Thursday, September 29, 2016

Let It Go


There have been some changes in my life lately.  One is that I started going to a new church. I had not gone to my previous church for about a year as they had cancelled Saturday night services.  After 20 years, one does not make such a drastic change!  Not only that, there was no more singles group, and no more women's group.  The one group I could go to alternated nights every six weeks.  It's hard to make a commitment when I am an ABE/ESL teacher and half the positions are at night.  I guess I was angry at the things I lost at this church, when I had been a member for  20 years.  

About a year ago, the empty K-mart next to the apartment complex I live in was bought by a church, Eagle Brook Church.  I had heard good things about this church for a while, yet never went as their locations were no closer to me than Open Door, and I was comfortable there.  But when all this happened, I decided I had to let it go.  Every time I thought those  words, I had that song stuck in my head, although I never could understand the rest of the words.

I started going a few weekends ago.  I was amazed at how big this place is.  They have six locations, and most have two services both Saturday evening and Sunday morning.  Not only that, they have tons of groups.  They even have a group finder online to help you find one that meets your needs.  

I loved the music.  The sermons were good too, but to me, no one would ever be as good as Dave Johnson, the pastor at Open Door.  But he only spoke half the times, if even that.  We were quite spoiled by Dave. Again, things were changing that I didn't like and that I couldn't have control over.

That's the beauty? of this life.  Sometimes things change that we don't like.  Sometimes things never change, and you have to let it go.  You have to decide are you going to stick with it or are you going to part your separate ways?  

There are no easy answers in life.  Sometimes it's just a matter of waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more.  Maybe with all that waiting, God worked in my heart and mind more and more each day until I was ready to make the change.  Until then, I just had to be mad and grieve the loss of something that mattered a great deal to me.

But in the end, I had to let go.  I had to close that door and open a new one.  Like a year ago when I quit writing and started going to college to learn how to be an ABE/ESL teacher, of which I will done end of October.  And two years ago when I had to let go of my Chocolate, my cat, my best friend of 18 years.  

I guess there have been a lot of losses in my life these last two years.  But I also gained some things, a new career, a new church, and a deeper relationship with God.  

I hate to say it, but it seems that time heals all wounds.  I prayed and prayed and prayed, but I guess I had to be ready to let go, and embrace new things.  My stubborn mind and heart wanted to hold on for so long, until I was tired of holding on to something that was no longer there.  

I had to let it go.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Truman and the A Bomb


I just finished a great book from Bill O'Reilly called, "Killing the Rising Sun," about WWII with Japan.  I knew little about this part of the War, unlike the War in Europe.  All I knew was that my grandpa Bill was in the navy then, stationed in the South Pacific, as a mechanic on the ships.  He spoke little about it, but he did show me his scrapbook of pictures that him and a buddy took while they were there.  

Within those pages were pictures of half-naked natives, bombed-out buildings, and war planes.  He also had some Japanese money and postcards that he got off a dead Japanese soldier.  As  a child, I didn't understand why he called them Japs, but now as an adult, I realize that he was not the only one.

Many people of that era did.  Their Pearl Harbor was like our 9-11.  They saw them as the enemy, and most agreed with the need to use the A-bomb.  I wasn't sure about anything.  All I could remember was the picture of a naked girl on a magazine, the mushroom cloud in the sky.  I guess I never wondered if it was a good idea or not.

A few years ago, "Unbroken" was a popular book and movie, a true story about a man who survived such horrendous atrocities in a POW camp.  I have also read "China Dolls" by Lisa See about the Rape of Nanking.  But I wanted to read this latest book, as I have read all of O'Reilly's other Killing books, and found them to be honest and informational, as well as interesting reading.  I don't know which military was worse, the Nazis or the Japanese.  I cried, felt sick, and wondered how people could do such horrible things to others.  It seems, like the Nazis, that the Japanese military and its leaders, saw all others as inferior.  They even saw their emperor as their god, and this attitude trickled down through the civilians.  Even after all the destruction of their cities due to Allied bombing, and all the starving and dying, they still saw their empower as their god.  How sad to see such a horrible and brutal man, one puny, little man, as a god.  All he cared about was himself.  This was evident when he was willing to surrender but wanted a promise that he would not be convicted along with others for war crimes.  And it took 2 A-bombs to do it!  It boggles the mind to think of one so selfish and so evil.  But then again, there have been many dictators before and since.  

