Smile, God is Great…

The company I currently work for set out to do an ad campaign on positive social media messages.  They are, in theory, combating the negativity of social media that is currently on display.  I think it’s actually a veiled anti-Trump message, but who can really argue that social media can be very negative.

My Facebook and Twitter account is actually filled with positivity.  I follow a lot of great Catholic thinkers and news organizations that are filled with the Good News.  Perhaps our social media accounts should be like our real friends, where we need to be careful of the company we keep!

Nevertheless, back to my company’s ad campaign.  They put a big sign in one of the hallways that is in the shape of a conversation box, like you’d see in a comic strip.  The sign states: “Smile, you are great!”  My first thought was to take a selfie-picture of me below the sign and send it to my wife and caption it: “see”!

My next thought was, to scratch out “you are” and insert “God is”.  “Smile, God is Great!”  That’s right, you should smile because God is great, but don’t think of this in terms of the world.  God is great, but that doesn’t mean you are going to have a comfortable life.  Life is messy and it can be very messy.  If a loved one passes, no one would expect you to smile.  If you get fired from your job because your boss is a jerk and co-workers were gossiping about you maliciously, it’s ok to cry.  I don’t like to be told that I should just go joyfully smiling because God loves me.  After all, Jesus wept at Lazarus’ tomb.  “And Jesus wept.”  (John 11:35) Jesus wept because he does not take delight in our suffering even if He knows it’s for a greater glory (the raising of Lazarus from the dead).  To appropriately deal with this world, we must cling to the Father and our Blessed Trinity.  We can only endure this life by knowing in our hearts that at the end of the door at life’s hallway stands Jesus, ready to embrace us for fighting the good fight.

My next thought on the sign was what if someone really terrible walks by?  We hate to think that it’s possible that someone really terrible exists, but they do in fact walk the earth.  There are terrible people.  The sign is indiscriminate, and we just know life is not like that in fact.  In the US, we state, all men are created equal, but they are not equal in the fact that all men are as good as the next.  No, all men are created with rights and in those rights, they are equal, but clearly, not all men are equal.  All people deserve dignity and respect and certain inalienable rights.

Finally, I rested on, the sign should express, yes, we are great, Thanks be to God.  We are loved and that is what makes us great.  To define how uniquely we are all great, we can only come back to the fact that we were made out of love, in spite of our sinful nature handed down to us by our first parents, Adam and Eve.  We are sinners and we are loved.  There’s an endless supply of mercy from our great Savior and that makes us great.  We are not like the animals of the earth, we are more loved by our God then those creatures, and we are therefore great.  So yes, the sign is right, but not complete.

“You are great because God loves you; give all thanks to God!”  That’s how the sign should read.  Perhaps I won’t let HR know though…

I have clearly overthought this sign!

Be well and God Bless!

All I need is a Miracle

Lately, I’ve been struggling with some emotions and difficulties.  I’ve been praying and obsessing over God’s plans and my role.  I’ve wanted something to happen and have been asking God for mercy and blessings.

It has been hard during this time, but it’s also been transformative.

During a moment of difficulty, I prayed to God, all I need is a miracle.  Suddenly, the song, All I Need is a Miracle sprang into my head.  I went home and played it on YouTube.  I know the song is not about Christ, but I was singing it to Him – all I need is you (Christ).

A few days later and I could see that God had started to answer my prayer.  I was really feeling it was going to work out and all would be right.  I decided to go for a celebratory cup of coffee at Starbucks.  I hopped in my car and the song playing didn’t suit me.  I flipped the channel up one and of course, wouldn’t you know it, All I Need is a Miracle started playing.

I laughed; God was truly playing a joke with me.  I knew He thought it would be funny to put that song on the radio.

I actually didn’t know who sang the song, so when I looked at the digital display, it showed Mike and the Mechanics as the artist.  Ha!  Being a Mike, how fitting that me and the great Mechanic of the world should be singing this song.

