Monthly Archives: February 2012

Valentines Supper

First off, let me say that I believe the key to understanding the last post lies in the first line. Given those parameters, maybe the venting seems more…I dunno, understandable? But that is now the past. I don’t regret writing it. It’s a reality for others as well. I happened to catch a glimpse of it. And looking back at that moment in time, it seems to be a distant black memory. O, some of the stuff is still there. But in the glorious sunlight of fellowship with the Son, the darkness fades. The future comes quickly and right now, we have the present. So for a slightly more gentle rant, I’d like to talk about Valentines, namely the “need” for a group of single youth to have them.

This need is apparent to all youth group counselors/supervisors/sponsors or whatever name you give them. This is inherently traceable to the fact that the majority, indeed if not all of them, are married. Having been through the cycle of feelings and the accompanying butterflies that come from pleasing and being pleasant to another person (not having experienced this, I’ve heard this secondhand and am repeating it hear; this is open for correction), namely someone who enchants you, these dear people try to “help”, “guide”, “direct”, “lead”, “show” (actually, we maybe can do w/o the last one) young people how to do just that. And in their efforts, almost as much harm can be done as good.

Some take it far out. The youth guys ask the girl they want to sup with that night, akin to a date (are you seeing a correlation here?), and then they are with that person/partner for the evening. Really now, if sponsors, which is what they are in this case, are trying to get feelings involved, what about those that feel left out, last choices, etc.? Shouldn’t they consider “that” aspect? Then they try to get formal. Listen, there is nothing that kills a good evening then people dressed up and trying to eat salad that is cut too big to be eating polite, not withstanding the visual entertainment that comes from such a dish and those attempting mastery over it in a “polite” manner.

Others take a more blasé approach to it. You come, draw a number, and find your seat. That’s more comfortable. It’s less real, granted. I won’t be pulling names out of a hat to see whom I should ask out (on 2nd thought, that idea may hold merit). But there’s less tension involved. Unless your number gets messed up and you find yourself beside people you really want to sit beside or those you don’t. In the former case, you don’t want to mess up and dump mashed potatoes on your lap (really, mashed potatoes for a Valentines Supper? People don’t go out to eat mashed potatoes in celebration of that day; they eat lobster, steak, shrimp or at Olive Gardens.). And in the latter, you’re tempted to look around and wish that you were in another seating section where the party seems to be. Either way, do ya win?

 

And now, a shout out to my youth group. I like and am a fan of how our youth group has done it in the past and how it’s been done, yet again, this year. That is…baby sitting. Ironic, no, for a single male of 23 to say that this is his preferred way of “holily” taking advantage of this holiday? But it’s reasonable. Lemme try to explain.

First: Let’s face it. This day is for those in love. If you are single and in a relationship, chances are you won’t be hanging out with anyone but him/her on this day, this 14th of February. If you are the odd one who does this, people will question, #1 you as a person and your sense of social awareness and #2 the level of your committedness to the relationship that you are in. And for those of you who aren’t in love and want to be, there’s always eHarmony. With enough patience though, some Mennonite computer geek will someday come up with a holier version of that matchmaking site.

Second: Just given their marital status, married people have been in love and we hope that they currently are so. Therefore I ask, should this not be a day off, or night for that matter, from parenting and the responsibilities of family and a time to enjoy the presence of the other? please bear with me, these things are mere theories in my mind, wisdom gleaned from around. And doesn’t it give greater peace of mind to the parents to know that the “baby/child sitters” are those from the local church’s youth group? Maybe I’m mistake here. I’ve never been a parent. Maybe this is cause for a even greater concern, for…,

Third:…some might see this as a great way to put in a extra youth activity, to make a party out of it. You know, let the girls take care of the children while the guys hold belching contests with the leftover Coke and play Rook. (not that that ever happens……just saying it might). This could be a possible danger but I haven’t known this to be a problem.

So there, have I convinced you of the superior way for Godly, single young people to celebrate Valentines Day? Maybe this will give courage to a young seeking soul looking to break away from the pressures associated with the dreaded Valentines suppers. Rise up, seize the day, celebrate it with a little more freedom and baby sit that child!!

