Saturday, July 09, 2011

My "Old Iron Bucket" and Other Throwaways

Despite the fact that I don't like covering up one post with another, particularly on the same day, I got hit by this one this afternoon and just had to write it. So, now, you have the option of not reading one or two posts from me today.

Your choice.


I think I was born with that special "Packrat Gene". I've been that way all my life, particularly since we've been married, when I got to have my own stuff. So I tend to accumulate things that Smart Guys usually throw away.

For instance, I spent an hour or so, this afternoon (plus an hour or so last evening) sorting nuts & bolts, washers, etc. See, whenever I work on a project like hanging up a curtain rod or putting in a new toilet paper holder, if there are any screws, bolts, nuts, washers, brackets, or other miscellany left over, I always keep it. Depending on the size and nature, the leftover junk went into the nuts & bolts box .. about 30# as of this morning .. or into the Old Iron Bucket pictured.

It also helped that Peg brought home the "starter kit" of nuts & bolts about 30 years ago when a small manufacturer she worked for closed down and they gave her the stuff (which was cheaper than their having it hauled away).

I cannot begin to count the times I've gone to the nut & bolt box, to get a fastener I needed. The only trouble I had with it was that, when you dump the nuts & bolts & washers into the thing, the nuts & washers all sink immediately to the bottom, so when I need a nut & bolt, I have to dump the whole thing out on the floor. All 30# worth (and I think they're multiplying in there too as it seems to be getting heavier). Then it's a real hassle to put back into the box, since their are drywall screws in there, too, and them things is SHARP. So I couldn't just grabs handfuls and throw them back in. Hence the sorting process yesterday and today.

Now as to the Old Iron Bucket .. actually a rope-handled laundry basket .. there's stuff in there that somebody would probably pay good money on EBay for. There's a top bolt/bracket thing for a bike carrier I bought in the early 1970's, to take our bikes to Florida to visit mom & dad. There's a hood latch support for a 1989 Chevrolet S10.

I saw a muffler hanger for a mid-60's Thunderbird in there today, and also a couple of rear leaf spring hangers for a 1978 Camaro I used as a parts car when I built my red roadster..

Several brackets and an anti-vibration damper from a Vega.

The top of an old jack-stand, onto which I'd welded a big caster wheel. I used to stick it on the jack for our boat trailer on the theory that it was easier shove the thing straight than it was to learn how to back it up straight.

You get the idea. Anything and everything I ever should have thrown away, as long as it was metal.

Again, with this treasure trove, I cannot begin to count the things I've done with stuff I should have thrown away. I've been playing with a welder for 30+ years, so when I need a bracket, a brace, or some other thingamajig, I just grab the Iron Bucket, crank up the metal chop saw and drag out the welder.

Guess maybe I really am into recycling, after all.

I wonder if God's like that. Recycling some things the world views as throwaways.

Perhaps a scoundrel who'd steal his brother's birthright and inheritance?

Or maybe a guy who had it all but wanted his neighbor's wife, too, got her pregnant, and than had her husband killed?

Possibly a fat kid from Illinois who never thought he'd amount to anything?

Or someone else who comes to mind right now? Like a young mother from Florida whose child died, mysteriously and senselessly?

A Tale Of Jesus And The Keurig Platinum

That's a picture of our Keurig Coffeemaker over there. It was bought for us by our younger son Brad, and is the top-of-the-line "Platinum" model. We really like this thing, too, as it's so nice to be able to whip up a cup of whatever kind of coffee we want, without brewing a 12-cup pot and letting most of it go to waste.

But there's something "spiritual" about this thing that has been nagging at me the past few days. It's this: Brad gave us a better model than he has!

THAT got me to thinking.

Isn't that what Jesus did? Think of His life here on earth. What was His favorite food, exercise, vacation spot, brand of automobile, or recreation? The only thing He ever said that even remotely approaches saying that (that I can recall) is that His "meat" was to do His Father's will!

He lets us have .. or earn .. all those things I mentioned. Sure, we have to order our lives after what He'd have us to do, but he even promised to give us the desires of our heart so we could do that as we are, where we are.

He had to physically suffer great agony for us. We don't for him .. we're told that we're His joint heirs if we suffer with Him, but Hebrews seems to equate that with crucifying ourselves in the face of temptation. We don't have to literally hang on a cross, but He did.

He gives us a better life, here, than He had!

Of course, His willingness to make that sacrifice was what got Him the position He now has in heaven, which our personal sacrifice here isn't going to get for us. We're never going to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and that's what God provided for Him as a result of His life (and death) here.

The only appropriate response to that, to me, is to live for Him here. To continue the work He started. He's given us a better "life" here than He had, and it's only appropriate that He has more abundance of life, in Heaven, than we will (we may "rule with Him...", but we'll never be King of Kings and Lord of Lords).

And that's fine with me. If He's willing to share His life with us here, how much more when we're sharing His life, with Him there.

The old hymn says "Hallelujah! What a Savior!"

What a Savior, indeed!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Roto-Tiller Religion .. Rotary Mower Church


I just happened to think of something an insurance company claims manager told me once. We were chatting over coffee, and I told him about my Father-In-Law's Roto-Tiller I'd borrowed. I told him the thing was fun to use, but a little scary. His response surprised me.

