The Losers of Loserville and Understanding God

When I started the blog Living in Loserville, I figured I’d journal epic losses like how I 

  • lost my fear of what other people think
  • lost my own critical attitude
  • and even those nasty sugar cravings.

Mostly I

  •  misplaced car keys,
  • lost my dignity occasionally,
  • and even the family dogs from time to time.

Not exactly what I had in mind.

Then, just before Christmas I l stood in the middle of Walmart and rummaged around for my wallet.

It was gone.

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I sent mom to check with Consumer Services while I raced to the parking lot to see if it fell on the ground.

Just as I began to slide into that deep, dark place of “why does this always happen to me? What is wrong with me? Why am I doomed to mess everything up” I prayed, begging God to bring my wallet back.

Pretty spiritual, I know. Me praying instead of kicking and screaming. I almost wished I had some kind of video cam for the inside of my head. Let the whole world know that I was actually turing to God instead of my usual “rage against the darkness” routine.

Then, God spoke to me. No it was not an audible voice. I”d probably had ended up in the ditch from sheer terror.

Instead, He brought to mind something my mom said earlier in the day.

“Did you ever think that are prayers are often just telling God what we want?” she said in typical octogenarian fashion interrupting my brilliant comparison of Brooklyn 99 and The Blacklist.

“What if God has something totally different in mind?” she continued, “Maybe we should wonder what He wants to do.”

It could not  have been no more clear than if he had reached down His divine hand and pulled the emergency brake on the Honda Civic as we raced home.

What does God want?

“Lord,” I prayed with renewed faith, “Where ever my wallet is now, who ever has it in their hands, bless them. Use this whole situation to bring peace and joy. Let this crazy flawed up day spell out your glory…right across the sky of someone else’s life.”

Yeah, I think I was losing it there at the end of my prayer. But, I was beginning to see that I needed something beyond a lost wallet. I needed to see God at work in my messy, insignificant life.

When I finally got home, my husband reminded me to  cancel my credit cards.

“Be sure and let the bank know,” he added the phone rang.

It was the RCMP.  My wallet had been recovered.

“Where, how…”

The officer proceeded to tell me how a young woman approached his patrol car while he sat in a Cloverdale parking lot. She cried as she gave him a thick black women’s wallet.

“This rarely happens,” the officer explained, “The young woman was a recovering addict…from dark drugs.  what she did today took great courage an willpower.”

After I signed for my wallet from the police officer, I asked for contact information so that I could properly thank this courageous young lady.

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As I pulled up at the Cloverdale A&W I saw a tall dark haired young woman at one of the outdoor tables smoking furiously. She talked on the cellphone while hugging her ski jacket close. 

The lovely young aboriginal lady was the one I”d come to thank. We hugged. Her mother and friend came out of the restaurant and hugs started all over again. In-between tears and laughter,

The mom explained how she had been praying for her daughter through this hard time. After two years of living on the streets of Vancouver, her daughter had come home. It was all part of answered prayer.

“She’s getting clean,” her mom said, “we are so proud of what she did today.”

We all hugged and cried again and then said our goodbyes. 

Weird, how a day can turn out.

Ok, more than weird. Absolutely mind boggling how God can pull back the curtain on the unseen and let us get a glimpse of what He’s all about.

Mysterious ways that we may never fully understand until we get to heaven. He does what he does and uses what He uses to fulfill plans we cannot begin to wrap our finite heads around.

Unending Mercies that reach us at our lowest point and in our darkest hour. On the streets of Vancouver or sitting out side the A and W in Cloverdale, he knows where we are and wants to draw us to Him.

Utter Delight in his children even when they are pretty much a mess. He knows the fallibility of the humans he created. He knows the flaws and the failures. Yet, he choses to us to to bless others in amazing ways.

God is good all the time. Not just when we get it all together. Not just when we are free of pain or sorrow. He hears our prayers even when we don’t know what to pray. He answers them in ways we may not even understand. For reasons we may never know.

He is good. All the time.

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When Great Expectations Get In the Way of Celebration–How to enjoy the person that God made you to be.

zuchini cake

I’m not a good cook.

