You Choose

The choice, as they say, is yours.

Today is gameday in South Carolina – SC is traveling to Clemson for the biggest rivalry in these parts. Families are torn today. Friends are on opposite sides of the divide. One side will be unhappy tonight – and, I hope, they’ll be mostly wearing orange. Some folks will be mad. Some will be mouthy, whiney, offended – and that’ll be on both sides, win/lose/draw.

It happens in politics (if you’re on Facebook, you know what it was like just a few short weeks ago, and still on some walls today). It happens in Christian circles, and I’m sure in other faith communities as well. It happens at work, at home, in the midst of family members, and in juts about anything we do together.

People disagree.

I don’t like conflict. Lots of people think I do. I’m the one who asks the “devil’s advocate” queries often, asking the counter-question in order to get to something other than the status quo. But that doesn’t mean I like to be at odds with the room.

It happens, though – and sometimes it makes folks angry that I don’t stay on the dotted line very well.

Or rather, they choose to be angry. Or if not actually mad, then to still treat me and my questions/statements as a hostile, as someone coming along with heresy and blasphemy at worst, with stupidity and childishness and in need of education at best.

Different ideas, different opinions, different expectations does not an enemy make.

But I choose to be offended. I choose to be angry. I choose to let someone else hold sway over how I feel about myself, about them, about life, the universe and everything.

But you choose to be offended. You choose to be angry. You choose to let someone else hold sway over how you feel about yourself, about them, about life, the universe and everything.

Or, I choose to not.

I choose today to not be angry, to not be offended, to not give someone else the keys to my emotional state.

We get to choose. Yes, it’s harder when the folks closest to you are the ones choosing to be offended, to be mad, to label you as the opposition. But it’s still your choice. It’s still my choice.

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Thank You.

Thank you…

… for listening to me rant, try to get my point across, serve my own ego online or IRL.

… for giving me good examples of how to be a decent human being.

… for loving me in spite of all the unlovable bits.

… for laughing at my bad jokes (I knew the good ones were funny, but these… sheesh).

… for feeling the freedom to be yourself around me.

… for being there when I needed to _____.

… for letting me be there for you there when you needed to _____.

… for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness together.

… for letting me post something so vague, yet so heartfelt on this Thanksgiving Day.

If there’s any question – yes, thank you for all of the above and more.

Rebel Against Indifference

My own copied in response to yesterday’s “stick shift” post:

I ran across a T-shirt with the words “Rebel against your own indifference” and I immediately fell in love with it. In a world that can overwhelm us with so much bad news, it can be exhausting. Indifference may follow.

via 12 Most Beneficial Reasons to Resist Indifference |.

Rough, Lovable Monday

I’m a fan of Monday – my Sunday afternoons, I prepare for the week ahead mentally and emotionally so I can hit the ground running the next morning. But I totally understand Monday angst. Nay, I was once a hardcore participant in Monday’s whininess. So here’s some thoughts from a few weeks ago, a Monday that didn’t play nice:

Had a rough day yesterday. Over the past year or so, I’ve become a fan of Mondays. I used to dread having to go back to work, get into the daily grind – but I’ve learned that Monday is really just a starting point like any other starting point and that what I make of it is entirely up to me.

That might have been true yesterday as well, but I didn’t see it. From the beginning with my driver-side window sticking to my PC boot-up that went offensively awry, it was downhill mentally. I had no juice, no gumption to get anything productive done. I wanted the “Home” button on my PC to do just that – one click to take me Home. But there was no do-over available.

After work, I was stuck in traffic – heading through town to try to make my Jury Duty assignment at 5:30pm. That’s right: Jury Duty AFTER WORK on a Monday. See what I mean about this being out of my control? I ended up about five minutes late – which was okay, arriving just in time to answer, “Is there anyone arriving late who has not been checked off?” The only upside was that with a handful of DUI cases to seat juries for, the judge wasn’t able to field enough jurors so we were all dismissed an hour later. An hour sitting on a pew in a courtroom: one of the HIGHLIGHTS of this particular Monday.

Music Fans and Grief

A friend of mine passed away a few years ago. I never met RN in real life, but the interaction through years of email and the beginnings of Facebook were pretty solid. Twitter wasn’t necessarily his favorite. Not sure, but I think once he could’ve warmed up to Google+ he might have enjoyed that. Anyway, he was older than me, pastoring churches in TX over the time we knew each other, playing guitar in services and in jam bands. He was instrumental in helping me to dig through “my faith”, to read some instrumental and controversial books, and to figure out things for myself, still providing a foundation for me to stand on confidently today.

One Thursday, I sent him an invite to a new book-reading/sharing site online. He joined that night, added a couple of books. On Friday, he died. Just like that. Too young, not done, unfinished – but after making a deep impact on my life and, I’m sure, the lives of many others.

One of the things that comes back from time to time is his appreciation for the band O.A.R. I had never heard of them, had completely off my radar. But that Friday, based on some Facebook interaction we’d had shortly before, I bought my first O.A.R. album on iTunes. I liked it. And I’ve been at least a distant fan since.

Their new album, KING (deluxe, only way to go – not an affiliate link), is the best of theirs that I’ve yet discovered, and it floods me with “wow, this is really really good” and “wonder what R would’ve thought about this” – and that mix of emotion and musical growth has me reminiscing and sentimentalizing this morning…

Thanks for that, R. Hope you’re able to find the chord charts.

Keep Spinning

Thank you so much for all the well wishes and birthday greetings across the online-osphere yesterday. I turned 43 – Forty-Three, or 42+1 for all the HGTTG fans out there. This morning I feel like being productive, making something of myself, pressing forward on some of the spinning plates of my life – and this is good.

I think it’s when we think too much about how old we feel, rather than on how young we still are, that those plates start falling and negative momentum sets in. Or it’s just me – take your pick. But I hope as your birthday comes and goes that you feel the positive push forward that’s needed to stay “young”, and all that goes with it.

What’s Pain Got To Do With It?

Clouds to the south

I’m not a big fan of generalizations and broad brush strokes. But the statement made in the blogpost quoted below really struck me this morning: “don’t waste your pain.”

The question we need to ask ourselves when God allows us to go through hard times is not why but who? In the mind of God, pain always has two intended recipients: us and someone else. If we choose not to take what we’ve experienced and find some way of using it to help other people, we miss a large part of why God allowed us to suffer in the first place.

via Brian Jones – The Official Website > Blog > Don’t Waste Your Pain.

We look at pain as a bad thing most times, and honestly that’s probably the best way to start out anyway. Pain comes from stuff we’ve done, from stuff other folks have done, from random crap that falls from the sky. Placing blame for pain isn’t always an option, and often isn’t the best option either. But taking pain and using it for something real, something positive, something helpful and healing – that’s a good thing, isn’t it?

In the post above, Brian Jones writes his own thoughts and pastoral insights on pain. You have yours, too, for better or for worse, for good or for ill. What I want to impress upon folks is that pain is real, it really sucks, but if we somehow “let it win”, then we lose. Taking ownership of the outcome, taking some responsibility for my own response and my own growth through the painful experiences of life – that’s a positive that only I can grab on to.

Don’t hear me say/write that, “all pain is good” – because that’s a lie. Rather, hear/read this: “pain sucks, but I choose to win over this mess today”. And then, do it.