Becoming an Antique

Do you do it yourself?

Or

Does it happen to you?

Or both?

Is it good? Or bad?

Does it add value? Or does it make you worth less (not worthless, but worth less = that space is important.)

Becoming an antique

What does it do?

If you are a car it adds value

If you are a house, it adds value – unless you are in really bad shape

But in the America of last year, what did it mean to become an antique?

Something to be put on a shelf and occasionally dusted?

Something to be sold to someone who knows value?

When I was in college, I worked at a used furniture store. Someone gave us a dining room table that was antiqued aqua blue.

Think about it. Imagine that sitting in your mother in law’s dining room.

But there was an older gentleman who came in once a week, always looking for the “special” pieces.

He watched this odd duck, this horrendously obtuse and disruptive piece of furniture.

Every two weeks, the price went down. Until we hit that magic number. He said to me, “Tom, it’s time, I’ll take it.”

And the Ugly Duckling found a home.

He brought her home and said to her, “Now don’t you worry, I’ll take good care of you.” He kept her warm and dry and he began the rebuilding process.

Layer after layer after layer of this aqua blue followed by green and purple, it really made him wonder about her history. But he couldn’t know, so he accepted her as she was.

Finally after 7 layers of paint were removed, he sat back and watched her. And took it all in. He looked at the signs of how well she was made and saw that she was solid mahogany.

That old horrendously colored table became an antique that was worth 30 times what she was purchased for.

Becoming an antique – I think we all need to reevaluate what we think of antiques and how we value them.

Tom

Again, Lord?

How long?

How long must your people suffer at the hands of your people?

It doesn’t make sense.

How could it make sense?

Who can explain Minneapolis in any other way than pure evil?

God?

Help those of us who are white to stand up and say…..

This is not right.

This is not right and we will join our brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers and husbands and wives and neighbors and the guy on the other side of the counter at the gas station and the bank teller and …… and …… of color and stand for change.

Help us, because we are obviously failing miserably.

Help us to realize that Colin was right.

And

we

were

wrong.

Don’t just read this and move on.

Don’t just shake your head and wonder what this world is coming to.

Don’t just say, “Oh, there is so much death and suffering right now….”

That’s no longer good enough.

We must

ask questions. Ask hard questions.

We must

look inward – even if we dont want to look at what we know is there.

We must

have higher standards. .
,,.,

Especially for those in positions of authority.

Governmental authority – good call by the Mayor of Minneapolis for the firing of the 4 policemen.

But not just higher standards for sound bites.

Higher standards for real.

Higher standards for our families.

Higher standards that value all of us.

I’ve lost friendships over the “Black Lives Matter” compared to “All Lives Matter” school of thought.

Let me ask you a question…..

Do you think George Floyd matters as much as he would if he weren’t a person of color?

That’s the problem with the “All Lives Matter” statement.

What’s the problem?

The problem is that currently on a consistent and frequent basis, we are seeing reminders that black lives don’t matter as much as white lives do.

And its not just a problem in big cities.

We see it. We just need to open our eyes and look. Look where we hold people dear and look where it hurts.

To quote the Christian musician group, “Mikes Chair.”
⁃ then I shook my fist at heaven and said, “God why don’t you do something?
⁃ “I did, I created you.”

He created you and me and him and her and the people next door, all of us to make this world a better place.

But we need to acknowledge that this starts closer to home than most people are willing to admit. I live in a “bedroom community” about 15 miles from downtown Grand Rapids. You wouldn’t think you’d see it there. I have twice in the last two months, both very harmful to kids.

One last thing. I’m wrote most of this Tuesday night and the local news comes on – I had the NBC station on. They led their broadcast with the story of the tragic murder of George Flynn.

The first things that they said beyond one intro sentence were up on the screen in big letters:
⁃ He looked like……
⁃ He had previously…….
⁃ He………..

There were four things that the news reported about the victim. There was not one thing said about the police officers who murdered him. Nothing about their training or the number of years they have been on the police force or anything.

Is it merely a coincidence? Or did the people who originally wrote the news report either purposely or without realizing that they were attempting to make the police look better and the victim look worse, did they write it that way?

Lord, be with George’s family. They mourn without reason.

Help us to work towards this never happening again…..

Tom

Offense?

An interesting thing happened on the way to church yesterday.  (Don’t worry, I didn’t violate the social distancing or the stay at home – I went from the kitchen to the living room).

On the way, something changed.   I didn’t know it because our Pastor hadn’t shared it yet.   But as he started getting into his sermon, suddenly it hit me.   In previous weeks, most of the sermons I’ve heard (and from well beyond our church – podcasts) have focused on providing comfort and care in very hard times.   I get that and I need that – just ask my wife and my counselor.

What changed?  The message that was delivered had a much more blended purpose.   Now if you ask me, most of the time when you blend two flavors together, both of them lose some of what they were.   Strawberry and Banana Yogurt,  coffee with cream, chocolate and peanut butter (well, maybe if it’s Trader Joes Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter cups it doesn’t).  

Pastor Darrell’s message was Trader Joe’s Dark Peanut Butter Cups.  It was both.  Both comfort and challenge.   Both a reassurance that God’s bigger than this along with a challenge to be God’s hands and feet to the hurting.

The message yesterday was focusing on two main things:

  • How do we make it through this difficult time

AND

  • How do we go about making this less painful for others, less stressful for others?  How do we go about making this an opportunity to show God’s love even when we are in the basement with the blinds shut?  In other words, how do we go on offense?

