When I was a kid, I was terrified that ‘monsters’ would eat me while I was sleeping, starting at my feet. My parents never heeded my warnings that I heard said monsters under the bed, forcing me to sleep alone with my fear. It was then that I began to curl my legs up once I got in my bed, thinking that the monster wouldn’t be able to reach me (I didn’t know about retractable claws back then…).
I mention that because at age 28, I STILL sleep like that. Now, I’m not worried about monsters anymore (though if I watch a scary movie…) but my body has just gotten used to it. I cannot sleep with my legs straight or on my back…it’s gotta be on the side in a ball. All this because of a fear I had when I was a kid. It makes me wonder what else I believe or do based on what I learned as a kid…I can think of a couple…
I thought that everyone was my friend. I thought that God was a pilot in a WWII plane who would drop gifts for people. I thought wrestling was real. I thought the Olympics were dumb (how so much has changed…). I thought I’d be a rapper when I grew up.
Of course I know better now. Some people are people you just know, or acquaintances, or friends for a season, or people you don’t like over time and so on and so on. God is not a pilot (sidenote: Why do people have God is my Co-Pilot bumper stickers? People are dumb.). Wrestling is not real. Olympics turn countries into small towns, which is awesome. And I would be the worst rapper ever. There are some many things we carry into our adulthood. How to treat others, how we love our spouses and children. How we deal with relationships (Like in the intro for the movie “He’s Just Not That Into You” and the character development in “500 Days of Summer”). Fears and anxieties. Matters of faith and understanding. Heartbreak and loss…so much of these things we live out now are because of how we learned them as a kid. Of course we may not believe them as we did (there are no monsters under bed) but we have the ‘scars’ and history as a reminder (curled up in a ball).
I write this because I have a daughter who will learn from me what kind of man she wants to marry or NOT marry, how to deal with bad news, how to admit wrong, how to enjoy the little things, save money…you name it. I’m HER teacher. I need to tell her that there are no monsters under her bed and that she can straighten her legs…maybe even sleep on her back. And if you have kids, work with kids or will one day have kids, this responsibility is on you too. You’re welcome 🙂
I am 28 years old.
I still have a lot of life to live, pending i don’t have an early death or something ‘too soon-type’ tragic.
I turn 29 in a few weeks.
I have lived in 4 cities, travelled lots, done lots. Made major mistakes. Made some great decisions.
I should be thinking about other things. Yet this week, I’ve found myself thinking about ‘Legacy’ and how our lives will count.
Maybe it’s because Gladiator was playing on TV on Family Day and Maximus’s signature line of what we do in life echoes in eternity (I personally like the line ‘Are you not entertained?’ better…it should be on a T-Shirt.) has rattled my brain. Maybe it’s the glow of Olympic gold and how for many of these winners, they will be remembered for their feats of excellence that’s done it (shout-outs to Bilodeau…he’ll be up there for life now.). I dunno. I know God tells me to not worry about tomorrow…so I don’t worry. However, I do think a lot. What will people remember of me…of my close friends…of my grad class or workmates…will we fade into the books (which is okay) or will it be more? What will I leave behind? Hopefully I’m not like Chip, the old grandfather from Talladega Nights who, according to Ricky Bobby, only produced a hot daughter. Hopefully there’s more to me than that:)
Things like YouTube now capture moments in time forever, pending you don’t use a copy written song). And while many of these things are dumb and funny, every so often you’ll find something that makes you say, “God, I want to leave something like this behind…” Check this out and hopefully be inspired to leave something great behind, big or small.
So last week, Becca introduced me to a show on MTV called The Buried Life. Normally I do the introducing (that’s why we now watch LOST, The Office, Friday Night Lights and Parks & Recreation. Sadly, 24 didn’t make the cut. Stupid Elisha Cuthbert’s daughter character and her whining turn Becca and many others away!!).
Now MTV is known for smutty, horribly acted, career making (and breaking) show (example: I present Heidi Montag…) or weird comedies. This show is different. 4 guys made up a list of things they want to do before they die and they drive in a bus around the states to do it. The catch is, for everything they do in their lives, they help a stranger with a goal/desire in their own life. It makes for great TV. When they crash a wedding, they also help a dad reunite with a son he hadn’t see in 20 years. Great TV. It’s not The Hills or The City…it’s actually great viewing.
It brings the tension of what I want versus the need of others. We all have this LIST, our dreams and wants but as we walk through life, we come in contact with others who need a boost to their own dreams. How often do we miss out on helping someone because we are too busy worrying about our own list? I’ve been guilty of that. How about you?
I watched with conviction as they helped a deliver a baby (their list) then fly a girl out to Denver to see her mom’s grave (her own list). I thought to myself, if I wasn’t a pastor, would I be willing to help someone like that? It’s easy to write a cheque (here you go impoverish country or kids) do a missions trip (it’s only two weeks and it’s more about me that the people I’m helping…) but it’s hard to enter into someone’s life and say, I’m stopping whatever I’m doing to ensure you’re okay.
I don’t think I’m a selfish person but I do have struggles with selfishness as we all do (right???). But I think we only truly begin to LIVE life when we help others without looking for anything. Our lives are in effect buried until will see the needs of our neighbors, friends and even enemies and are willing to help them out. We aren’t truly alive until we are willing to lend a hand to someone else’s LIST. And as I work on helping others, I’ll realize that life is bigger than my own list, my own dreams. In many ways, my heart is connected to what He (He being God) wants. It’s the closest thing to ‘not my will…’ we’ll get to until glory. And I struggle with that…BECAUSE it means that I may never meet Kobe Bryant, go to Disneyland, drive across Canada, build a house, grow a handlebar moustache among many other dreams (those are semi-real…I’ll keep my REAL dreams close to the chest for now…). However, it does mean that I may leave the country to help someone in need. It may mean that I’ll give money to a stranger. It may mean not buying what I want or what Eliana wants because there is a baby who is less fortunate than her.
So those guys are on to something…but maybe it’s backwards. As we help others, perhaps God will allow us to see a bit of our dreams come true too. Who knows…but I got my list ready and my eyes and heart open to help others with theirs too. Not because I’m a pastor but because I want to be like Jesus and doing that, I’ll be a better pastor…hopefully 🙂
How about you?
Sometimes these commercials are pretty funny, regardless of whether you agree with the practice. Major thanks to my buddy for sending it my way. Enjoy the auto tune-ness and we’ll see you with an actual reading post later this week!