Saturday, January 26, 2013

Put it out of its missery

Once again we are in that empty void of time and space between the end of the playoffs and the Super Bowl. Rather than do nothing, the NFL is dragging out the Pro Bowl in order to solve insomnia for millions. To say that it is a boondoggle for players, league officials, the media and their families is to give it more credit than it deserves. While the game was originally designed to generate finds for player retirement, that need has long gone the way of the dodo bird with the advent of multi-million dollar contracts and a $9-billion television agreement. Now players stand around and dance with one another when the ball is hiked until someone falls or goes out of bounds.

But the Pro Bowl is worthy of our time and attention as it brings up the question of what to do with things that just aren’t worth anything anymore. There are literally thousands of things that we once thought indispensable that just need to be thrown away. Here are a few;

  • I had an 8-track player and I loved blaring out rock and roll in my in my 1968 Plymouth Valiant (not exactly a muscle car that was going to impress anyone). There is someone in our local farmers market who is still selling them – I have no idea who or why anyone would buy them other than they need something to collect dust.
  • We put carbon paper in between pages to make copies of notes and letters. It was a terrible mess and (heaven forbid) when you made a mistake, you had to erase all the copies behind the original. Yet for all its trouble, it was a life saver in the pre-Xerox days. I was really surprised to find that Staples and other office supply stores still sell it.
  • Whenever I had a bad cold, my mom would rub Vicks VaproRub on my chest to stop my coughing and relieve congestion. If I was really sick she would push some of it up my nose. It smelled really weird but doing it was not up for debate and I didn’t have a vote either. Mary Ann’s grand dad was really bullish about VapoRub and its benefits. Not only did he eat it, he would smear it in his eyes.

I’m sure you could easily add to this list. There are so many things that we once thought important but have slipped into triviality and worthlessness.

Some people feel that way about themselves. Once they felt important, had things to do, places to go, people to meet. Now they feel like their lives are filled with hollow hours of depression, loneliness and emptiness. It doesn’t matter that their schedules may be filled; there is still this ache in their heart that something is missing.

  • Lives that were once filled with activity and energy are silenced by injury or illness
  • Entering retirement with expectations of freedom and an “active adult lifestyle” you wake up every morning wondering who you are, feeling empty
  • A home that you hoped would be filled with the laughter of children or grandchildren is a silent, lonely cave because pregnancy will not come
  • With the death of a loved one, there is a deep hole in your soul that will not be closed or healed
  • The kids have grown up and moved on leaving you with only hollow memories and pictures gathering dust

There was a man named Zach that felt this way about himself and his life; hated and all alone. No one liked him, his job made him despised by everyone. Working for the army of an occupation army, he was a traitor and was regularly stealing from his neighbors. Zach heard that Jesus was coming so he climbed up a tree to get a good look because he was short (I wonder if people made fun of him because he was short too.) Anyway, when Jesus sees him up in that tree, he calls to Zach by name and invites himself over for dinner. Zach was really excited that someone as popular and important as Jesus wanted to be with him, in his house. There was a lot of mumbling in the crowd because everyone knew that Zach was a traitor and a thief. Looking at Jesus, Zach immediately gave half of everything he owned and promised to pay back everyone four-times what he stole. Jesus then announced to the crowd that Zach was one of them, a brother, neighbor and fellow countrymen.

Jesus then concludes with the radical words that he had come looking for the lonely and lost so he could restore them. [1]

No matter what the problem, Jesus never turned away from a person or a problem. People came to him with all sorts of pain, suffering, death and questions. He never sent people away, he never told them to fix themselves, he always reached out and received them.

No matter what our circumstances, God’s feeling and choice for us is one of love, reception and redemption. You are not a mistake, you are not worthless and neither is your life.

When you think that you are alone in your pain and suffering, remember that it’s not because God does not care. It is not that he hates us; nothing could be further from the truth. He cares greatly. His love is so deep that he was willing to send Jesus for us.

So if you feel all along and you're stuck up a tree, reach out to Jesus. Hanging onto him can and will make all the difference in your world.

Blessings - Chet

Chet Gladkowski speaks and writes on topics that touch on culture, life and faith through GLAD Associates. This article is taken from a chapter in his upcoming book.

Source: [1] Luke 19:1-9

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