A Walk through Daily Life

I enjoy walking at the local mall, and I do that at least five days a week in the early morning. Early morning is either 8:15 or 8:30, depending on which security guard lets us walkers in. There doesn’t seem to be any agreement about which time is officially correct.

Although a number of my fellow walkers walk with other people, I prefer to walk by myself. The practical reason is that the echoes in those empty hallways make it very difficult for me to understand what other people are saying. But the real reason, other than the fact that I enjoy my own company at that time of day, is that I enjoy God’s company even more.

Yep, I like to pray while walking. Although I make it a practice to always pray about certain specific needs (usually not my own), I try to leave my prayer time open to whatever God lays on my heart to talk to Him about.

Several days ago my prayer time revealed something I’d never thought about before. Walking at the mall has many similarities to living my daily life.

In both cases, I’m at it before much of the day has a chance to get away from me. And I’m not necessarily all that alert yet at the beginning, even though I’m theoretically wide awake.

Each activity has a definite starting and ending point. My day goes from bedtime to bedtime, and my walks go from the Food Court entrance back to the Food Court entrance…and then back to the same car I came in…and to the same house I left forty or so minutes earlier.

Just as I expect to see a number of familiar fellow walkers, custodians, and early store employees, my daily life involves a number of familiar activities–a mid-morning snack, working a while on my WIP (work-in-progress), lunch, afternoon nap, putting away the clean breakfast dishes in preparation for suppertime dishwashing.

I could keep going, but there’s no need to belabor the point.

Occasionally my walk involves a surprise. Maybe I see someone I suddenly realize I haven’t seen in a while.  Or I end up walking a short distance with one of the walkers I know is a Christian, too. (I’m not really anti-social.) Or seeing that an interesting looking new store is about to open.

Of course, the surprise may not be the least pleasant. Like when the security guard is really late letting us in. Or when I have to break my stride to tie a shoelace keeps coming loose. Or when I notice one more store going out of business.

Good or bad, my walk still resembles my daily life to a certain extent. Sometimes I write more words in my WIP than I’d expected to. Sometimes fewer. Sometimes something special comes in the mail. Or something unexpected interferes with my routine. Like the tire pressure light coming on in the car and having to get the charger out of the trunk and deal with it.

I wish I could recall more of the similarities that came to me while praying that day. One thing is certain, though: I’m always glad to safely reach the end, whether that means I’ve completed my walk and can sit down for as long as I want to or that I’ve plopped into bed at the end of the day, satisfied that I’ve “run the good race” that day, accomplishing whatever I wanted to accomplish, and thankful to have had God leading me each step along the way.

What do you think? Please leave a comment.

    

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

Advertisements

Divisiveness – Not Something to Laugh At

American comedian Emo Philips is credited with having authored the following joke.

Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!” He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”

He said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?” He said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me, too! What denomination?” He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?” He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”

He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me, too!”

“Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.” I said, “Die, heathen!” And I pushed him over.

I actually first heard it at a computer users symposium, although I can’t imagine why. I had no idea where it came from, and I’ve made a couple of minor changes to Emo’s version so it would match the one I was already familiar with. I hope Mr. Phillips won’t consider me divisive because of that.

But divisiveness as it exists in America today is nothing to joke about. When Mr. Obama took office, he claimed he wanted to unite Americans. All Americans. Only history will reveal whether the disunity that broke out during his eight years in office was intentional, but some people–perhaps many–believe Mr. Obama wanted to create division in this country. Perhaps even to start a civil war.

I just sighed. I wish you could have heard me. It was a sigh of deep frustration.

Thank goodness–thank God, that is–Heaven will be a place of peace and unity. In spite of jokes like this one:

St. Peter was showing a recent arrival around Heaven. A Methodist. On passing a room with a closed door–no windows–the Methodist asked Peter who was inside.

Peter laughed before answering. “Those are the Baptists. We keep the door shut so they won’t see they’re not the only ones in Heaven.”

Even though we’ll never know perfect unity among diverse groups here on earth, I get a small preview of what it might be like when I walk at the mall. There I encounter other walkers, custodians, security guards, and mall employees. Among those are blacks, whites, Latinos, Asians, and probably people from other racial groups as well. Some I know to be  Christian. Others are conspicuously Muslim. I have no idea what the rest are. I dare say we probably vary in our life styles and politics as well.

But we walkers are unified in purpose. Even though many of us are there by ourselves–at least part of the time–we’re there to walk. Some of us walk clockwise, on the left facing “traffic.” Others stay on the right in a counterclockwise manner. And a few like me reverse directions periodically.

Yet, the walking is not the only thing that unifies us. It’s the sense of comradery. With rare exceptions we greet one another as if we’re really glad to see each other. And we’ve learned some of one another’s names as we often end up walking in the same direction at the same time as another walker. It’s very uplifting.

My prayer today and every day is for God to break the spirit of diversity that has created too many different “us and them” groups and to unify us in His name.

If you have a comment, I’d love for you to post it.

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

A Gift of Music

Being a Christian isn’t a very popular thing to admit to these days. In fact, in various parts of the world, it’s downright dangerous. And even here in the United States Christians are being persecuted in numerous ways. How ironic that the people who should be known for their love–not just of one another, but of their enemies–are being treated as if we’re the most vicious and hateful people in the world.

