Archives For thankfulness

Time Travel

March 9, 2013 — Leave a comment

time tunnel

Ever since I was a little kid, watching Star Trek, I’ve wondered about time travel. I would lie out in the grass and look up at the sky and just think about how awesome it would be if the Starship Enterprise would come back in time and take me away to some future place, full of phasers, transporters, space ships and adventure. Not your typical small town country boy dreams.

As I grew older, the only class I tended to pay attention to in school was science. I asked my poor teachers the weirdest questions – how to build a laser, how fast rocket ships can travel, how fast light travels. I know now they were generalists and really didn’t know much outside of the actual coursework. Also, now I know I should have focused more on math.

Well, tonight I get my wish – I get to travel forward in time! One whole hour – Daylight Saving Time. Woohoo.

Every year around this time, and when time changes back to standard, there are 1000s of articles and blog posts written about the pros and cons. For instance, my wife hates it, I love it. For her, it’s harder to get the kids to bed because the sun sets later, and harder to get them up because it’s darker in the morning. For me it means I can be out in the yard pulling weeds later in the day.

Most people just hate the change, or any change, for that matter. They get used to the routine and anything that shakes that up a little tends to be disconcerting. And that’s ok. When I hear someone complaining about the time change, I usually end up saying something like, “Yeah, I wish they would change it 30 minutes one way or the other and just leave it.” Even thought I really don’t care one way or another.

One blogger has wondered what happens to all those TV shows that come on between 2 and 3 am – do they just disappear into some kind of vortex? How is that fair to those who stay up late for infomercials? I wonder how much people pay for advertising during a vanishing timeslot?

Also – what happens in those areas that do not participate in DST? Is there a vague sensation of something lost or gained? Do those people feel anything at all? Or do they just sleep the deep, satisfied sleep of those who are unaware of the mystical changes going on all around them?

Now, to be able to actually travel through time, there needs to be some kind of violation of physics. Physics as we know them anyway. There’s a universal speed limit, and to go beyond it might cause issues. Or it might not. We can talk about it all day but since it’s not (currently) possible, nobody really knows what would happen. It might blow up the universe or make us wealthy – like if we pull a Biff Tannen and use info from the future to affect our present. Not that I would do that. Ok. Yes. I would totally do that.

So – yes, It’s coming – there’s nothing we can do about it. Time will change. You’ll lose an hour. You’ll be sleepy and maybe grouchy. You’ll put up that picture of the 6 fingered man from Princess Bride saying, “I’ve just taken one hour of your life, tell me how do you feel” on Facebook.

My advise – take a long Sunday afternoon nap. Splash some cold water on your face. Get up and move! Embrace the change! Make the most of your shorter day by serving someone in need, by giving some love. Just enjoy life – look up and dream!

Roach Motel

October 20, 2012 — Leave a comment

roach motel

I used to live here. This is a google street view screen shot of where I used to live. It was a long time ago. The place doesn’t look any better than it did back then.

No heat, no AC, about 100 square feet of living space. I had a sleeper sofa and a 13″ tv, a little bitty fridge was built in and it had a small sink and a single burner on top. The person who lived there before me must have had a dog because of the smell and the fleas.

There were asbestos ceiling tiles, dark fake wood paneling, and a single, bare light bulb hanging down from the middle of the ceiling, which was plugged into the only outlet in the room. Basically it was an extension cord with a light spliced on at one end, and it was stapled to the wall and across the ceiling. And yes, it had a pull-chain on it.

The bathroom was 5×5 and had a 5 gallon water heater. I would fill the tub up with hot water only, wait 30 minutes and fill it again for a lukewarm bath. The door would not lock or stay shut. It had a padlock on the outside, and I put a box in front of the door at night.

I lived here for a year. The rent was $100 a month, plus utilities and cable tv. When I moved in I was making $0. I didn’t know where I would end up or how long I would be allowed to stay.

None of this was the worst part. Not even close. The worst part was the roaches. Now, in a regular home, if you get up at night and turn a light on, there might be a roach, but it’ll disappear pretty quickly – under the sofa, behind the fridge. This is when you know it’s time to get an exterminator out.

The roaches in my little slice of heaven had no shame at all. They didn’t bother hiding because this was their domain. I was the interloper. They would sit and stare at me, waiting for me to go to sleep so they could try to eat my face off.

I tried to get rid of them. I complained to the landlord and she gave me a can of spray. Which they laughed at. I tried glue traps next. I was going through about 12 a week and didn’t put a dent in them. I didn’t know what to do next.

Now, at that time I was working at a local Ace Hardware. I had a lot of roach related items to choose from. Bombs, glue traps, sprays, powders. The only thing I never tried was a roach motel – I figured, I’m already living in one, why buy another. So as a last resort, I got a pack of 4 bug bombs.

I knew I was going to be gone for a weekend, so I set off all 4 of them on a Friday night, and went on my way. I came back on Sunday around 5. When I opened the door, this nasty, greasy mist came out and hit me in the face. It was covering everything. I turned on the light, expecting to see a bunch of dead bugs. Out of the literally hundreds of roaches, maybe only 5 had been killed, and I’m pretty sure they died of old age, or maybe a laughter induced aneurysm.

So I did the only thing I could do. I gave the owner two weeks notice and found a better place. A way better place. A nice little place.

When I did that, a lot of things changed. I got promoted at work, I met Cheryl, I got a new to me car that actually ran, and I started getting heathy. It’s a wonder how healthy a person can be who doesn’t have bugs crawling all over them at night.

None of this is a metaphor. It’s all true. But on the other hand it is a metaphor because I was in a very dark place – physically yes, I lived in Satan’s armpit, but it was really bad mentally and spiritually as well. I was depressed and felt abandoned – by friends, by family and by God. All my dreams were crushed, my spirit was crushed. I felt like I deserved to be where I was because I was a terrible person, and terrible people suffered like I was suffering.

Did I ever mention my neighbor? A very old man. VERY very old. He coughed all night and during the day he watched soaps. One day I was working on my car, trying to get it running, and he came out with some iced tea for me. He asked me if I went to church anywhere, and I said no, I had been a pastor, but now I’m working at Ace.

He invited me to come to his church, and I did. Just a sweet little church out in the middle of nowhere. After a time, I became their youth pastor. I was so messed up when I went there, but they were patient with me, very gracious, very loving. I didn’t do much more than play games with the kids on Wednesday nights and lead singing on Sundays. But they loved me and after a time, I began to feel better about everything. And then I met Cheryl somewhere along the way and we moved to Texas and got married.

Listen – it was no accident – not any of it. The roach motel, the old man, the church, meeting my wife. God led me through all of that. He was with me at rock bottom when I had roaches biting at my fingers, and he is with me where I am today.

The situation is, I still need a little rescuing. Who doesn’t, right? We all go through times where we forget that God is there, that he’s real, that he is in control. But he is. Things are so great right now! Family is good, cars are running, we have a nice house and great kids. Any or all of that might change tomorrow. But today I will praise God for what he has given me, and when tomorrow comes, I will continue to praise even if its all torn away.

My lesson from the pit was to learn to be thankful – and I am so thankful!

Where are you right now? Mentally, physically, spiritually? Thank God for it even if you can’t see anything to be thankful for. He will hear you, and things will improve. I didn’t just get lucky, I was blessed, and the same God that pulled me out of the roach motel wants to bless you too! Learn to give thanks in everything, and everything will change in your life!