Monthly Archives: June 2013

These Days of Summer

June 21st has come and recedes into the past. Officially summer is here and the question is asked, “How is it going for myself?” Many of mine acquaintances know that I’m a student at Faith Builders and my more cynical moments, I can hear them silently chuckling to themselves as they ask me this. Being a college student, I think I can hear them wondering to themselves how this student is adapting to the world of manual labor. As a student, I don’t consider myself “normal”. You know what normal is. Wake up, go to work, hang out, sleep, and repeat. A regular day job for millions of Americans is reality (note regular). It is not mine. So how is the summer going?

It is flying by and I’m enjoying my brief time being back in the construction field. Strenuous work, yes, but needful to work out this softness I find residing in myself. But currently, I feel old. A 24 year old should not feel . . . old yet I find myself moving at a senior’s pace. The day could not be done quick enough. Tonight, all I want to do is curl up in a ball and sleep till noon tomorrow. Recently, my sister managed to pull of this feat of sleeping till noon and while shocked that a normal person could do so and NOT feel guilty, I’m finding myself in a state of envy. My mornings begin around 4:30 or 5 o’clock. That I don’t mind. The X-factor is the extra activities I engage myself in which make waking up in the early morning so difficult.

Like shooting a wedding on Saturdays with my older brother. It was moderately stress free but I never imagined I would ever tire of taking pictures. But on Saturday, I was ready to toss the camera in the back seat and head home. Of the twenty-four hours of last Saturday, I saw 19 of them. A long day to say the least. This led to a Sunday afternoon that could not have been long enough for napping. However, I did drag myself out of the warm drowsiness of a Sunday snooze to go to a concert. Having just recently completed a choral tour, I found it very pleasant to sit and hear others sing to me. To absorb the results of hard work instead of being the one working to perform. I might have spared myself the “senior feeling” had I not gone to a friend’s house for a impromptu snack after the concert. A lack of sleep combined with minimal water consumption definitely led to flu-like feelings this afternoon. After I came home from work,I plunked myself down on a patio chair, ordered a round of terere, a Paraguayan tea, and drank my fill. This miracle brew combined with a pleasant family time to alleviate my headache. Yet it still exists and the only remedy I know is sleep and that I intend on doing.

The life of a FB student seems, from this distance, to be a life of haute couture. To sleep into 6:00 AM, lazily check email every 20 minutes, surf the web looking for interesting tidbits and other blogs to read, Youtubing the time away (I don’t recommend this brainless activity unless under loads of stress but it does happen at times), and playing volleyball three times a week. I look at all that and think, what leisure! At home and with a temporary regular job that has me averaging 11-12 hours a day, my ideas of de-stressing include drinking terere and roaming the fields with my Remington 870 pump action shotgun in hand looking for various varmints. There are other things to do but I don’t have the time. Somewhere in the clutter of my room, (for I don’t have the time to clean; ask my Mom, she’ll agree) a paycheck lies unattended to because by the time I come home from work, the bank is closed. A pair of pants needs to be returned to Wal-Mart but where is my time? My church has Vacation Bible School this week; I should have taught but where is the time?

Not everyone with a regular job has this problem with time. I look at my older brother with a twinge of envy. He’s up every night till I don’t know when ‘cuz I’m asleep and don’t find out when he goes to bed. He can be found surfing the web, editing pictures, listening to an audio book, or chatting with his girlfriend who currently is in South America. In the midst of this, he finds time to study his choice of Russian, Spanish, or German. Ah yes, he even joins me in my sallies against the woodland varmints. I shake my head. How can he achieve this? I think of when he wakes up and when I realize that by then I’ve already worked 2-4 hours, I wonder if that is the key factor. He has a regular job like me but it’s not as physical as mine. Ah, to be sure, since he is not physically exerting himself at work, that means more energy remains for all these other activities. Right-ho, Jeeves!

Admittedly, I asked for this. Coming home from college, I wanted a job that was physically demanding and had long hours. I have it; now I must be happy with it. I usually am but when I feel beat up like currently feel, my mind goes to other possibilities of the “good life”, such as the regular life of a student. Oddly, I find myself wishing for this life again. May it come soon!

