It seems a popular thing to say around this time of year. The idea is reinforced everywhere. If you watch the Hallmark channel it is the topic of every one of their movies. They are inspired stories of relationships, love and a magical time of year. They talk of Christmas as a special day they creates good feelings and joy for all. There are parties, events and songs. They do a great job of creating a jubilant holiday. The moral of all the stories it seems are people fall in love and Christmas is special and requires some belief in its magical powers.
Lent is a 40 day period of reflection and preparation prior to Easter Sunday. The intent is for Christians to replicate Jesus Christ's sacrifice and withdraw into the desert for 40 days in preparation for his historic 3 years of ministry. Many people “give something up” during Lent as a sacrifice, or testing of their self-discipline.
I am sure you have heard of the show Survivor. It has been extremely popular over the years. The premise is basic. People get voted off the island until there is only one left. I must confess I am probably one of the few people that have never seen an episode. I understand the appeal of the show. You watch people form partnerships, strategic alliances to advance their agenda which is, “to win the show”. I get it, the drama, the heartache, the treachery it is what passes for entertainment in today’s culture. But what if you could just apply, be accepted and never get voted off?
Around this time of year, people are writing down things they would like to do in the new year. They want to change their old ways and improve themselves and their lives. Perhaps even have a more fulfilling life. I thought I would share some thoughts that you might want to adopt as your New Year's resolutions
Karate Kid, the original movie, was a favorite movie of many. It is not so much a movie about karate. It is more about relationships. The young teenage boy in the movie was being picked on, bullied and beaten. This teenager was befriended by an older Japanese man, the hero in the story. He promises to teach the teen karate to defend himself. This hero is broken by the events of his life and lives alone. But he feels compelled to help the teenager and they begin their unseemly relationship.
I was talking with my daughter the other day. She is struggling with some issues at work. We have all experienced some level of discomfort in the workplace. She has been seeking the advice of loved ones. As we spoke she explain one of those people was her husband. As she pondered his advice a song came into her head. You know one of the earworm songs you just can’t get out of your head and no idea why it is there. She told me she realized that the “Man upstairs” may be trying to tell her something. This comment caused me to wonder just how many people hear God trying to talk to them but they never acknowledge it.
Puzzle rooms have become pretty popular. Have you ever been to one? The idea is you enter the room and then are locked into it. Now you need to figure your way out and escape through a series of clues. One clue will lead to another and so on until the final clue unlocks the door and you win or your time runs out and you lose.
I have never been in one, yet but maybe in the future. I did see an example of one on a TV show called The Big Bang Show. You may know of it. It has been pretty popular over the last decade. The geniuses on the show figured it all out in about 2 minutes. They also claimed it was the most fun they ever had. I suspect it might take me a bit longer than that and frustrate me a bit.
Is life just one big puzzle room for us to figure out?
My most recent blog and a recent interview that asked me if I have forgiven the terrorists that attacked the World Trade Center has given me much to think about. As someone who was in Tower 1 when the plane struck the building, I could have been easily counted among the casualties. It is extremely hard to express all the emotions and impact. You have immense feelings of survivor’s guilt. The aftermath and picking up the pieces of yourself. The impact it has on loved ones and how you can’t spare them any pain because you hurt so bad you are afraid to express it.
One of the positive things that came out of that blog was a text from my daughter. If you are struggling with forgiveness her words may just inspire you. Here it is unedited.
I did an interview for a podcast for Foundational Missions. This interview was going as most conversations around my 9-11 experience until the interviewer asked me a question that no one has put in front of me yet. The question was simply “have you forgiven them?” meaning the terrorists. It caught me completely off guard and could not give a proper answer. In fact, I am not sure I have decided yet. What does forgiveness look like? How do you forgive someone that could be that evil?
As the summer draws to a close I always get in a melancholy mood. I did not get done as much as I planned around the farm. I did not do as many fun trips as I wanted. Just disappointed that September is here. Maybe it is conditioning from my days as a child and the whole back to school thing. Back then summer lasted much longer. Maybe you can relate.
Author - Guy Yasika
Looking to profess my faith to anyone that will listen.