How fleeting is happiness in this life? I think about some pretty cool things I wanted or wanted to accomplish. After I received them it didn’t take long before I wanted more or something different. Some years back before the huge increase in the cost of old sports cars I was caught up in buying and mostly keeping those old cars. I dreamed of having those cars all of my life. I admired and appreciated them anytime I saw one, in fact, I still do. That’s about the only thing that will turn my head these days. I learned an interesting lesson from that period in my life. I should say I confirmed in more graphic detail the truth regarding such matters. The best part about having a passion for something like those cars was just that; Passion. Call it desire, want, need, or obsession, it’s all the same. The feeling of wanting and working to achieve something is the greatest part of the process. From the day I drove those cars home, I slowly had less desire for them. In time, I’d wash and start or drive them sometimes out of guilt. I eventually sold all of them. I felt like I had to. It seemed sinful to have something of value that I didn’t have time to care for in a matter that showed respect and stewardship. The best memories of the cars now aren’t when I acquired or sold them. It was when I took family members for drives. I mentioned last week one of my favorite pictures of my daughters is one taken with all three of them sitting in the driver seat of one of them. There has even been enough time pass for me to tell the story of how my wife damaged and wrecked the 56′ Vette and I can now laugh. There I was, standing in the garage on the phone with the garage door guy. My wife had torn the garage door off the tracks and it was laying on top or her SUV. No problem, I had it under control until I looked over and saw a big divot on the trunk of the 56′. My wife enjoys telling how I jumped up and down pointing like an idiot while talking to the garage door guy. A couple months later while driving the 56′ for the second time she ran into my work bench which drove it almost through the house wall. The original chrome bumper was destroyed and the hood damaged. I think God has a way of rearranging priorities. It was easy to measure happiness.
I love tennis shoes. I love bright ones, sleek ones, light ones, basketball and cross trainers. I even have a couple pairs of red patent leather ones. It’s time for another pair. I know this due to the pain in the ball of my left foot reminding me the current pair are in need of retirement. This is one of those pains brought on by a life of steps taken in shoes I now regret.
This last pair have been workhorses, they took me a lot of places, some comfortable and easy, some difficult and somewhat dangerous. Not like the old pairs, they covered ground no shoes should ever have to.
I think back to the places that my shoes have taken me in my life. I consider the steps, some honorable, some not so much. I’ve been down some wide paths in my shoes over my lifetime. Those wide paths of destruction were easy to get to and very easy to navigate in the flesh.
Those were the steps I’ve taken that would fall into the “dishonorable” category. I regret those steps, and yet God uses the memory of those steps that led into pathways of destruction to remind me of His grace, or undeserved favor and mercy.
My shoes have walked deep inside old mine shafts, jumping over holes inside of those caves that you couldn’t hear a dropped rock hit the bottom of. My shoes have run down the same jagged terrain at full speed to find them completely shredded by the time we got to the bottom. My old shoes have also been high above a mighty river, worn to protect my feet from a jump too high to accomplish without their protection.
My shoes have bravely marched into harms way, sometimes unknowing, sometimes knowing full well the possible consequences, but the obedient shoes steered by the ignorant navigator ventured in.
In days gone by I would wear shoes that were uncomfortable, as long as they looked cool. I let what other people thought of my shoes define the ones I’d wear. I’d even walk in the same paths as the people I was trying to look good for. Of course in hindsight, those steps taken led to dead ends and sometimes close to spiritual and physical death.
I thank God for the redirection of my steps. He placed my feet upon the Rock, the firm foothold that led off the slippery slope of destruction, to the narrow much closer to straight and level path now traveled.
The steps I take are still prone to wander, (Lord I feel it) but the wisdom He’s given me along the paths of my life allow me to fail less and take fewer dishonorable steps.
Imagine that your footprints could be seen by everyone everywhere you went. What would the paths chosen and their footprints say to the world? I guess you’d be able to tell a lot about a person by knowing where they went and how they spent their time. “If those shoes could talk what tales they’d tell.”
I still appreciate a nice pair of shoes, especially tennis shoes. They need to be lightweight, comfortable and supportive. If they look cool, that’s just a bonus. The most important part of my new shoes are the steps that will be taken in them.
I pray to God for guidance along the paths He’s chosen for me and mine. May I walk with steps of honor.
I’m fascinated by the events in a person’s life that helps determine who a person really is. The lumps along the path of life are common to all of us. It’s how we process the pain that eventually heals into a scar we get to carry forever that is the difference.
Up until I was in about 2nd or 3rd grade I had a speech impediment. Before the age of “Political Correctness,” I was fair game. Even adults back in those days made fun of me. Not fun for the kid who couldn’t pronounce “R’s.”
