Thursday, January 27, 2011

*Deeper Love*

Today I'm stuck in bed with some sickness that is going around my classroom. I guess it will take a little while to get immune to all that's swimming around in there. To pass the time this morning I watched an episode of American Idol and I know they TRY to pull on our emotions, but this tugged on my heart strings even more than usual. One story made me ball like a baby with about six tears or so. It was so compelling and made me think about what love really is.

There was a 26 year old guy who was wearing a woman's engagement ring around his neck. He went on to tell how he has been engaged to a the love of his life for a few years now. It showed pictures of them dating and a video of the engagement a couple years back. She is absolutely gorgeous…not just a little bit gorgeous, but the gorgeous that sticks with you for a while. In the pictures they are so happy and a VERY attractive couple. They are the kind of couple that are cute enough to post kissing pictures without making the public sick. They seemed so happy and their engagement was perfect, but things were about to change for them.

Soon after the proposal she got in an accident and had a traumatic brain injury. She woke up a month later with results that would cripple her for the rest of her life. She is no longer the beautiful girl she once was. She only has one eye that works and she cannot control her body at all. She has lost her perfect tan and is hardly recognizable. She cannot communicate except for a few short words that are hard to understand. Her body is in a constant jerking motion, but the man is still by her side and loving her regardless of the changes.He is one of her care takers and although he has never been able to marry her, he has stayed with her. He said he made a promise when he gave the ring to stick with her through sickness and in health and he really meant it.

It got me thinking about love and what it really means. I see so many beautiful couples getting married with all these elaborate romantic dates and huge engagement rings that sparkle 24/7. I see movies and tv shows that focus on romance and huge big displays of affection in ways that leave any woman weak in the knees. But love isn't about all that to me. Love is so much deeper, so much more selfless. Love is not what someone can do for you, but what you can do for them. Love is giving and expecting nothing in return. There is so much focus on the icing, and not enough on the cake! Great dates and sparkly rings are not bad things, but they are meaningless when it comes to giving value to love. Those things are just the icing; the perks if you will. But we all know we can't live on icing would make us sick!

Love is sticking by a person when they are at their worst. This man cleans up the drool from his fiance's mouth everyday. Even though she is not the perfect looking woman anymore, he stands by her side. Even though she can't give any love back, he is still there for her. I would not wish that on anybody, but at the core of my future love life, I want cleaning up my husband's drool not to be out of the question. I pray I can love like that man. What an inspiration he was!

We can't hold on to our looks or our successes, because they can be stripped away from us any day. We can't just "love" somebody because we like the way they look and what they do for us. We can't just love somebody because they impress us. What about the day when they are no longer impressive? What about the day when they are old and wrinkly and you are scrubbing the crusties between fat rolls and wrapping their toosh up in Depends?!

There's gotta be something so much deeper than just these dream dates,good looks, and feel-good emotions. There has to be.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

*Out of Control Elderly!*

There's something that has come to my attention this week that must be addressed! I am in no way disrespecting the aged, but I just cannot stay silent about what I've encountered! The fact of the matter is, I've seen a few elderly people lately a bit out of control! Aren't older adults supposed to be the ones we can trust to have virtue and morality at the center of their being?! They've had time to learn from their mistakes and therefore send wise words our way when we need it the most. Sadly, not all elderly have stayed to this grandmotherly code… I fear some are living the teenage dream we never should dream about in the first place!

It first came to my attention when an 80 year old man "danced" next to me in my hip hop/latin spice class at the athletic club. This was a complete shock to me, especially when he shook with the rest of us. He SORTA shook anyway. In all honesty the man could barely move! I thought he was either an extreme creeper or completely lost. He was the only man in a class filled with women who were 30 yrs. old and younger. What is wrong with this picture?! I didn't know that under the latin spice class the fine print needed to say "no men…especially elderly men, it comes off as extremely creepy to the young girls"

"Elbow, Elbow, Shake it on down!" the instructor screamed as I cut my eyes at the man in a confused state. What is happening here? Am I in the twilight zone?! I sorta did my elbow and shake, but couldn't really handle the situation. There's something about dads and old men that bring shaking down to a place that isn't fun anymore. Besides, Zumba and Hip Hop classes are for women only! We just have a great time, but when men are added it clearly wouldn't be a good thing. "Put attitude into it, ladies!" the instructor said next…all I could think of is why isn't this guy getting the picture? She just said "ladies"! My thinking is he wasn't lost because he did the lasso pretty well. I can't believe I'm actually writing this right now.

Another shocking moment happened tonight when I was having dinner at Luby's cafeteria and riskay club/rave music was playing in the background. "Good Girls Go Bad" was blaring while elderly people ate their cafeteria food acting like nothing was going on! To say I was in utter horror is an understatement!!! What happened to the piano music?!?! What happened to the elevator-type atmosphere?! What happened to nice little old ladies who bake cookies and tell us how cute we are?!?! I don't know if Luby's is changing their soundtrack to attract a younger crowd, but it's not going to work! It's not like teenagers and college kids are like: "Meet you at Luby's Friday night! It's hoppin there!"

