Sunday, September 19, 2004

Socks, Rocks, Headbutts, & Clocks II

I'm probably one of, if not the most, cynical person I's not something I'm proud of...part of it is a mental defense mechanism I adopted long ago, part of it comes with years of being exposed to politicians and promises, part of it is simply my nature I fear. Despite that, I try very hard to keep from being cynical about my spirituality...and - although I fail all too often - about other folk's spirituality.

There are however many things which I simply find mystifying.

This is one of them.

This is the billboard for a large and thriving church around the corner from my house. I saw it as I drove from the home of some friends this afternoon.

Purely from a marketing point of view...casting religion aside...I wonder what the thinking was behind this approach.

Not only the slogan, "When Religion Fails", but also the photo of the Pastor pointing his finger to resemble a little gun.

Does anyone else look at that and flashback to someone in the 1980's wearing a leisure suit who winked at you while simultaneously making a little handgun gesture as a little clicking sound emanated from the back their throat?

I have to work on that cynicism thing some more I suppose.
I butted heads a bit this afternoon over something completely unrelated. The verbal head banging was with a woman in my church whom I dearly love. The issue was a pseudo-minor thing, the chastity of our church email list. I felt some of the things being sent out on the list could easily be misinterpreted by people who were new to the church, by people who didn't know the senders well, and suggested perhaps we should be more cautious about the use of sarcasm in that little coveted corner of cyberspace.

I want so badly to guard our purity and innocence. I feel so inadequate at times to the task.

The conversation became all too heated all too quickly and I was the only one on my side. I kept looking down wondering how I ended up defending this turf - thinking surely there were better qualified folks to make this case. It was like I was drifting into this semi-surreal place where I was arguing in favor of gentleness, acceptance, and understanding with a woman who I know is a deep and devout Christian, and who is perhaps the most liberal and accepting person I know in the church.

I finally shut my mouth and remembered that when I get so caught up in trying to prove a point, the conversation invariably becomes pointless.

However, there is an upside to blogging, that conversation at least gave me a lead in to a portion of my original intended topic... socks, rocks and headbutts.

Our special needs dog, Winston, has always had an odd affinity for socks. Particularly, but not exclusive to, my sweaty socks, the ones I cast off after getting back from exercising. Any time Winston is coming into the house or is on his way outside, he pokes his head around the corner toward our bedroom to see if the door might be open. If it is, he dashes inside and goes into a manic frenzy looking for dirty socks. This is not a difficult task - which is good because Winston is not up to difficult tasks. I'm usually sweating and exhausted when I finish my daily walk and I cast my socks aside without thought as I head to the shower. It's like finding gold to Winston. He grabs socks, as many as he can fit in his mouth and runs. He runs for the door (I've found socks outside on many occasions); he dashes into other rooms (I've found socks buried like treasure in couch cushions); he runs around the living room like a looter on COPS proudly displaying his stolen wares daring us to catch him.

I've gotten used to this...what is new is that now Winston has learned that our bedroom door doesn't close all that well. If he rams his head into will pop open. This is a wondrous discovery to a dog whose brain size is subject to great debate.

Almost every day now when I let the dogs in and I hear "THUNK!" followed by the gleeful panting of a dog dashing about madly with a dirty sock in his mouth.

Our dog who hasn't learned to sit in 5 years, has taught himself how to head butt open our bedroom he can fill his mouth with dirty socks.

Perhaps I should be proud...he's at least learned something.

I learned something today as well...actually I remembered something I already knew. Life has been tough for us in recent months. There are tougher days still ahead I suspect. At church this morning, I made my usual prayer requests, one of which was for Amy's health. Then I closed my eyes and listened to the requests of others. I heard prayers for friends who had inoperable brain cancer, for people whose children had died, for others whose financial struggles were jeopardizing their marriages and prayers for couples fighting with technology to become pregnant only to be met by inexplicable heartbreak.

And I thought of rocks.

Sacks of rocks.

Amy and I carry a sack of rocks. It is heavy...

If however I take my eyes off our sack for only an instant, and focus my attention outside of us in virtually any other direction, I will see someone else...with their own sack of rocks. I remembered today that many of those sacks are far heavier than the one we plead with God to help us bear.

I didn't stop praying for God's help. I did reword my prayer to praise God for the grace, guidance and strength with which He has already gifted us, and others.

I also thanked Him for the reminder that no burden is too heavy as long as we place it upon the proper shoulders.


Yes, clocks are on my mind today too.

Amy's flight arrives in about 2 hours. This is the longest period of time we have been apart in more than 10 years.

Every time I look at the clock I am reminded - I am incomplete.

Until 10:49 p.m.