Around that same time in my life, my grandma on my dad’s side passed away after a long bout with cancer. We had some good times even during the process.
Kids weren’t allowed in hospital rooms in those days. My mom and dad told us, “You’re going to get to see Maw-Maw through the glass.” They said it over and over like it was extra special. I know it was, but the way they carried on about it, I thought “The Glass” was magical.
They gave us directions to go around the hospital, turn here, go over there. I didn’t pay too much attention to the details, I left the navigation up to my big brothers to lead us to “The Glass.”
We climbed up a small grassy hill and there was my Maw-Maw in bed, my mom and dad standing beside the bed waving. I thought to myself, “That’s It”! – “That’s, “The Glass”? “That’s just a big window”! I waved, pushed my sister and started running down the grassy hill in hopes of inducing a game of tag.
I remember my uncle Buck driving his truck into the middle of our front yard in the middle of the night. I vividly remember him pounding on our front door calling for his brother.
I could hear my uncle Buck telling my dad to get his boots so they could go get those “Sons-a-_itches.” I listened as my dad calmly said, “Buck, you know I don’t do that anymore.”
I was the only one of my siblings who wasn’t tall enough to see over the edge of the casket at my grandma’s funeral. My dad didn’t shed a tear at the funeral. My uncle Galen the youngest of the nine siblings cried like I’d never seen a grown man do before. My uncle Buck, the oldest of the surviving siblings didn’t cry either. I watched in wonder, learning the lessons of life without shedding a tear as well, just like my hero’s.
I’ve pondered the many events and the ultimate impact they might have on my life. These few incidents are just a thimble of water in the swimming pool of life, but for the few and total here’s what I’ve got so far.
I didn’t let my speech impediment damper my love of Halloween. Sometimes even while laughing at the way I said “Tlick-a-Tleet,” I scored double the candy. That speech impediment landed me in Special Ed. The kids in that pre-PC society fondly referred to the class as the place for M-R’s.
I received one on one teaching with a specialist. Once the speech therapist finished, I would come to speak plainly and read at a college level while in grade school.
My dad was the only person in the world to have some control over my uncle Buck. I learned of my dad’s quiet strength. I learned of his self-control, sacrifice, and love for his family. My dad’s priority was God and his family. I watched it in times of testing. He never failed.
I think God spared me the confrontation with death at an early age. I held up the line as long as I could on my tippy-toes trying to catch a glimpse over the edge of the casket at my Maw-Maw, before being gently moved along by my dad.
I wondered most of my life if I would be strong like my dad was in public. I wondered if I’d scream with nightmares in the middle of the night like he did after he lost his mom. I’m certain that everyone deals with death one way or the other. I just wasn’t sure how I would deal with it. It was something I was hoping to put off as long as possible. God did give me enough years to know how I would respond.
God used all the events in my life to bring me to a place of understanding. His will is perfect and everything that happens in our lives has a purpose. I thank God for the place He’s brought me to.
Just before God took my dad home, I told him how proud I was to be his son. I shared with him how honored God and his family were by “The good race he had run.” My dad cried… My mom, wife, and though big boys don’t cry, I myself joined them.
At my dad’s funeral, I cried again… I know for sure it won’t be the last time…
When I was a kid my mom and dad made me pray. Nothing heavy just the basics. Thanks to God for what I would come to understand as his protection and provision.
When I was older and had inherited some independence I didn’t pray as much. With time in inept lostness, I didn’t pray at all. I was pretty sure right about then that it was my world. In fact, I considered the world my baby and I was takin’ the candy.
When a person is that far from the reality of God’s world, especially already having been chosen and shown grace and mercy, a wake-up call is on the way.
Tough times certainly have their purpose. To my point, most everyone probably has heard the saying, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” In other words, almost everyone facing potential immediate death send up a Hail Mary prayer to God.
I wonder what our Creator who controls all things feels like at that moment?
I must have been around four or five years old when a rare visit to the lake, paired up with some good old fashioned disobedience to my mom, taught me a lesson that I’ve been relearning my whole life.
I had waded out into the water about waist deep. My mom warned, “Don’t go any deeper”! Knowing she wasn’t much of a swimmer herself. I had swimming trunks on, but she was full dressed. I thought to myself, “What’s she gonna do come in after me”? “Uh, I don’t think so”!
I was in complete control, so I kept creeping a little further out. My mom patiently calling, “Don’t go any deeper.”
For those of you familiar with lakes know about “shelves” or “drop-offs.” They sneak up on you. The soft sand gives way pretty easy. I remember watching my mom from just under the water with my tippy-toes keeping me about six inches under. Thinking “A little help here!”
I was flailing my arms like a drowning person does. I watched as she set her purse down, took her shoes off, readying herself to wade into the water she tried always to avoid.
I was trying to run up the sluffing shelf. My legs were moving at light speed, at least it felt like it. It was like in the old cartoons when the character is starting to run. Their legs are moving, but there not going anywhere. Then comes the sound of bongo drums to represent their furious first strides.
This was no cartoon, but I started to get traction just like one of my favorite cartoons characters as my mom finally reached me.
She should have yelled at me or something, but she didn’t. Instead after recovering I didn’t say “Thanks” or “I”m sorry.” I said, “If you knew I was drowning how come you had to take off your shoes and purse”? I continued, “You should have come and got me as soon as you saw me drowning”! She calmly replied, “I knew you weren’t going to drown.”
It seems we as humans treat God the same way. We willfully disobey, go our own way knowing He’s warned us not to go that way. When we get into trouble we send up the “Hail Mary” and expect Him to come running.
Worse yet we question why He would allow us to suffer, never stopping to consider the consequences of our disobedience. Yet like the ultimate parent He’s always there, ready to pull us out of our deserved fate.
No one has to make me pray anymore. Through good days or bad it is my gift from God to talk with him. Every morning I thank Him for his mercies that begin new each day. Every night before sleep, I thank Him for His protection and provision. His mercy and grace. I ask for guidance and strength.
I pray for my family, friends and ask Him to make mine and our paths straight and level before us. Even now, I still tend to go my own way.
When He pulls me up from my folly, I now say, “Thank you Father”…”Please forgive me.”
This post was published the first time November 9, 2010.
We just got home from a quick weekend trip. We managed our way around a canceled flight, a rental car that sounded like it wasn’t going to get us back to the airport, and another delayed flight.
We also had to endure the grouchy people who make up 80% of all people in airports to get back to the place we sleep most often, our home.
Often the old timers would find out where a person lived by asking the question, “Where do you call home”? I believe that home is where the heart is. Knowing the answer to that question had a deeper meaning than the currently asked, “Where do you live”?
I love to visit California, what’s not to love? The weather is as close as you can get to perfect, but as much as we love the weather my wife and I both agree we wouldn’t want to call it our home.
Homes are so important in our society because what it represents. The most pitied people in our society we call “homeless.” The home represents security, safety, stability, and most importantly, family.
You’d have to be asleep to not have heard the about the current housing crisis. People are losing their homes at a rate not seen since The Great Depression.
What’s in a home?
I’m amazed how a piece of dirt can be transformed into a place that houses more than bodies, the home houses our hearts.
Have you ever noticed whether you rent or own when you physically pass through a door into a house how your senses perceive a difference? Even when a door is left open to the same atmosphere, it feels like a different one.
God and His word acknowledge the significance of homes. The Death Angel “passed over” the houses marked with sacrificial blood above the support of the front doors of the Israelites temporary homes in Egypt, right before Pharaoh released them into their journey toward the Promise Land.
From a Biblical perspective, the word “home” usually doesn’t refer to a dwelling place. It refers to family.
I’ve lived in a lot of different houses in my life, some of them had wheels. It didn’t mean much to me the few times I slept outside while working out of town calling that my temporary home.
As an adult, it wasn’t until God blessed me with my wife and family that I had what I would consider a bonafide home. We’ve moved many times as a family and along the way I’ve learned that my home, as the Bible indicates is where my family is. The size or shape of a house has nothing to do with measuring the hearts that dwell within.
There was a year or two we spent in a rental home. The kids grew and the big girls learned how to dispose of dead animals left by our one-eyed cat named Wink. (named by the animal shelter by the way) The little one took her first steps in that rental house we called home.
One of my favorite pictures of the girls is all three of them in the driver seat of my old 64′ Vette while we called that house our home. My wife loves to recount the Fathers Day I stayed at home from church to catch up on paperwork. The baby was napping in her crib. By the time I heard her awake and went in to check on her, she had managed to remove her diaper that was well past needing changed.
The mess was everywhere. So much for getting extra work done. I was cleaning a baby, clothes, bedding, walls, and crib spindles. My wife laughingly says, “That’s what you get for working on a Sunday. Especially one that also happened to be on Fathers Day”!
I hate it when she’s right… All the memories made in that house that wasn’t really even ours and the house didn’t matter. It was the home that meant everything.
Our ultimate home is with our heavenly Father. He provides temporary shelter here in houses we call homes. Since we know our home is where our heart is, we can look forward to our real home with Him in eternity, along with our loved ones we share our hearts with.
We’ve lived in a lot of houses, but “There’s No Place Like Home.”
This post has been reposted at http://peterpollock.com/blog/