Conversations With God

I had an interesting conversation with God the other day.  No, not a prayer.  I have conversations – you know, the kind where I say something, He says something, I say something…

People often give me a funny look when I say God talks to me, as if they expect me to start waving a sign saying stuff like “Prepare to meet thy Doom!” or something.  Nah.  The folks at my small church gave me that look when I first joined them, but since I’m a cheerful sort and often have humorous conversations with God that I remark on, they’ve relaxed.

I’ve had these conversations for as long as I can remember.  My parents, bless their hearts, just nodded and said stuff like, “How interesting.”  They were used to my storytelling, which started about the same time, and they might have thought that was just another story.  But it’s not fiction to me.  To me, God’s voice is as real as my mother’s, more trustworthy than anybody I know, and I never have to ask Him to speak up, stop mumbling, or clarify whether something He said was sarcasm or a joke.

A little girl, hearing me say God told me something, asked what God sounded like.  “Ever had a friend stand behind you and say something over your shoulder?” I asked her.  “He sounds just like that.  You don’t see Him, but you can hear him clearly.  You know His voice because you hear Him all the time. That’s what He sounds like.”

Some people say God speaks to them through the Bible, others say they have visions.  That happens to me, too, but I also get the audio version, which is better for me, since I can ask questions and get immediate answers.  I don’t always LIKE the answers, and sometimes He tells me my brain doesn’t have the words to understand the answer.  Like calculus, I guess.  I still don’t get that, either.  Algebra barely got through.

The conversation I had the other day was fairly typical.  He’s never really been able to get me to learn two things: self discipline and patience.  Especially patience.  Ever heard that old joke?  “Give me patience, NOW!”  That’s me.  My sister and I were cleaning all the Christmas decorations out of the house and putting them back into storage for another year.  We got the storage bins out of the storage building outside, filled them up, opened the door to take them back to the storage, and discovered a downpour occurring.

“Come on, God, give us a break!” I complained.  “Cut the rain off for just half an hour, can’t You?  Just give us enough time to get these boxes back into the storage building and You can let it rain all the rest of the day!  What do You say?” No response, and the rain just seemed to come down harder.  A couple of minutes passed, and finally my sister and I both shrugged.  We’re not sweet enough to melt in the rain, after all.

We lugged the plastic bins out of the house and into the storage building, getting incredibly soaked in the process, and no, we didn’t melt.  But just as I shut the storage building door and locked it, the rain stopped.  Perfectly timed.  I shook my fist at the sky.  “God, that’s not funny!” I shouted.  My sister just shook her head and laughed.  But God replied quite clearly.

“No, it’s not funny,” He agreed, sounding annoyed.  “If you had shown enough faith to wait a mere ten minutes, you would have been completely dry, wouldn’t you?”

I hate it when He makes a point so true I can’t argue.

A lot of the writing I do is at His order.  For instance, I’ve never been much into angels.  I just never paid much attention to the subject, other than the mentions of them in Bible stories.  But when I started writing a Christmas story for the Sunday School teachers in my church every year (I’m the Sunday School director) I discovered there were angels in every story, and so when I published the first collection of Christmas stories “Once Upon A Christmastime” I put an angel on the cover.  “Standing Next To A Miracle”, my second collection of short stories, is about the people who were friends and family of the people in Bible stories of miracles, but my third collection, coming out shortly (I’m planning, anyway) is all about angels.  “Angels With Attitude” it will be called.

I wasn’t planning on writing anything like any of these short stories.  I was planning to be a novelist, and already had a long list of novels I was planning to write as soon as I retired and finally got the time to sit back and pound the keyboard.  But when I finally do, what comes out?  Short stories about angels and Bible characters.  Huh.  I never know what will emerge.  I’m quite often surprised.  I usually can’t remember them, so I have to go back and reread them for myself.  I only half-jokingly remarked to my church members that I was ghostwriting for God.

