Feeling a Little Tarnisehd?

TarnishedSpoon

This past Saturday, I took part in our church’s community event, Eggstravaganza.  Parents and kids walk our property and buildings playing games and collecting treats.  We have a clown, snacks and then end it off with an Easter egg hunt.  April and I ran one of the stations, and for one hour we let kids show off their skills in carrying a fake egg on a spoon and weaving their way in and out of pylons.

The kids loved it, and it was a genuine ‘high’ for my day.  I think what I got out of it the most was how the smaller kids were able to get so much joy out of such a simple activity.  It wasn’t Xbox, PS4, Wii, or any other hi-tech gadget – just a wooden spoon and a wooden egg.  That’s it!  The prize at the end was a little goodie bag with two or three sweet snacks.

The little kids were thrilled, and so proud of themselves if they only dropped the egg a couple of times.  Their ‘thrill’ factor was comparable to a shiny silver spoon.  As I watched them, I wondered what happened to us ‘mature’ adults, that we had lost the knack of finding ‘thrill’s in the simple things of life.

Sometimes I feel more like a worn and tarnished spoon on the inside, and so I’ve wondered how one goes about getting the ‘tarnish’ off and letting some joy shine through.

It got me thinking about the product my Mom would use to polish her silverware.  It was called Twinkle.  Perhaps you have some stashed away in that junk drawer in your kitchen.  So I was thinking, “What would be the equivalent of Twinkle?”  It’s not like there’s a ‘joy polish’ out there that you can apply to your mind or heart.  (And no, stimulants and the like are a lousy substitute.  That’s not what I’m looking for).

This morning it hit me…the polish that works can be found in every home.  The polish is called, “Just-Go-And-Play”.  What you do is, think of a simple child’s game, and when no one is looking, just go and play.  It’s in the playing and letting the kid inside of you come out that the tarnish and gunk will begin to fade, and once again, the joy will shine.

So whattcha waiting for?

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It’s All In How You See It

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, which basically means that what one person may see as beauty, someone else may not.  Which then begs the question: “What exactly then, is beauty?”  If that saying is true, then I’m not really sure what constitutes beauty.

However, in saying that, I read a book some time ago, entitled Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain, by Elaine Fox.  She unpacks why some people are born naturally optimistic, and others, pessimistic.  If you take an optimist and a pessimist and allow them to experience similar situations, the optimist will naturally see the good, while the pessimist will naturally see the negative.

And so I wonder, are some people just wired to see beauty in life, while others have a much more difficult time?  Well, whether they do or not, I am fairly sure of this one thing: I think I can choose to see what I want to see.  I feel fairly confident in saying that, because I naturally lean towards a ‘rainy brain’.  I think that’s why I enjoyed policing, because as a police officer, your job is to go out and look for what is wrong in society.  But it’s exhausting and a downer to just see the bad.  I made a decision some time ago to choose to look for beauty in all things and people.  I’m not saying that it comes easy…it doesn’t.  But I know that beauty is out there.

As a church minister, I have the opportunity to guide people as they navigate life and faith. Now Christians see the Bible as their guide for life, and that is a good thing.  However (and this is a big ‘however’), I’m fairly convinced that the ‘rainy brain, sunny brain’ plays a significant role in how one reads the Bible, which in turn shapes their belief in God, and how they see others and themselves.  I’m not an expert on this theory, nor have I conducted any studies, but the fact that there are close to 34,000 denominations, is a fairly good indication that we can read the same canon and come to different conclusions.  Just saying…

The Bible is my daily ‘go-to’ book because it nurtures my soul.  I choose to look for the good, and I find it every time!  Currently, I am reading through the books of the prophets in the Old Testament.  There are a lot of rainy passages, which can easily cause one to see an angry God.  But there are just as many ‘sunny’ passages as well.  Hosea is one such book.  This week I read the last chapter of Hosea, and it was full of sunshine.  Here’s what is written:

The Lord says,

“Then I will heal you of your faithlessness;

my love will know no bounds,

for my anger will be gone forever.

I will be to Israel

like a refreshing dew from heaven.

Israel will blossom like the lily;

it will send roots deep into the soil

like the cedars in Lebanon.

Its branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees,

as fragrant as the cedars of Lebanon.

My people will again live under my shade.

They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines.

They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon.