Sunday, January 4, 2015

...who enjoys fortune cookies?

We were treated to a special dinner with friends and family Saturday evening. I was humbled and honored to have been invited by the sweet and generous couple who hosted the event. They have been so kind to our family this past couple of years. The dinner was at a local Chinese buffet and the food was absolutely delicious! I even tried a couple of new things!

But the traditional fortune cookies prompted some interesting I thought I'd divert a little from my usual posting style and share these thoughts with you.

I like this little saying. I'm not sure I understand all its implications yet, but I'm beginning to. I think it's saying something like this: Feelings run deep...and often they are inseparable from others that run just as deeply.   And if you stop and think for a moment, isn't each feeling based on some idea we have about our surroundings? It may be our physical surroundings, relationship surroundings, emotional surroundings, or virtual surroundings, and sometimes it involves more than one of these areas simultaneously.  And these ideas don't remain objective because we begin to feel something soon after the idea occurs to us.

But what happens if we get the wrong idea - maybe through a misunderstanding or misinterpretation? What then? Doesn't it follow that our feelings may be wrong as well?  So often, I've seen evidence in my newsfeed on Facebook that someone is facing the fallout of a wrong idea which has led to difficult emotions. Why do we do this to ourselves? I have seen such behavior cause relationships to be severely damaged. I have seen churches put through agonizing splits. I have seen organizations slandered and reputations smirched. I have seen bitterness toward all things holiness or all things God.

What is left if hope in God has been stripped away through misunderstandings? What a horrible way that would be to live!

So what is the solution? Search for the TRUTH in all situations. Most importantly, search for God's truth. When that becomes our focus, we can cut through all the junk that gets thrown at us in life and we can get to the point where no matter what any one person says, we rest solidly on the truth - the knowledge that humans ARE imperfect, we will ALL make mistakes, we are ALL loved insanely by our amazing Heavenly Father, and since He offers US so much grace we owe that same grace to everyone we meet.

What do YOU think?

I like this one...only I will have to admit, I rarely pick up the phone and call anyone else unless it's business related. It must be a personality bug with which I was created because I've never been one to call people very often with the exception of my husband. I love to GET phone calls from people who feel prompted to call and say hello - because I know I'm talking to them when it's a good time for them...and I know they WANT to talk to me. And just as this fortune states, a call from a good friend often eases my mind and lifts my spirits. There's something about connecting with someone who truly cares that seeps deeply into the soul and helps with the healing process. I consider these moments God hugs...because God created us as social beings, even us introverts!  We, too, need real, solid, and true friendships in order to survive all this old world throws at us. 

Would you agree?

 Along a similar line as the last fortune, this one also refers to kindness from a friend. Have you ever experienced one of those moments where someone you highly respect takes a moment to say a kind word to you? Isn't it true that you can emotionally just feast on that for a good long while?  On the flip side of this, harsh and cutting words also affect us deeply and sometimes for a much longer period of time. So maybe this fortune can serve as a reminder - or a thumb in our backs - to take time to share that kind thought you had about someone...they aren't mind readers, after all! We have to actually share in order for them to know how we feel!  This reminds me of a discussion Michael and I had often. We both felt strongly that our children need to hear from us how valuable they are to God and to us. They need to know we love them and treasure them beyond explanation. We also need to go beyond our own families and share with our co-workers, extended family, church members, and friends that they, too, make a positive difference in our lives! Someone has called this "giving roses before they are gone." We agreed that this practice was part of what God intended the church to be! We are commanded to build each other up. How often do we do so?

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing."
1 Thessalonians 5:11
I can remember distinctly just how blessed we were when so many took time to write notes, stop by, or call Michael during that last month of his life. Most, if not all, stepped out of their comfort zones enough to actually tell Michael how much he meant to them. What a blessing it was for him, but also our children and for me...I got to see anew how loved and valued he was and what a difference he had made in the lives of others! Thank you to all who gave those "roses" to my sweet husband....

Any thoughts?

There is much truth in this little saying. What would we learn if never faced with difficulty? How much would we depend on God? How would our character develop? Why would we ever need each other? God may not send trouble our way, but in His great and perfect wisdom He does allow it in order to bring us closer to His original design for us...Christ-likeness. So does this cause me to be thankful for my trials? Well, it's a bit tough to say I'm thankful FOR my husband's death...I'm not there quite yet. But I CAN say I'm thankful for what God is doing IN my difficulty. I've learned much about seeing His hand at work, about listening closely to His voice, about leaning on His everlasting arms, about trusting in the dark...and I am at the point where I can say I treasure these lessons. And I don't want to go back to the pettiness I see in my former the immaturity I often the extremely unskilled "sailor" I was. I know I'm far, far away from having learned it all, but I can testify to having made great strides in positive directions over the last four years. And I believe my closest of friends would agree...

What about you? Can you see changes you've made as a result of choppy seas in your life?

Aaaaaand this one just struck us funny!!!  Isn't this statement a generality in itself? But oh, how true it is!!! We often make sweeping, all-inclusive statements - "blanket" statements, if you will - that cannot be proven true across the board. Again, I've witnessed damage being done in this manner - the most terrifying being strong and harsh statements against all of God's ministers of the Gospel because of one particular situation. Yet all get painted and thus tainted with the same broad brush. So maybe this little fortune can serve as a somewhat humorous reminder to take care with our words and endeavor to always be truthfully specific in our daily conversations. After all, our children are watching...and listening...VERY closely.

Wouldn't you agree?

One last picture for this post....the flowers on Michael's grave after last night's snow....

...Because I'm doing a lot of remembering...

Grateful for all of you who take time to read my random ramblings,

1 comment:

  1. Such great thoughts on all the "fortunes," Shawna! I'm with you on the phone call thing - I have always hated making calls, but I'm great with receiving them! The grave flowers are so pretty. I love driving by our cemetery at night, in the snow - so peaceful and beautiful. Keep writing!