Saturday, February 27, 2010

There will always be time for one more thing

I have lost control.
I have allowed life to take over my life, and I did it without even putting up a good fight.

I'm beat; plain and simple, I am beat and ready to put some white undies on a stick and wave surrender, only I haven't done laundry in days, so there isn't a clean pair to be found. Henry Kissinger may have said "The urgent takes all the time from the important," but I'm living it.

When did I lose control? Has it been slipping away a bit at a time, or did some big catastrophe set my world wobbling? I'm not sure. All I do know is that when I heard the words "I'll be glad when my kids don't need me so much" came out of my mouth, you might as well have slapped me in the face.

Since when did I become so self important that anything became more important than what my children need from me at any moment?

I know it's been a tough week. Disappointments in my career, piled on top of scholarship deadlines for Wil, worked in around wedding planning with Jenny, added to an already ambitious work schedule has put me teetering on the edge of collapse (others would claim I've already tumbled over that edge with a mighty thud).

How selfish of me to complain and pout and throw a tantrum because my children needed more of me than I thought they should this week. One day they'll be busy with new lives they create, and I'll ache for the day they needed me, wanted me.

I taught about phytochemicals in nutrition this week, except I call them "fighting" chemicals. Each phytochemical gives fruits and vegetables their super-hero fighting powers. Just like Spiderman can weave a web and Superman has his x-ray vision, phytochemicals have secret powers that make them superheroes against disease.

So, I asked the third graders at NCO who their favorite superhero was.
"You," exclaimed one young lad.

Yep, I think there's still time tonight to proofread one more scholarship, check out one more wedding bouquet website and play superhero for a bunch of kids who just want someone to love them. Besides, clean underwear is really overrated.

The next time I wish my children's childhood away, you have permission to wash my mouth out with soap.

photo credit: By me of my two great kids! May you always be kids in my heart

Thursday, February 18, 2010

There's an app for that

Sometimes life just slaps me in the face.
Today, it was a good slap.

Facebook, the online social networking service, operates a lot like the old party-line telephone. Pick up the phone at any time (or log on in the case of Facebook) and find out what your neighbor is doing, what friends they're talking to, or who's over for a visit. It's almost like being back in Green Acres. Sometimes, it seems as if you're peeking in the windows of your friends' lives.

You can play several "games" on Facebook. One lets you pretend to be a farmer. You "click" to plant and harvest crops, build barns, and more. Other games allow you to send "gifts" to friends, receive daily horoscopes, or answer quizzes about your friends.

So many of my Facebook friends play these games, their antics often clutter up my Facebook diary, but Facebook allows me to "hide" these game postings with a simple click of my mouse. Today, a friend posted her results from a game called "Gifts From God." As I went to hide this posting, a message popped up asking me to verify the action. The message stated "Are you sure you want to hide "Gifts From God?"

How many of us do that every day; how many of us hide the gifts God has given us?
We fail to share the gifts of the spirit. We fail to find joy in little things. We fail to see the beauty of life around us. We fail to lift up our fellow human being. We fail to forgive and forget.

We fail and fail and fail again.
We fail to use our voice to lift up His goodness. We fail to give our wealth to the care of others. He fail to pray for our adversaries.

We choose complaining over comforting. We choose sarcasm over sympathy. We choose bickering over blessing. We choose self over sacrifice.

We choose to hide our "Gifts From God."

And, we choose it day after day after day until we forget we ever received any gifts. Stop hiding your gifts. I, for one, would like to see what God has given you to share. I'll be right here on the "other end of the party-line."

Photo credit: Judy Mae Bingman. Photo of Emily & Jenny, best friends who aren't afraid to share the gift of music God has given them. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Passing on my way

When the time comes, just say "I'm passing on my way."

I had never heard death described quite like that. The radio DJ, announcing the death of a popular singer, said, the artist "passed on his way."

Passed on his way . . . how fitting a description.

"Passed on our way," as if to remind us that we began in one place, spent some time in this place, before heading  on to the next place.

We weren't just here then gone.

There was a purpose to our journey, or as Og Mandino said in The Greatest Miracle in the World, "You are not the momentary whim of a careless creator experimenting in the laboratory of life . . . you have a purpose."

We are on our way from somewhere to somewhere, and, along the way, we pass by here.

We do not "pass away," for that implies what legacy we left passes away. We do not "die." That is so final, too final.

We pass on our way, and along the journey, have the time of our lives.

For whatever reason, my "purpose" seems to be enlightening children to the potential inside of them. It's there as infants, and somehow, through all the trials of life, we begin to forget, to doubt, to stop believing. Be the spark that rekindles that hope in others. Don't hold back.

"And I leave you now, not with sadness but with satisfaction and joy that we came together and walked, arm in arm, through this brief moment of eternity. Who could ask for more?" The ragpicker in The Greatest Miracle in the World

photo credit: Judy Mae Bingman

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Matter to someone

In an episode of Star Trek, the crew members of the Enterprise were thrown back in time, picking up an Air Force pilot from the mid-twentieth century along the way. When it was time to return to their own time, Captain Kirk debated whether to keep the man on board or risk returning him to the past with all he had seen.

Spock checked the history files and deduced the man would make no contributions to the world . . . his life was insignificant . . . nothing he had done--or would ever do--mattered to the way the rest of the world would unfold.

In short, he would not be missed; the world would go on unchanged if he did not return. 

How many of us are living just like that man? If Scotty beamed us up right now, would the world be any different without us?

It's awfully easy to be insignificant. It's safe. If we never reach out to anyone, then no one talks about us, no one hurts us, no one takes advantage of us. We stay in our little world and tend to our own things. We believe we have little to offer the world, so we don't try. We're content to let others be the heroes.

I recently sent an email to a pastor I had while I was a teen-ager in Iroquois. Its one-line message was simple. It read, "You will never know the impact you have had on my life."

He did no great thing for me, only little things with great kindness. That is really all we can ask of ourselves. I will not be the one to cure cancer, but I know my writings have eased the pain of chemotherapy for at least one person. To me, that's just as good.

Matter to someone.
Lift somone's burden.
Bring joy to the sad.
Comfort another's grief.

And when you're gone, let the world say that your life mattered.

"Don't wait for some magic gift. Share what you are, dare to be vulnerable, and you will find people who count you among their deepest friends." Let God Love You

photo credit: Wil Bingman, Star Trek Enterprise at The Smithsonian 

Friday, February 5, 2010

Calling it even

"Come Friday, we're even," the man said. "That's how I look at my job."

The man had worked for years and years at his job, and though the hours were often long and the pay was not so good, he said he picked up his pay check each Friday and considered his account even.

Paid in Full.

No matter how difficult the task may have been each week, in his mind, the check he received at the end of the week covered the debt. Each week, he marked the account paid in full and moved on.

Do you?
Or, do you, like me at times, look at your compensation for a job well done and complain that it isn't enough, complain that you aren't appreciated more, complain that the task was more than expected, complain that the glory doesn't equal the effort?

To make matters worse, each week we keep carrying that balance forward, adding a little more to the "what's owed us" column.

We will never be paid what we think we're worth. We can never be appreciated to the extent we think we should. Friends will never be as loving as we think they should. Traffic will never go as fast as we think it needs to.

Peace of mind can only come when we change what we think . . . 
. . . when we get to the end of the week and mark it even.
. . . when we get to the end of the day and balance the books with our friends and family.
. . . when we realize that give and take sometimes means giving more and taking less.

And when you're okay with that, you're finally okay with everything.

photo credit: Jenny Mae Bingman - Puerto Rican Parade, Chicago 2009 during American Idol Auditions