This past Christmas was a hard one for our church.  Our church treasurer and a dear friend to many died of illness.  At her funeral we discovered a young man who had grown up in our church had died in an accident on his way back to his parents’ home the night before.  It was during his funeral a few days later that God spoke to me.  I never know until just before Christmas what the gift story will be about.   I always just wait for inspiration to strike, find stuff to go into gift bags that goes with the story, and type like mad when it hits.  But this time I got it during the funeral, and I was appalled.

You see, there was a story I had been planning to write for the “Angels With Attitude” collection, but I hadn’t got it on my computer yet.  God told me this story would be my Christmas gift.  I didn’t want to put it in a Christmas gift.  It’s a good story (I believe) but horribly inappropriate for any member of my church at Christmastime during our grief.  I was even more appalled when I discovered a short while later that the husband of one of the Sunday School teachers had just been diagnosed with a nasty form of cancer.

The story, you see, is about an angel of death (yeah, not THE angel of death – he explains it in the story) appearing to a young cancer patient.  I argued fiercely with God.  Okay, not argued; protested is really the correct word, since argument is a two way arrangement.  God doesn’t bother to argue.  You do it His way, or face the consequences.  What happens to me is I am placed under unction.  I heard that phrase once and thought it sounded appropriate, since that’s the sound I make: “Unnnn!”  Essentially, that means since I agreed a long time ago to do what He tells me to do, He’s going to keep nagging me until I do it.  In the Bible they called it anointing.  Wonder if any of those anointed folk felt like going “Unnn!”

He got His way, of course, but I added a letter outside the story to tell the teachers not to blame me for the story.  Apparently, God thought it was necessary for SOMEBODY to read it, so there it went.  I haven’t heard from any of them yet.  Maybe I’ll put an excerpt on my website and see what everybody else thinks of it.  Buy the book to read the whole thing.  Or look up one of the teachers I gave it to.  They might let you borrow it.  But I’d rather you buy the book.  You’ll like the other stories, too.  God said so.

Update: Just heard from a relative of the young man whose funeral I attended.  She said the story helped break her from her deep well of grief and begin to live again.  Whew!  Never try to second guess God.  I’ve learned to just ask to see the results of acting on His orders once in a while.  Got to get this third book published.

 

A Veteran’s View

I’m not the veteran I’m talking about this Veteran’s Day.  I never got to serve in the military thanks to my physical health.  Several other members of my family did, but the one I’m talking about here is my dad, William Almas Perry.  Born March 4, 1926, he was at the right age to join the military during World War II.

He rarely spoke at all about his service, mentioning to his young daughters only that he had served in the Philippines and in England.  “But what did you do in the war, Daddy?” we pressed one day, probably on a Veteran’s Day.  He shut us down quickly with “I picked up dead people” and walked away, leaving us with the horrific mental scene of a battlefield filled with bodies.

It was not until his funeral and afterwards many decades later that we learned the truth.  His “I picked up dead bodies” was what he did after the war while finishing his service in England as an ambulance driver for the military.  He just didn’t want to talk about what he did in the Philippines.  We heard about that from the veterans who had gone to war with him, from the same small town, who had known him as a boy and a man.

My father, like many country boys who had to catch their own food, was a dead shot with a rifle and had a hunter’s keen eye for his prey.  The army chose him to save the lives of many of his fellow soldiers by sending him into the jungles of the islands first and taking out the enemy snipers waiting for them.  The fact that he came back alive is proof of how good he was at his job.  The fact that I never saw him use a gun in anything but a demonstration to my brother in law of his military shooting pose and his continued ability to hit a bulls-eye was proof of how his service affected him.

After his death, one of his many cousins gave us a couple of poems he had sent back to his mother during his service that she had sent to the newspaper for printing.  The exact dates of the writing are uncertain, but they were both written during the war.  She told us that there were more, but until more of the old newspapers are scanned into the computer and I can look them up, these are the only two I have.

 

OBJECTIVE – HOME!

