November 2016 Conchshell Chronicles
Many travelers walk through the gate at the Rio Coco Café on Utila. After a few visits, we get to know many of them. Many consider themselves atheist or agnostics. I noticed something this summer: many of these “unspiritual” friends told me how “thankful” they were about things going on in their lives. I thought about that for a while. Being “thankful” by definition means that you are grateful to someone for doing something for you.
In fact the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “Thanks” as a good feeling that you have towards someone who has helped you, given something to you, etc.
When I look at a sunset in Utila, I am often thankful to my Artistic Creator!
I often pointed this out to my traveler friends asking them “Who are you thankful to?”
This is a confusing question to one who consciously denies God’s existence or participation in their lives, yet knows on a subconscious level that there is Someone Somewhere Who is the Giver of all good things in this life.
I know the Giver of All Good Things!
His Name is Yahweh/Jesus/Holy Spirit. My God has guided me, protected me, provided for me, and fulfilled me with the very best things in this life. The original settlers of my country understood this. That’s why in 1621 they celebrated for three days with their Wampanoag Indian friends to acknowledge Our Creator, who gave them the crops they harvested that November. May we do the same every day!
Relationship, connections and partnerships will ever be the most significant purposes that we get to enjoy and glean the most from……..in this life and the one to come.
While on Oahu with my father, brothers, and nieces and nephews, I realized how much I enjoy being with people I have a definite family connection to and how very much we think alike, act alike and respond alike to the various situations and people that surround us. We feel deeply about common concerns and laugh at similar jokes. We also share similar issues and traits as a group of people….some good and some bad.
We are all suffering together the diminishing of abilities of our father….who we love, cherish and want to honor in everyway. He suffered a stroke in the beginning of August, continues with a three time a week dialysis treatment (4 hrs at a time), has high blood pressure, and diabetes and has a difficult time regulating his temperature in his body which creates a regular discomfort. His ability to stand was affected greatly after the stroke so he needs constant care and assistance. His spirit often gets very low and depressed. We all try to cheer him and amuse him, but reality is that he is tired and feels like life is literally draining out of him.
It appears that God has been gently chiding my inner heart to know that I must choose what is best for my dad and not selfishly choose what is best for me (we want him to be here), but there is not one thing that this life is offering him that causes him a desire to want to live in this fallen state of affairs except those he is connected to and has a relationship with. It’s the relationships that are already on the other side that seems to be beckoning the longings of his heart.
We his children are merely trying to lighten his way and breathe hope, joy and love in his direction.
It is by far the hardest wrestling and struggle I have experienced in my life. I only realize how hard when someone…anyone asks, “How are you?”
Stopping to consider that question causes an immediate letting down of uncontrollable tears and sadness. At the same time, I have a deep gratefulness that in my relationship with my earthly Father I have no regrets or nothing standing in the way of the love and clarity that a daughter has with one so significant. Our connection has always been clear, unhindered and full of understanding, grace, love and admiration. There is honor and respect going in both directions and has been a complete circle of relating for a long time.
The Lord continues to encourage me to live large aggressively asserting his pleasure through my life day by day….doing the things that give life, cause me to learn, grow and become more like the heroes in my life…like my mortal Father and Heavenly Father.
Life often brings a series of highs, lows, deep dark tragedies, and joyful hopeful occurrences…frequently happening all at the same time. It is easy to fall into a state of any one of those feelings and thoughts that can take over our present opportunities.
Through my difficulties, I realize I still possess a choice. I am not a victim to my circumstances or my emotional state of being. I possess many blessings to be able to focus on and to be grateful for. I also have the choice to trust my Highest source of strength and perfect power of all good and right to make my way of escape possible. The only Source that is tapped into the Perfect Way, the Truth and the Life. I am constant in seeking that Higher perspective to live from lest I get caught in the web of all of my circumstances, woes, and emotion. I am so thankful to have this Stable point of Reference. Laura
For many years, the Los Angeles Dodgers held their spring training in Vero Beach and I had the opportunity to go to a few of their games. It was a very informal atmosphere at Holman Stadium, with the players talking with the fans, taking photos, and chatting with each other. When the games started, the players all knew that this was a practice game, and they played accordingly, with not a lot of intensity. These games were a warm up for the season, which always began on April 1st.
A few weeks ago, November 2, I was riveted to the television for Game 7 of the World Series. The Cubs were ahead, going into the bottom of the 8th inning, 8 to 5. With two outs, Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez hit one up the middle. Cubs Fireballer Aroldis Chapman was brought in to face Brandon Guyer, and threw him seven consecutive fastballs, with speeds topping 100 mph! Brandon hit the last one to left center field driving in Ramirez. Then Rajai Davis came up to the plate with the runner on second.
All his body language and the expression on his face shouted to Chapman “Pitch me the ball!” He was more than ready to take his swings. Chapman delivered, and Davis drove a line drive over the left field fence, hitting the television camera, and tying the game. It was Baseball at its very best!
The game went into extra innings, and the Cubs scored two runs in the 10th, but the Indians came back. With Brandon Guyer at second, Rajai Davis again came to the plate determined, and drove in Guyer with a single to cut the lead to one. Despite these heroics, the next batter grounded out to the third baseman, and the game and series was over! The Cubs won for the first time since 1908.
Since many of you were watching this game, what’s the point? Why am I telling you this?
I have noticed that often in my life as a follower of Jesus, when given an opportunity to reach out to someone, serve them, or tell them about my relationship with God, I often take the “Spring Training” approach. I’m very casual, not too serious, and I often joke around and get distracted by things around me, not focusing on that person and situation that God has placed me in.
I truly believe that God has specific things assigned for me to do in His Mission to invite all humanity to spend Eternity with Him. That is the principle that I get from Ephesians 2:10
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
We all play a vital part in reaching out to humanity though our works of service, our care for those around us, and our words. But often I act like it is a Spring Training game.
However it’s those moments when I realize that my words and action may affect the eternal destiny of that person I’m with that things change. Now I am like Rajai Davis, stepping up to the plate with men on base in the late innings of the Seventh Game of the World Series. I am focused; I know exactly what I need to do; I am ready for whatever the situation throws at me; I am confident that with Christ I can do what He wants me to do.
I didn’t notice Rajai Davis cowering in the corner of the Cleveland dugout as the 8th inning began knowing that soon it would be his turn at bat. He wasn’t fearful of coming to the plate and making a mistake, perhaps striking out. Instead he was swinging the bat in the on-deck circle. He was watching Chapman pitch to Guyer, learning how he could hit this hard throwing pitcher. He came to the plate confident of what he could do. And he delivered and tied the game.
These are intense times that we find ourselves in. We are not at the practice field now, and the season is in full swing. There will be more pressure placed on us, the followers of Christ, to play our position with focus and intensity. The stakes are high in this portion of the season. Those that God sends us are facing Eternity with or without God. Will we cower in the corner of our dugout, afraid to come to the plate and take our swings? Will we act nonchalant and miss opportunities? Or will we come to the plate determined to get a hit? Let’s be ready and take our swings this season! MB