I’m not someone who goes around hitting people over the head with my Bible, and I’m able to share my faith verbally only when I feel led to do so. That doesn’t happen very often. It’s not because I’m afraid to share, but because I tend to get really tongue-tied unless the circumstances are right.

Nonetheless, we’re supposed to be salt and light to the world.

As you already know if you’ve been following this blog, I like to walk at the mall. I’ve developed a special relationship with most of my fellow walkers, the custodians, the security folks, and some of the other employees. While I can’t say that we’re friends in the true meaning of the word, we are not just associates or casual acquaintances, either.

I care about them, and I pray for them while I’m walking. But seldom am I walking with anyone, and only twice that I can recall has the subject of church, which is not the same as Christianity, come up. So, even while praying for them, I’m praying for a way to share my faith–in a way that is helpful, honest, but non-pushy.

Some months ago a thought came to mind that I couldn’t shake. An inspiration I believe came from God.

Over the past fifty years, I’ve written over two hundred Christian songs. (Only one secular song, and that’s a love song.) Although I’ve recorded most of them at home on an increasingly better variety of multi-track recorders, sometime within the last year I bought a new recorder and began making better recordings of the songs I consider my best ones.

The inspiration was to make CDs to give to these folks I might never have just the right opportunity to verbally share my faith with. At that stage I’d recorded twenty-five songs on the new recorder. I soon realized people might listen to a dozen songs, but only those who were really interested would listen to twenty-five.

So I asked my wife, Kathleen, to pick out her favorites, and I started making copies–one at a time. I created an insert that explained my background as a lifelong amateur musician and song writer and cut out dozens of copies. You can see a copy of it here. ) Kathleen helped with handwriting basic information on the CDs themselves and I stuffed them, the liners, and business cards (I didn’t want to take a chance people might not realize the CD was of–as well as from–me) into paper CD sleeves.

I never expected to have as much fun as I did giving those out. I started out with “Merry Christmas!” and a brief explanation that these were some of the songs I’d written over the years. People were really surprised–and oh! so grateful and appreciative. Even the Muslim couple I gave one to. (If you’d like to hear these songs, go here and scroll down to the first drop down box.)

I had no idea how God might use my music. I still don’t. Several people have expressed appreciation after listening to their CD, though. I’ll probably never know who’s listened and who hasn’t. Or who has found inspiration in my songs and who has tossed them in the trash or given them to someone else.

But that’s okay. I didn’t do this for praise. I did it because I felt led to do it, and I pray daily that my efforts will have the effect God wants them to have.

What do you think? How would you have reacted to a gift like this if you’d received it from someone you saw frequently at the mall but didn’t really know? Please leave a comment.

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

A Christmas Thought

Envelope

[NOTE: Just a reminder that this post takes the place of this coming Sunday’s.]

As many of you know, I like to walk at the local mall.  I love doing that and enjoy speaking to the variety of other people who’re walking at the same time I do. But I don’t know many of them. Not even their names.

I wanted to do something this Christmas–I believe God inspired this idea–to reach out to them in a non-preachy way about what I feel is the true significance of Christmas. So I composed the following message, which fits nicely on one page, printed copies to take on my Christmas Eve walk, stuffed them in an envelope like the one pictured above, and gave them out. Not just to fellow walkers, but also to security guards and custodians I’m especially fond of.

Here’s what it says:

Merry Christmas from a fellow mall walker!!!

As we smile and say hi to one another, I frequently think about something Charles Dickens said in A Tale of Two Cities: “A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.” Very few of us actually know one another, no matter how friendly and pleasant we seem while walking. In truth, most of us don’t even know one another’s names, much less anything more important.

Although I can’t solve that problem, I want to share something I think is important. I believe Christmas means much more than giving and receiving gifts. Not that any of us could match the Gift God gave in sending His only Son into the world for our benefit.

Although I wrote this poem almost forty years ago, I believe it’s still relevant. I not only hope you enjoy it, but that it will speak to you about the real meaning of Christmas.

I’ll bet You were some Proud Father
The day Your Son was born on Earth!

Doesn’t it seem like just yesterday
When Mary began her labor in the stable?
You were there with her through it all,
Giving comfort and encouragement
With the same Perfect Spirit of Love
That Mary was accustomed to from You.

 When she contracted, You suffered with her.

 Though You realized what trauma Your
Son was going through in being born,
You knew it wasn’t right to interfere;
You had to let things happen as if
This Babe would be like just any other.

You watched the process You had created.
But I’ll bet you never felt so involved before;
You were actually watching Part of Yourself
Be born for the very first time,
And You monitored the whole non-sterile
Situation and saw that it was good –
Good for a world that just couldn’t seem
To understand or accept You any other way.

It’s no wonder You sent Your angels out
To deliver the Birth announcements in person!

 The merriest of Christmases to you in the true spirit of the Season!

Best regards,
Roger

You know what? I don’t know much about most of my blog readers, either. But I also want you to experience the true meaning of Christmas. So let me also wish you the merriest of Christmases in the true spirit of the Season!

Please share a comment with a Christmas thought of your own.

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger