Saturday, January 19, 2013

Memorable Moments

I haven't have many deep or particularly organized thoughts lately, but I have had a lot of serendipitous moments of epiphany that had the effect of brightening my day in a special way.  So I figured I'd compile them for future reference.

Thanks a Lot for Caring!
A couple of Mondays ago, the checkout girl at Big Lots asked me (totally out of the blue) "you look so sad, what happened today?" It was awkward, but the more I thought about it, I realized that we could use more people like that in the world.

And then I felt totally sheepish in admitting that I was just trying to figure out whether or not I'd be able to make it home in time for the Notre Dame-Alabama BCS National Championship Game. She seemed a bit disappointed after that.

Though what I didn't tell her was that I kinda had to go to the bathroom at the time. That might have been a factor in my somewhat subdued facial expression while waiting in line.

Pay It Forward
I saw this a certain offer going around on some of my friends' Facebook accounts, and it seemed intriguing.  I generally avoid any type of copy-paste style postings because the internet is just full of spam and crazy stuff, but this one was a little different.  This gist of the message was that the first five people to comment on the particular status would receive from the original poster something homemade (not sure if I'll limit myself to that rule or not) as a gift at any random point during the year. But the twist is that each of those five people must return the favor by posting the message on their Facebook pages and make the same offer to five people. 

It's a cool idea, because it makes yourself available to serve some folks in a special way that maybe you wouldn't necessarily think about.  I've got close to 700 Facebook "friends" so any five of them could have had the opportunity to take advantage of it.  Some of the folks who took advantage of my offer are folks with whom I haven't had much contact in the last few years.  It should be a fun and challenging project to try and figure out what might be a cool gift to send them.

The whole thing reminds me of that movie Pay It Forward where the middle-school kid aspires to change the world by doing good for random people he meets and them making them promise to pass along the favor.  It's a pretty cool concept, but of course the poor kid dies at the end trying to break up a school yard fight.  That seemed like a cheap ploy by the movie-people to me.  Oh well, I guess the ghost of Haley Joel Osment's character lives on in spirit...

Granny Always Said I was "Makin' a Preacher"
About a month ago, I agreed to teach the adult Sunday School class for one Sunday in January, which ended up being tomorrow's date, January 20.  A little while later, I volunteered to preach a Sunday night sermon on the same day.  Last week, my pastor asked me if I could substitute for him on the Wednesday night Bible studies for three consecutive weeks, starting with this past Wednesday.  So, yeah, it's been a bit of of a busy week trying to get everything organized.  There would have been a time when I probably would have considered this to be too much commitment and I might have turned some of it down for fear of having my focus divided and not being able to do as good a job as I might like.

But sometime after I began the PhD program at the seminary, I've started to think of myself as a preacher, even if I am still of a work-in-progress and still "in the waiting," so to speak.  Getting opportunities to preach and teach doesn't so much intimidate me as it does excite me (though I still agonize over the preparation and lead-up process).  When I'm up there speaking about the Word, I feel truly alive. To the best of my knowledge, that sense of exhilaration doesn't stem from any kind of vanity or self-serving pride, but from a confidence that it's just where I'm supposed to be.

That doesn't mean I'm ready to start putting out my resumes for salaried church positions. I haven't done that because I'm content to work the job I have so long as I'm still in school, and I don't want to tie up my weekends in case I need to make some quick trips back to Tennessee to visit family.  That day is coming, but I'm not there yet.