The Robot

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I got called a robot yesterday…told I was not humane.  You see, I’m a pretty black and white person…if you give me directions or a guideline I work within that guideline.  I don’t believe you give in to people because they yell loudly…in fact, if they yell loudly then I believe you should never give in to them.  You will get much more from me with a sweet respectful demeanor than you will from pushing yourself around and acting like you are nine.

I don’t know why this guy got me so upset yesterday.  Like everyone, I like to be liked, but really in all actuality I couldn’t care less if this guy liked me.  I did feel like I let my bosses down since they were the ones who overturned my decision and threw me under the bus so to speak…but in all actuality I’m not really working for them either.  I work for Jesus.  He has asked me at this point in my life to serve Him by working at Texwipe and so I do…I don’t like it.  I would much rather be at home, cooking, sewing, crocheting, learning more about God and His Word, volunteering in my church, making my grandkids things…but He’s asked me to be the major breadwinner right now and my husband has worked so hard for so many years doing that…I need to do what I can at this stage in my life to help out.  I find I have to work on my attitude every day…I talk myself through the day…”you can do this”…”one step at a time” …. “it’s only for a season.”  You know the drill.  “You can do anything for a season…as long as you know there will be an end someday.”  My husband has told my kids that for years…while they were in college…complaining…you can do it…it’s not forever.

I think it’s the meanness of humanity that gets me.  I’ve been pretty sheltered over the years.  I’ve seen meanness…all you have to do is read my other blogs and you know that…but I never understand it.  My mom taught me that if I couldn’t say anything nice to not say anything at all. I’m quiet a lot!  As a matter of fact I put up with things for a very long time…others tell me too long…but when I do try to straighten things out…that’s when I get in trouble.  “Hurting people hurt people” only goes so far.  Can I pray for this guy?  Yes…but my first reaction is to just hunker down and work hard and keep my head down.  I keep wondering what I say to him the next time he calls or writes…”Sorry, bud, I’m too much of a robot…guess you’ll have to call someone else who has a brain.”  Maybe I should sing the scarecrow song from the wizard of oz…”If I only had a brain…” lol  I do, though.  I have a brain…and that’s why I didn’t give in to this man.  He pushes and shoves and thinks he deserves special treatment…and I’m too much of a mom to let him get away with that.  I want to slap his hand and say, “Now, sweetie, go to your room and think about how badly you’ve behaved today….and don’t come out until you can play nice.”  Why is it that there are men and women who act like they are nine and never seem to grow up and become adults?  Why are there people who never mature enough to think of someone besides themselves?  I am well aware of the sinful depravity of man…and I shouldn’t be surprised by it in this world….that’s why God had to send Jesus into this world…I guess I just don’t want to be reminded.

I’m tired of the mentality that “You always do this except…”  Why can’t life be more of “You always do this.”  I’m not beyond the exceptions; but when you tell me one thing…don’t go back on it.  When you say we’re a team then act like a team.  When you say we always do things this way then ALWAYS do things that way…don’t make exceptions for the loudest brat out there…don’t make exceptions because someone is pushing their way around…and then not make an exception for the nice guy.  You’ve just created your monster.  So I guess he’s right in a way…I’m a robot.  I’m robotic in my ability or inability to work with difficult people.  He’s the EGR customer…”Extra Grace Required”…you’d think I’d be an expert at dealing with those people after so many years in churches…but I’m not.  I’m the compliant child…the one who does right because she doesn’t want to make waves….  I’ve never understood the rebellious child.  I still don’t understand the rebellious adult…the one who is told something at work and decides not to do it or to do it in spite of what they are told.  I don’t go there…if someone tells me to initial every time I do something, I feel guilt if I forget. lol  If I get in trouble for doing what I was told, it sends me in a tailspin…I’m not one for language…but in this case…if you are “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” then what’s the point?

I’m not sure this “soapbox” episode has really sharpened my point this morning as I get ready for work.  I dread it.  It’s a good part of my life right now…so to dread a good part of your life…is that all there is to look forward to?  Uh oh…we’re getting back to the Ecclesiastes post. lol  I guess this is just a reminder that we are broken people in a broken world.  I don’t like it.  I don’t have to like it.  But I have to live in it….I just wish I could get beyond just “living” and “thrive” in it.