To be honest, I’ve had few moments of brilliance. The rare alignment of the planets when I

  1. stir the ingredients together just right.
  2. put the concoction into the oven at just the right time and temperature.

Everything comes out bubbly and golden brown.

Most times, my attempts at cooking are more like stars colliding.

  • Potatoes have the consistency of Elmer’s glue.
  • Gravy is the shade of a river bottom in the middle of a drought.

Yesterday, the planets aligned.

I was tired. Emotional. Stressed out. Yet, all nine got in line. (Yes, I allowed Pluto back in line. So, sue me!)

What did I make?

1. A delectable chocolate zucchini cake. I found the recipe on therepressedpastrychef.com. I mean, if that’s repressed, let me in on the action.

2. Creamy, savory potato salad –my mother-in-law’s recipe. Now, that’s a feat in itself.

My mother-in-law should have registered her skills with the local authorities. She made killer French silk pie, elk burger chili and Cornish pasties.

Yesterday, I made Tina Hixson’s signature potato salad speak my name.

potato salad

What can I say?

We all have areas in our life that challenge us. Areas that make us face our weakest self. We’re human. We fail. We try. We fail again.

When we do triumph, celebrate.

Maybe you finally break out the band. Dance in the streets. Life is short. I might as well celebrate my triumphs.

  1. Parked your car within the white lines.
  2. Remembered to put gas in the car before it gets to empty.
  3. Told a joke without forgetting the punch line.
  4. Made a meal that actually tasted the way it should.

It’s those little victories that make life sweet.

When Canadian’s Head South and Senior Citizen’s Raise Hell–Don’t let it steal your joy

 

seaside cafe

Today I crossed the line.

Not

  • morally
  • politically
  • or even relationally.

Let’s just say territorially.

I left Canada to shop in the States.

After plundering the Bellingham, Washington Costco like some cheese-starved Viking, I headed back north.

Just before donning on my fur lined parka and crossing over into the dog sled lanes of Canada, I stopped at the Seaside Bakery Café’,

and ordered a cup of Spring Onion soup.

spring onion soup

 

Tender vegetables. Herbs and Asiago cheese. Yum.

The scene was set.

  1. My mom and I sipped soup and nibbled on our Panini sandwiches.
  2. A party of three sat across the room and bantered back and forth.
  3. Two occupied tables.
  4. The only customers in the house.

Or, so I thought.

In the midst of the lively conversation at the other table, a woman stood up.

How long she had been sitting at a small table behind them, I do not know.

“Excuse me,” she as she stepped between two of the patrons, “You have been talking the entire time I’ve been here,”

as the now-quiet patrons stared at her,

“I can’t stand it. I’m leaving.”

No one said a word as she marched out of the café.

“She should eat at the library,” one of the offending parties finally said.

“Get a study room,” smirked the other.

Just to put this scene in perspective.

  1. None of the trouble makers wore leather or chains.
  2. No one had lip rings or spiked hair.

More like dentures or Depends. A group well qualified for senior discounts.

As for making a public disturbance, I’ve had thoughts louder than most of their bantering.

Mom and I finished our meal and left.

The group stayed on. Laughing and talking. The irritation and anger left with the woman who had just marched out.

I was not surprised.

  • Some teenagers would have yelled back at her.
  • Young moms or dads may have argued with her.

Not these guys.

They were too old to let someone else’s unhappiness ruin their day.

They would never consider letting anyone steal their joy.

Finding God in an Instagram World

Twitter.

It makes me nervous.

Facebook keeps me up at night.

I just stare at the ceiling wondering I will ever be

  • Postable.
  • Bloggable.
  • Like Button pushable.

Let’s face it. Some updates are pretty amazing.

  1. Eating pizza at the Ritz.
  2. Jumping off a moving train.
  3. Dancing on a balcony in hurricane force winds.

Reality is – people are more than just a frozen moment in time,

  • One facial expression.
  • An offhand remark.
  • An isolated incident.

But, we’re human. Even when we are functioning at maximum capacity, we tend to make assumptions on bits and pieces of people’s lives.

No wonder we often don’t understand one another.

Human beings don’t have the eyes of God.

Never have, never will.

He knows

  • our eternal status.
  • Our inner twitter.
  • Our mental instagrams.

