Wednesday completed my national tour of the United States… at least for the time being. I flew from Lubbock to Atlanta where I picked up my work truck and promptly drove back to Lubbock with only a small detour up to my mom and dad’s to pick up my tools and dirt bike. It was interesting taking a different route than the one I usually travel when I head west. I would say that an unusually large percentage of my interstate driving has taken place solely on I-40 so it was kind of nice being on I-20 for the bulk of my drive. It has, however, merely reinforced the fact that I hate driving through Texas; it is so stinking huge! You see, whenever I am driving by myself I try to time my stops within 20-30 miles of a state border, and since most states are only 150-200 miles wide (where my section of the interstate crosses them) that is something easily done. But no, when you get to Texas you have easily three times that amount before you hit the next border and that just throws my entire philosophy off. I find myself putting off necessary stops for things like fuel and visits to the bathroom just to see how far I can get. I’m told that going such long stretches without voiding your full bladder can be unhealthy…
While I was making the round trip to Atlanta Leslie drove to San Angelo and spent a couple of days with a friend she knew that lived down there. When she returned she told me that she really wanted all of us to go down there one weekend and spend a couple of days with them. When I hesitated to make a commitment to do so she immediately piped up and said, “They have plenty of land where we could go out and shoot and they also have lots of trails where you could take your dirt bike.” Well… Ok then, why didn’t you lead with that little fact?
I started unpacking my office this week, and let me just say, I really enjoy shaping my office with items that accurately describe my personality and management style. Items like the replica M18 claymore positioned so that it faces the visitor’s chair, or the actual practice version of the M228 fragmentation grenade and the accompanying sign with an arrow pointed to a number 1 tied to the ring that says “Complaint Department: Please take a number.” See, I have an open door policy, and I want my customers and employees to know they can approach me with anything and I feel that there is nothing else that demonstrates this quite like unexploded military ordnance.
Finally I had an opportunity to get out and enjoy the nice weather this weekend. The trouble was, I had so many different things I haven’t done over the past year that I wanted to do on a weekend of perfect weather. The paintball fields, gun ranges, and dirt bike tracks were all calling my name. After a bit of discussion we decided to go out to Buffalo Springs Lake where I tested out the dirt bike. Turns out Jack likes the sound of a motorcycle. Whenever I fired up the engine he would start going crazy; jumping around and waving his arms in his Exersaucer all the while grinning like a madman. That’s my boy.
As I prepare to begin work next week… or at least work where I go in at a regular time and come home at a regular time, my prayer life has been filled with how incredibly blessed I am. I keep being reminded of how truly fortunate I am and how happy I am to be where God has placed me. Even as I prayed over what I would write this week God kept bringing me back to a place of joy and thankfulness. What he has always kept at the forefront of my mind though has been that my happiness is not dependent on these things; rather my joy is rooted in that which is eternal.
Recently, one of the shared items that has been making the rounds on Facebook has been one of those inspirational/thought provoking quotes, “What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things that you had thanked God for today?” After I saw this for about the one thousandth time I got to thinking about it a little bit more. I understand that the intent is to make you more intentionally thankful towards God for the things that you have, but I think there is a deeper message here if we deconstruct it even farther. What if you really did wake up tomorrow with only the things you had thanked God for today? I doubt there are very many (if any) people who thank God for every single blessing they have received on a daily basis, so let’s look at the other extreme, assume you didn’t thank God for anything today*… Would you still be thankful? Would you still be filled with joy? If our happiness is properly rooted then it doesn’t matter if you wake up tomorrow without anything God has blessed you with today, your joy is founded in something that is eternal an unchanging so there is absolutely nothing that can take that away.
*For this illustration I focus mainly the material things, spiritual things like salvation, a relationship with the Creator, and forgiveness cannot be revoked or taken away (depending on your theology) so if you had them to be thankful for in the first place, you cannot lose them. Material things (including people and relationships in this realm), however, are ephemeral and can be very easily lost or taken away.