By PFC William A. Perry, United States Army

O God, I did not

Come out to this war

From a park bench,

Or from a rented room.

I came from HOME!

And I brought with me family words:

Garden, crib, fireside, front door,

Wife, little fellow.

Now they are all mixed in

With the war jargon:

Jeep, tank, foxhole,

Tommy gun, blitz.

Help me, God, to keep

My thinking straight.

Grant the impossible –

Make home – our Home –

Seem real in battle.

Show me how to

Sort out my thoughts

And use the words about home;

Even when I am sitting in a swamp

Hours at a time,

Not daring to move

More than my eyes;

They’ll keep me sane.

I’ll be a better human,

And just now,

When fighting is my job,

I want to stay human.

It didn’t take a war

To show me

How I love my home.

But it has taken a war

To show me

How it will feel to

Walk out from Hell

Straight to a Paradise

That men call Home!

O God, let ours rest

Under the shadow of Your hands.

 

MY BUDDY

by PFC William A. Perry, United States Army

Hit again! That’s twice today;

Why don’t they get it over

And blast me all away?

Feeling mighty weary,

Losin’ all my stuff.

Buried in a foxhole –

That’s what I call tough.

Ain’t got strength to wiggle,

Must be awful weak.

Tongue is just one big blister;

I can hardly speak.

I’m no Christian soldier,

Never had the luck.

Just a no-good drifter,

Just a fighting buck.

Never had no learnin’

Never taught to pray.

Want to talk to Jesus –

Don’t know what to say.

Where’d you come from, Buddy?

Wasn’t here before.

Don’t look like no soldier,

You ain’t used to war.

Wanna use my foxhole?

Cuddle up right nice;

Have a drink of water –

Sorry, there’s no ice.

Gee, your hand is bleedin’

Guess they got you, too.

Nasty rats of Hitler,

That’s the way they do.

You and me together

Strangers in this sink;

Sharing drops of water,

All there is to drink.

What’s that on your shoulder?

Buddy, that’s no gun!

You should have some weapon –

War ain’t just clean fun.

Guess that blasted bullet

Threw me for a loss.

Eyes are getting hazy;

What you got, a cross?

Funny sort of helmet,

Looks just like a thorn.

Never seen one like it,

Never, since I’s born.

Aw, your head is bleedin’,

Let me wipe your brow.

I got strength to do it –

Strong as ever, now.

Say, you tryin’ to help me?

Well, that ain’t no use –

I’m beyond all helpin’;

Took too much abuse.

Still it makes me better

Just to know you’re here;

Yeah, I know I’m dying,

But I got no fear.

Crown of thorns and cross?

Golly, I remember –

You’re the King! The boss!

Thought I was unlucky –

All I’ve sacrificed;

But I’m dying happy

In the arms of Christ.

I’m a Christian soldier.

Got no pain, no grief.

Take me up to Heaven

Like you took the thief.

Jesus, gentle Jesus,

Got no pain, no fear.

Hidin’ in a foxhole,

And you found me here.

Saving the Potential

There is a song called “Do Something” written and sung by Matthew West.  It is a contemporary Christian song about how we should stop complaining about the state of the world and do something about it.  I was reminded of it last Saturday when our local Baptist Association’s Women on Mission organization hosted a WorldCrafts bazaar.  WorldCrafts (http://www.worldcrafts.org) is a division of Women’s Missionary Union, part of the Southern Baptist Convention.  Say what you will about large religious organizations, WorldCrafts is a great idea.

The whole point of WorldCrafts is the realization of that old saying “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish, feed him for life.”  Poverty, famine, war, and various other unpleasant situations are rampant around the world, including here in the United States.  But there is something else also rampant – potential.  The potential for creativity, for making something out of nothing is found in the same places.

