Posted: March 9, 2008 in Ten Questions

Me with my twenty-one year old daughter!

TEN QUESTIONS:

1. Did I help make life better for anyone this week?
I sure hope so. I had a court case this week in my role as a CASA, and it wasn’t fun. My job is to speak up on behalf of the children, and sometimes you have to say things that are hurtful to others to accomplish that objective. That’s what it felt like this past Wednesday.

2. Did I reach across lines that divide and meet someone new this week?
I met Dorothy in Biloxi. I am convinced that nursing homes are home to many of our modern-day lepers. Ushered out of sight and out of mind by our society, many of the human beings stored there are destined to live life alone, and the tragic sounds one might hear in the hallways are our version of yelling Unclean! I am equally convinced that one of our most subversive acts is to visit a nursing home, not for friends and family, but to minister to the least of these – which is why I try to go to a Biloxi nursing home every other week for a short visit. My normal routine is to talk to Miss Katie who is consistently staring at the lobby door when it opens, say a prayer with Mr. Flowers if I bump into him along the way, and then hang out with my buddy, Hezekiah. On occasion, I bump into my friend, Margie, who works there as an angel of mercy. This week, however, I realized that I’m still a jerk. I still avoid many of the residents – I get in, and I get out, often as fast as I can. This week, I stopped to meet Dorothy. Dorothy usually sits in the lobby, though I’ve never stopped to meet her before. She sits in her wheelchair in her sweat suit and house shoes, not bothering anyone. Occasionally, she tries to talk to someone, but people like me usually smile and walk on by. On Monday, I chose not to walk on by. Dorothy doesn’t communicate well, but I got that she wasn’t feeling good. I complimented her on her colorful Mardi Gras beads. She tried to say a few more things that I couldn’t understand, and then she turned shy. I told her I would check on her next time, and I will. I won’t pass her by again. I won’t allow myself to miss that blessing.

3. Did I learn anything worthwhile this week?
I learned that resurrection is a reality, all wrapped up in the beautiful Jade Baker. My family went to our friend Mallonee’s wedding yesterday. It was beautiful, but my favorite part of the entire event was getting a hug from Jade. You see, Jade was in a horrible accident years ago now, just after she graduated from high school. I was called to the hospital as soon as the crowd began to form in the ICU waiting room to pray with the family and friends. I went to the hospital every day to pray with Jade’s family, and it was doubtful that she would survive. But she survived. After a lengthy hospital stay, her family relocated to Cincinnati where a good rehab hospital and her dad’s new job made a perfect match. I haven’t seen Jade since then, but yesterday, I watched her walk down the aisle as one of Mallonee’s bridesmaids. Better, at the reception, I got a big hug. She claimed that she remembered me, and though her body reacts a little differently than it did years ago, she still has the same beautiful smile. And when she told me in her halting voice, “I bet you prayed for me,” I thought my heart would just explode everywhere.

4. Did I spend time with close family and friends this week?
Erica came to town for her Spring Break, which just happened to coincide with her 21st birthday. She and I ate together at the Hard Rock Café in her honor, and then our whole family attended the wedding on Saturday. There, we got to see David, Debra, and Harrison Carter, and we enjoyed seeing them so much. Harrison is now the age I was when I married Jody, which means I must be really old now.

5. Did I take the time to notice nature this week?
A major storm woke me at 2am Friday morning. Instead of just going back to sleep (as is my tradition), I decided to lay awake and listen to the sounds. I heard it whistle like a train, then rev up like a motorcycle, and before long I couldn’t help but begin to worry. Katrina-memories I guess. Maybe I shouldn’t have noticed nature and just went back to sleep.

6. Did I have fun this week?
I discovered Google Earth this week, and enjoyed my trip to Malibu. We found where we will live, and we found where Hillary will go to school. She is totally pumped that she will be going to a school with a huge outdoor pool. And we noticed that we’ll be living close to Cher. That’s cool.

7. Did I do my best at my job this week?
I did my best. I did a pretty good job teaching on prayer in ladies class, and a better job on my Wednesday class on 1st Corinthians this week. My sermon and class today weren’t earth-shattering, but passable I guess. I started cleaning out my office this week, and I did a good job with that! It isn’t easy for me to throw away memories, but I’ve sent several large garbage bags full of memories to the dumpster so far…

8. Did I engage in a discussion of things that matter this week?
Very much so, with a VERY good friend going through a completely difficult time.

9. Did I read or hear or see a good story this week?
Oh yes. I began reading “Grace…Eventually” by Anne Lamott. She is an amazing writer. Her essay “Dance Class” is my favorite so far. She and her friend, Neshama, went to be volunteer helpers at a special-ed dance class taught by their mutual friend, Karen. The way she ended her story took my breath away. She wrote, “When Karen and I were hiking a few days later, she told me that after the class, one of the dancers had exclaimed, ‘I liked those old ladies! They were helpers, and they danced.’ These are the words I want on my gravestone: that I was a helper, and that I danced.”

10. Did I feed my soul with music this week?
Crank-it-up moment of the week: Paradise City by Guns ‘n Roses. There is hardly a better crank-it-up song in existence.

My new friend, Jamey, introduced me to some great lyrics from a musician named Todd Agnew. I found the song on YouTube and listened to it – what a powerful message. Here are the haunting lyrics from My Jesus:

Which Jesus do you follow?
Which Jesus do you serve?
If Ephesians says to imitate Christ
Then why do you look so much like the world?

Cause my Jesus bled and died
He spent His time with thieves and liars
He loved the poor and accosted the arrogant
So which one do you want to be?

Blessed are the poor in spirit
Or do we pray to be blessed with the wealth of this land
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness
Or do we ache for another taste of this world of shifting sand

Cause my Jesus bled and died for my sins
He spent His time with theives and sluts and liars
He loved the poor and accosted the rich
So which one do you want to be?

Who is this that
You follow
This picture of the American dream
If Jesus was here would you walk right on by on
the other side or fall down and worship at His holy feet

Pretty blue eyes and curly brown hair and a clear complexion
Is how you see Him as He dies for Your sins
But the Word says He was battered and scarred
Or did you miss that part
Sometimes I doubt we’d recognize Him

Cause my Jesus bled and died
He spent His time with thieves and the least of these
He loved the poor and accosted the comfortable
So which one do you want to be?

Cause my Jesus would never be accepted in my church
The blood and dirt on His feet might stain the carpet
But He reaches for the hurting and despises the proud
I think He’d prefer Beale St. to the stained glass crowd
And I know that He can hear me in I cry out loud

I want to be like my Jesus
Not a poster child for American prosperity,but like my Jesus
You see I’m tired of living for success and popularity
I want to be like my Jesus but I’m not sure what that
means to be like you Jesus
Cause You said to live like You, love like You
but then You died for me

Can I be like You Jesus?
I want to be like my Jesus

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