Pastor Darrell had 10 points to his sermon, I’m not going to go over all of them.  That’s too long to do in one blog post.   But I do think I will share more of my thoughts on them in separate blog posts later.

And Then…..

I was reading the Bible in my personal devotions and came to Psalm 1:6 which says:

Psalm 1:6 (The Message) God charts the road you take.

Raise your hand if  on April 20, 2020 the road you’re on is where you thought you’d be……

Yeah, I’m not raising my hand either.

But that’s okay, because God charts the road you take.

And the road I take my neighbor takes, or your neighbor, or the guy who walks down your street.

God charts the road YOU take.

So, in spite of all of the bad news, in spite of all of the unknown…..

GOD charts the road you take.

And that makes all the difference in the world.  In this world, and in His world.

Remember that.

TV

P.S.  There’s only one time I can remember ever personally being involved in a protest and that involved Teddy Bears, a coup in Haiti and a Senate Briefing room in Washington.   A story for another day.

But I do want to say that a well focused, well organized, coherent strategy and message is a very advantageous to the cause that you might be protesting for.  If you question that, read “Letters from a Birmingham Jail” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sometime.  I did and it was an awesome opportunity to see more of the “people” and not just the “public figures” in the Civil Rights movement

I am a firm believer in the First Amendment and my ability to write whatever I want on here.   But I also believe that when you show up to a protest about pandemics, viruses, hospital supplies, staff and keeping everyone safe – even those with compromised health prior to this – and you do so carrying rifles and waiving confederate flags – you aren’t really showing up to protest Gov. Whitmer’s “stay home rules.” 

Be nice to everyone you meet today (from at least 6 feet away).  We could all use a little extra kindness in our days during all of this.

TV (again)

Isolation 2.10

Why 2.10? Because today is the 10th day since my youngest and I moved into my in-laws place while they are still down in Florida.

10 Days and we are still speaking to each other – and mostly in nice tones too!

10 Days and we have both learned more about how to give each other space – not only social distancing space but emotional space when needed and the opposite.

Social Media – it helps those you want to be with, to be here. It helps bring connections closer that might have drifted apart otherwise.

Social Distancing – becomes a little more real when you hear that someone who lives about 3-4 miles away from where you are currently living died of the virus earlier today. It’s here. It’s here now.

Wondering – what’s going to happen to the economy, what’s going to happen to the kids and school? How is the online school going to work? One of my kids did online schooling for a couple of years – a very good thing for the right people with the right teachers. As a former substitute teacher who at one point thought he was going to be a teacher, I want to stand and wish all of our teacher’s all of God’s blessings as they attempt to take their class and make a 90 degree turn in very little time.

Amazement – since I was dating this cute girl in high school who was going to be a nurse, I’ve always known that nurses and doctors are amazing people. I think we’ve all seen what an amazing group of people the doctors, nurses, RTs, NP’s, PA’s and RDCS’s are abd it’s not just one “group” of them – all the way up and down the line from the doctors and administrators to the kitchen and environmental services people. They all are amazing on a daily basis but they think they are just doing their jobs. I remember one time my wife said to someone, “Yeah, I take care of babies at the hospital.” That in itself is a true statement. What that doesn’t tell you is that her average patient weighs oh maybe 2 lbs when they first come to the Neo Natal ICU.

As I’ve told you, I have my own health challenges that would make it foolhardy to volunteer to help on the front lines. But there are so many people all around us who are just quietly stepping up and doing their job. Doing it faster and harder and longer because we can see need. In the earthquake a decade ago in Haiti, the heroes were doctors and nurses and excavators and search and rescue teams and ambulance drivers and helicopter pilots. This CoronaVirus has the ambulance drivers and doctors and nurses and grocery truck drivers and shelf stackers and the list could go on and on and on.

Yeah, it’s Isolation 2.10 and the governor of Michigan just extended the isolation to April 30. I hate to say it, but I think we all know it won’t be over by then.

There are times in the isolation that it feels like I’m not really doing anything to help. But then I remember what at least one of the medical people at the press conferences said, “If you go home and sit on your couch and watch Netflix and nothing happens, we won!” By staying at home, by wearing the mask that kind of makes your ears look bigger, you keep the virus from getting you and from giving it to how many others, that is doing something to help.

So, go watch Netflix. Tomorrow is Easter, and I’m going to predict that more people will go to church on Easter than have in many years. And they won’t even leave their living rooms. The churches are doing a wonderful job of transitioning from doing church inside a building to doing church via video and social distancing. The church is so much bigger than a building.

If you want some recommendations of websites to check out for church, left me know.

Are we isolated? Yes. Other than the one time my 27 year old brought groceries over and i was on the other side of the garage, I can’t remember any other time where I talked to anyone in person. Online or on the phone (yes, some people still actually use them as phones) conversations have skyrocketed. It makes you think about what the world is going to be like when this is all done. I’ll be writing more about that later, but I think it’s safe to say we are not going back to business as usual.

More later, have a good night and a Blessed Easter,

Tom

P.S. In light of this isolation – a challenge for all of us – what kind of a difference would it make if we all reached out to someone we know who might be struggling, might be lonely, someone who could use a little cheering up and called them, zoom’d them, FaceTime’d them, text’d them, FB’d them, well you get the picture. Take a few minutes and reach out to someone who might be lonely.