“Great wickedness…only evil…no one who understands…worthless…open graves…deceit…poison…cursing and bitterness…swift to shed blood…ruin and misery….no fear of God…subjected to frustration…bondage to decay…groaning…struggle…this dark world…evil.  Perhaps you are so familiar with these verses that it is difficult to see their unflinching realism.  But each of these passages is honest about what you and I will encounter as we live in a world that is not operating as it was designed to operate.”  Broken Down House – Paul David Tripp

Meaningless

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The wisest man in the world (other than Jesus) once said, “Meaningless.  Meaningless.  Everything is meaningless.”  I think I know which time of life he was in.  If anyone had told me when I was 20 something or 30 something or even 40 something that in my 50’s I would be trying to wrap my head around so many things…I would have laughed.  I knew at the time that I didn’t know everything; but I certainly felt I at least was going in a direction…the right direction.  I’m not really sure of that anymore.  The only way I can describe this period in my life is like another adolescence.  I remember feeling pretty lost then…I lost my dad at 16 and to lose one’s security and stability at that age really sets your world in a tailspin.  

A year and half ago I moved for the 23rd time since I was married, but this time it wasn’t for ministry or finances…more to find a job and be closer to two of my six children.  I have to say that this Ecclesiastes experience started before our move to NC…so it’s not the move’s fault…just a puzzle piece in the mix of emotions.  

In our last church I had more “close friends” than I thought I had had at any other time in my life. Now I sit wondering if everything is meaningless and to be honest am coming to the conclusion that it is. I had two REALLY close friends in VT….kind of my James and John…maybe I was Peter. I don’t hear from either one anymore.  I guess if I were to write first again I might hear from John…but James gave up on me before I even left.  I had others…my Thomas who begged me not to go and said things like, “Do you really have to go?”  There was no job…no ministry to speak of anymore…so yes, we had to come here.  I’ve never heard from her again…I’ve texted, sent messages and nothing.  Another lady is sick…I keep giving her that out..but again I’ve texted and wrote…but nothing in return.  A pastor’s wife who wrote for many months..we used to meet to pray as fellow servants and wanderers…is now gone, too.  

My daughter tells me, “Why don’t you do things with your friends?”  How do you say, “I have no friends, sweetie.??  You are the only one who ever wants to do something with me from time to time and when you do I drop everything to come to you.’  You don’t.  Because your children really can’t handle their mom being so needy.  They can’t handle being needed so much…it is a terrible burden.  

So I go on …trying to wrap my head and my heart around this life.  I pray, “Is this all there is and ever will be for the rest of our lives, Lord?”  There is silence.  I can hear Him weeping with me…He has the answers and knows the pain of having no friends when it comes down to the wire…hanging on a cross.  This is my cross.  It makes me yearn for Heaven.  If we are so quickly forgotten anyway then why do what we do?  Why pour yourself into someone who is going to so quickly not care if you are even on this earth?  Because I’m not God or even a god to decide when I leave.  I stick around for the hope that someday there may be someone who decides they would like to have me for a friend.  Maybe someone will ask me to meet them for a cup of coffee or to come when they need a friend.  I think I’ve always waited on the side of life for the next need to fill.  I thrive in being needed…but I wish I was wanted….maybe that’s at the source or root of all this meaninglessness.  I’m here to meet other’s needs…not their desire to have a friend and be close.  

I miss my friends.  I know some of them probably think of me from time to time…I did have a lady message me the other day that she misses my wisdom and encouragement…I had to laugh at the wisdom part…but I know she meant how I would always point her back to Jesus and to His Word…she misses His wisdom.  I’m thankful.  I did have one of my youth group girls from 30 years ago (she’s now a grandma!) thank me for all I did to encourage her all those years ago.  It reminds me of how ten lepers were healed and one returned to thank Jesus.  

We went to the Billy Graham Museum a couple of weeks ago.  As we were talking with the host at the desk he asked what we did.  My husband told him we had been in ministry for many years and he now was an AFLAC salesman.  The man said something simple like “Thank you for your service to the Lord.”  It brought instantaneous tears to my eyes.  And I was a basketcase in my soul.  How could this one man who didn’t know us give us more honor in one moment than the hundreds who we’ve poured our lives into?  

I have a daughter who’s been trying to tell me that ministry is where we are and that “full time” ministry isn’t any better or more glorious or more holy than sweeping floors or being a customer service representative for a cleanroom wiper company.  In my head I can agree to that to a certain extent…but my heart cries for ministry…it cries for meaning, it cries for relationship, it cries for community.

Ever since I was young I was drawn to full time Christian work.  I never doubted it.  I don’t doubt it now…but I sit wondering if we will ever be there again.  Allen is tired.  He’s broken and doesn’t have the desire I have.  Or doesn’t seem to.  He hates his job a good deal of the time…but not enough to send our resume’s or go back into ministry or leave our children we hardly see even though we are five minutes away from them.  I don’t see the point.  From this side the tapestry is pretty messy…it’s full of very dark colors…it is hanging with threads that haven’t been tied back and made neat…there is no picture…it is all meaningless.