Always Something to Look Forward To
You know, the dating sites have wised up and realized there needs to be a separate site geared toward folks of a pre “born-with-a-tech-gadget in-hand” generation. Why hasn’t WordPress caught on? I finally figured out how to still get onto the classic editor template for posts, now I can’t find how to do the same in “pages”.
I feel sorry for the people in their seventies trying to figure it all out. At least I was in my 20’s when first exposed to computers.
Why do there need to be so many “options”. Sure, change is good, but why throw out the old way when some of us prefer it and still use it?
I don’t like this “brave new world”. Mankind is getting far above their raising. Professing themselves wise, they’ve become fools!
Generation gaps get wider with every new generation. I met my first grandbaby yesterday. I don’t like the world that he has come into. Not a bit. It is dangerous, cruel, and harsh. If I did not believe that the rapture is coming soon, I would be inconsolable. I believe like King David, children before the age of accountability go to heaven if they die or in event of the rapture. I am happy I got to meet him and hold him. I’d be happy for all the rest of our interactions to be over on the safe shore of heaven in the presence if the Lord.
For a while, I was sad for our adult kids, that they wouldn’t get to have some of the good experiences of life. Now, I don’t think those good experiences will materialize regardless. This world is being swallowed up in darkness. You can almost feel a hot wind of dragon’s breath blow across the back of your neck it is so close. I don’t know much. At the end of 57 years of life, all I know is I want everyone I love, and myself, to be redeemed by the blood, by faith through the grace of God. I can’t fathom the love some people have, for all things evil. How can that be preferred?
God didn’t create mankind for that. He didn’t create us and set us on this huge sphere, so we could go our way, and just do whatever. He didn’t instruct us to multiply and populate the earth, so we could devote all of our abilities to enriching ourselves or just living for pleasure alone. We have gotten so far from His purpose.
“Everybody doesn’t believe in God”, you say? Well, everybody in 1000 AD didn’t believe there were living organisms in a cup of water that could make you sick. Someone had to invent the microscope first. But microscopic organisms existed, despite the fact no one believed in them. Haven’t people ever been wrong? Of course they have! The truth always prevails. A day will come when no living being doubts that not only is there a God, but there is only one God, and He has allllll of the power over alllllll things! It is exciting to have been born to this generation. It is also slightly terrifying. I am under the blood of Christ, and therefore have no reason to fear, but I can still appreciate the terror of God. The power He has, plus righteous wrath. It is coming. Laugh, scoff, mock, deny, dismiss, all at your own peril, because what He says, He will do, and you will fall on your face because your bones will liquify, all your strength will disappear, and sin cannot stand before His holiness, and you are infested with sin. It is inherited from the first parents, Adam and Eve.
I no more know how to be holy than I know how to breathe water instead of air. I am what I am and only God can make me into anything else. I have spent my life always thinking there is something I am supposed to “become” and wondering how I am supposed to make myself into that. I realize I still don’t know what or how. So I have to believe God is doing it. I mean, what does clay “do”? What does clay contribute to the thing being formed of itself by the potter? And once formed, what has the object to say in how the potter uses that thing formed, or where he is placed? The world is always saying “take control of your life”. “Choose your own destiny. Cut your own path.” God says “yield”, “heed”, “esteem others above self”, ” submit to God”. My mind is not vast enough to comprehend God or His ways, but I am intelligent enough to realize I’m no match for Him. I don’t have to understand things like aerodynamics, electricity, photosynthesis, or how a medication works, to benefit from them. It’s called faith. We all practice faith dozens of times a day, every day.
We have faith that the other drivers will stay in their lane. We have faith that office chair will hold us, that bridge will hold the weight of tons of vehicles. We have faith in someone, to properly cook our food, correctly credit our bank deposit, sterilize the surgical instrument that will be used on you, faith that the solar bodies will continue in their rotations, that water will evaporate, condensate, and precipitate. We take all of that on faith, then people say they just can’t believe there is someone who designed us as well as this whole world and the galaxies….
The Bible says no one has an excuse not to believe that He is. Personally, I like knowing there is someone in charge who is wise and all powerful. If I didn’t believe that, I would be terrified and without hope in the face of the conditions on planet Earth this very moment.
Even guys like Elon Musk and the late Steven Hawking have concerns over some of the things mankind has begun tinkering with, like CERN. I am not sure their egos will/ would have limited them from stepping over boundaries and safeguards, but they know man is endangering mankind. Some of the “mad scientists” don’t care. Good thing God is sovereign over all creation. If the whole planet were nuked, He could restore it. He, Himself will destroy this Earth eventually, and create a brand new one. It makes me wonder what else He has up His sleeve for the ages of ages of eternity. What other worlds, what other species of beings? An infinite mind can’t ever run out of ideas to create. Why do people think life after this one will be boring? Clouds, harps, white robes. It will be nothing like that. Know how I know? Because I can picture those, and so can you. He says our minds cannot even conceive of what He has in store for us. Selah!!!! Maranatha!!!
