Love is patient, love is kind… [love] does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love…always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails(1 Cor 13:4-8)
Except when it does.

Get Real

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 11.05.17 AMZoe did it again. Right there in her Facebook status. She actually wrote another snarky comment about the family. What is her problem?

I hear you all had a wonderful time at Tommy’s Cafe last night. It’s amazing how I missed my invitation. Oh.  I forgot about the unwritten rule: leave Zoe out of every family event possible.

I can’t stand the way she turns every thing into something nasty. She’s the one who’s nasty, and I’m tired of dealing with it. She wasn’t left out of the get-together at Tommy’s. I’ve invited time and time again to our Saturday night get-togethers. She declines  every time, usually with another snarky excuse/knife in somebody’s back.

So. Enough is enough. I’m going to stop reading her Facebook stuff. I’ve hidden her posts and I’ll never pay any attention to them again…or to her. She’s hopelessly nasty, she enjoys it, and she especially enjoys seeing that her nastiness bothers somebody.

Momma keeps telling me to think about Cindy in a different way, to think about what may have happened in her life that made her into a nasty person

What a load of crap.

She has always had a fine life, as good as or better than the rest of us. She lived in the big house, with the huge back yard and the swimming pool, and the incredible outdoor gym equipment.

She was an only child, so her Mom and Dad sent all their rug-rat money on her. She didn’t have to share anything. She always had new clothes, always had money to spend on whatever she wanted, always had big fancy birthday parties, always went o vacations to Florida or Mexico or Disney World. Yeah, I know that Disney world is in Florida, but that’s not the point. She went to lots of places in Florida.

Momma is completely off base in asking me to consider what makes Zoe nasty. And mean. And completely unfit for civilized company.  I am not going to feel bad about the fact that I cannot stand her,

You know what else? I went to a lot of trouble to buy a Christmas present for Zoe’s 12-year-old daughter Aberdeen. Who names a girl Aberdeen? What a stupid thing to do, but it’s just like Zoe to do that. Not only is she nasty and snarky and completely unbearable, she’s just stupid and incapable of making good decisions about anything.

Anyway, I bought this absolutely lovely present for Aberdeen. Spent a lot of time selecting something that I thought she would like. And I spent money that I could have better spent on other things. On other people who might have at least said “Thank you.”

You know what happened? I received no acknowledgement of the present from Zoe, or from Aberdeen, or from Walter, Zoe’s husband. Nothing. No thank you, no phone call, no note, no e-mail. Not even an acknowledgement on Facebook or anywhere else.

So that’s the last time I make any effort to be nice to Zoe and Walter and Aberdeen. She is absolutely not worth the time and effort all of us have spent in trying to make her happy.  She is selfish, mean, self-serving, thoughtless, and actually downright vicious.

And can you believe that Momma actually suggested to me that I pray for Cindy? Well, of course I do pray for her. I pray that she will stay out of my life until she learns how to act and interact with civilized company.

But Momma didn’t mean that kind of prayer. She means that I should pray for Zoe’s happiness. For her to find joy.

JOY? for Zoe? Please, Momma, get real.

And Momma didn’t stop there. She said I should pray God’s blessings on Zoe. I should pray for her as though I loved her.

What kind of sense does that make? None, I tell you. None.

Momma talks as though Jesus had personally told me to bless Zoe. To say nice things about her even though she bad-mouths me. To be kind to her when she lies about me. Again, what a load of crap.

Maybe you can find places in the Gospels where Jesus makes general commands about loving enemies, about blessing people who curse you, about doing good to people who do evil to you. But that’s really extreme and idealistic. And probably metaphorical.

In the world I live in, the only way to survive is to make sure that people who try to hurt you know that you will not put up with any crap. Doesn’t the Bible say, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth?” That’s a quote I can live by.

After all, if I don’t protect myself, who will?

No, I’m not confused. I know it’s New Year’s Day.

appaluseNot the last Thursday in November. There are no third graders dressed as Pilgrims and Indians parading across elementary-school stages or sitting down to feast on faux wild turkey and corn pudding. Choirs are not singing “We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing” in the spirit of the Harvest season. No.

It’s January 1, 2015. Christmas is just past, and it’s time to recuperate from frenzied gift-giving and feasting. Time to start fresh and make impressive resolutions. Time for new beginnings.

But it’s also a time for thanksgiving. This day, this week, this month, is Thanksgiving season.

Thanksgiving is not a holiday.

In a society that routinely denies the existence of a God Who deserves thanks, thanksgiving often boils down to a day on the calendar allocated to sentimental recounting of “all our blessings,” To high-sounding declarations that things could be so much worse. To proud assertions that “I won’t complain.”

(Of course, the mere act of saying “I won’t complain,” presupposes the existence of some valid reason for complaint, doesn’t it? Unless I think I have reason, and valid reason at that, to complain, it’s not a good idea for me to talk about how great it is that I am not complaining.)

Thanksgiving is a heart-orientation.

For me, thanksgiving season is a time of amazement that transcends any calendar designation. Despite my being who I am…that is, a woman with an extremely flawed ego and an insufferable id, a mother with a boatload of “wish I had done things better” regrets to mull in her head.. despite all my “meness,” God loves me. And He has given me a heart of thanskgiving.

“Listen, daughter,” my Father says to me. “Thanksgiving is an attitude.” It’s not just a set of words, it’s not a simple verbalizing of expected sentiments, it’s not a matter of being polite to God, who, after all, gives us so much that we certainly owe Him thanks.

Thanksgiving is the welling up of joy in my spirit when I think about the ineffable goodness and greatness and mystery of an all-powerful God who wrapped Himself in the restricted flesh of humanity to become Emmanue . God With Us. God with me.

Thanksgiving is relationship.

For me, Thanksgiving is the deep-seated longing in my heart for fellowship and interaction with the God who is willing, even eager (according to the Bible) to interact with me.

For me, thanksgiving is resting in the peace that has begun to seep its way into my life, slowly filling up the hairline cracks, then the jagged splits, and finally the yawning chasms that have marred my soul and spirit with worry, ambition, discontentment, self-pity, doubt, and guilt.

For me, thanksgiving is a God-given desire to love God and neighbor in the coming year.

For me, thanksgiving is being at one with God, not because I’m good or holy, but because He is gracious, long-suffering, everlastingly kind, and powerfully able to finish what He has started in me.

Thanksgiving is purpose.

For me, thanksgiving is the quiet grateful satisfaction of knowing that God allows me (and each of us), in desperate moments, or in everyday interactions with other human beings, to do or say something that makes us all better, that feeds bodies, souls, and spirits. That brings us closer to God and to each other.

That’s why I’m wishing everybody Happy Thanksgiving on New Year’s Day. Enjoy!