"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sometime it's just a shoebox of cow mess

I was sitting in my college Astronomy class one day when my good friend, Louise, came racing into the room all a-giggle with a package that had just come in the mail. “Lookie here!” she squeaked as she careened wildly into the seat next to me. “This is from home and it has got to be some homemade cookies. Let’s eat!” Bear in mind that class had already begun, we were sitting on the front row, and the teacher was glaring at us (as if we cared). Tearing into the brown paper, Louise was going for the box o’treats like a cheetah goes for a young goat. All of a sudden, we realized that a most pungent odor was arising from the shoebox….and it wasn’t chocolate chip cookies from home. As other students around us began to smell the same odor, Lou flung the lid from the box and we both saw the contents. Cow patties. Yep, a box full of mushy, still slightly warm cow droppings. Racing from the room to discard the box, the sounds of Louise reverberated from the classroom. “Those rats! I’m going to kill them all!” Yes, she (and ultimately the whole class and I) were the recipients of a good ole’ college prank.

Sometimes life treats us like that. Opportunities come along that look great and brilliant and we go for them with gusto, only to end up in a pile of mess. Literally and figuratively. In looking back at my illustrious college career and coming forward to my adult years, I thought I’d share some of these for your amusement and, hopefully, to help others steer clear of the shoebox.

My goals heading into college were simple. I was going to major in Medical Research, pledge a fraternity, study hard, behave myself and graduate into making mega-bucks. By the end of my first semester, the medical degree had gone by the wayside, I was my dream fraternity with mixed results (more on that another time…just saying you need to be careful there…), and the studying and behaving were a matter of opinion. By the time I graduated with a B.S in Education (which ruled out the mega-bucks), I was a very happy guy who had made it through with decent grades and the best friends I could ever imagine. There were times of slipping away from God (again, supposedly ‘good’ fraternities aren’t always ‘good’), but He was faithful to bring me back to Him through the support and encouragement of said friends and other Christian organizations (thank you Gamma Chi Phi).

The same rules have applied in my adult life. Things change with or without my permission. One day you have the perfect job, the next day you don’t. One day your boss is a prize, the next day they are a demon from the lowest depths. One day your loved one is an angel, the next day they are a ghoul from the pit of Hades. One day you have a few dollars in a savings account, the next day you are juggling the cable bill or JCPenney. One day God is your closest companion, the next day you don’t feel His presence anywhere around. It just happens. We cannot always be in control of our situations and live in sunshine on the mountaintop singing “Kum Ba Ya.” Valleys and canyons come. Friendships change, people aren’t who you thought they were, and on it goes. It is what it is. But, through it all, God is in control. As a familiar scripture says, “For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” (Psalm 100:5). I have opened enough shoeboxes of mess to know that God has been faithful to me and I know that He will be faithful to you, my friends. That is the only thing of which we can be certain in these days.

And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.


At 1:17 PM, Blogger scatterbrained said...

During my lunch break, I decided to peruse some of the blogs. I am grateful I came across yours. Thank you for sharing "the gospel according to Jimmy".


At 1:03 AM, Blogger reginag said...

Your article speaks truthfully. I look forward for some of your new post.

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