He told the Roto-Tiller was one of the safest machines to use, for the average homeowner. He said they look so scary, with all those revolving blades up front, that folks are almost always careful with them. Very careful! Rotary mowers, however, he said, are the most dangerous.

Hmmm, I said. Why? He said "Because they look so harmless".

***************************************************************************


There's another thought that's been rattling around in my alleged mind for a while now: if you injured your back .. say, you strained a muscle .. and the doctor told you he wanted you to stay in bed, flat on your back, for a week, I think I know what you'd do. Like me, you'd stay down a day and, if the back didn't hurt much when you got up to address certain needs of the body, you'd probably move to the couch and maybe watch a little TV on day two.

Day three, you'd probably be in the recliner and by day four or five, you'd be up and about. Perhaps taking it easy.

Now change the scene a little. Say you'd been in an auto accident, and you have a spine injury. Maybe a sliver of bone close to the spinal cord. This time, the doctor says stay in bed for a week, or you'll never walk again!

In this case, you'd keep your backsides planted in the bed, holler for the bedpan, and probably stay an extra day or two just to be safe.

Same instructions. Different actions. Why?

Simple. In the second case, you'd see the value. The stakes would be high and you'd know it.

I wonder if the same thought might apply to the Christian and his walk with God.

I think it does, and I think one big reason so few Southern Baptist Church members actually go to church is because they don't see the value of going. They don't see the value of being involved.

I have been obsessed with a simple thought, for some time now. It concerns the discernment of value. Of worth. Face it .. in too many cases, the occasional Christian looks about like the consecrated one. And overall, the lives of the folks in the church look pretty much like the lives of the rest of the population. I have to ask myself why that is.

Maybe it's that the membership in general .. both the occasional attenders, and the non-involved pew-sitters .. simply doesn't see the value of obeying God. Jesus said something interesting about that.

In two separate verses, in the same passages, He said those who loved Him would obey His commands, and then that those who loved Him would keep His teachings. Now I'm no theologian, but one of those seems to be following orders, while the others seem to speak to who we are. What we are. Ordering ourselves, not just our actions, after Jesus' model.

I have to ask why it is that most in the church don't seem to get that. Maybe the downside of being a "believer" but not a "follower" isn't plain. Maybe it's not being made plain. Maybe it's not the way to attract members.

I don't know. But I do know that Jesus was more of a Roto-Tiller than a Rotary Mower, and the only safe place I know to be is right behind Him.

Hands-on.

Following.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Speaking of Mom...

About six years ago, I wrote a "book", simply detailing everything I could think of to write from my memory. I did that to leave behind my memories for my family, when I die. Sort of didn't want the knowledge to die when I did.

In the first chapter, I found myself writing about some events concerning my Mother. What prompted me to copy those paragraphs concerning her, and put them here, is the fact I stumbled across the bookmark over there, just an hour or so ago. It reminded me that my mother died 14 years ago today. That seemed a good enough reason, so what follows is what I wrote in 2005.


"Speaking of Mom, most of the things about getting along with people, that I can remember learning, I remember learning from Mom. To name a few:

  • Say “Please and Thank you”.
  • Paying the bills in a restaurant. When I was 8 or 10 years old, I would ride in to Midway Airport to pick up Dad when he returned from business trips. Mom and I would often stop somewhere, usually the White Mill, and get a milkshake. She’d always give me the money and tell me to go to the counter and pay the bill. She said, since I was the man in the party, I should pay the bill.
  • Never walk on a railroad track. A neighbor of ours was killed by a train when I was, perhaps, 10 years old, and another neighbor said the train had “torn him inside out”. I remember visualizing that, and the picture never left. To this day, I cannot stand to be on a railroad track for any time. Even the occasional traffic line-up that puts me on an old, unused, rusty track bothers me greatly until I get off the tracks.
  • Always call people older than you by “Mr.”, “Mrs.”, or “Miss”. Never use their first name, unless they ask you to. Truth be told, I never could, even when asked. One of my father’s friends, whom my Dad was training, told me later that, when I called him “Mr.”, it was the first time he ever felt old. I also had trouble, many years later, as a Rotary Club Member where all are commanded to call each other by their first names.
  • Always open the door for a lady. One amusing part of that is, since I’ve gotten older, ladies open the door for me. Even Pretty Ones. Talk about mixed emotions…
  • Always walk on the curb-side, of the sidewalk, of any lady with whom you are walking. I do that, to this very day. No matter who the lady is.
These thoughts all came to me one day when I was in the supermarket. Peg was out of town, and I’d gone there to get a meal at the deli, to take home and eat. Alongside me at the counter was an obviously pregnant young lady with a son, perhaps 7 or 8 years old with her.

When the attendant came over, she asked me what I wanted and I said “”She was here first … wait on her” The young lady said “Thank you” and I remarked to her “I think ladies are never more beautiful, than when they’re pregnant”.
She laughed and said “Well, in that case, I have about 4 more weeks to be beautiful”.
We left the counter, she one way and I the other.

I walked up to the checkout line and she walked up behind me; I told her “You were here first, so go ahead”.

She said “Thank you again!” I remarked “Don’t thank me … thank my Mother. She taught me all those things”.

I’d never thought of that before that instant. But the thought has taken root, and there’s seldom a day I don’t thank God for a Mom who taught me.

Mothers: take heart. Your children won’t ignore what you teach them, even when they’re ignoring you."

Here's a photo of mom, taken in Colorado. She's pretty much as I remember her.