I know that you’d expect me to talk about how thankful I am for my family and the like, which is why I’m going to be doing the opposite.

  • thank·less Adjective   /ˈTHaNGklis/
    • (of a job or task) Difficult or unpleasant and not likely to bring one pleasure or the appreciation of others
    • (of a person) Not expressing or feeling gratitude

Here is to feeling down-right poor in a formerly affluent country. Prices are up, jobs are hard to come by, and it’s just too hard to make ends meet. Have you noticed that the prices haven’t changed but the products you are buying are coming in smaller packages?
Here is to feeling alone in an world full of strangers. Not only in the real world, but I play games in the virtual world and for all the friends I have, I don’t know them. If I needed somebody to spend an hour with me to cheer me up, there would be nobody who would do that for me, let alone give me the time of day. Have you noticed that we’re more connected to technology than the needs of our neighbors?
Here is to feeling like the holidays are less about the holiness of the days and more about what you can fit into your shopping cart. If only we learned to stop running up the debt of money and learning to run up the debt of love that we are sorely missing.

There are a lot of things to be thankful for and something that deserve a little less thanks. Until we understand what is not, we can’t make much of the things that are.


Family Matters

One thing I learned is that when it comes to family, we have a lot to learn. Sure, family is important – but our tradition of ‘get out on your own at eighteen’ takes away from some of the closeness that we could have if we didn’t emphasize success over sustainability. You see, they expect their children to move out only when they get married. Until then they can stay at home. It’s not just about being close to your parents, brothers, and sisters, but just as close to your aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. We might not think to ask all of our family within a five-mile radius if they want to come watch the latest movie with us at the local theater, but that’s just everyday down there.

Of course, we have just as much to learn about our whole Church family. Certainly we get close to our friends in our very own congregation, but when it comes to our extended family we don’t know very much. No family agrees about absolutely everything a hundred percent, but they agree enough to get along. After all, they’re stuck with each other. It’s much the same for those of us who call upon the name of the Lord. We don’t agree with each other entirely, but we are still stuck with each other. Not seeing each other doesn’t make us any less of a family, it just makes us a sore excuse for a family. How strange it is that we can show up for Inter-faith gatherings, but we are lacking when it comes to Intra-faith get-togethers. After all, if we’re going to all be in Heaven at the same time, why not take the time to get to know each other now?

Lessons Learned

I’ve been back for a few days now and I’m starting to put some things in order. I’ve learned a lot during my stay in another country. Some of it about faith:

There will always be the days you feel unworthy to take your problems straight to God, those are the days that He meets you half-way.

There will always be the days you would rather have somebody else ask Him for you, those are the days that He is right beside you.

There will always be the days you look to others for the answers, those are the days that He is the only one that has them.

But I did see some beautiful churches, it only saddens me that the ‘it’s all about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit’ was lost in some of those places because they emphasized the story of some others to help you understand what He did in their lifetimes and might could possibly do for you if you played by the rules. I just don’t know who is more right – their official and ancient doctrine developed over two thousand years of careful study of the scripture or my non-denominationalist point-of-view that you must study the scripture and make it apply to your life as you develop your personal relationship with your savior. What do you think?