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

Friday, July 18, 2014

Me and my boats

  I’m in a local Chinese restaurant having lunch with a friend and engaging in our normal conversations of enlightenment, spirituality and matters of the cosmos. As we are chatting about the baggage that people haul around with them….you know the stuff that weigh us down as we work, play and attempt to sleep; consuming our thoughts, minds and keeping us from living to our fullest potential. We are still dwelling on things in our past and trying to relive those moments and, somehow, “fix” them so we can be happier. Needless to say, my normal conversations center around things more like puppies and kittens and birds and shiny objects, so I find myself stretching my brain power to keep up with our discussion.

  The Mongolian Beef is good and filling, the day is warm and sunny, and before long I find myself staring out the window and drifting off into my thoughts (which as you and I both know can be a scary place). As I’m drifting, my vision blurs and the colors of all the vehicles in the parking lot begin moving around and, to my amazement, become Junk ships floating in Bohai Bay off the coast of China. The Junks are of all different sizes and the colors of their flags and canopies are amazingly brilliant. I also notice in the midst of this flotilla, that many of the Junks are attached by rope and are pulling a whole string of smaller boats behind.

  I once read a book that was entitled, “That’s Outside My Boat: Letting Go of What You Can’t Control.” I heard the authors on a television talk show discussing how we try to take on more and more things in our lives until our lives (our boats) become so full that we begin to sink. We let so many things into our daily world that our ability to achieve anything is seriously hindered. Through the stories of many athletes and business leaders, the book gives us tips on how to determine “that is not in my boat.” And, you don’t let it into your boat. Period.

  However, in my case, I take things out of my boat, but then put them in another boat that I tie to and still drag around with me. Does anyone else do that? What are in these small boats we pull, you might ask? Past relationships, failed jobs, lack of finances, worries about illnesses that may never happen, concern over the status of the world (which we really cannot control), am I a “good” enough Christian, and on it goes. We don’t sleep well, perform our jobs well, interact with our families and friends well, and we realize we don’t get much out of our relationship with God. He’s not as close as He once seemed. We don’t see God working in our lives as clearly as we once did. And we wonder why.

  Well, my friends, it’s all because of all those boats we(me) are hauling around. We are told very clearly in the Scriptures to

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:7) and

 “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). 

  I am the world’s worst about turning things over to God…but, then picking them back up for worrying after about, oh, ten minutes. We can truly take God at His promise that He will give us peace of mind and heart…because… He. Cares. For Us.

  As my mind drifted back to my lunch and as we headed back to the office, I know that I have to be more faithful to what I write. And, I will. That’s what is in my boat.

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