I finally got it!

I love Jami Amerine, author, blogger, mom, she makes me laugh and smile and look for the joy in the ordinary life of following Jesus. Her tag line is Jesus be all over you! She says it all the time but today is the first day I got it.

I’m scrolling through Facebook and this memory pops up

In the picture is just Ryan and the old DPS cruiser he so proudly bought as his first car. But when I look back at the picture six years down the road, his dad is all over that picture. Ryan didn’t have a lot of money but he wanted a cool car and his dad found this place in Austin that sold old state property. The two of them researched about the cars, planned all the work they were going to do to civilianize it, how much money he had, how much it would cost to change what they wanted, so many plans and dreams realized on this day. While the picture is one boy and one car I see so much more.

That car was so fun, he loved it everyday he had it and when he was finished with it and bought a new vehicle he actually gave the car to someone who needed it. Generosity — that is a trademark of his father. But to me this picture now represents the relationship Ryan and his dad had. Dreams they shared. Time they spent together planning and dreaming, not just about this car, but about the life Ryan wanted and the dreams he had. Russell researched and figured out how to get the spray paint off the sides so it looked cool before he got it painted. I can see in my mind the smile on his face as he took this picture — Russell is all over this memory.

Which made me realize for the first time after reading and hearing “Jesus be all over you” by Jami. When you look at me I hope you see that Jesus is all over this story. As you read my words you have to see that Jesus is all over it. Without him, I’m just another picture with no depth, no memories, no emotion. I may loathe my image in the mirror of the creepy old fat lady until I can look at that girl and realize Jesus is all over her — and that my friend is good indeed! Thanks Jami!

The point is …WE

Early in my faith journey I found studying the Israelites so frustrating.  They had to be the most stiff necked people ever.  The constant cycle of rebellion, repentance, deliverance was so tedious to me until I realized — I am no different.  I need to study their stupidity, because it is no different from my own.  My whole perspective changed when I realized that it was not “those people” who couldn’t see that God’s redemption was there all along, but I don’t live knowing that God’s redemption is there for me – always.  

I studied the plight of the Hebrews and their rebellion against God as “those people”.  It was not until I realized that there is no “those people” there is only us and God.  And that most of the conflict we face comes from our thoughts about “those people”.

Teachers think of students as those people

Old people think of young people as those people

Whites think of blacks as those people

Fat think of thin as those people

Rich think of poor as those people

Haves think of have-nots as those people

Christians think of Muslims as those people

Americans think of immigrants as those people

This generation thinks of that generation as those people

And all of those again vice versa and many, many more!

Sean McDowell once said, “How you view this generation will shape the way you relate to them.”  If we think of our students, or young people, as lazy, entitled, internet dependent, device addicted — that’s how we will treat them, as less than.  If we think of them as the next generation, whose world is different than the one we grew up with and our mission is to help them make their world a better place — what a difference our approach will be.  This doesn’t just apply to teaching. It applies to how we deal with others period. We have to see others as valuable, young, old, black, brown, poor, rich, disabled — all of us!

As a Christian, I must look at others and see — wow, WE need Jesus!!

People don’t grow where they are informed — they grow where they are accepted.

Bob Goff

We are all driven by the need for acceptance, yet struggle with being accepting. How much better our world would be if we were all just “those people”!

“Our” Anniversary

Today is our anniversary, except there is no longer an us, well in real-life anyway.

We had our first date on June 13th, we went to see the movie Friday the 13th. And then the year we finally decided to get married, the 13th fell on Friday again in June and we were ecstatic!

My dad said, “Of course she would marry on Friday the 13th, she’s been a financial omen her whole life.” My mother in law, being British and somewhat superstitious, was horrified.

But today, the 40th anniversary of that date and the 36th anniversary of our wedding, there is no longer an us, there is just me and my memories.  Not even for the human beings that our marriage created does this date hold significance.  I never realized how deeply personal anniversaries were.  I wish we had celebrated them more because they are awfully hollow now that you’re gone, but we weren’t really the celebratory type.

It made me think about longevity.  I looked it up, it simply means long life.  Which made me look up long, which means a measure from end to end, lasting or taking a great amount of time, relatively great in extent, then you can talk about odds, phonics, finance, prosody.  You can have a long day, a long meeting, a long nap — those don’t require a specific measure of time, long is a measure of how good or how bad it was.  You can long for something lost or absent or anticipated. All these things are wrapped up in an anniversary.  Even at a wedding we anticipate those anniversaries to come.  The saving of the top of the wedding cake for the one year anniversary, the toasts and wishes for a long and happy marriage.  But like joy and grief, anniversaries are both universal and deeply personal.  We threw a big party for my parents 50th wedding anniversary.  We weren’t even alive when the wedding took place and while their marriage both created and impacted me, it also had nothing to do with me. I really have no understanding of the connection that made them decide to marry 50 years earlier.  But now he’s gone, what is that day now? Now it’s suddenly very personal again. Incidentally, tomorrow, June 14, 2020 is the 67th Anniversary of their wedding.

I think anniversaries are not so much about longevity but reflection.  That reflection changes over time.  The first anniversary celebration is nothing like any other, then they blur into the big ones.  At GriefShare you hear people reference them as we just celebrated our ___ anniversary or we were looking so forward to our ___ anniversary.  But only looking back can we see our last anniversary.

As I now look forward to and long for eternity I wonder: What does an anniversary look like in light of eternity.  I think that anniversaries are a human shortcoming to deal with the fact that time makes no sense because we were meant for eternity.  When the world was created, our days were not numbered, that came from sin.  Now that our days are numbered, we’re obsessed (some of us (me) more than others)  with counting them.  With pregnancy we start counting weeks, the newborn we count months until eventually years all morbidly counting toward the end when we are awarded our final number.  Then we lament, “Their life was cut so short” or “But they lived a long good life.” But living in the light of eternity is starkly different.  It’s kinda sad and hollow when we wish someone a happy birthday in heaven or mark the anniversary of their death as their home-going or a wedding anniversary that reached its expiration date.  I recently cleaned out my refrigerator and threw away all the condiments I had accumulated that reached their expiration date, is that the same thing?

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is a thousand years, and a thousand years is one day.

2 Peter 3:8

But my hope lies in the reality that time is something I will grapple with only while I’m on this earth.  We aren’t supposed to understand time! Like other things of the flesh, hatred, hunger, sadness, pain, fat and tired, time is one thing I won’t take with me in eternity.  I don’t think we’ll celebrate birthdays, anniversaries or homecomings, we’ll celebrate only being in the presence of God. So maybe that’s why, today, more than most, I long for eternity.