Archive for September 2016

When You Give a Banquet   2 comments

Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your rich neighbors–for they will invite you back and in this way you will be paid for what you did.  When you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind; and you will be blessed, because they are not able to pay you back.”

I realized years ago that Jesus is addressing me with this parable.  I realized that I expect some sort of repayment when I invite people to my banquet.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be a reciprocal banquet.

I just want something.

I became aware that I wasn’t giving others food, time, or attention because God is good.  And I intended to change.

But what I have found?

I. Can. Not. Do. It.

I want, no, I demand, internally, to be repaid for my friendship or my service.

I have re-read this passage probably several dozen times in the past twenty years.  And every single time it is as relevant as before.  It is so deeply ingrained in me that I cannot blame my upbringing nor the teaching I have received over the years or People Who Were Mean to Me or anything else.

As my then four-year-old son told me when asked why he was doing something I didn’t want him to be doing, “It’s just sin, Mommy. It’s just sin!”

In his case, we gave him coffee flavored ice cream for dessert.  This led indirectly to his attempting to fit himself under our bedside table at midnight, thus waking me up, and causing me to feel aggravation.

In my case?  I have no other explanation.

I have been given, given, given to by God, pressed down and overflowing.  There has not been a day in my life that I have gone hungry.  I’ve had a home and someone to share it with me.  When I was at the lowest points, God always brought me what I needed, eventually.  He kept me alive through deep despair and depression.  He gives me ice cream, and kittens.

This ought to be enough!

Enough to satisfy the crouching beast within me who always wants more.

The old man (or in this case woman) who demands from others, the unforgiving servant, the old heart is not going out without a brutal fight.

Posted September 28, 2016 by swanatbagend in character

Tagged with , , ,

Still Learning   Leave a comment

There are always surprises in marriage.  As I wrote a few weeks ago in this blog (https://swanatbagend.wordpress.com/2016/08/17/why-hes-so-flexible/), I learned something new about my husband during the process of negotiating plans for a weekend with extended family.

But that’s not the only thing I have learned about him recently.

Do you know how long we have known each other?  We have been married almost 3/5ths of my life.  We have known each other for thirty-one years, which is more like 31/49ths of my life (reduce that if you can).  Thirty-one years is a long time as far as human life spans go, and you would think that after that amount of time nothing your spouse could do would really surprise you.

You would think

Board games have never been a big thing in our family.  One reason was some of our children couldn’t handle playing them when they were smaller,  so we basically stayed away from competitive games for family time and were more into hiking, camping, playing outside, and horsing around in the den and knocking end tables over.

The other reason is that as far as I could tell my husband did not like board games.  He was willing to play Pictionary or Trivial Pursuit if pressed at larger family gatherings, but he never, but never asked the kids and me to play a game with him.

So, logical conclusion: he must not like games.

But this is what happened.  I gave our youngest son a game called Survive for his birthday last year.  I knew he liked it because good friends of ours had introduced the kids to it and I’d heard a lot about it when he got back home.

We were at the beach on vacation at the time, so during our afternoon siesta we all sat back sipping Pineapple Fanta and tried a round of Survive.

The daddy man loved it.

He wanted to play again the next day.

Requests to play the game continued fairly regularly over the next few months, and then his comments made something go “click” in my  head.  He was wondering out loud how the game would turn out, (aside from the fact that each game is inherently different because you set up the game board variably each time using three types of tiles that represent rock, sand and jungle) if we all shifted our strategies a bit, stopped playing so nice, if he put his high value tokens in another area of the island, and so on.

Aha.

This year, things got even more interesting around our house, because my son received another game–Settlers of Catan.

We have now laid the myth to rest.

Between Catan, Doctor Who Risk, and Survive (oh, and chess!), there is strategy and game playing going on at our house.

And I thought I knew all there was to know about that man.

 

Posted September 18, 2016 by swanatbagend in humor

Tagged with ,

Why I Generally Don’t Miss a Sunday   Leave a comment

There is almost always something I need to hear in the liturgy, in the readings, in the music, or in the sermon.  I can’t deny this.

There are days when I don’t want to get out of bed, or just don’t feel up to the process of eating, dressing and hurrying everyone out the door to get to church on time.

But I have found even on those days, that, when I follow through on my basic rule of thumb which is “Go anyway,” I hear just what I need to move me past the obstacle that made me debate the need to go in the first place.

I’d be a fool not to go.

Posted September 1, 2016 by swanatbagend in the church