Starting small

Just a bit ago, I Facebooked/Twittered the following status:

“I want to write more, and establish a non-profit, and help people who are hurting, and maybe somehow change the world.”

A few days ago, a tiny inquiry began to roll around in my head. I have started wondering and hoping and praying over the simple question: Do the small things really make a difference?

And then pondering: What if I lived as though the small things made a difference? What if there were small things I did daily that could, somehow, change things…change a person?

So I decided to do something tonight. I decided to take a small step, and write a small blog post, and go from there.

Let’s see if it makes a difference.

The good and the bad

Life hurts. There are just parts of it that really suck. Look at enough people’s lives and you’ll find more pain than can fill twice those many lifetimes. There’s always something to hurt over, to cry over, if you care enough to care. Some people’s lives, especially when they’re young, make me want to ask why they have to go through all this.

Some people look at the pain and suffering in the world and say that this serves as proof that there can be no God, or at least not a loving God they would want to worship. Guess what. I believe in a loving God. And I believe in a painful world. I believe in a God who cries over the injustices and pain with us. I also believe in a God who loved us enough to give us free will, who loved us enough not to rob us of that or change everything we did once we ruined the world he gave us. So if we blow things and create a hard world for ourselves, why do we go blame God? We want all the credit for the good things we manage to squeeze out of life, but when our actions contribute to an overall ruining of society, it’s proof that God doesn’t exist. Have enough guts to acknowledge that God can be God over both the good and the bad. Just because you can’t prove him doesn’t mean he’s not there. Who wants a God who fits into a logical equation anyway? I certainly don’t. But I do believe in a God who cancels the equations by allowing us our free will and still finding a way to cause all the evil to somehow work out for an ultimate good.

If I’d created people who constantly were turning away from me to run after their selfish, petty games, I certainly wouldn’t still be trying to redeem what they’ve done. I wouldn’t be trying to redeem them. But he does. I don’t know about you, but I find that pretty amazing.

Wasting (?) a day

Hello friends. Guess what? I am sick today. It’s a lovely experience. I woke up yesterday with a sore throat but figured a good night’s rest would clear it up. Well, I woke up several times anyway, and then woke up feeling worse than before. I’m pretty sure I have a sinus infection. Still hoping it will go away on its own.

Being sick, I had decided to skip Tae Kwon Do. Granted, I have been skipping for a while, something I feel increasingly guilty over. Last week I had almost passed out in class on Monday, so I took off Tuesday to rest. Wednesday-Friday I was serving as a house-mother for seven girls, so of course I didn’t have time then. Monday I was visiting with my parents (a wonderful trip), so I did not have time then. I was up too late Monday night, so Tuesday was no time to go–better to sleep in and make sure I was rested. Yesterday I had the afore-mentioned sore throat, and today I felt worse than yesterday. All that to say–I had better pull things together and get into TKD! I’m trying to reclaim it and not let it become a stressor. I will do it for my reasons, and those alone.

Since I have been sick, I have rested on my couch most of the day. I did have lunch with a dear friend, a lady who knows my parents well. She and I used to meet regularly in a mentoring relationship but had not connected much this semester. It was good to catch up. After that, I have been on my couch, resting and surfing through my computer/the internet. I have spent lots of time trying to beat a skateboarding online game (yes, crazy). I have looked through Twitter updates and messaged people on Facebook. I have perused blogs and left comments. And now I have work in 40 minutes, and I wonder…have I wasted my day?

Yes and no. I do think I needed to rest, and this day that I’ve had all to myself has been nice (especially since tomorrow involves child-care behavior management training which I will attend from 9am-2pm). I do tend to push myself, and sometimes when I get sick it’s my body’s way of telling me to slow it down. And while all those things listed above are not necessarily bad to do, and are probably even good to do, I feel that I could have added in a couple of more things that were slightly more productive (especially than the skateboarding game).

Have I really spent time in the Word today? No, not really. Have I spent time in prayer today? No, not really. Have I really lived with consciousness in The Presence? Only a little. Have I really taken time to love people? Some. Have I contemplated “what really matters?” For a bit. Not that life is all about those things, and I have far too long lived in the deep, serious recesses of life without playing those online skateboarding games. But in the good things in life, I do not want to forget the best.

I want to learn to waste some days healthily, and yet to never really waste a day in the ways that matter.

Those are my thoughts for today.

To see some more of my thoughts, glance at my poem The Word: Hear and Obey on my writing blog.

Today: disappointing people, TKD, iPod lessons, God, and a bunny

I’m going to tell you a little bit about today.