 

Written with generous doses of sarcasm,

EJ

Categories: Praise, Quotes, Rants and Randomness | 1 Comment

It’s All Right…… (yeah right)

(warning this is a venting post, so bear with it. it’s one o’clock in the morning, I’m fighting insomnia and allergies and here’s to some frustration)

Some songs stick in your head. Songs that describe where you are at in life tend to stick even longer. Skupina Fragile, a Slovak a cappella group sings a song titled “Time Bomb”. Yeah, the title implies nothing Christian. And unfortunately the soloist sort mumbles his way through the verses. But the chorus is the part that plays over and over in my head.

it’s all right, nothin’s wrong, everything’s fine……

It’s all right…yeah right. I’ll tell you that but deep down in I need someone to talk to. Someone whose confidence I have, disregarding the fact that I haven’t kept some confidences in the past. There’s a hole in my heart where I cram frustrations and heartaches but you don’t need to know about that. A place that I won’t show you. ‘Cuz on the surface, it’s all right.

Nothin’s wrong…I would differ but who would take me seriously? Seemingly, I can’t escape. I want to get to a place where there is no responsibility. A place where it’s just me…and God. A place where no sense of duty would allow me to correct a chronic sleep deficit. A place where I can hear myself think instead of listening to the questions inside my head. Nothin’s wrong, I’m just waiting on answers that seemingly aren’t coming. 

Everything’s fine…yep it is. I’m as mixed up as can be. But out of duty, I’ll take my turn to have devotions. I’ll participate in activities. I’ll pitch in but I’m not there. I’m watching my back. Criticisms and unfair charges by some who take things the wrong way have made me gun shy. Behind the participation, the questions churn like a whirlpool with no outlet. It’s all a façade and the first clue is with a bland face, I tell you that everything’s fine… But down deep inside, I know it’s a lie. A lie I’m trying to make myself believe but can’t.

It’s all right….  Yeah……right.

ej

Categories: Praise, Quotes, Rants and Randomness | 1 Comment

Staff Picture

 

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taken a week ago on a staff day. this is the biggest group of staff that I’ve ever been a part of since arriving here at Clinica Luz y Esperanza, owing to a number of new people and the number of farewells that they inevitably bring.

ej

Categories: Paraguayan Parables | Leave a comment

A Great Read

 

Too often, my schedule does not permit me the enjoyment of a good book. It takes effort to find time to read. But when a good book comes along, if it truly is a good book, little effort is required to find time for reading. I just finished a book that I’m here recommending to those that love “Gifted Hands”, the story of Ben Carson and his journey to being among the best in the field of neurosurgery. The book’s title is “Grey Matter”, written by Dr. Ben Levy, a colleague of Carson’s in the field of neurosurgery. A Jewish Christian, he writes of his journey from being willing to be acknowledged as a Christian surgeon amongst his Jewish colleagues to praying with his patients prior to surgery. From patients, this practice of prayer spreads to the hospital nurses and continues to spread to include the members of his surgery team. But it doesn’t stop with that. He goes further than praying for his patients. Feeling led by God, he begins explaining to his patients the connection between forgiveness of others for their hurts and failures towards them and physical healing. Since neurosurgery is a delicate surgery and can be life-threatening and/or life-changing, his patients are more open at that point in time than they might be otherwise. Drawing from his interesting experiences, he writes with a compelling, easy to read style that kept me captivated from chapter to chapter. But through the professionalism of his career is the story of his own journey of faith, of laying aside his reputation and what people would possibly think of him, of leaving self behind and walking in the confidence of God’s will.

But does the warmth of prayer actually affect the sterile halls and cold steel that is the surgeon’s lair? Till you’re done reading this book, you’d have to agree. This book makes for a great addition on anyone’s bookshelf. It will be added to mine, should the future offer the opportunity.

And for now, so long.

EJ

Categories: Paraguayan Parables | 2 Comments

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