Yup...Jesse has me thinking again.
He requires so much of our time, but how blessed we are to have him. He has the seemingly endless ability to ground us. His influence forces us to reevaluate our priorities and the priorities by the way, always seem to be about people, not things. The reason being of course, is that his still fragile state is a constant reminder to me of his dependence on us for his survival. He doesn't need a lot of the amazing myriad of things out there designed to stimulate and entertain our kids, he just needs people. His mom and his grandparents first and foremost, but also his nurses, his therapists we are his security, his joy, his comfort and his life.
As I observe the world around me from my particular vantage point I sometimes feel that it is such a pity that so many people have arranged their lives so they are spending the most amount of time with those who care the least about them and the least amount of time with those who care the most about them. Many times I know it's just been a matter of life getting away from them and getting caught up in the current values of our day, you know...having what the Jones' have and all that. Before you know it, schedules have gone to the dogs and all the most important stuff of life has gone with them. Chasing money, meeting goals, completing their bucket list and generally sacrificing the things of permanence and true lasting value with the transient and corruptible golden idols of materialism. We so often miss the importance of human relationships, family (that would be spouse to spouse, parents to children, children to parents, and sibling to sibling), as well as deepening relationships. I'm not referring here to the fly by nights, but with sincere, caring, loyal friends, and the one relationship that is completely irreplaceable and beyond compare...one's personal relationship to God.
We can't just blame the culture for setting up those idols. No we share that responsibility. We ARE the culture. So doesn't it fall upon us to change the status quo when it's not working? And boy, is it not working. But don't get me wrong not for a minute do I believe that I by myself or any of us for that matter can change the tide of commercialism spawned by the "Me Generation" that has rooted itself in our post modern society over the past several decades. No, It is accomplished one person at a time, a personal choice of yours and mine to see beyond the smoke and mirrors of media brain washing to the simple truths and genuine values available for us to chose and embrace as part of our lives. No doubt, making those choices is a challenge but it is even more difficult living them out hour to hour in our daily lives.
On the other side of that coin though, the coin of striving and working and achieving and conquering is the other societal offering. I'm referring to the habit of endless personal indulgence, as in the proverbial "good times" we helplessly seem to gravitate to like a drug. Parties, games, social events, and amusements of every kind imaginable, anything that would satisfy our voracious appetites for entertainment. Have you noticed when the local high school lets out the hordes of kids making their way to McDonalds all with their ear buds plugged into their brains and walking like pre-programmed zombies eyes fixed on their cell phones (facebook no doubt), eager to wolf down their msg laced fries and super sized Cokes and get home to fire up their Gameboy or their 900 TV channels hi-def TV so they can log three or four more hours in before falling asleep weak and neurologically numb from laughing at the top 25 YouTube videos in their final dying hours of consciousness. Oh how we must amuse ourselves!
By the way do you happen to know the meaning of the word AMUSE? It's actually a combination of two words. MUSE means to think, and the alpha prefix in front of it means "NOT TO". That's right...looks like we're possessed with activities whereas we can gorge our minds on thoughtless activities. The goal here has become amassing countless activities where we are "not required to think". And then here I am living with a little boy who is striving with every new born brain cell he owns to think the most basic thought. This new paradigm of mine can't help but scream to me. Heaven forbid we should use the incredible minds God gave us to think beyond the shallow skin of amusements that this world offers us to grasp for something greater, higher and deeper. Is there anything of greater value and purpose in our lives than the current party, TV event, podcast or iTunes most popular download?
So at the great personal risk of never being invited to another party again... I say,
YES, THERE IS!
You see it's not my bank account, not my popularity, not my car or home or work or personal achievements that make my life worth living. In fact, it's not about me at all. Life is too short to worry about these things. I have no desire to carry additional stress and anxiety beyond the daily common upsets we all experience. I will not worry about all of this that life in 2014 seems to demand of me. But I can't ignore or ever forget the impact of my choices. It's the old "you reap what you sow", also known as the law of cause and effect, or even simpler put, all activities produce consequences. However you want to say it, it's a law that is irrefutable.
It's amazing to me how many things we are taught in life that we later forget, to say nothing about the experiences both small and great that touch our lives. If we refuse to learn from them can we really expect nothing less that a certain "lostness" in our direction. How do we find the blessings in life without retaining the wisdom and knowledge gained from our experiences both good and bad? Wisdom and knowledge are like two brothers that shine a great light on us to expose even greater truths. Which way to go? What is of value? What is waste?
As I study scripture I read in James 1, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says", and verse 25 tells me, "The man who looks INTENTLY into the perfect law that gives freedom, AND CONTINUES TO DO THIS, not forgetting what he has heard, BUT DOING IT, he will be blessed in what he does."
You may share these thoughts with me or you may not but one thing is for sure, we are all fish in the same bowl. The wind blows on me like it blows on you. The rain falls on both of us. The economy is mine to overcome just as it is yours. We all have to pay our taxes and we all will have to pay for what we believe, because what we believe has an overwhelming influence on the choices we make.
Last night I watched a movie about the life of Solomon, of whom it is said was the wisest man who ever lived. His book of Proverbs expresses God's thoughts on this subject. "Now therefore O sons, listen to me, For blessed are they who keep my ways. Heed instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at my doorposts. For he who finds me finds life and obtains favour from The Lord."