Sunday, December 4, 2011

As good as it gets

South Africa
Did you ever see the Jack Nicholson movie, As Good As It Gets?  He plays a man with extreme OCD. He storms into his therapist's office without an appointment.  The therapist boots him out requiring him to follow the rules by scheduling time.  He thunders through the waiting room filled with people, all with pleasant or neutral demeanor.  He stops and shouts, "What if this is as good as it gets???" and stomps out as they all deflate at the thought.   It is a funny but poignant moment in the movie.  It is a great question though.   I wonder if sometimes we use that question as our "back up plan"  just in case... Just in case heaven and eternal life aren't actually in our future.  Just in case, let's make this life as pleasant and comfortable as possible.  Just in case, let's trade our [car/tv/house/wardrobe/jewelry/etc] for the newest, coolest, bigger, better version.  We really can't afford to [feed the poor, tithe to our church, help an orphan, support mission work or a local organization] because, you know, what if this is as good as it gets?

I am in Palmer Lake, Colorado attending a 3 week missionary training course.  When I arrived I met my classmates - 38 adults and 26 children!  The adults range in age from 22 to well, older than I.  The children range in age from 8 months to 14 years old.  Some families have 5 and 6 children.  I was stunned speechless.  Everyone here has answered the question this way, "No, this is not as good as it gets.  It gets much better when I get to Haiti, Ghana, Albania, Burundi, South Africa, Bosnia, Taiwan, Turkey, China... to serve God and His children.  It will be so much better when I finally go home to be with God in heaven."  It is very humbling to be with them all and I am SO thankful God didn't call me to be a missionary when my children were little!  When I was 20 something, I am certain I wouldn't have recognized a call much less been able to head off alone to Albania or Dominican Republic or South Africa. 

A constant source of joy for me is attending Episcopal churches all over the world.  Today I attended a sweet parish, St. Matthias, in Monument, Colorado.  Like our chapel at San Buenaventura, they don't have stained glass windows behind the chapel because God's creation is so magnificent.  St. Matthias looks out over Pike's Peak and the Rockies!  Breathtaking.  The rector, Fr. Scott Campbell, preached a sermon that really resonated with me.  He said that in our society we live in the now.  We base our happiness on the past and borrow from the future to live today.   How true that is.  We are happy or miserable because of what happened yesterday, last year or as we were growing up.  We go into huge debt so we can have (see list above) right now.    How short sighted we can be.  All of that is so fleeting.  Steve Jobs couldn't buy a cure or more time despite all his resources.  Was his life on earth as good as it gets?  I pray he knows now that it wasn't.  

One reason I love being in Honduras is that the Hondurans, young and old, living (materially) impoverished lives, many from the most horrific backgrounds teach me every day that the eternal future holds so much more promise and joy.  That God's kingdom can be found on earth now and life is worth the sacrifice and wait for the Risen Lord's promise. 

I am collecting pictures from my classmates of their brothers and sister in Christ throughout the world.  Join me in thanking God for them and realizing that this life on earth will never be as good as it gets.  AMEN.
A Muslim country

Ghana

Honduras - our own Gabriel prays

Kenya


Ghana
Kenya
 
E. Europe

South Africa


Haiti


Honduras 

  
A Muslim country







Jesus Christ in 12 languages, names of all the missionaries (young and old) with me





1 comment:

  1. Very timely reminder! There is no pressure like the Christmas shopping pressure going on RIGHT NOW! For me there is no fellowship like missionary fellowship -- ENJOY!! We miss you!

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