Love in the Lunch

I was at work the other day and it was time for lunch.  I went to the fridge in the break room and took my lunch out. I opened the bag and put my container in the microwave to warm up my food.  When it was done I went to my desk to start eating.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  However, when I looked in the bag I saw a note.  It was a yellow sticky that read, “Have a good day at work babe.  I love you.”  Did I mention that my fiance was here visiting? Well, she was.  She was here for 10 days from Wednesday before Father’s Day until yesterday morning.  Normally, eating leftovers isn’t really a big deal but, there was something special about what was in the bag today.  She put love in my lunch.  This may not seem like a bog deal to some of you out there reading this but, to me, this was extra special.  For starters, I didn’t know she slipped the note in my lunch bag.  Second, she did it when I wasn’t really expecting it. Third, I wasn’t in the best mood since my car is acting up, yet again.  All I know that there was not in my bag that I did not expect and it was right on time.

This makes me think of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.  “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” (1 Cor 13:1-2).  You see all throughout life we have the opportunity to do things to and for people.  We have the chance, every single day to do something good.  The key is that you have to do it in love otherwise, what’s the point? If I tell you that I am going to do something for you just to let you know that I did something for you, that’s not what it’s about.  If my service to humanity is insistent upon itself, I’m not doing what Paul, more so what Christ has been trying to teach us.  In fact, it’s just a bunch of noise for my own gratification.  Not cool at all.

I said all of this to say that I love the Love in the Lunch.  It really made me feel special and it definitely made my day brighter.  I’m looking forward to more of the same and can’t wait until I can’t return the love.

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2014: In Review

Well, it’s that time of year when we start to countdown. We’re getting rid of an old year and starting on a new one. Everyone is all a buzz about where to spend the last few hours of 2014 and what they’re going to accomplish in 2015. Personally, I’d rather show you as we go along. No need in predicting anything as of yet because God has this all under His control. I’ll just give you a recap.

This year has been very interesting, to say the least. There were some definitely highs as well as some definite lows. Thankfully, the one thing that was constant was my ministry. My personal life wasn’t stuff made for movies but, my ministry was a great learn period for me. I definitely appreciated the contrasts that were involved. It takes me back to Ecclesiastes 3:1-4…

3 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

I was given the opportunities to baptize two people and, by contrast, I was able to eulogize two people. This was not by accident, I can assure you. All of these experiences were humbling. Twice, I helped welcome someone into the family of God and, twice, I comforted a family who had someone going to be with God. Talk about mind-blowing!! I know that, as long as I am still able to do this task and call, there will be more of both. No one is really ever ready for these types of things–especially death–but just being able to help the family that lost someone is worth it all.

Speaking of baptizing, my youngest son was baptized last Sunday. (INSERT PROUD DAD MOMENT HERE!) When his mom told me the great news, I was definitely elated, joyful, thankful, and any other type of happy expression you could think of. This gave me reassurance that I was doing a good job after all. Of course, I have to give credit to his mom and step-father and, of course, to God Himself. What a way to end the year! I can definitely say without a doubt, “As for me and my house…”

Well, that about sums it up for 2014 for me. I know that’s not a lot in words but the impact is much greater. Happy New Year and I will see you all in 2015! God Bless

Until next year…

And in this corner….

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I’m not the biggest boxing fan but, I do know that, when it comes to this sport, one of the most important places the combatants go to is their own corner. There, each man or woman gets instructions, care, attention and most importantly, encouragement. You will always see a cut man as well as a man there to give him or her a drink of water. However, it’s the trainer that gives the fighter what they need to go back in and fight. “They’re coming at you with the left more than the right so, stay away from the left jabs.” These are good instructions because the trainer sees things differently. He sees you as well as sees your opponent. The strength and weaknesses that can help you turn the tide in your favor. A good trainer does that. Angelo Dundee was one of the best because he was also a trainer for the best, Muhammad Ali. I am convinced that had Angelo not been in Ali’s corner, a lot of those victories could and would have gone the other way.

What am I saying here? I’m saying that a good fighter is great and being a great fighter is paramount but, if you don’t have that one person in your corner, some of those victories can prove costly. From my own personal experiences as of late, my corner has no one but the best in it. God, being the most important but He has seen fit to give me a few and one in particular to help me fight through this thing called life. I’ve lost a few rounds but my corner has been there to give me what I needed to hear; even though I wasn’t ready to necessarily hear it. I had to listen to my corner! There was once a time when I was younger when Dad would tell me, “everybody’s in your corner but YOU!” That didn’t matter much to me until now. “My corner” has been there and I had to make a decision to join them there in order to get back in and fight.

I’ll leave you with this. There are two types of people. Those that fight and those will have to. The key is to pick your battles or, they will be chosen for you. When you have picked your battle, make sure your corner has the right people in it. You definitely don’t want to get the wrong plan of attack. I’m really fortunate and blessed that “My corner” knows what I need and can see what I need to do to get back in the ring and fight because “My corner” has a better view of the entire ring. As long as “My corner is there, I WILL WIN!!