"Having found the bomb we have used it. We have used it against those who attacked us without warning at Pearl Harbor, against those who have starved and beaten and executed American prisoners of war, against those who have abandoned all pretense of obeying international laws of warfare. We have used it in order to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans." 

Harry Truman had a difficult decision to make. It is not something that he, nor anyone else, enjoyed, but found it was out of necessity.  Sometimes diplomacy just doesn't work.  Japan had laid a swath of destruction through China and the South Pacific.  It wasn't going to end. There was no other choice to be made.  
We can live in our ivory towers and pretend that all people are basically good and just want peace.  But that is not reality.  One only needs to look to history to see that, and even now, how there are still dictators out there destroying their own people, because they can.  

Monday, September 12, 2016

I'm Weird


I was looking at my YouTube last night and saw that there was a collection of trailers for Miss Peregrine's House for Peculiar Children.  I read all of these books and loved them, so I am excited for this movie to come out!  I enjoyed them so much because I was a peculiar child.  Although I had no superpowers like they did, I was weird, and am still.  I am part of the minority.

I am single and childless, and never been asked on a date, unless you count the homeless guy.  I don't have to work, but I want a career.  I live in an apartment, for I don't have the desire, time, or money to own my own home.  I am over educated and underemployed (OK, I guess that's pretty common these days). I was born with a rare genetic disorder.  I have anxiety and depression (that's not so weird either).  I know a lot of trivia crap.  I like to say I know a lot about a little and a little about a lot.  I'm not a girly girl, but hate sports.  I am a clean and organized freak.  I am an introvert.  I love healthy food and hate junk food.  I have IBS but not constipation.  I collect Barbies.  I hate romantic books and movies. I love Star Wars and Justice League.  I am a creature of habit.

I also have an aversion to  odd numbers, fuzz, lint, yarn , string, and thread.  I am fussy about my socks and underwear.  Although I live in MN and have been here all my life and don't plan to move, I hate winter.  Although I live in the Halloween capital of the world (Anoka), I hate Halloween.  I am not a morning person, so I prefer to go to church at night.  I hate pumpkin!

I ask questions about why everyone and everything has to be the same.  Why do all the stores and restaurants have pumpkin crap in the fall?  What about apple?  Why do most churches not have singles groups or evening services?  Why do people assume everyone has dated and had their first love?  Why do people use sports analogies, as if we all know what they are talking about?

I guess when these things happen, I am reminded that I am weird, that I am different.  I can't help but be who I am.  It took me about 40 years to finally like myself, I don't want to go back to hating myself or my life.  

Why?  Because life it is a gift that can be taken away at an instant.  And I just don't want to be like everyone else now. I like being different.  I like using my brain and deciding for myself what I believe, feel, or think.  I respect differences and weirdness.  My whole family is that way, so I guess the apple didn't fall far from the tree.  As I used to tell my niece who would laugh and say, "You're so weird!"  I responded, "Well, at least I'm not boring!"

So even though I am constantly reminded that I am different and don't quite fit in with the general public, I like me.  

Monday, September 5, 2016

9-11


Yesterday I watched, "United 93," a historical fiction about the flight that landed in the Pennsylvania fields.  It is based on fact, but with some artistic license as we don't know all the details.  Nevertheless, we know more about this doomed flight than any other of that day.

I highly recommend it if you haven't seen it.  But get ready to yell and and cry.  As the terrorists kept praying to their god, I kept saying, "You're going straight to hell."  I guess that was the only comfort of that day, that the terrorists would go "straight to hell."

It has been 15 years since this happened.  And yet it seems like yesterday I was in Paris, coming back from an excursion to Versailles, to see on the hotel lobby TV the planes flying into the world trade towers.  I spent that day and night trying to contact my mom.  All I wanted was my mommy.  I felt a world away and despaired of ever getting home.

Our travel companions shared their grief with us, people from around the world.  Our tour guides encouraged us to try to enjoy our trip, as we couldn't leave anyways.  So we did.  

In fact, the tragedy almost seemed to enhance our journey through Europe.  We laughed so much and had great times with each other.  Even in the midst of the not knowing, we could only live one day, one moment at a time.  

This is our generation's Pearl Harbor.   I'm sure my grandparents remembered where they were when that happened.  Now we remember where we were when this happened.  

And it is interesting to me how through the many memoirs I have read since then, almost everyone was affected by 9-11, even those far away from New York and DC, even those who didn't know anyone there.  