How true in life it is, that we live with the great mechanic, who through His grace, we are fixed.  It was then that a tear of joy sprang forth.

God Bless!

Blessings in Disguise

I have a good friend that has a genetic disorder that makes walking difficult.  With age, his ailment has become worse and he must use a cane to walk now.  His walk is labored but he always wears a smile.  He has learned to live with this difficulty and although at times it does weigh on him emotionally, by and large, I know him as a good and trusted friend.

On a drive, we got to discussing about a time in his career when he was at odds with his boss.  He commented that he hated his boss and hated his work.  One morning, dreading work, he took his sweet time getting to the office.  He was in no rush to be scrutinized for any perceived shortcomings.

The sun was shining, there was a slight chill in the morning but it seemed like the day would warm.  His ailment made riding the subway difficult so on that day, he decided to take a cab.

As he got out of his cab, he looked up to see a giant hole and smoke emanating from the world trade center’s tower 1.  He got back in his cab and went home to his wife and two children.

My friend would have never made it out of that tower given his handicap and he would have been early to work if he wasn’t at odds with his boss.  The difficulty in his career was God’s plan to save him that day.

Men flew that plane into those towers on that awful day.  God saved my friend that day and Jesus saved souls.

Sometimes God is at work and we don’t know it.  Sometimes, trials have reasons that we can’t see.  I can’t explain every tragedy or hardship, but I know God loves us, he allows free will even when that free will yields sin and through that sin, God can bring about good as it did with my friend.

Do your best to let life unfold before you.  Try and make sound decisions based on the Church’s teachings.  Use your brain and conscience in life and work hard but know one thing, you are not in control and you can’t always see the Blessed Trinity hard at work.  Trust in the Lord.  God Bless!

Familiarity breeds Contempt

I have heard the statement that familiarity breeds contempt and it got me to thinking about some of my own relationships.  I have been married for over 15 years and I love my wife more today than I did when we were married.  I also have close friends in town that we will vacation with from time to time and often spend Friday nights drinking beer and eating pizza while our kids run around and play.

I do not appreciate the statement, familiarity breeds contempt.  It should be stated that if you believe that familiarity breeds contempt, you’ll never be close to anyone, and the devil would have won, isolating you from loving deeply those you know. 

We do bicker from time to time but we’re committed, all of us.  My wife and I are committed to each other.  My good friends are committed to us as we are to them.  We know we’re not perfect and we’re ok with that imperfection.

We forgive and we are forgiven. 

I prefer this expression: I love my wife and my friends, warts and all!  I even told my friends, what I cherish the most is that we’re friends, through thick and thin. 

On a deeper level, Christ calls us to love each other to the point where it hurts and He goes on to say, it will be worth it!  There is no greater love than to lay one’s life down for another.  While you don’t have to jump in front of a train for another you can do things for another for selfless reasons.  If dying for another is the highest form of love (love is good) then helping others is great. 

With your friends, spouse and those around you, tell yourself, I’m all in with this person.  No matter what, I’m going to care for this person.  Unless something drastic happens, commit!  Be there for those you care for, don’t let contempt creep in. 

Jesus states we should love God with all our heart and related to that first law is to love your neighbor.  To love God is to love your neighbor. 

I care for my wife.  Does she need a ride somewhere – I’m in.  Will I clean up around the house – I will, even knowing if I don’t, she will.  If she’s hungry, I’ll cook for her.  When she needs me, I’m there, even if it’s not easy.  If she’s sick, I will still love her and care for her.  If she needs me, I’ll be there. 

With my friends, I’m here for them.  Need a couch moved – I’ll be over.  Need someone to walk your dog while you’re away – I’m in.  Need to complain over a beer – I’m there.  If we fight over something stupid like politics, that’s ok, I still care for them.  Forgiveness is just a step away. 

Familiarity breeds contempt for those that aren’t willing to go deep for their friends and their companions.  Commit yourself for others and you’ll find that familiarity will breed a lasting and joyful life!  God Bless!