Stray humans

Have you ever tried to tame a stray dog or cat into your pet?

It’s an interesting process.

Food usually becomes the first tool. They aren’t going to come to you because they want to, they will come because they need to. They are hungry.

But even this freely offered food in their world of grabbing bites here and there is viewed cautiously… with suspicion. They usually eat just enough to get by… then scamper quickly away.

This time and feeding increases. Eventually they will eat enough to become full. And when this happens, sometimes they will stay around for a minute or two afterwards.

Gradually they learn to trust you more… to get closer to you. Eventaully, they will come close enough to let you touch them. Gradually you will get to pet them and show them affection before they again quickly scamper off.

And you understand the running. You know it has to do with fear and probably a good deal of past hurt and betrayal. This doesn’t hurt your feelings, as much as you really wish it would stay longer and let you care for it.

But eventually the time comes when they will come, even without the food. They will come not because they need to, but because they want to. They come not because of the food to meet their physical needs, but because of you.

And sometimes…. not frequently, but sometimes… they will eventually decide to stay. They will decide they trust you enough to let their uard down and nap near you and know that you will not harm them. To rest in the safety you provide instead of on their own guard.

To be near you even when they don’t have a particular need. To just be happy to be there with you.

They have become yours.

I find myself wondering how much I act more like a stray human more than being God’s for the sake of being His.


Ear, the cat-less edition

Well, last time I was discussing my ears it was because I had a cat attacking one, while I was considering getting a flame tattoo behind the other.

The cat doesn’t attack it anymore.

And I haven’t gotten the tattoo yet. But remember that ear…

Because its been all gooped up with fluid in the middle ear for the past few days. Not exactly an ear infection, just fluid… glue ear as some people call it. Makes it sound like you are underwater…. things are kinda muffled and your own voice kinda echos.

Now this isn’t the first time I’ve had this happen. Its happened before because of allergies acting up.

But this is winter. My allergies aren’t acting up. And this is only one ear. And my throat isn’t sore like usually comes before the ears get issues (from the drainage).

For that matter, I don’t even have a runny or stuffy nose.

Just one ear with goop in it.

Normally I would not particularly find this that odd. But with the recent foot thing.

And several recent prayers lately… since the foot thing, and more specifically the prayer… I’ve been asking to hear God more clearly and directly… asking him to help me identify and remove obstacles that are preventing it.. to help me tune in to his voice above all the racket, because I know he speaks even when I can’t hear it clearly because of all the background noises in my head/life…

So, to summarize, I’ve been praying to hear God better…. and now just the ear that I was going to get a flame tattoo behind, for the symbolism with listening to the holy spirit, is now gooped up with fluid making everything I hear in it muffled and garbled. With none of the other symptoms normally present.

Just two weeks after a foot injury that I began to suspect was partially just to get me to deal with other issues.

I only suspected with the foot… in spite of the dead-on accuracy of the prayer of a man who barely knows me. But with this… if it isn’t supernaturally provoked, it’s just too incredibly oddly cooincidental to not have symbolic influencing in it at the very least.

So now… the question is…. what do I do about it? Prayer has not helped thus far. I was kinda expecting it to abruptly clear today during worship or something, but no dice there either.

I’ve been taking the meds I was told to use previously for it… for the last three days… with no clearing apparent. And the tube isn’t blocked, I can pop my ears, so air is able to get through back and forth… the fluid just isn’t draining. So I’m reluctant to go to a doctor about it unless it gets really bad.

I wonder how weird of a look I would get calling the church later this week asking to see a pastor because my ear is goopy because two weeks ago a pastor prayed for my foot and ended up directly answering my unspoken battles from earlier in the week instead. I mean, yes, people call pastors for weird things all the time… but that really just sounds so much like an issue-laden obsessive person reason. I like to think I’d a bit more sane and balanced than that.

But this is just so out there. And most of my friends are of more conservative beliefs…. they already think I’m nuts on the ankle thing.

So, it seems a bit doubley ironic that I’m at a loss of direction on how to deal with something that seems to be symbolically if not directly physically related to wanting to hear clearer direction.

I wonder if that’s a “no”.

Diaper rash: grasping the graspable to grasp the ungraspable

So where did my mind go from the end of the last entry (ignoring the computer update)?

To Jesus’ diaper rash.

