Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Cat of the House

I entered the house the other day and sat down in the living room, which began a chain of events that continues to amaze me.  I am really at a loss to understand it or even rationalize it.  Here's what happens: I walk in the house.  Nancy comes up from downstairs, followed by the cat of the house.  We move to the living room, where I sit on the couch opposite of Nancy so I can visit with her and we both talk about our day.  Meanwhile, the cat of the house saunters over to my right and sits, waiting for the right moment when it can dive under the couch, and begin to sharpen her claws on the underside of the couch.  The only time this cat does this is when I come home and sit on that couch.  It never does it at any other time.  It annoys me to no end.  

And what's more, this cat knows it.  

There's a few things in life that I will never understand.  For example, I don't understand why no one holds politicians accountable to just answering the question in a simple manner.  Usually, answers are vague or redirected.  Why can't they just answer the question?  I will never understand what happened to Preparation A through G.  I wonder how will we ever know when we run out of invisible ink?  Why do we park on driveways and drive on parkways?  And I may never understand why this cat of the house has decided to torture me with her selectively annoying behavior.

I suppose (to be fair to the cat) it's because I haven't "embraced" this cat from day one.  That's probably why the cat has chosen me as the object of her cat hijinks.  I think this cat is being really unfair.  I am the one who does a lot of things for her.  Clean litter box?  Me.  Put fresh water in her dispenser?  Me again.  Make sure food is plenty?  Me, me, me.  This cat does not know how much I help her existence.  And this is how the cat responds to my actions toward her?  As I said - it's so unfair.

Maybe I should just show the cat some affection.  Maybe then the cat would stop annoying me.  

I don't understand why I don't do that. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Exercising Our Right to Vote

I was talking with someone the other day about the upcoming election and he reminded me that I needed to apply for an absentee ballot.  My first thought was "No, I don't think I need to do that - election day is always the second Tuesday in November, isn't it?"  This fellow wouldn't be distracted for me - "No." he said, "it's the first Tuesday in November and remember, you are having your knee replacement on the first Monday, so you will need to get an absentee ballot in order to vote."

He was right.  Thus, for the first time in my life, I voted with an absentee ballot.  My vote has been cast!  My candidate choices are in the book of life.  I believe that this system of selecting our nation's leaders is such an important one for all Americans to participate in.  Designed as a Constitutional Right for all people to select their choices to best lead the nation and local government, some voices were silenced in our national history (women, people of color, etc.).  Today, all people are able to vote and should take that precious moment to exercise their right to be heard.

But how does the Christian select the right candidate?  That's a great question.  Next Monday, October 22 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., a program presented by the Minnesota Family Council will try to provide some answers to that question.  It isn't a forum to select any specific candidate, but more of an opportunity for the Christian to shape their choices more easily with their beliefs.  The program is called "Citizenship Worthy of the Gospel" and will be held at Solid Rock church in Worthington, MN.  If you are interested in attending, you can go to this site and register (at no cost).   

I readily support programs like this (when they do not espouse a particular candidate) because they can help to clarify issues that aren't so easily clarified.  Just a reminder: I am not recommending any candidate, party or affiliation - this is only an invitation to hear someone talk about how you might shape your own selection process, without going into any specific details on the values or platforms of any one candidate or party.  

Voting carries that responsibility - to know who we are voting for and why.  

Don't be absent from the process - plan to exercise your right to vote on November 6th.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Walking without Pain

It's hard to imagine my last post was April 30th.  Five and a half months ago - what have I been up to?  Well, where do I begin?  I took on an interim pastor position to assist Adrian United Methodist Church with a change in their pastoral leadership.  I've been working with three congregations (First, Emmanuel, and Adrian UMC) to examine the possibility of forming one church with three sites - that's been busy.  I had my hip replaced in August (and in three weeks, the plan is to have my knee replaced on the same side).  

So, yeah, it's been a little busy.  I had a few moments this morning and decided it was a good time to rekindle the blogging effort again.  

After my hip replacement, I had five weeks of physical therapy.  At the start, the exercises weren't the easiest.  The therapist was really aware of my pain levels and made sure I didn't overextend myself.  I was really glad to have finally addressed the pain that was in my hip, due to "primary osteoarthritis of the left hip" - the medical diagnosis that just means my left hip was always in pain.  I couldn't even swing the golf club properly because I wasn't able to turn my left side.  I haven't played golf since the surgery and probably won't until next spring.  I wonder what that will feel like.

I thought about the therapy and realized that the primary purpose was not only to help me gain strength back in my hip area, but also to relearn how to walk without the gimping motion I had grown so accustomed to.  It was so pronounced that one of my grandsons was copying my gait.  I asked him what he was doing and he said he was walking like me - without the pain, of course.  I swear he said it with a twinkle in his eye.

I call tell you - it isn't the easiest thing to relearn how to do something that seemed so natural.  We learn to walk as infants - the moment we take that first step, we graduate to toddler status.  Over the years our walk is determined by many things... injuries, the aging process, pulled muscles, gravity, weight gain - those sorts of things.  I know my stride has changed over the years.  Now I have to learn how to walk again.  This time, I walk without the pain.

I can only imagine those who walk with a different kind of pain - the pain of broken relationships... the pain of lost faith... the pain of grief and loss... the pain of dashed hopes and dreams.  Is it a given that no matter what precautions we may take or how hard we work to remain healthy, something may come along to challenge us?  Maybe.  We live in a broken world, after all.  But learning how to walk in faith again is just as hard spiritually as it is physically - maybe even harder.  

But there is something about the journey that helps us to grow stronger.  Somehow, at some point, in some way, we relearn how to trust, we rekindle the depths of our faith, we renew our resolve to follow Christ.  True, we need to be in some kind of "therapy" for this to happen - whether it's community, worship, bible study, etc.  

We can learn how to walk upright in faith again.