Until next time…

Bucket List: A Review

A friend of mine had been hounding me on seeing the movie, The Bucket List. “It’s a great movie. Trust me, you’ll need tissue”, she says. I told her I would check it out because I’m always up for a great movie. Well, being the procrastinator that I am, I hadn’t gotten around to watching it–even though she kept reminding me. Well last week, I come to work and find a copy on my desk. She has actually gone and bought one! Now there was no excuse…lol. So, I made it my business to definitely watch this movies that will supposedly jerk my tears and pull on my heart-strings. Here’s where it gets interesting. I had to attend a funeral for a friend and classmate of mine this past weekend. Sometime on Saturday afternoon I got a phone call from my friend “apologizing profusely” as she put it, about trying to make me watch this movie that apparently had some dealing with death as part of the premise of the movie. Since this was Easter weekend, and since I had to work late on Monday, I decided to watch it Monday morning.

I watched the movie and was definitely not disappointed. In fact, I really enjoyed it! To answer your questions, no I did not need tissue because, like I told my friend, “I cried when Bane broke Batman’s back in Dark Knight Rises and not for stuff like this” (insert snicker). I did admit, however, that I was very moved by the movie and was definitely worth her investment. Actually, I was very appreciative that she got a copy for me because I probably would not have bought it. She gets major Kudos for this.

Now, back to the post. After watching this movie, I realized a few things. First, EVERYONE should have a bucket list. Second, everyone’s list will be different. Third, the list itself does not have to be big but should be powerful enough to have some meaning to your life. Last, do your absolute best to complete it. In the movie, Jack Nicholson’s character had a list that was mainly fun and was to be exhilarating while Morgan Freeman’s character had a list that was more rehabilitative (think 12 steps). Jack’s character wanted to skydive while Morgan’s character wanted to “witness something majestic”. By the end of the movie, it was as if their lists traded writers. One thing that stood out though, was that they each had a respect for each other’s list. I don’t want to give too much of the story away but I will say this–each one of us wants to adventure and each one of us wants closure. While one may be greater than the other, sometimes the two can be intertwined or, relative, as it were. If you take anything from this, make sure it’s the part about making The List. It may do you some good…

Don’t Look Down!!!

“Calm down doctor. Now is not the time for fear. That comes later…” This is one the best lines from Dark Knight Rises. If you’re not familiar with the movie (seriously?), this is the scene where Bane and his cohorts have hijacked a plane belonging to the CIA that is carrying Dr. Pavel. Bane has captured Dr. Pavel and assured him that being afraid now won’t do him any good but, later he should be.

I remember, back in my Army days, there was always some sort of training that we had to do, Especially in Basic Training. On one particular day, we had to go through, what’s called, the Confidence Course. This was a series of obstacles that ran a few hundred yards. Along the course there were a myriad of obstacles that you had to negotiate. Some required crawling while others required, jumping, running, rolling, etc. However there was one obstacle that almost everyone feared. This was the one where you had to climb up and over at a pretty decent height. Sure, there were some that were able to get passed it but, there were many of us that were not. You heard the usual calls of motivation as well as tricks to get over it.

“Just keep your eyes forward…”

“Don’t look down…”

I could go on and on. The thing about it was that there could have been a million tricks but if you have a fear, there is no point in wasting your breath. Fortunately for me, I was successful at climbing but, because of my height, I was at a disadvantage. Still, I had to get over the wall. It took me two times but, I made it. However my greatest challenge was when I went rappelling for the first time. The wall in basic training was tough however, a 50 ft tower is a totally different animal. Not only was it high, this time, I had to rappel down the front. I was fitted with a harness and climbed the tower. Once they gave me a class on rappelling, it was my time to go over the edge (insert scared face). As I got into position, my heart was racing faster than a zebra being chased by a lion. I was over the edge but I wasn’t going anywhere. I was stuck. My friend told me that I had to kick away from the wall and pull my back arm away from my body loosening the rope. I was still at the top so I wasn’t able to kick very far but, when I started my descent, I was moving! It was all over after about three kicks.

After I got done, I went back a few more times because it got easier once I faced my fear. Noticed I said “face” and not “overcome”. The way I see it, we never really stop being afraid. We face the fear by looking straight at it and then we go on ahead. This reminds me of Paul’s second letter to Timothy. He tells him to not be afraid because that’s not how God operates. He doesn’t give us the spirit of fear. That comes from the enemy. God gives us the spirit of love and a sound mind. We go through life everyday thinking about ways to not do something because of fear. Myself included. There have been many times since leaving the army where I was afraid. I had a fear of the unknown. Even after my divorce there was still some fear. I had to push through and face it all. You can too…