It’s easy to throw money at a problem and assume somebody will take care of the unpleasantness, leaving us to kick our feet up in our favorite recliner and settle down to our favorite sitcoms and ball games, feeling righteous at having done our duty.  But what happens when the economy tanks and we can’t donate anymore?  Those who were receiving all that food (if the money or food wasn’t being stolen or mishandled) are suddenly left hanging in the wind.

It also doesn’t cover the problem of shelter, clothing, health, education, and transportation.  It is only maintaining an unpleasant situation, like feeding refugees in a tent city.  But suppose the impoverished and destitute could start a business, creating a product they could sell worldwide and make enough money to buy their own food, buy transportation, buy a house, buy clothing, and employ others, who could do the same?  Suddenly, you have an economy, a growing economy that raises a community and allows growth.  You have potential at work.

WorldCrafts is a remarkable organization that takes potential and develops it, raising the living standard of not only individuals, not only families, but eventually whole communities.  It takes those who were without hope and help and makes them self sufficient.  Many of the participants are women, simply because there are so many of them who are helpless and hopeless, single mothers who have lost their husbands to war or disease, as well as many who are rescued from the sex trade.  They have no education, no transportation, no way to grow their own food, and frequently not even a home.  There are many youth who have no future, many crippled and maimed by war and disease, and men who cannot find employment in the areas where they are.

The organizers of WorldCrafts try to find products these people can make and sell.  They bring together people willing to donate their castoff material that can be changed into a beautiful and useful product by those in need.  Instead of keeping the poor on their knees begging for charity, they put them into a merchant’s booth, selling a product they can feel pride in, making a profit that they can reinvest in their business, in their families, in their communities.  Potential has been realized.

So many times we see the poverty stricken on the media and can only feel vaguely relieved that we are not there.  We don’t see the art hiding in the dirty rags of the street people, the magnificent inventions that may come out of an uneducated child’s head if only they could learn science and technology.  Who knows what cures for diseases are hiding in the brains of people with eyes dull from hunger?

You should check out the website for WorldCrafts.  See the beautiful products, read their stories of the situations they have been rescued from.  Read what they are doing with their profits.  Think about the potential finally being realized.

WorldCrafts is not the only organization doing this.  Heifer International (http://heifer.org) is another “investment” organization that doesn’t just give once.  They provide animals of all kinds for families that can be bred and a certain number of the offspring passed along to other needy families.  Training and help is provided.  Seeds, trees, water wells, and other things needed for self sustaining communities is provided.

Other organizations all over the world do it.  They invest not in a faceless stock market, gambling that the companies and funds and stocks and bonds produce a profit for them, but in people and their growth potential.  Seed money, indeed.

If you’ve ever wished you could do something besides watch and hope somebody will do something to end a problem, check out these organizations.  You may be amazed how easy it will be to help fertilize a situation and create a tree of life, developing potential that will change the world someday.

They don’t need thousands of dollars to start.  They are already in such poor situations that what we consider a small amount of money can change their lives.  The potential found in an acorn produces a mighty oak.  What we spend on a cup of coffee could save a village.  When I was at the bazaar, I was able to buy one product, but I also offered several ideas for products that somebody might be able to produce and sell and raise their families out of poverty, send their children to school, and maybe change the world someday, somehow.

I’ve been so poor I was grateful for a bowl of beans a day.  I know how being dependent on charity grinds the soul.  I have felt the pride of earning my own money, felt the warmth of being able to help my family with that money.  I have learned self confidence, creating solutions that solved major problems.  It has been my greatest pleasure in life to help others help themselves.

Many wealthy people have learned the pain of poverty in the past few years as their world turned upside down and the skills and talents they had were no longer wanted or needed.  Situations change.  We are not guaranteed anything but salvation.  We could wind up on the streets, digging through trash cans for food, at the mercy of whoever wants to abuse us.  Would we rather stand in a bread line hoping the food lasted until we reached it or in the checkout line, using money we have made for ourselves?  What potential is being lost right now as the poor search for food and shelter in cities around the world, in our own streets, in the countrysides of countries, dodging war and famine, in brothels and sweat shops trapped with no way out?

