Monday, 26 November 2012

Christmas giving: what's it going to take?

To all of my readers (cuz I know there is actually a plethora of you out there, just for some reason you're not showing up in my view count thing...) Ahem To all of my readers, if you don't believe in God, I hope you will still read my blog, and learn about why I believe in God, and why I live the way I do. If you don't believe in God and it really irritates you to read blogs which refer to him... I still hope you will read my blog.

So, the other day I was in Sobeys grocery shopping, and when I left I walked past one of the Salvation Army Christmas Kettles. After I walked past it I asked myself, why do I always walk past these things? I discovered that, oddly enough, my main reason for walking by is embarrassment. Why the heck would I embarrassed to give to charity? For some reason the thought of stopping in the middle of a doorway, having to dig through my purse for my wallet, and then through my wallet for change, and then try and get it into the little slot (slots are such a challenge for me!) makes me break out into a cold sweat. So really, is that a good reason not to give to charity? I don't think so. I think about all the sad news announcements about charities not reaching their donation goals and feel very guilty. So I says to myself I says "Kaitlyn, there will be other kettles. The next time you come across one you will put money in."

About half an hour later I was leaving Canadian Tire and, what do you know? Another kettle. Now's my chance! I'm walking closer, closer, closer, and... I pass by. I hear the pathetic "jingle jingle" as the door shuts behind me, and I've missed my chance again. Even the immense pain in my conscience is not enough to get me to turn around. "There will be others," I tell myself. "You will have another chance!"

About half an hour later I am at the cash register at Independent. I have just paid for my order when the cashier from the next till says to me "Did you get that goat cheese, dear?" Lo and behold, I had goat cheese in my cart, hidden under my purse, and I had been about to leave with it! Embarassed, I paid for the goat cheese. As I'm headed out the door, guess what I see? Another kettle. Already flustered by the goat cheese situation, I am clearly incapable of stopping, opening my wallet, searching for change, and getting it in the slot.
As I walk through the automatic doors I nearly barf all over the linoleum floors. I make myself sick. I am a despicable human being. Ever heard of someone being a Judas? Well I'm a Peter. Three times... cockadoodledoo!!!

 I get to my car and am searching in my purse for my phone when I feel a mysterious object in my purse. I pull it out, and, horror of horrors, I discover that I HAVE STOLEN something! A stick of organic, paraben free deodorant, no less. Apparently, I had put it in my purse after checking to make sure it smelled good (it does, by the way). It takes me about 2 seconds to realize I am going back in to pay for my deodorant. I march myself into the Independent and announce: "I stole this, and now I would like to pay for it."

You better believe that after all that I PUT MONEY IN THE STUPID KETTLE!

Just another little story about why I believe in God. He knows us, He knows our hearts, and He knows what it will take to get us to act. I need to be a more giving person. Clearly.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Hebrews 4

Over the past week or so I felt just awful. I knew I should snap myself out of it, but I didn't care enough to. This is what I wrote...

I feel frustrated, lost, overwhelmed, and angry. I feel like I have given up so much, and for what? If God told me tomorrow to hop on a plane headed for Africa, I think I'd do it. This sitting around and waiting is the worst. It's not even nice waiting, like anticipation, because I have no idea what's coming or when or if it's going to be any fun when it gets here. I'm worried I'm going to be stuck here, in this place emotionally, physically, and spiritually, forever.
I'm uncertain about what to do with my time. There are so many things I could be doing but I don't know what I should be doing.
I feel so far from God, and so tired. I need to be peaceful and rest in Him, but I also need to "not grow weary in well doing." 
I'm sinking into the green, filthy murk of my own pride.

Hebrews 4:18 "For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted."

Jesus must have been tempted to sink into melancholy. The Holiest of Holies, dwelling with our filth. He knew the eternal destiny of every soldier marching past, ever merchant selling their wares, every beggar, every Pharisee, ever child. He knew his own fate, to suffer on the cross, to be separated from God for a time. How tempting it must have been to just stay in bed, go back to sleep, stay in the garden alone and weep.
He must really get it when people can't seem to stop being sad, when they are feeling overwhelmed, tired, weak.  "He... being tempted... is able to aid those who are tempted."

Hebrews 4: 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[f] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

It is a humbling experience to ask for help, whether it is from a friend, a mentor, or God Himself. He longs to equip us with what we need to meet our day, our responsibilities, our trials. To greet whatever comes with a peaceful, confident attitude. Whatever comes.
Whatever comes. 

Thursday, 8 November 2012

driving in cars with grandmas

Sitting in the passenger's seat while my 82 year old grandmother drives puts a whole new meaning to the words "awe" and "fear". If you were in the queue of cars behind us, I apologize.
"Nana, just so you know the speed limit is 80 on this road," I say sweetly.
"Oh, ok."
Continues to drive 65. A couple of times I feel the car speed up and glance hopefully at the speedometer, only to feel that horrible lurching feeling of the brakes being applied. Have I mentioned I'm sorry if you were behind us?
Next we get to the highway. It's a 4 lane, highway, not big, but clearly a highway.
"Is it 80 on this road?"
"No, it is 100."
"Oh. That's why all the cars are passing me."
Yes, that would be why.
When we get into town, we approach a round-about at a fairly steady clip, getting closer and closer to the black truck ahead, whose brake lights glow a foreboding red. Closer, closer, closer, my life flashes before my eyes and I think to myself "Well, there are worse ways to die", when she finally applies those wonderful brakes.
Next we approach a stoplight. We will be turning left, but the light is red.
"Where am I going?"
Proceeds into intersection.
"Not on a red!" I can't help myself, but the light turns green and we continue driving.
"What was that, dear?"
I laugh nervously, "Oh nothing, I was just like, 'no, not..." The brakes make a comeback and we lurch to a stop. This exchange has taken only a matter of seconds, and we are smack in the middle of the intersection.
"No? Not left?" she questions in a panic.
"No! I mean, yes, left! GO!!"

We park and I go into a store while Nana waits in the car. When I come out and get in the car I tell her.
"Ok, Nana, you're going to go straight now and then turn right at the light."
"Oh, ok." She responds, and we pull on to the street.
"Ok, so see that light? You're going to turn right at that light." I say.
We pull up to the light.
"Ok, so where am I going?"

I won't even try to explain what happened when we got to the roundabout again and had to turn right twice within a matter of seconds. It was almost beyond us. We managed, however.

Later we get to the parking lot at Wal-Mart.

"I'm going to try to get nice and close," she says as we cut across parking spaces willy-nilly.
"Ok," I reply. I am not even bothering to watch for other cars at this point, I figure if I'm going to die, I don't want to see it coming.
"How about right here?" She asks. I open my eyes and find we are between two enormous trucks, a mile away from the entrance and with the nose of our car jutting out about 3 feet past the others.
"This is fine, Nana, but I think you need to back up just a smidge," I say when I have unlocked my jaw.

The ride home is much faster, though as I watch that scary white line on the side of the road get closer and closer to our tires, I'm wondering if we were better off communing with the snails.

We made it home. Safe and sound. I hope that when I'm 82 I can still drive a car, and will be willing to move to a new town "up north" after living in the same home for 30 years, to live with my son and his wife and their crazy radical daughter who has no job, isn't in school, and almost all her friends have moved away and left her.

Yes, I think my Nana's pretty cool, and I'm going to keep letting her drive. Life's short and I want to live it, and I want her to live it too.