Thirty minutes of wonderful pleasures with only a slight awareness of time. Lingering with no tugging or crying kids around. My senses all engaged. My joys began to pile up around me and with every turn yet another delight. The exotic and familiar all coming together.
Then it came, a slow building of adrenaline. The realization that I would have to pay for what I had just done. I had no idea if I was even close to to the edge. I had no safety net to rely on. All alone as my joys were counted up. I dug deep within to find every last bit.
I wonder what would it be that would send me over the edge. What should I have denied myself? Then the moment of truth comes. I feel my heart racing.
Then her voice pronounces the verdict. $60.44. I did it! I have what it will take to pay my Aldi's bill. I survived once again. I even have enough to come back some time later this month, but I will have to be much more careful then.
Ah, the dangers of shopping in a place that does not take a credit card.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
I have been thinking a lot about two brothers lately. The first brother is Brother Andrew. Many years ago I read God Smugglers about his work smuggling Bibles into closed countries. I don't remember a lot of the book but I do remember the rush of excitement that it brought to me.
So often I find myself daydreaming that kind of life. I want to feel that excitement. I want to do something that heroic. Sometimes I find myself thinking that unless I become more like Brother Andrew I am not really living the Christian life.
There is another brother that I have read about. He lived a life more like mine. He scrubbed pots, ran errands and served those around him. On the surface I don't want to be like him. He lived his life in the shadows of the clerics around him. However, his few and simple words are profound.
Brother Lawerence was truly a willing spirit. I have no doubt that he would have smuggled Bibles or given his life as a martyr if asked. But, in many ways he was asked to do something harder. He was asked to be content in obscurity. And he found contentment and God among the dirty dishes.
I am not in a position, at least for now, to smuggle Bibles into foreign lands but I have dishes to do, mouthes to feed, messes to clean up. So I must stop and listen to what God has for me in this place at this time.
"Nor is it needful that we should have great things to do...We can do little things for God; I can turn the cake that is frying in the pan for love of him" Brother Lawerence
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
I found myself reflecting on the wonder of pleasure this morning. In the moment we expereince a pure pleasure we get to taste heaven. For just that moment all that is wrong in the world falls away. I can not even begin to comprehend a life filled completely with pleasure.
If heaven is the abscence of sin, grief, sorrow it will be like those precious moments. And so if I stop and enjoy and reflect on the moments I have now I become that much more alive and closer to heaven.
The key is for my pleasure to be pure. There are pleasures that I can indulge in that will leave me feeling guilty, harm my body or hurt others. Those are really more distractions than true pleasures.
Then there is pure pleasure. Pleasure that I can savor and remember with no guilt attached. Pleasure that not only does not harm my body but actually makes it better. Pleasures that can be shared with others and draw them closer to heaven as well.
Those pleasures are what I want to find. They are what I want to fill my life with. They are the pleasures I long to share with others. And for a moment now we can taste heaven and all that it will have to offer.
Acknowledgements: Gary Thomas has written a very good book on pleasure called Pure Pleasure which has had an influence on me. Debbie Wolfe is the creator of the wonderful pizza shown above and well worth the day long drive to get it.