Monday, April 16, 2012

Easter Eggs

(A little past the holiday, I know.)

A month before the big day, the church sent out the call:  "We need to fill 10,000 eggs for the Easter Egg Scramble.  Take a bag home with you and fill them with your favorite candy.  Or...with whatever.  Wouldn't be awesome to open an Easter egg and find a big juicy steak? Mmmmm."

Immediately my mind wandered to the logistics--and health concerns--that would make steak a very bad Easter egg filler. (You would need a super sized, refrigerated egg to make it work.)  I understood the point.  We get older and we want different things.  But it's not always a maturity thing. (Yes, eating chocolate all the time would be bad.  It's good to graduate to steak and veggies.)  We get tired of the simple stuff.  We get bored with the blessings that we have, and always seem to want more.  (We also like to make things complicated.)

I pictured God presenting me with an Easter basket.   One of those colorful ones filled with goodies and topped with a bow.  But I saw myself as a teenager, trying to look happy about getting the present but secretly thinking about how cheesy it was, how I was so beyond that now.  "Oh.  Thanks."  And in my mental image God's smile melted into hurt and disappointment. 

Remember what it was like to be ecstatic about finding a little plastic egg filled with a little bit of chocolate?  Remember the simple joy of recognizing a beautiful day?  Receiving a hug?  Hearing your song on the radio?  Of simply being forgiven?

We ended up scattering 14,000 eggs on the church parking lot for the Scramble. (I belong to a giving church family.) You couldn't take a step without hitting one.  They were everywhere.  All filled with tiny little happy thoughts disguised as Hershey Kisses, mini Twix bars, Reese's Cups, and Bubble Gum.

We have eggs scattered all over our days.  If we're willing to look.

Keep it simple.  Enjoy the chocolate.

Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. ~ Mark 10:14-15

Friday, April 13, 2012

Donald Trump

I enjoy watching reality/competition shows.  It all started with "The Amazing Race."  When I was house-hunting, my realtor and I became friends after we discovered we had similar educational backgrounds and interests.  (That may be a fib.  I think we became friends about 30 seconds after we initially shook hands.)  Anyway, he got me into watching "The Amazing Race" because he said he enjoyed watching how the teams of people work together, how they communicate, how they deal with stress, etc.  We were soon exchanging emails about the show:  our reactions, teams we liked and didn't, how we thought people had grown and learned (or not).  ...and that's pretty much the lens through which I watch all those shows.  Half interested in the competition at hand, but very interested in the dynamics of the people.

There's one show in particular that I watch, not really for the contestants, but for the judge.  Have you ever seen The Apprentice?  Donald Trump is something else.  Sometimes (many times?) his boardroom decisions seem petty and arbitrary.  There was one episode in this current season when he fired a contestant, not for doing anything wrong, but because he felt they should have been Project Manager.  This opinion wasn't shared by anyone else.  His teammates felt he brought a lot to the challenge, that he performed well and in line with his strengths.  But Mr. Trump clamped down on that one thought and wouldn't let it go.  It was fascinating to watch.  As usual, after the firing his asks his board room helpers if he did the right thing.  And they both said yes and came up with reasons, but I think it was pretty obvious that they were a little confused too.  Stuff like that happens all the time on The Apprentice.

As I was waging war against the bushes outside my house, I found myself mulling over this show.  While Mr. Trump certainly holds contestants accountable if they lose or under perform, his final decisions are all over the place.  And after trying to find sense, I had to simply concede the point.  He's not really choosing the best or the worst, he just wants to make it a good show.  He's creating a dynamic and a storyline.  And in the world of the show, no one else's opinion really matters.  You can make everyone happy.  But if Donald Trump isn't happy (for whatever reason), you're in trouble.  And if he is happy (for whatever reason), you're safe.

Jesus is a little bit like Donald Trump that way.  I can do everything right and make everyone around me happy, but if I miss that one important doesn't matter.  And on the flip side, everyone around me might be against me and think I've got nothing to offer, but if Jesus is pleased with what I've doesn't matter.  He measures with different perspective, and with a different scale.  He isn't swayed by public opinion.  I certainly don't always understand why he does the things he does, or allows the things he allows.

But one thing I do know:  he's telling a story, and he knows exactly where he's going with it.



I don't know quite how to start this thought.  But since the point of "Five-Minute Fridays" is to write without backtracking or thinking...I suppose that's ok. 

When I read the word for this week, I immediately thought about how my world has been shrinking.  I don't go out as much.  I've lost touch with some people.  I've grown apart from others.  And most suprisingly, I think I've come to realize that that's ok. 

I used to think that having seasonal (or locational) friends was a bad thing. That it showed a lack of intention and sincerity.  And I spent a lot of time reaching out and trying to squeeze myself as deeply as I could into as many different circles as possible.  (Consequently, I would feel more than a little discouraged every time that it didn't work out.) 

Maybe about a year ago, I decided to just stop trying.  I took a deep breath and just said, "Good-bye."  And I've come to discover the beauty of a small world.  Don't get me wrong.  It's a little bittersweet too.  There are people who I think are amazing, but our paths just don't cross that much.  But that's just life, isn't it? 

I've discovered the refreshing breeze that seasonal friendships bring, and the everyday joys of being close to the people what want to be in my world just as much as I want to be in theirs.