There but for the grace of God go we…

The Gardeners

By Peggy Perry copyright 2015
The garden path was smoothed and cleared by the gardeners gone before.
Flowers bloom, birds fly and sing. It seems to need no more.

Butterflies soar gently by, sweet scents float on the air,
The sun shines warmly on the scene. Contentment is found there.

But this is not our garden path to simply walk along.
It only shows what we must do to keep from going wrong.

Our work starts at their garden’s edge with their work finally done.
Plow the soil, plant the seeds, and work for the Chosen One.

Can it be called a heavy task to leave behind such beauty?
To spend our lives doing His will cannot be called mere duty!

The best memorial to give the loved ones we recall
Is to continue on the work for which Jesus gave His all.

Dangerous Minds

I love my imagination.  It keeps me from being bored, it helped me survive an impoverished childhood devoid of books and televisions, saved me from shyness, and has shaped my life into something better than a boring rut.  But sometimes, just sometimes, it drives me nuts.

Case in point: We had to get our air conditioning system fixed in our house.  All that was needed was to reattach the ventilation ducts under the house where they separated.  It was fixed, no problem, the house cooled off, we were happy.  The air conditioning unit is next to my bathroom door.  My bedroom is across the hall.  I ALWAYS hear the air conditioner when it is blowing air.

Ever since the repair job, I hear voices coming from the air conditioner.  Sometimes they play music, that really irritating recorder music.  It is just coherent enough to make me originally think I was listening to the television in the living room, but not enough to really tell what is being said.  But it always sounds like several people having a conversation, or perhaps a news show.

The first time it happened I thought my sister was saying something while I was in the bathroom.  As it continued, I realized it was the air conditioner, and I have yet to figure out the cause.  The problem is listening to it at night.  In the dark.  All alone in my bedroom…

I don’t read horror novels (anymore) or watch horror movies (after a few deeply regretted ones).  Normally, I have very few nightmares.  I generally only dream of being overwhelmed when my calendar gets full.  But if I have a hard time falling asleep and start hearing that murmuring coming through my door in the dark…uhhhh.  Bad night ahead.  I’m trying to see if I’ll get used to them.  If I can’t, I’ll have to do something about some white noise or something.  Maybe ear plugs?  I’ll try something out.

Imagination can be a dangerous thing.  When I was a child, my sisters and I would spend many happy hours with our youngest aunt at our grandparents’ rural home.  We entertained ourselves during many summer days taking turns telling stories, or acting out various roles in an imaginary world. But one day our group imagination took a dark turn.

That was the summer of the Boston Strangler.  We rarely saw the television stories, but we listened to the radio and read the newspapers and listened to our parents talk about it.  The story was ripe fodder for our minds.  One hot day, the air was still, our grandfather, the only one left at home to watch over us, fast asleep in the shade.  The house was too cramped and hot to stay inside.  We wandered about from garden to sheds, to barn, trying to decide how to occupy ourselves.

The story began as a slow, sporadic commentary on how quiet it was, progressed to an uneasy awareness of how creepy the silence was, and began to speed along on an uncomfortable awareness of how many hiding places there were and how close they were to us.  We armed ourselves with sticks.  We fed each others’ imaginations like a mob feeds on itself.  In no time at all, we were clutching each other, darting eyes at one building after another, peering at shadows and straining our ears to hear any break in the silence.

The break came, of course, very loudly and suddenly.  A loose shed door banged, whether from a solitary breeze, a passing chicken, or a cat rubbing itself on it.  Who knows?  Who cares?  But suddenly we were several young girls screaming in sudden terror and running as fast as possible to our grandfather, the only available adult.

His natural and very normal irate commentary on being awakened from a comfortable nap by a bunch of silly noisy females calmed us down quickly.  We realized how we had frightened ourselves and laughed weakly, determining to never do that again.  But we stayed around Grandpa for the rest of the day.