It affected all of us Americans.  And for a short while, it united us.  I really don't want to go through that trauma again.  Do you?  What does it have to take to unite us again?

I am learning through some trials of my own these days that I have to let things go.  It is amazingly difficult to do so sometimes, but in the whole scheme of things, do those things really matter.  I have my health, such as it is, my family, my friends, my country, and my God.  I have everything I need.  It is easy to forget sometimes.  But then when I think of 9-11, I remember, and I am thankful for the gift of life.  

Monday, August 29, 2016

Where is Heritage Square?


A few years ago, the eggheads at the MN State Fair decided to raze Heritage Square.  At first I thought it was a good idea, as it was old and had steep and crooked steps up into it.  But now it is West End Market, where we also pick up the bus in and out of the fair.  The old and  had gone, and only new was left.  

Gone was the circus train car crammed full of state fair memorabilia from over the years.  Gone was the old gas station, and the old silversmith.  The press was moved to another place where it is little noticed, and the little house you see in the upper right hand corner is still there, but you can't go through it. The circus train car is there too, but alas, you can't go through that either.  And all the state fair memorabilia is in an air-conditioned modern building, with a very small portion of what used to be on display.  

I was shocked that these old buildings were gone.  What happened to them? At my old age I had finally began to appreciate the history in these old buildings, and now they are gone.  My dad used to drag us through them when my sister and I were young.  I found it very boring.  But now I miss them.  I even miss the old, steep, and crooked steps.  

It is so easy to take for granted what we have.  We don't miss it until it's gone.  When it is, we finally realize how much it meant to us.  I wonder if that's how my dad's generation feels about machinery hill.  About how there are fewer farm implements and just more junk.  My dad used to take what seemed forever there, now he hardly takes a glance.  

I wonder if this is how the elderly feel.  Time seems to have passed them by, and forgotten whatever contributions they ever made.  Now they are having to ask their kids how to do things, things I am sure they never imagined would come about.  My parents were born before TV, and look now how much it has changed.  You can watch TV on your phone.  

We forget history.  And you know what they say, we are doomed to repeat it if we don't learn from it.  
I want my Heritage Square back, crooked steps and all.




Tuesday, August 23, 2016

My Summer Reading

 This is a book about a different way of looking at the Second Coming.  It is a hopeful book in that it is not scary, but instead encouraging, at least for me.  It posits that the earth and heaven will be reunited and resurrected, kind of like the Garden of Eden before the fall.  Meaning that all that is good will be redeemed, while all that is bad will pass away.  Wright is not the only one to think this way.  Randy Alcorn also did in his book, "Heaven."


I have read other Ortberg books, but I loved this one.  Like Dinesh D'Souza's story about how America changed the world, this is about how Jesus changed the world and how we all benefit from it, even if we don't believe in Him.  It is thought-provoking, and his writing style is smooth and funny.  He is pastor of Menlo Park church in CA.




  This book is about how to develop your relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  He provides examples of how to do this through scripture reading and prayer.  I know you and I have probably read tons of these types of books, but this was most helpful to me.  He has written many books and and has spoken at my church, Church of the Open Door.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Olympics


I watched the Olympics when it started and last week when my parents had company, my mom was recovering from her knee surgery, and I had last Tuesday night off of volunteering to watch the USA win the women's gymnastics team finals (GO FINAL 5!) 

What I realized that I was missing and that I really didn't miss, was politics.  And no terrorists attacks, as far as I know.  I didn't worry about who to vote for, or about terrorists committing another atrocity.  Instead I cheered for athletes.  I cheered when they won, I cried when they cried.  I felt like a part of something bigger.  I felt united with the world, which I had not felt for a long time.

Is this the secret?  Giving politicians and terrorists a game to play, instead of a battle to fight?  I saw images of sportsmanship, like when the 2 female runners fell and helped each other up, losing any chance at a medal.  I saw people cry as their anthems played, hug and congratulate each other.  I saw people celebrating with others around the world at the opening ceremony. I saw the refugee team, and cried.  

The Olympics gives us a chance to see that we are not enemies.  We are human, a part of the great race, made in the image of God.  Too often we don't reflect His glory.  But for these 2 short weeks, every other year, we can see the best of humanity.  We can see that we are not so different.  Most of us just want to live our lives, love our families, and be at peace.  That doesn't seem like much to ask for, but it becomes impossible to gain.  I suppose that after all we are human. It is easier to fight and hate than it is to love and be at peace.

I wish it was easier to love and be at peace.