May 2017

May 31, 2017

Imperfect World

It's been a hard year. A rude awakening of sorts. A lot of work, not much pay. No time. Out of balance. Things are changing, but one of the things I have noticed this year is that this is a common story. I work with folks who devote hours and hours to multiple jobs, and still struggle to make ends meet. It would be one thing if they were choosing this life in order to afford an ultra cool loft and a Maserati, but most of these people are just feeding their families and paying off a modest mortgage. I suppose there are always ways to cut back, but outside of moving to Costa Rica and living on a farm, I'm not sure what else to do about it.

Photo by Don C.

So one day I'm standing on the ramp at the airport (one of my jobs) and watching a plane get ready to take off. By my side are these same men and women that are barely scraping by. In front of me is a sleek travel tool, man's invention. To operate it takes thousands of guys like us, wearing our hands and backs down just to move metal. A spectacle of human ingenuity. Man's best.

But then, behind me, the wind blows through a cluster of trees and all the green leaves sway like ocean swells. In the sky the sun rises behind grey hazy clouds, kicking up the breeze like dust on its feet. This is God's creation and, if you ask me, it is infinitely better than what we made. It works, in perfect balance. Sure, there are seasons, life and death, rebirth, renewal; storms and destruction next to tranquil breezes and still water. But somehow it all works. Not like life in this broken world, where fathers miss a third of their children's lives while working in offices they dread located miles from their homes. The cluster travels, weary, burdened -- the workforce drowning. That is man's creation, and when you see the two juxtaposed so starkly, it just makes you want to sit down and rest. No wonder that's what Jesus promised -- he was just bringing things back into balance, the way they are supposed to work. God's intention. Not laziness or lethargy, just rest in balance with work.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30) 
We live in an imperfect world, a result of the fall of man. We can't do much about it except pray for God's kingdom to come -- not as in the "end of all days" kingdom (I guess that's part of it), but rather what Jesus was speaking about: an easy yoke. A proper burden. The thing God designed for you and me to do. It's a life in balance. An imperfect world with a perfect God in perfect love.

May 2, 2017

Day Off

I was in the middle of a 20-day work streak, tired and ready to have a day off with still a ways to go. But sometimes good things come to those who wait, and though I wasn't expectant, one good thing just popped up -- my company gave me an unexpected day off for Good Friday! Awesome! I had a choice though -- my boss said I could work the extra day if I needed the money (really it's a small staff, and I know she wanted the help), which normally isn't terribly tempting for a guy like me, but we could have certainly used the money, and it would have likely been the responsible thing to do. But if you read this blog at all, you know me -- I rarely choose money over time -- and so I declined.

As I entered the blessed 24 hours of no work, I wondered if I had made the right choice. It only took about 20 minutes to come up with the answer to that question...YES! I had breakfast with my wife and kids, went to the beach, surfed a little (until I saw a gnarly looking jellyfish), hung out with my dad, ran errands and even changed the oil on two cars! Productive and fun? Can every day be like that?!

Future shredder. Taken on the day off.

I'm sharing this because I think we live in a world where work is king, and the amount of work you do is indicative of how successful/productive you are perceived as being. But God and my wife have been teaching me over the past 4 years that time is infinitely more valuable than money and stuff. Our modern society doesn't really jive with that idea though, where careers really do take over people's lives, often in the name of "providing for the family." I often wonder if I'm in the right on this topic, but my wife continually reminds me that provision is more than just money, it's time, attention, communication, health; ultimately, being there.

So if you're faced with some decisions to work more when maybe you can get by without, really consider your options. A man recently told me that everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, and it's up to us to decide how to use it. And those decisions should be based on what our priorities in life are. If having lots of money is your priority, then yes, work will also be the priority. But if time with family or surfing or creating stuff is a high priority, then work may take a back seat from time to time. Of course I'm not saying that everyone should quit because they are working too much, and I also know there are times when we are required to work a lot, but I just want people to think about it more.

So go think about it. And let me know what you think.