Friday, May 18, 2012

A Tapestry

I was just thinking on how confusing life gets; how when a person tries to make sense of mind- and heart-twisting events, it's easy to get lost in the muddle of humanness and see only randomness and chaos. I'm reminded of how hard it is to separate the self from the situations and untangle when the mental, emotional, and physical get wound up.

When people try to portray God in a way they can understand and relate to, God is often described as a creative artist. I've heard of God equated to a puppeteer, an architecht, a potter, and a weaver, to give a short list. God as a weaver brings to mind beautiful expanses of bright-colored cloth decorated with intricate designs and complicated patterns, and what we are most likely to picture is the finished side. But every tapestry, rug, or embroidered work, however simple or complex, humble or extravagant, has both a finished and a working side. The side that gets the most acclaim is naturally the finished side, and the working side the most criticism.

The working side is usually not as pretty as the finished: it tends to look more messy, and we are less proud of it because it doesn't look as nice. But the working side gets more of the attention of the artist during the weaving or the sewing. That's where mistakes are worked out and stray ends worked in. Transitions in design, pattern, and color are all worked in on the working side so that the finished project looks seemless and smooth from the finished side.

A few women in my family have been that type of true master whose projects often could be accidentally flipped over and no one would notice the difference. Their handiwork evoked both admiration and envy, but the method of the craft has been passed down through the generations by practiced hands that took lifetimes to learn. For each, their first creations were both simple and messy. Excellence came with practice, and I know of no one who has ever created a perfect work.

Human life is much the same, especially when we think of ourselves as the craftsmen. We tend to be clumsy and our designs crudely worked. Those of us who study under the Master Weaver Christ will learn best over time to create designs we are proud of. And our lives are ultimately woven together not by our own efforts, but by God, who sees the whole design in its completion as well as the value and beauty of our personal experiences and our individual designs.

Another thought to leave you with is that no work can be completed entirely from the working side. It must be turned over from time to time, with the final product in mind, to mark the progress, check its quality, and to simply be admired.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Things Your Therapist Didn't Tell You

You've had a really bad day, and you're ready to strangle whoever comes across your path. And that is primarily because you can't strangle the person who ticked you off in the first place (your first issue there being that you'd have to get rid of the body). You fume all the way home. You fume at home. You go to bed fuming. Instead of spending the night in an aggravated fitful insomnia and waking with a headache in the a.m. (whether from lack of sleep or your ill-advised remedies), I suggest you stop at the party store on the way home.

I do not recommened alcohol or crepe paper streamers. Go buy a big box of those little bottles of bubbles they hand out at weddings. (uh, what?) That's what I said, you need a whole buch or those small sized bottles of bubble liquid. When you get home, crash on the bed with a bottle of bubbles in hand and blow bubbles until the bottle is empty.

This works wonders for a sour attitude, and is especially cool if you have a ceiling fan and can find the updraft. With skill you can actually catch a bubble on the wand and use it to blow a whole new batch without dipping it again. Using your creativity, you could easily spend an hour and more finding ways of steering bubbles around the room, keeping them from popping, or aiming them at various targets.

If you could seek them into the office, It might not hurt to keep a bottle or two hidden in your desk, just in case. Every time you take a breath, say a prayer; breathe out slowly; and let your tension, frustration, and anger float away and disappear in dozens of tiny spheres of soap.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

In the Bad

It is hard to focus on God at times, but God never stops focusing on His creation. Even though life may seem unforgiving, and we might feel like giving up, it is God who sustains us gives us strength to see it through. He shines His light down on souls in darkness. Jesus did not come to save the wealthy and the righteous, but the poor of spirit and weak of heart.

In our hardest times, we wonder how it is that misfortune has to happen to us. Earth is not Heaven. If earth were like heaven, we would not appreciate the blessings we have for what they really mean to us. We would take them for granted. It would be easy to forget all that we have, our gifts, our strengths, our very lives are from God, and it is by His will that we live to greet each day. We might feel no remorse for our sins, feel no need for atonement, feel no drive to improve ourselves. These things are important to remember when mere existence seems unbearable.

Adam and Eve were sent out of the garden for disobeying before they truly understood the difference between right and wrong. Now we do know the difference, and there is no excuse for us not to strive to better ourselves and overcome temptation to sin. We are sinners all, and even though we be righteous, we are not blameless.

God tests us and our convictions as we go through hardships. Even when our hardships are resulted from our sin, God is there with us to carry us through. We simply have to put our trust in Him. Will you pass the test or give up on the problem?

How often do you stop and wonder why? Why does he have a better job? Why can she afford a new car? Why are their children so healthy? Why not me? These are questions we all ask God and ourselves. this is where we can pull a lesson from the book of Job.

Job was a wealthy man, a righteous man with boundless faith. All his possessions were destroyed, his children killed and his body overcome with illness. This was all the work of the devil, and Job did ask God why. In the end it was his devotion and faith in God that redeemed him and brought him out of his misery.

If Job can do it so can you. Even his faith wavered, but he found it in himself to stay strong in his adversity. It is not always an easy thing to do, but in every travesty you overcome, you will find that it brings you closer to God.