That experience taught me a lot about letting my imagination control me.  It taught me a lot about mob psychology.  I don’t want to think what might have happened if we had access to weapons more dangerous than some big sticks.  Fear can turn to the flight or fight syndrome and not everybody runs, not every time.  This has become even more true the older I get.

I channel my imagination as much as possible nowadays into my writing.  I don’t want to dwell on something until paranoia begins to build, becoming dangerous to people around me.  Writing my imaginings helps to understand cause and effect, and the work of adrenaline on the mind.  Working out reactions to fear, anxiety, paranoia, and rage in fictional stories help me deal with tense situations in real life.  For someone who never goes looking for trouble, I’ve had to deal with a good bit.

Using my imagination in reading and writing has definitely helped me deal with real life.  I think that is why teaching a child to read and providing a large library is one of the most important things we can do for our children.  Television and movies can only do so much.  We should always talk to our children as well, discussing the characters’ actions and reactions and deciding whether they were appropriate or not.

Helping a child imagine how they would react in a scary situation helps them avoid panic when they come up against one in real life.  It also helps them avoid making bad decisions in less scary situations, like being pressured into sex, accepting a dare, or facing major changes in their lives.

God gave us our imaginations.  Imagination fuels creativity and comes from the Master Creator Himself.  But like every gift He gives us, it can be misused and twisted.  Read.  Write.  Create.  Work with your children. Don’t let them fall prey to a dangerous mind.

God’s Goofy Gifts

I felt bad for my mom.  She’d had it rough for the past few years.  At a few weeks shy of 78 years old, she has lost the use of her legs and most of her vision.  She lives on a small pension from her late husband.  She doesn’t get out much.  She doesn’t have much, and she’s losing more.

She’s outlived her parents, which is normal.  But she’s also outlived her two youngest brothers, her husband and son in law, two nephews, and a great niece.  She worried through four of her five daughters’ bouts with cancer.  Now she was facing the funeral of her middle sister.

She rarely got to talk to her family.  They aren’t much for phone conversations, don’t like writing letters, and live pretty spread out.  Lately the only time she saw them was at funerals.  This funeral was hard because we had to go from the suffocating humid heat of South Texas to the blistering dry heat of North Texas.  For some reason, all the hotels we usually stayed at were booked solid and we wound up in a local motel currently undergoing renovations.  The only rooms we could get were not handicap accessible, and by the time we met her youngest sister at the funeral home, we were all hot, tired, and miserable.  Mom kept apologizing for being such a bother, which made me feel worse.  She was seriously depressed.

When we got to the funeral home, the director told us that at my aunt’s request, they had asked a local preacher if he could do the burial service for us since my late aunt did not have a home church at that time.  We were fine with that.  Then the guy arrived, and everything changed.

We all get blessings from God, even if we don’t always recognize them.  We receive grace and mercy, and even occasionally miracles.  But every once in a while, God will give us a goofy gift.  My mom got one that day.

The preacher wasn’t goofy.  He’s intelligent, charming, witty, and a good Christian man.  He does radio shows at the local station there and preaches at a local church.  No, what made it goofy was that he was one of Mom’s favorite radio personalities from her local radio station back home who had moved away a few years ago.  Almost unable to see him, she recognized his voice as soon as he spoke and her face expressed her surprise and wonder.

He had seen Mom’s town of residence on my aunt’s obituary and was curious to see who we are.  We all spent the next two hours talking about what he’d been doing and people we all knew and what they were doing now.  He was relieved to find we were willing and able to talk about our aunt because it’s hard to do a funeral service for someone you don’t know.

My mom wasn’t depressed after that.   She still grieved for her sister, but the depression had lifted.  When God gives you a goofy gift, you smile and chuckle and shake your head at the unexpected.  My mom is still exclaiming over the amazing coincidence (read God’s handiwork). Instead of sitting in the dark and grieving quietly, she remembers meeting someone who had always seemed like a friend to her during the years she listened to him on the radio, and who became a friend in person exactly when she needed one the most.