Today. I sat on the patio in the first nip of Autumn.
Funny. I woke up this morning with my mind burdened with vague un-ease. Not quite anxiety, but concern. Usually, I don’t do a whole lot of thinking that early. Maybe I had a dream that caused my state of mind, but I don’t remember dreaming. I hashed out my thoughts with my husband for a little while, and just putting the feelings into words helped. I think it might be a conditioned thing, Fall has always been my favorite time, but for so many years I was so sad, and when you are sad for a long time like that, and experience something that is special, the contrast between what you feel and what you know you ought to feel, can be so stark.
This is a time of year that always puts me into a pensive, reminiscent state of mind. Unbidden, things rise up from my pool of memories. I will remember things I hadn’t thought of in years, and feel them like they are happening right now. Like walking around the big yard at Grandma T’s house. Picking up leaves, taking pictures, or just thinking. Sometimes it brings back less happy things.
I think a lot about loved ones that are gone. Some have been gone a long time.
I think about how I envisioned my life would go, and how differently it did go. I think about things I wish I could have figured out sooner, and things taken away, and things I let myself lose.
Some things look very different from this end of the lifespan. What am I saying, of course they do. Everything does. But more than anything, I think that when you are starting to be nearer to the end of your life than your beginning, it’s just instinctive to look back.
It is getting close to being ten years since my Dad passed away. That happened in the Autumn. The last trip he and Mom made to VA, I had been knowing for a while that we were going to be losing one of them soon. Just one of my gut things. I always figured Dad would go first. I knew as he drove away it was his last trip. God prepared me, I think.
I dreaded losing a parent, wondered how I would handle it. Wondered how the other parent would handle it when one died. Well, I’ll tell you. I was more okay about Dad because I know how ready he was, to leave this world. He had been ready for a long time, like I have.
Mom handled it like a trouper, but man life got a million times harder for her when he died. She went through so much! One thing after another. She has lived with chronic pain for decades. But over several years she had been developing a new pain in her legs. I thought on the rare occasions when she mentioned it, that it was more of her Fibromyalgia. Getting worse, or flaring. Since she has lived in another state for over 25 years now, I didn’t really know her current “normal”. Her sister had been after her for a couple of years or more about this pain. About seeing a doctor and trying to find out what the issue is. When she finally did, it was a pretty profound issue. She needs surgery, and that surgery has been delayed a year and a half already due to different things. The surgery is very risky. So there are no guarantees that she will survive it, nor that she will get back what she has lost in terms of strength and functional ability, and even if she dodges complications, recovery and rehab are not going to be a cake walk. For a year and a half, she has been barely able to be out of her chair. It’s a recliner, which is good, because she even sleeps there. Now she feels like she probably won’t ever get the surgery, and that really bothers me, for all kinds of reasons. This Covid stuff has cheated so many people of so much. She is a six hour drive from me. I don’t do a lot of driving, ever since I was diagnosed with Narcolepsy, I generally limit myself to no more than thirty minutes to an hour of driving at one stretch. I want to be there helping her. Advocating for her with her doctors. Helping her with the daily demands of living life. But my doctors are here. I guess subconsciously that is what was weighing on me when I got up.
I know where my Dad is, and I know where my Mom is going when it is her time. She wasn’t ready to go ten years ago, but she is now, so if that is the outcome, whether she has surgery or not, then I know she is okay with that and I will be able to rejoice for her in her release from pain and immobility. I was hoping though, that she would have the chance of having the surgery and getting back some of her vitality. She never sat still for five minutes in her life before this. Always busy. Her life didn’t go the way she imagined either. Does anyone’s life go the way they expected? Her life has been very different from mine. I guess that is true from one generation to the next at least in the rapid-change world we live in now. Change is not always good. I’d say we have traded a lot of good, for a lot of nothing.
With the birth of our first grandbaby 12 days ago, well, the world he just came into is not going in a good direction. He was born two days beyond the 20 year anniversary of 9-11. His Dad was in kindergarten when that happened, and it had a lot to do with his desire to join the army when he grew up. In a lot of ways, I guess you could say I am in the Autumn season of my life, and that is why I am feeling some of this. Yeah. I think that is it exactly. Wow. It all happened so fast. I know everybody my age and at my current stage says this. Sayings like that stick around because they are facts of life. There’s nothing so permanent as truth.
