine down and it's good. I was going to get some time off and do a few minor projects around the house. Just kind of lay low and enjoy the time off. It didn't really work out that way, but I'm ok with that.

However, part of the holiday was really unique, and dare I say it, even special. It was totally unexpected. Without going into all the details, several times during this holiday people did something or shared something with me and my family that was very thoughtful. We got one card from someone who really took their time to write something very nice and uplifting. We were invited to share the evening with some friends. Someone shared something with me about what had made their year one of the best ever. Just some little things. Nothing big. Certainly nothing expensive. But that's what made it so cool. It was personal. These things probably wouldn't mean much to anyone else, because they were custom tailored for me.

It really made me reflect on what is important. I tend to be very task oriented. I guess that's not all bad, someone has to get stuff done. But I need to be careful not to be only task oriented. Tasks don’t matter near as much as people do. I know that, but I’m afraid I don’t always act like that.

Take the time to be part of the lives of the people around you. Think about where you, your family and your friends are headed – not only in this life, but for eternity. When you are part of someone’s life, you have influence. You can make suggestions that could help in the course of their life. That’s a good thing. The question is, what suggestions are you making? What course adjustments are you responsible for? That’s worth pondering about.