Sunday, May 27, 2012

On Frogs and Princes

I remember hearing a man tell of an experience in a restaurant.  I think he was in New York City.  Anyway, he was unimpressed by the lackluster attention he was getting from his server.

At one point, he summoned her and referred to her as a "waitress."

"Oh, I'm actually an actress!" she replied.  "This is just for the meantime."

"Well, then. . ." he said.  "Act like a waitress!"

That would've made her a good waitress.

Then, the other day, I was listening to a man preach a sermon on marriage.  It was great and he made some great points.  While he was talking, my mind started going crazy. He was talking about how we act differently over time.  He has been married 10 years and he cited ways that he acts differently than he did when dating the lady who became his wife.

How many times have you heard something like: he's not the same man I married. . . or, she's not the woman she was when we were dating?

It's easy to fool ourselves, isn't it?

Am I the same man I was 8 years ago?

Let me ask it another way:

We just bought a "new" car.  I say "new" with quotes, because it is a 1998, and it has 130,000 miles on it.  If we've done our research right, it will last me for as long as I need it.

I'm sure it doesn't drive quite the same way it did when it was new.

When the former owner--who had owned it since 1998--brought it in to sell it, could he argue that it wasn't the same car that he had bought?

That sounds a little silly.

Of course it's the same car.  It's just older.

So it goes with us.  I'm older than I was 8 years ago.  I act differently.  I hope that most of the differences are for the better.  The cool thing is that I get to choose how I act!

Once, I asked Mrs O why some women seem to fall in love with a frog hoping he will be Prince Charming, but then become dissatisfied when they kiss the frog and he's just a frog.  What's a guy to do?

She replied, "Most of the time, it's because she fell in love with a prince.  She kissed the prince and he turned into a frog.  She just wants her prince back!"

Note to self: Act like a prince.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Freezer Bags and China Plates

My grandmother sometimes washes out her freezer bags.  Maybe your grandmother does, too.  I've heard of many grandmothers of the same generation who do things like that.  She just figures that they're still good.  Not ready to throw them out.  Still worth the effort of a little minor maintenance.

She also saves her butter wrappers.  You know, the waxed paper on the outside of a stick of butter?  She saves those after she puts the stick of butter on the butter dish.  There's still a little bit of butter on the inside of the paper.  Later, when she's making a batch of rolls, she whips out the waxed paper butter wrappers and uses up that last little bit of butter by smearing it on the warm rolls.


Is it worth it?

Well, I don't bother.  I still think it's genius, but for one, I don't make homemade rolls as often as Grammie does.

I don't wash out my freezer bags either, but then, I prefer to use those 'reusable' plastic containers rather than the bags.  I don't wash freezer bags, and I don't wash plastic forks.  I guess Grammie might say that freezer bags are 'reusable' now, wouldn't she?

I wash flatware--the stainless steel kind.  We don't have silver.

I wash our dishes.  They're not china plates or anything, but they're too valuable to throw away.  I can't afford to keep replacing them every time we eat on them!

It occurred to me the other day that marriage is like a freezer bag.

Am I starting to lose you?

I am always trying to figure out why marriages fail.  I've heard all kinds of explanations: marriage isn't 50/50, it's 100/100!


Is that it?

I've known a few long-married couples who don't seem to be giving it their all.  Why are they still married?

I think it's deeper and simpler than all the relational philosophy.  Simpler than analyzing communication styles, gender roles, intimacy issues, etc.

I think some people view marriage like a freezer bag.  When it gets dirty, it's time to throw it away.

I think that some people view marriage like a china plate. No matter how old and dirty it gets, it's always worth cleaning up.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Blue Like Jazz

I saw a new movie recently: Blue Like Jazz.  It came from a book by the same title, written by Donald Miller.  Miller is a fantastic writer.  I hadn't read Blue Like Jazz when I saw the movie, but I've checked it out of the library and began reading it this morning.  I already love it!

"To me, God was more of an idea.  It was something like a slot machine, a set of spinning images that dolled out rewards based on behavior and, perhaps, chance."
-from chapter 1, Beginnings, Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

I used to feel this way.  I grew up going to church and found a way to do the 'right' things and managed to look pretty good.  But it wasn't personal.  Then, my family fell apart.  My parents divorced and I became one of those people that no one ever talks about. . . to their face, at least.

I felt like God had let me down.  I went to college and put God on the shelf.  I didn't think I needed him.  That is, until I needed to pay for my schooling.

"Oh, God.  How am I going to do this?  I need you."

Then he came through for me.  I got a scholarship, for which I had not applied.  I had received the scholarship the year before.  No one had applied this particular year, so the attorney, trustee of the fund, sent the money to me.  He happened to send this money just at the same time that I was praying asking God for money.  I received the check two days later.

Then, I put him on the shelf again.

"Problem solved.  I don't need you anymore."

That is, until I needed a co-op job.

"Oh, God.  How am I going to do this?  I need you."

Then he came through for me. . . you see where this is going?  I wasn't getting the co-op job that I thought I wanted.  So, I prayed for a co-op job and told God that I was willing to take anything--even the job that he wanted me to take.  It was the best decision I've ever made.

After that, it became personal.  I started giving up more easily.  Not giving up like laying in bed and not getting dressed all day, but giving up like saying, "Ok, God.  If you have a plan, I know it's going to be better than any plan of mine.  I'll explore all my options, you open the doors, I'll go through them."

This strategy led me to graduate school.

This strategy found me the best wife in the entire world.

This strategy found me a fantastic career.

This strategy brought us to our current hometown.

It has been a wild ride, but I wouldn't trade it, and I'm not going to change my strategy!  I've taken God off the shelf for the last time.