My Favorite Kind of Stories
My favorite kind of stories to read are always the ones where someone is starting over. I don’t know why that is so appealing, but I like them, I guess because we all get tired of the ruts life puts us in. Someone dies, or loses their job, or some other circumstance pops up completely unanticipated, or life somehow forces the hand of the main character, and at first they are stunned, or broken, or grieving, or scared, and don’t know what in the world they are in for. They may feel hopeless, or distressed. Then they move halfway across the country or world, start a completely new career, meet a whole new crop of people, have a whole new set of experiences and it’s like they have been reborn, have a brand new lease on life, ultimately in these stories they find they never dreamt they could be so happy or fulfilled, or what have you.
I think life in the present day, in Western society, breeds so much discontent. And yet Western Society seems like the ideal that much of the rest of the world aspires to emulate. Where has this led us, as a world? There is only so much pleasure to be had, so much adventure. A lifetime soon is spent and when one’s strength has waned, and the end is drawing near, what has all of that pleasure gone? It’s all in the past tense at that point, and you start to understand there won’t be a whole lot more, and instead what you have to look forward to is old age, failing health, struggles, dependance, and if you have spent your life like many, living for self and pleasure, who will there be to lean on? If you spent your life accumulating wealth, who will that benefit after you are gone? If you have learned anything in life, who will you pass that knowledge on to?
This world has a lot to offer but it doesn’t amount to anything in the end, and you will find yourself alone. People who decided they didn’t want kids, for example, or didn’t believe in marriage end up alone in old age. To die and have no one even know you’re gone until the inconvenience of an extremely foul odor prompts a neighbor to call someone, and the authorities come and discover you have died, then there is no one to claim you, eulogize or bury you, no one to care that you are even gone, that is the saddest of existences.
Am I a fool for believing in the old fashioned notion of a Creator God, a Heaven and a Hell? Who is the fool? No, my friend, even if there were no God, I will have lived a better life for believing there is. A life lived for nothing more than self, can’t satisfy. We were made in the image of God who is Love. Love is not about self, and so selfish life is unfulfilling. It is the black hole of self that robs you of the very thing your soul wants and needs and craves. Humanity apart from God is misery personified.
Humankind is in a rut of our own making. We are sinners created by a Holy God against whom we have rebelled. The greatest starting over story ever, is the soul who finds the end of themselves, and comes to understand their need of something more. It is the only place from which a person can receive the gift of salvation and new birth and experience a new start in which they can discover love, joy, peace, and fulfillment they never dreamed was even possible, and life beyond this mortal realm. I guess that’s why those starting over stories are my favorite. It is the very template of the story of mankind. Instead of getting near the end of life, as the years accumulate and pass into yesterdays, I look forward to a never-ending life yet to come. One with new adventures, and no sickness or loss or pain. A family most of which I haven’t even met yet, as well as seeing loved ones again who I have “lost” in this life. When I look around and am tempted to wonder about the inequities, the opulence of some and the abject poverty of others, that can be pretty disheartening. But God has said He will make things right some day. Many in the world who cry for “justice” don’t really comprehend what they are asking for, and will instead cry for mercy when true Justice is issued. Man for the most part is not qualified to recognize true justice. Not apart from God. And apart from God, unfortunately, is exactly where most folks are. Far from God, by choice. There is a whole other faction of humanity who are trying to approach God by their own commendation. Wrong credentials. Christ Jesus said “no man cometh unto the Father but by me”. He is all I have to offer God if I want to talk to Him, the only reason God hears my prayers. Jesus is all I have to offer anybody. When this life is over, Jesus will be my completion as my sin-cursed body falls away as I enter glory, or is changed at the last trump in the twinkling of an eye. He is my starting over story.
Necessity is The Mother not Only of Invention, but of Creativity and Fulfillment
I sat watching a YouTube video last night, something it is so easy to do too much of, but my thoughts this morning did spin off of this particular video. It was one of many that chronicle the activities of a young mom and her family, centering around a skill and hobby of hers, and ultimately she uses the platform to demonstrate living out their family philosophy, values and lifestyle. I haven’t watched enough of her videos to know whether she is a believer or not, nor even that much of what her philosophy and values are, other than frugality and avoidance of harsh chemicals. The channel is called Desert DIY. This young Mom of five kids has an awesome talent for spotting and flipping thrift store and curb finds into beautiful high-end look pieces for a tiny fraction of the cost of actually purchasing the brand name looks that appeal to her.
I think she resonated with me because I have that same knack for seing the potential and appreciation for renewing something old rather than buying something new. If it had not been a necessary skill due to financial limitations, I might never have used it.
I see things all around me and can visualize what they can become, and in fact, can sometimes have multiple options of visions of what a piece or a place can become. I didn’t realize this was a gift since it just came natural to me, until I put it into practice a few times and got reactions of “awe and admiration” from others, upon which, (lightbulb moment) I realized that not everybody just automatically looks at something old and sees sometnhing new it can be turned into. As a Christian, though, you can see how that would be something that appeals, as well as how it is a trait we “inherit” from the One in Whose image we were all created. None of us get all of His traits, but all the traits and abilities and talents any of us have, we inherited from Him.
Anyhoo, I just love the fact that a generation of young families have rediscovered the art and the wisdom of the Great Depression’s philosophy of “Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make Do or Do Without”.My parents never said that, but they lived it, and I absorbed it into the fabric of who I became. My Mom did often say, “If you don’t take care of what God gives you, you don’t deserve more.” On the one hand, the swing is just a natural cycle, one generation has excess, the next generation or two come along and recognize the gluttonous nature of that and are disgusted by it. On the other hand, as I sit writing this, the news if full of warnings that a recession if not a depression greater than the Great Depression is looming, so even if it is done in a mindset of “trying not to turn into my parents”, it’s probably just as well. This young lady mentioned how her Grandmother had advised her not to be “house poor”. That is to invest so much into your home that you have no liquid assets for enjoying life in other ways, and particularly not to the degree you go into deep debt.
When we looked at our home we now live in, (27 years ago) that ability to see potential is what sold me. I mean, I could appreciate what it was, but even more, I could see what it could become. Of course in my early thirties, I had yet to realize how fast the next phase of life would pass, especially for me. At that age, a person usually can anticipate many many productive years still ahead, and if God sees fit to bless you with good health, if you dig in and apply yourself, you can accomplish a lot before the grandparenting stage and the thinking of retirement stage even if you do waffle through your 20’s. I have talked enough elsewhere on this platform about the health issues and why that wasn’t the case for me, so I won’t go into it here.
What my point is is really meant to be here,is this: Young folks, I’m talking to you! Don’t let your material “wants” dictate your priorities. I promise you that 20 years from now you will be eaten up with regrets if you do that. You have had it hammered into your head that you “should never settle for less”. Surprise! The truth is, in a world that clamours always for “more”, settling for less can be a very good thing. It is definitely something to consider. The only thing you will be settling is a voracious appetite for “stuff”. They call us “consumers” but owning “stuff” isnt consuming, it is more accurate to say the more stuff you own, the more YOU are “being consumed”.
Lets say you are just starting out. Just setting up housekeeping for the first time, whether single or already married. No matter what your means and income level is, learn to live beneath your means. People don’t do that these days. They live “above their means”. Maybe the economic downturn will bring the concept of “lay-away” back into vogue! Of not actually getting stuff until it is fully paid-for. But even better than that, go to the thrift store. Make it a fun challenge for yourself. Spot well-made older stuff, and revamp it! You will probably discover a “creativity” gene you didn’t know you had! Rather than boasting about someone else’s “brand” name on your furniture and clothing, you can take pride in your own ingenuity and satisfaction in fulfilling your need with something you worked on with your own two hands.
There are a lot of people online who have found a way to do what they love, and just by documenting it and posting it online, turn it into their means of subsistance. More people are probably able to make a living doing something they actually enjoy these days than maybe ever before. But it does take a few specific ingredients. You have to have a talent or two. Something you are actually good at, or are willing to work hard at getting good at. People can be harsh online, but there are also a lot of nurturing cheerleading types who will come along for the ride just to watch you grow! Besides, negative comments propel you in the algorythms just as much as the positive ones, so that doesn’t matter much, as long as you make it a point not to take those comments seriously and personally. You also have to have some patience, some “sticktuitiveness” (persistent determination) and some basic computer and camera (or cell phone camera) skills. Then as you go along you learn and grow in your production skills, and maybe afford better equipment and lighting. I may be wrong, but I think that the real money made on most YouTube channels simililar to Desert DIY, is not in the thrifting and flipping, but in the videoing of that process and posting of it consistently online. Work is work. Even if you make a living doing something you love, there will be aspects of it that you dread and don’t love. Accentuate what you love about it, revel in that, and don’t allow yourself to waste time brooding over or procrastinating when it comes to the less appealing aspects of it. How happy you are really does come down to how you think. The sooner in life that lesson is learned, the better. You can’t always control your health, income level, living situation, or circumstances, but one thing you can always do something about, and have the power to change, is your thoughts. Your way of thinking. So if you are not very happy about where you are in life right now, with what you have and don’t have, if you are feeling cheated, (ugh, a really unpleasant feeling), take a step back and do some thinking about your thinking! You might find that what you don’t yet have, and have still not achieved, are blessing in and of themselves, and let them propel you into discovering creativity you didn’t know was in you, thereby bringing about fulfillment you never dared to dream possible!