Yes, my mind works in odd ways sometimes. And often the way it gets ahold of big concepts is by getting ahold of smaller ones…. in the way looking at a lake helps you understand an ocean.

The problem with that comes when what I’m looking at isn’t even a lake. It’s closer to a teaspoon of water.

You see, I can’t imagine deliberately choosing to become human. To have pain. To have all of the problems humans have from the moment they were born. If I had an option, I think personally I’d prefer to pass on that one.

Just think about all of the things you’d be agreeing to right away to be your average, normal human baby. For that matter, even the birth process can’t be very pleasant. But once you’ve arrived, to agree to be in diapers, to not have control of even bodily functions? To be completely at the mercy of someone else, and an inexperienced mother at that.

I’ve always hated the “teamwork building” project sometimes used where they make you fall backwards into the arms of your teammates. To me, if it takes fear and the association of the relief of the fear to make you feel like your team is trustworthy, your team has bigger issues. But it does seem to strike a nerve with many people… its difficult for most people to put that trust forward even though they know the outcome. They know they will be caught even before falling.

If its hard for me to trust just for briefly falling backwards even knowing the result, can you imagine willingly trusting to become totally helpless? To become totally and completely dependant not by force but by choice?

This time of year the story has become commonplace. But can you really even imagine, being a God, and choosing to willingly become a baby stuck into a cattle feeder of hay? Of all the things to be experiencing, in all of the places to be, in all of the eras to be born, in all of the honor you deserve…. to have diaper rash in a time before superabsorbant diapers and fancy rash creams?

When it really comes down to it, I’m not sure I could even imagine just willingly choosing the diaper rash part. Let alone all of the other baby related things, let alone the eventually agony and death.

I mean, really, would you choose to submit to that sort of irritation and pain, just for the sake of someone whose own choices lead them to need you to in the first place?

But then I think of a few people I would do so on their behalf. Why? Because they are people I love.

I can’t grasp the kind of love that would willingly make the choice to become a human because of me. Heck, I felt bad even having to have someone help me get my car unstuck from the snow in a parking lot.

But I can grasp the little, dim reflections of it as seen in weak human love, and can only try to imagine the magnitude of something I know I would never be able to grasp with my weak human mind.

But I wouldn’t want it any other way. As tiny as my human mind and heart are, if I could entirely understand, God would have to be pretty small. I’d rather have love the size of an ocean that I can only imagine looking at my spoonful of water than have a love the size of a teaspoon that I can understand entirely.

YAY! its home.

my computer is finally back from the shop!

i’d be thrilled in any case…. but especially when it got done the last working day for the techs before the holiday.

but as it happens, it ended up costing less than half of the original estimate.

extra yay!

and they replaced the entire top piece in the process…. so now its even shiny again… no scratches.

so at least there is some good. even if it took forever… lol

Worthless and priceless, at the same time

(I apologize in advance for the metaphor here, but it doesn’t get graphic… )

A long time back I saw a tv show about hymen reconstruction surgery. It struck me as really interesting. This is exactly as it sounds… plastic surgery to reconnect the segments of the hymen to give the appearance of virginity, and the associated bleeding on wedding night still vitally important to many cultures.

So I googled it. And after I finally got past the porn sites to some real information, it struck me as even more interesting.

The procedure runs about $5,000…  but on a message board discussion I was surprised to see not rape victims as I would have assumed, but mostly women with regrets.

I can understand the symbolic nature of that. But what surprised me more is how many said they used it primarily to inspire them to refrain from further sexual activity until marriage, by memory of the pain and cost involved.

So, this replica virginity has such value to them…. even where their real virginity didn’t. And their current wellbeing didn’t, even after the lessons they had apparently learned to be interested in it in the first place. It gave it a concrete worth… which somehow made it more valuable than things anyone would agree to be of much more worth.

Its odd. And yet, it makes sense. Just as the child given an expensive car with no effort has less value placed on it than a child who worked hard to buy their cheap car… the tangibility of the cost vs the less tangible elevate the percieved value.

So it strikes me that maybe this is why I feel so much better about my salvation when I feel like I am earning it by good deeds. How can I really grasp the value of something so very far beyond impossible for me to pay for?

But if it costs me time, and effort, and curbing desires, and being obedient, and all of the other tangible lifestyle changes that come along with it…. then it has a worth. A cost, a price. And somehow becomes more valuable as it becomes more tangible.