I mean...I probably can't take my future kids there because of the unsavory tunes in the background. Is this out of control, or is this out of control?!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

*Trusting in Tragedy*

This break has been a whirlwind of emotions so far. It started out with so much joy and lightheartedness on my family ski trip, but was cut short on Dec. 22nd when we got the call that Anthony and Nicole had died in a plane crash. I will never forget the moment when the world felt like it stopped as my mom held the phone up to her ear in the grocery store parking lot. I remember her face was formed into utter sorrow and I thought to myself "whatever she is hearing now is going to change our lives." That's the thing about tragedy…it changes things.

That raw, shocked feeling that I get when something terrible happens is something I fear the most. I fear it because I know it's going to happen. Tragedy is not choosy and has room for everyone. It's just part of this fallen world we live in right now. Something that has really stood out in my mind and been such a testimony to me is how the family has handled the loss. They have not turned away from God, but have glorified His name in all of this which is usually not the case.

Usually when something bad happens people become bitter towards God and even doubt that He exists at all. The age old questions:"Why do bad things happen to good people? If God is a good God then why does He take the ones we love from us?" It seems to me, as long as our lives are the way we want them to be, then trusting God comes easily. The second things go south, we question His name. Why is that?! Why is it that we turn away from the Hope we have in the midst of darkness? Why is it that we turn away from the One who hated death so much that He sent His son to give us an alternative???

Here's the deal…this world is FALLEN. We live in a world where the enemy searches to steal, kill, and destroy. We live in an imperfect place and because of sin many troubles come with it. We were the ones that decided to eat the apple and mistrust God in the beginning. He is not the One who wanted all of these bad things to happen, so why do we blame Him?! Why do we blame Him when He is the One who has brought hope to save us from all of this? If our faith depends on our lives being completely void of tragedy all the time, then that faith is sure to be tested. YOU WILL experience tragedy! That's the sad truth. So if tragedy makes you turn away from God, then there is no solid foundation there. You are obviously believing lies about God and this world, because anything that makes us question God is from the enemy. If I ever have doubts about God I pray away that spiritual warfare, because OBVIOUSLY I have some wrong thinking going on!!! God is GOOD…He hates death more than we do.

He chose to give humanity free will in the very beginning which gave us the choice to trust Him or not. Adam and Eve did not trust God's word, and therefore they ate the apple and death now exists. We didn't trust God then, and we turn away from Him now. He was not the one who chose to bring death into this world…WE WERE. It is not God's fault that these things exist, sin is to blame. Luckily, His love is so strong that He chose to die for us even though we've messed it up BIG TIME.

I know He cries with us. I know He wishes that we didn't have to go through all this. But having a true relationship with us where we CHOOSE to love Him back was worth giving us the option of rejecting Him. He wants my whole heart without having to force me into it. Even though I am the one who chose sin and death over Him, He sent the Perfect Sacrifice to blot out my sin. Now that the Holy Spirit is in me, God cannot reject me, because He cannot reject Himself. When the Lord Almighty sees me, He sees Jesus Christ. What a HOPE that is!!! Even though I am a broken human being, He has chosen to sacrifice Himself to have my heart and give me an eternal inheritance!!! He is the HOPE in the midst of all this darkness!!!!! If everything just went great all the time and no tragedy ever came about, that would mean that we never had a free choice in the first place! Our true relationship with Him was worth giving us the choice to mess it up BAD. You think we have had to experience sorrow?! Jesus Christ was forsaken by the Lord when He died on the cross and bore all our sins and there is NOTHING worse than that!!!! We cannot even fathom the grief! And all of that was because of US!!! Here we are blaming God when He is the only One who has the right to point fingers…but He doesn't! His love is unfathomable.

I for one am thankful that I am the one choosing to fall in the love with Jesus. We can have a relationship that is so much deeper than it would be if He just made us robots with no free choice. Sin and death are around these days, but I'm here to tell you that it's not forever. We should cling to our Savior more in the hard times, because He is the One who is going to give us a way out! He is the HOPE in all of this. I have a day coming when there will be no more tears. One day…all my longings I've ever felt will be satisfied. Death will lose all of it's power and I will live eternally with Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and our Lord!!!!

Maybe instead of questioning God in tragedy we should cling to Him more. Maybe it should give us an urgency to share our faith with friends who don't know the Lord personally yet. I am very thankful for my relationship with Christ and the hope that I have in the midst of tragedy that has and will come my way. He promises to be our Strength, our Comfort, and He even says He will work everything together for our good. What a promise. Thank you, Jesus!!!

*It's not the end until all is made right, so don't lose heart.*