A thought to seize the day

“The tragedy in devastation lies not in the event, but in the lack of a lesson learned.”
When I consider various life threatening or life taking occurrences around the world, whether it be natural disasters or personally dreadful events, I am touched at how it often leads many of us affected, to want to embrace life, love, God…etc. more diligently. It causes the deepest offenses of our hearts to fade away and leads us to reach out to those we’ve disconnected with. We begin to see how truly small and insignificant were the moments of anger and bitterness that we’ve held a deep grip to, sometimes for a very long time. Our minds grasp a realization of how impermanent not only are we, but are those around us.
But as time continues, we tend to forget the desperation and sobriety that clings to the unveiled frailty of life. We become once again comfortable in the probability of being the exception in death’s rule book. Careless are our days. Bitterness finds its way back into our hearts and distance regains its wedge between us and our God.
Tragedy comes in many sizes; it is often on a relatively small scale, but many times wide-spread. No matter the range, there is always a lesson to be learned. When confronted with devastation, we face reality at the foundation of asking ourselves, “Right now, what really matters?” Things that we hold in high importance are usually what we seek after or have regret about in our time of grief-hence, the rekindling or deepening of relationships with God and others.
With life, which is ever changing and situations that never stay the same, it is hard to keep the same fervor and intensity concerning things that are important to us. We should try to remember the things that will matter most to us at the end of the day and use that awareness to guide us in how we deal with our day to day situations and relationships. The next time we are faced with a challenge or difficulty, may we weigh out its true worth in our lives and allot adequate time and energy to it, then move on. May we hug our loved ones, extend grace to our enemies and complete the God-given tasks that we’ve been given.
The harsh reality is, we will not always have the time to get things “right”. Death does not always send a heads-up notification. Tragedy is often a reminder that death is not too far and that it respects no one. We will all one day have to give a response to death and eventually, “Not right now” won’t cut it.
In no way am I suggesting that we should we live in a bubble or in fear of things to come. I propose we try our best to live in love and appreciation of what matters most in life, which will cause the fear of death to lose its looming power. Should-have, could-have and would-have will all be dissolved at their roots, because opportunities will have been seized, indiscretions forgiven and love generously given.
As continued sojourners in Life’s journey, it is my hope that we can sustain our focus and give all that we have to give. What good is storing up love or an apology for a tomorrow that is never promised? No matter how short or long we live, we will all leave our stamp here on earth, but how deep and staining the impression- is usually up to us. So, be diligent in giving your all and not assuming that another time will come or for tragedy to reveal an already available opportunity.

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Reflecting, Saturday, July 28, 2012

Reflecting on my teenage years, I remember constantly praying to God on behalf of my mother. What seems like everyday, I asked Him to spare her life and release her from the relentless grips of drug addiction, which had her bound way before I can even remember. I remember fearing that she wouldn’t live long enough to see me graduate high school or college. I remember the many days I nervously wondered if she’d ever be present to happily watch me take the plunge into holy matrimony or with a motherly comfort, walk me through the path of pregnancy and the birth of my first child. This day, I am glad to remember her standing at my side as I graduated college. I remember the kiss she gave me the day I got married and I remember the support and many stories she told about her pregnancy with me and about my baby years. I remember 15 years ago when God delivered her from drug addiction and not too long after that, saved her soul. Today, I remember her crying while declaring, “I am a follower of Jesus Christ!” and being baptized in the powerful name of Jesus Christ!

I am a living witness that God still answers prayer! I feel like I cannot thank Him enough. The road started out very rough, but God has redeemed the times and I am grateful!

“All things work together for good…”

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Untitled, written the night Saddam H. was executed!

In a matter of days three world renowned deaths,
One sticks out in mind
Execution by hanging-seemingly a thought-a threat proclaimed against a fearless dictator
Seconds dwindled into fate and the pages of your life read, “The End”
I wonder, although your face was calm, what was in your mind?
You declined a mask to cover you, as you welcomed eternity,
Appearing ready and expecting to hear, “Well done” as you closed your eyes and breathed for the last time
Who were the men who prepared your body to take its eternal plunge? And what beats at their hearts this night? (Which in their time is really day)
This I wonder as I lay my head to sleep and they rise from slumber…
Vengeance is God’s, is He pleased?

Is God Pleased?

Uncovered

Layers and layers of people we encounter moment by moment, Oh, for the secret thoughts and battles of the mind to be revealed. . .

The real you, the real me padded and primmed, tucked and trimmed; gently covered like knees under church doilies, clasped like staunch prayer fingers aiding in the request for deliverance from condemned temptations, but, “The Lord looketh at the heart”…

Better, the road toward perfection

20130218-175342.jpgAbout two weeks ago I was professionally asked this question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” My initial thoughts to the question went in almost 10 different places in a span of about three seconds. The things I quickly considered were family, education, finances, church, home, work, me and the list went on. I did not have the opportunity to linger on these thoughts, so I wondered, “How can I sum it all up in a way that is general, yet covers all of these bases and does not take twenty-five minutes for me to state it?

For my family alone, it would take a substantial amount of time for me to state where I would like to see us in five years. And while many of these areas overlap, the same is true for every area of my life considered. Of course, I know that my plan may not be God’s plan for me and I have heard the quote, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” But, I do believe in creating a plan and at least giving God something to work with. I give God my plans, knowing that above all, I want His will for my life. Any who…When I think of all the areas of my life that make me who I am, the bottom line is no matter where I would like to go and what I would like to do or become, I know I have not reached my greatest level of potential. Life is something that is progressive, no matter what we do, no matter what we think. Days are always added, never subtracted-even if we seem to personally regress or come to a point of life where we decline, it is an impossibility for the world to go backward. Only in movies and dreams are there opportunities to go back in time and undo, redo or erase. Time is that consistently fleeting, ever present, intangible blessing and curse that hangs over the head of each of us. As powerful as time it, time is really useless without our existence, and it is our very presence which gives time its strength.

So, I’ve pretty much given you a slight scenic route to this end, in five years I see myself better. In every area of my life, Better is what I expect. Better is what I see and it is what I am working toward. Many times, to become better it is a step by step, moment by moment journey of cohesive thoughts and actions. To me better is progressive; it is always moving forward. The aim/goal is perfection, because in my understanding, perfection is definitive and denotes completion; there’s nothing more to attain in perfection. The day we reach perfection is the day we stop living because there will be nothing more to strive toward. Now, don’t misunderstand me, in school, a perfect grade 100 % is the goal and in sports, nothing beats a perfect score, but in life as a whole, I believe our road to perfection is named Better.

Now for those of us who like to seal our mental deal with the Bible, I believe that Better is what Paul was referring to when he said, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14 NIV). This text was written while he was in prison, so he clearly was not in the place of total contentment or perfection. With a little bit of deductive reasoning we can determine that, if there is a goal to be reached, it is a clear indication of (at least) two things, 1. Perfection has not been attained and 2. In order to reach the goal, positive progress [aka Better] must be put in action.

I would like to conclude that the concept of Better takes the pressure off and is less overwhelming. When we see pieces of a puzzle, rather than the puzzle as a whole, even though we are working toward the same end, it seems more manageable and able to be accomplished. Physically, we are less stressed and mentally more clear. An example is someone who decides to go to college and complete their Bachelor’s degree. Now, usually, this takes a minimum of 4 years and about 120 credits to complete. Considering your life over the next four years and all of the things you have to do along with completing 120 credits can seem so overwhelming that many people may decide not to even give it a shot. But, if it is broken down to what it really is; about 15 credits per semester, a few hours a week, it is not as devastating and more convenient and has a much greater chance of being completed. And it is with this reasoning that I put one foot in front of the other and take minute to minute steps of progress toward better.