My rambles are over for tonight,

ZZZ

Categories: About life | 1 Comment

When a Man Faces Failure

Awhile ago, I wrote of my purchase of the book Man of Steel & Velvet by Aubrey Andelin. I’m finally reading it. Last Friday I was somewhere between Poplar Bluff and Donaphin, Missouri on SR 160 and I came across this gem.

You can not always be a hero but you can always be a man.

Andelin is quoting another person when he writes this. It matters not. The gem of wisdom that this quote contains is worthy of being shouted from he highest point of every city and town across the nation of America. It deserves to be whispered into the ear of every man and adolescent teenager. Briefly, I’ll break this down even simpler. The essence of the quote is this. You will not always succeed in everything you do. In your own measurement of yourself, you WILL fail in some things. That is okay as long as your conduct during those times is of a manly and a noble bearing.

If only more men were aware of this truth! To be successful and popular 100% of the time is impossible. What is NOT impossible is to be a man. To be gentle when encountering distress, firm in the face of compromise, perceptive of needs, and able to prepare for the future. If these do not come naturally, it is possible to learn them through practice.

EJ

Categories: Praise, Quotes, Rants and Randomness | Leave a comment

Sundays Musings 6/9: The Challenge of a Servant’s Mentality

Being a servant is the antithesis to the human ego. It is the hardest attitude we can develop. To unselfishly help and serve others is difficult. To want their good and see them succeed is the most difficult seed to plant in the garden of human character. The weeds of selfishness, pride, and egoism often choke out any honest attempts at cultivating an attitude of service and humility.

My premise for saying a servant is the hardest mentality to achieve is twofold. First, both Christians and non-Christians struggle with pride and the big “I”. In the realms of the secular and the sacred, evidence exists, testifying to the presence of selfishness. In the sphere of the secular, divorce is common, violence is on the rise, and the ties of addictions are prevalent. Undergirding all these are statements like: “I have been hurt and that justifies my action.” “I’m unhappy with where I am in life; I deserve more.” “My rights have been violated. These statements come from a selfish mindset and were a servant’s attitude more common, divorce, violence, and drug use would fall.

In church, the big “I” shows itself in church divisions, a colder shoulders given to spiritual brothers that we don’t agree with, and inefficient meetings due to someone’s ego. It is to be lamented that these types of behavior are to be found in the church. A group of people that numbers into the hundreds of millions, the potential is huge yet often curtailed by selfishness and personal agendas. For a group of people who follows someone who was THE supreme servant and who call them by His name, the inability to yield one’s position for another’s benefit is, quite frankly, inexcusable.

I have already alluded to the second reason that being a servant is so hard. Within every human is a desire to look out for himself or herself. We enjoy recognition and seeing our ideas succeed. This leads to trouble when we see others receive recognition and their ideas winning out over our own UNLESS we can adopt the attitude of a servant.

John the Baptist was someone who displayed a true servant’s attitude. His famous words, He must increase but I must decrease came at a time when his own ministry was decreasing. Yet he didn’t panic; he didn’t try to cling to the passing cloak of popularity. He let popularity pass because he knew his mission and purpose. He was to point to Christ and when Christ did come, his mission was over. He had done his job and he was okay with letting popularity pass him over.

Christians can develop the attitude of being a servant. We do not live for ourselves. We live for His glory and, like John the Baptist, our lives are to point to Him. When we promote ourselves and do not allow the Holy Spirit to direct us, our “I”(ego) is present and we can not serve effectively. Humbly serving others does not come easy. We do not wake up some morning with the ability to serve. Rather, it needs to be cultivated. Like any other skill, sweat and effort are involved. It takes time to achieve it and many things work against the attainment of this ability to be a servant. We live in a culture that glorifies the individual. Our human spirit wants to be recognized. Satan also uses our natural strengths and weaknesses to discourage us from an attitude of service.

In short, I think we all know what it takes to serve. We shrink from it because it appears to be so hard to attain. Down with these excuses! Forward to a more Christocentric life!!!

EJ

Categories: Sunday's Musings | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.