God’s goofy gifts lift you up.  They cheer you when you’re down, amaze you when you’re jaded, make you laugh, make you sit up and pay attention and realize God still cares.  Have you ever given someone a goofy gift just to make them feel better?  Did it make you feel better to see them perk up?  The more I think about it the more I am amazed.  God placed that preacher where he could most help my mom years before they met.

The preacher even told us he had received a serious disappointment that led him to his present location.  His prayers were answered with a solid “No” because God knew he would be needed, years later, in a different location.  I have no doubt others have needed him in his new location, but God in His omniscience knew my mother would need him and made sure he would be available that day.  It’s so nice to have an all powerful God who takes a moment out of running the universe to make a grieving old lady feel better just when she needed it most.

Cleaning the Windows

I’ve been reading a lot this week about various people and how they cope with their lives.  I live with a younger sister.  We’re both in our fifties now, and our health isn’t too good, so we’re trying to work on it.  She has  a particularly nasty condition that leaves her looking normal on the outside, so people don’t really understand when she says she feels awful.  Having lived with her for over thirty years, I know just how bad it can get.  This week the oak pollen around south Texas has reached near historic levels, according to the weatherman.  Her condition makes her immune system hyper vigilant, so her allergies can wreck her.  Literally.

Her condition manifests with an inflammation of her inner ears.  Her ENT specialist who diagnosed it said everytime it did, more brain cells were cooked in the heat and more of her memory and comprehension would be lost.  She’s more concerned by extreme pain and the dizziness that leaves her staggering around and unable to drive.  She is given a steroid to deal with it, in the hopes that her immune system can be suppressed and the inflammation decreased.  The side effects of that are sleep, swelling, and bad temper.  Since she is trying to lose weight, it is not a good season for her.

I have insulin resistant diabetes and a slowly degenerating back.  This makes it interesting when it becomes dangerous for her to walk and I have to cook and take her meals.  She also is sensitive to light due to migraines during these episodes so she tries to sit in the dark and quiet.  I can’t stand the dark and like music playing most of the time.  It’s a challenge to make her as comfortable as possible while not giving up my life.  Luckily I enjoy challenges.  I consider them brain exercises.  It’s how I got through breast cancer.

Some people, when faced with an obstacle, sit and stare at it and complain to everybody around them about how it is blocking them.  I always wonder what it’s blocking, and become so curious I try to find a way around it to find out.  Zoos frequently try to “enrich” the animals lives by giving them problems they have to work at.  I figure maybe that’s what I’m getting.

This week a Facebook friend of mine remarked on how she was feeling overwhelmed by all the bad things she was seeing and experiencing.  Like many do, she wondered why God was allowing it to happen.  I gave her an excerpt from one of the stories in my next book, just as God gave it to me.

“Why does God allow such evil to exist? How can He allow them to suffer like this?” “Because if you were never allowed to try to stop it, if you were never given the chance to care about others, you would not be His children. You would be potted plants. Maybe, at the most, domesticated pets. Would you prefer that?”

I also cope by reminding myself how much worse it could be.  I am so much better off than many people I know personally.  I thank God every day I don’t have my sister’s problems.  I thank Him for letting me have a pension sufficient to live on, a nice home to live in, insurance to pay for most of my medical bills, and transportation not only for myself but for family that need to go somewhere.  I have lived in much worse circumstances.

I can dream of winning the lottery, writing a best-seller, inheriting a fortune, or even marrying somebody rich.  But they are just dreams.  My day to day life is interesting, rewarding, and creative, which is pretty darned good.  This Easter weekend when the world celebrates the coming of spring, or the renewal of the Hope of the world thanks to an empty cave, or just enjoys a nice festive weekend holiday, try to look at your life in a better light.  Don’t sit around in the gloom, grab some cleaner and polish the windows!  It may at least distract you!