God sees our hearts.

Dads, Superheroes and Set-aside Dreams

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Ordinary superheroes.

Their courage is not measured in Die Hard terms. They don’t even get to fly.

But they are heroes all the same.

Dads like John Kelly.

He works not far from where I work. Sometimes I stop and chat with him.

His three favorite topics?

  • his wife
  • his kids
  • and God

Today, I asked if I could interview him.

“I wish people wouldn’t do that,” he said the moment he saw me. Weird. I hadn’t even asked him yet.

“Walking up on me while I’m working,” he clarified.

OK, I didn’t say he had nerves of steel. But, he has something better. He is madly in love with his wife.

And, his kids.

“They make me whole,” he said.

John explained how random moments of interactions fill up the spaces in a parent’s heart.

“There are little moments your kids look up at you and share something,” he said as he leaned back against wooden railing, “and you think ‘Gee, thanks for letting me into your world’”.

I didn’t want to be a party pooper with all this good will and compassion flowing. But, I had to ask.

“What was the biggest sacrifice you made for your family? What did you give up?”

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John shared his lifelong dream.

  • He wanted to build a log home.
  • Even wrote an essay about log home construction in his senior year of high school.
  • Got an A.

“Sometimes you have to put the dream aside” he said.

Right now he’s busy being a husband, father and grandfather.

I asked John, “If you could share only one piece of advice with your kids, what would it be?”

John would have none of that “one piece” stuff. (Obviously, he was in the business of raising kids not developing one-liners for fortune cookies).

Among other insights, John shared about

  • surrendering in love to your partner
  • and keeping alcohol out of the home.

Finally, he said,

“If you are given the opportunity to step out I think you should take it.”

John told about attending a recent gathering to celebrate his daughter’s ordination. In the midst of it all, John felt compelled to share a song.

“I don’t consider myself a good singer,” he confided.

But, he was not about to miss the moment.

John sang  about a blind boy who asked his father, “What color is the wind?”

I looked up the lyrics as soon as got back home. The last part of the second verse made me wonder.

“…my favorite colour has to be
The colour of your love for me
And Daddy, I’ve been told
That love is always gold.” *

Maybe Dads were superheroes simply because they had the courage to

  1. set aside their own dreams
  2. to let better dreams come true.

Sometimes just for a while.

After all, John is a builder at heart.

I found that out on http://www.logonjohn.blogspot.ca.

“My blog is all about building,” he says, “How God works in our lives. About the father heart of God.”

Interesting post on February 16, 2012, entitled Get On With It.

John wrote

“…I feel this is going to be my last entry till I break ground for real.”

*What Colour Is The Wind Lyrics performed by Charlie Landsborough

Riding the Elevator of Shame –

cop_crown_princess

The door opened. The mass of human flesh sighed and shrank back.

I squeezed in with my platter of food held in front of me.

  • chunks of watermelon
  • heaps of salad fixings
  • a slice of beef brisket
  • two peanut butter cookies

Even though I faced the closed doors of the elevator, I knew.

All eyes were on me. Well, on my food that is.

No one spoke.

No one moved.

“The ride of shame,” I thought, “That’s what I’m on. The chubby girl carries the goodies home.”

I waited for the usual spread of heat in my cheeks, the sting of tears in my eyes.

You see,

I always figured that I was not like most people.

It was like a   nebulous flaw that rendered me just slightly less valuable than anyone else.

So I stayed constantly on guard.

  1. Never daring to be myself.
  2. Putting all my energy in anticipating what would please or impress other people.

Something’s changed.

cop_crown_princessMaybe it was the 80 plus blogs I’ve posted since February.

  • Expounding on theology.
  • Venting about social issues.
  • Ranting about whatever caught my fancy.

It took a few months but I edged out all the voices in my head that said “you better do this and you better do that.”

I started to write what I really thought.

Sure, I got a bit of feedback trying to shush my point a view or gently urging me to reframe my approach to certain subjects.

But, I found that saying what you really think is actually invigorating. Confidence building. Life changing.

As the elevator descended, I found the ride far from shameful.

I grinned. Almost laughed out loud.

When the doors slid open, I held up my platter and walked to away.