First, I had a lovely sleep-in. Like till 11 AM. Many of you will be so proud of me that I got up at that time, since fairly recently my sleeping problems involved a 4 AM bedtime and a 2 PM rising. But yes, I went to bed at a decent hour and woke up at an (almost) ok hour. I pulled out the Word and made sure I spent time in that before I even got up. (Lest you be in awe of my personal spiritual level, I must confess I do not always do that before anything else on most days. I am, however, trying to make it a strong priority.)

I grabbed lunch in the kitchen from work and spent some time online. Yes, I am getting sucked back more and more into the online world, which I enjoy. I like connecting with people and expressing myself online. So I spent a while on my laptop, walking off to do random things throughout the hours or answering the phone. Then I spent some time taking care of things at the Home that needed to be done. Somewhere in there, I managed to disappoint several people, mostly from something I was not able to do and then something else I did not remember to do. Confession: I hate disappointing people. When I think someone is upset with me, it gets me down. I most likely read too much into things, but I start imagining how I have disappointed them and what they must now think of me. Three of these incidents happened right in a row, and I must admit I fought off tears on the last one. So I did what any sensible person would: I ate a large bowl of Lucky Charms and decided I needed a nap.

Well, I’m not sure I really took much of a nap. Someone called, and my mind didn’t seem to turn off. Anyway, soon it came time for the beginners’ class at the Tae Kwon Do center. I’m only an orange belt (third belt up), so that qualifies me. The fact that I’m just getting back in to it after a year extra-qualifies me. I was tired and honestly a little depressed, which meant I didn’t really feel like going. But I knew that I really wanted to, and I needed to because it would help my mood and I’m aiming at 3x a week to get back into things. So I went. We started minutes after I got there (mostly because I arrived minutes before class, not because they were waiting for me to start–in case there was any confusion). During the stretching, I focused on trying to dispel my darker mood. I’ve often heard and seen how thankfulness can break through spiritual/emotional/mental barriers when you’re struggling, so I started thanking God as we stretched, anything I could think of. Thank you that I have muscles. Thank you \for skin that holds all those muscles in place. Thank you that I can do Tae Kwon Do. Soon the workout picked up till I was mostly focused on yelling and kicking (with some punches and forms put in). Somewhere half way into the workout, in the 10-second rests we had before going back down the mats yelling and kicking again, I started realizing I was feeling more than just winded. My head was buzzing, my eyes were getting black dots in front of them, I started feeling nauseous. Being brilliant (or, rather, just acquainted with these symptoms), I knew I was over-doing it a bit and getting close to passing out. Being brilliant (or, rather, silly or stubborn), I kept going. The second 10-second break felt the same. The third break I seriously knew I might pass out. I began trying to figure out how to inform the instructor. There are rules and certain kinds of etiquette in TKD, especially in addressing your instructor, so I was at a loss for the proper way to say “I’m about to faint.” But at some point, without real conscious thought, I think I decided to go until I actually fell over. Fortunately, my instructor noticed at the fourth break the complete lack of color in my face (which is normally bright red in workouts) and asked how I was feeling. I think I said something about feeling sick, but the end result was she had me sit out the last 10 min of class. I ended by bowing out with the others, and then I left.

So I made it. I went. I didn’t give up or quit. I’m not sure if I should have pushed not-so-hard or if I had simply not eaten enough that day. Either way, I made it through the class, my fourth one since I started back into TKD. I took that as a victory.

I came home in time for my iPod to teach me a lesson. I had left it playing on shuffle, and I walked back in on a sermon from David McQueen, Beltway Park‘s pastor. It was about extreme faith. It was about half-way through, and the part I walked in on really spoke to me. I’m not completely sure why, since it was not really something on my mind–or maybe it was, and I just didn’t know it. But somehow, the following quote reached out and grabbed me:

If, because of my weakness and immaturity, [I assume] God is all the time mad or sad, what do I do? Do I not make myself scarce?

And I cannot tell you why that made me sit down and cry a little, but it did. Another confession: I have often struggled to understand the goodness of God. I know He is good; I know it with all my heart. But I think there may be some part of me that has not fully grasped it, that struggles to believe it. I could blame it on the years of depression, on the years of difficulties and hardships. But it comes down to something more personal, so I’m still working through that. Two other quotes from that message that were very good for me:

You will not follow God at an extreme level unless deep within you know his heart and how good he is.

It’s amazing how the enemy has convinced us that God is all-powerful but not all-good.

And of course, right after the message, two songs came on that were worshipful and wonderful for me to hear.

So I took a shower, got on my laptop, and wrote this blog. Now I need to go find a late supper.

By the way, along with the lessons God gave me from my iPod, I found this picture and it made me smile very much. :)
Bunny hugs