And yet…. just as with the surgery, all I am buying for my worth is a fake. The money doesn’t buy back their virginity, just their hymen, and all of my best attempts at being good doesn’t buy me salvation, it just buys me religion. It has all the appearances, and yet, is pretty much pointless without the real thing behind it. Just cosmetic appearances.

And yet… its so much easier to grasp… so much easier to understand… so much more tangible. I can understand the price of religion, and give it an according value.

How do I really grasp the true value of something so priceless its beyond anything I could ever earn for myself no matter how hard I tried?

Owww…. a foot story

I was taking out the trash and apparently I stepped wrong. My ankle went one way, then the other, then lots of pain and I found myself sitting down but not sure how I ended up there, with a new bump the size of a golf ball sticking out of my foot which was rapidly turning blue, and very barely able to be stepped on.

Not at all good.

Trip to the ER the next morning surprised the drs that it didn’t appear to be broken, just severly sprained…. in the foot, not the ankle. IT was swollen up enouhg by this point that my oversized crocs were the only thing it would fit into…. and we were supposed to get more snow that night.

So they put a brace on it…. told me it would feel better in about 3 weeks and be healed in about 6… told me i could get crutches to use for the first week or so if i wanted to, and gave me a prescription for a strong pain med.

I was driving to work Friday morning… and something on the radio had prompted me to start praying. But somehow the topic went from being thankful for all He has done for me, to feeling like he made the wrong call with me. I know God doesn’t make mistakes like that, but sometimes, it sure feels like it. As muhc as I mess up…. as awful as I see myself in my worst moments, it can really seem like he’s wasting his time bothering with me.

I arrived at work… and the topic hadn’t entered my mind again, though, to be honest, it was something I’d been feeling for a while…. this was jsut the first time puttting it into words as such.

So sunday comes. I wasn’t using the crutches because of the snow, but I wasn’t walking well either.

We only like about a mile and a half from church. So, in spite of about 4 inches of snow, we went anyway.

Now, we’ve only attended there for about 9 months, and our church very much believes in the church members learning to minister to themselves as training to minister to the world, so as far as the main pastor, I’ve only spoken to him about 3 times before this sunday. (one of which is a story for another time… lol)

So, I sit down in the usual area where I normally sit, and he was still talking to someone from the first service…. but then afterwards, he comes over and starts a conversation with me about Christmas… and I mention my foot… and he asks if I would like him to pray for it.

So he puts his hand on my shoulder and prays for my foot…. but then, midway through, he puts his other hand on my head…. and goes, in a softer voice… “I feel like God is telling me you’re struggling with unworthiness, and He’s wanting me to tell you that you are worthy, and he loves you” and he continues for about a minute…. directly nailing exactly my thoughts from friday morning.

Thoughts that I had never admitted to anyone, and had barely even admitted to myself, let alone discussed with him when I’d barely even met him before.

I was still so stunned that all that I managed to say was thank you, and he was off to talk with and pray for another member before the service started.

My foot actually felt worse during the service because I was standing on it for some of the time…. but later that afternoon it got better. Not completely well, but well enough I can walk on it normally with just a touch of soreness, not really pain. Enouhg to remind me that its injured but not enough to slow down my activities much.

I’m starting to wonder if the foot injury was only to give me a more tangible reason for the prayer.

Mario-real world

It occured to me a while back that life is like Mario.

The stupid turtle thing that keeps biting you again and again seems like just an extreme annyoance that you wish wasn’t there.

But then, eventually, you learn to stomp on it correctly, and it because no problem at all.

You then learn how to pick up the shell, and throw it at a certain box, and get a key, with then lets you into somewhere, and eventually ends up being a vital component in winning the level.

Then, the next level, your new turtle skills are refined more with even more complicated tasks…. and even worse enemys you learn to beat as you did the turtle…..

Eventually the game is over…. and if you stop and realize it, the one turtle that you couldn;t jsut avoid and had to beal with head on wasn’t just an annoyance. While it seemed a small thing, it actually was a critical step you needed.

Do I even want to count how many silly turtles I’ve been asking to have programmed back out of my game?

But, just as the turtle shells are where they are needed, and the keys are where you need to go, and the mushrooms are where you will need the boost, the fireballs are where you will need to shoot them…… so is life.

We just need to trust that they are there. And if they aren’t, that there is a way to get passed this stage anyway that doesn’t require them and will teach new skills that are needed.

Though you still may not like the silly turtle.