Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Grady, Goober and the Visit to Doc Brown

Goober came into the kitchen. Grady was sitting at the table eating a bowl of Fruit Loops. "Man, I'm having trouble going to the bathroom," Goober said.

"Hey, I saw a commercial about that on the TV last night. Said you needed to see your doctor and ask him about some new pill you can take."

"But I don't think..."

"Get in the truck and I'll take you to Doc Brown."

Grady got Goober to the doctor in record time, then they waited through three magazines apiece, a fit by little Joey Lefler, and a special report from FoxNews on the TV in corner. Finally Nurse Jessica called Goober’s name. Grady stayed in the waiting room.

“Well, Goober, let’s get your weight,” she said. Jessica was used to using the editorial we a lot. “We need to step up here on these scales.”

“If you step up there with me I don’t think my weight will be right,” Goober said stepping up to weigh. Nurse Jessica wrote down the number.

“Okay, let’s get you into room three,” she said. Jessica took down the blood pressure cup and wrapped it around Goober’s arm, pumped it up and read the measurement. She stuck a thermometer in his mouth and asked, “Now, what are we here for today?”

“Mumfufimangsmimmimow,” he mumbled.

“Goober don’t talk with the thermometer in your mouth,” she scolded.


“Goober, hush.” She took the thermometer out and recorded its reading. “Okay, Doc Brown will be in here in a minute.” And with that she left the room. Goober waited his minute and many more. Finally Dr. Brown came in.

“Well, Goober, what brings you in today?” he asked.

“Doc, I told Grady I was having trouble going to the bathroom and he said we needed to come in and see you.”

“Number one or number two?”

“Uh, number one.”

“Well, do you wake up at night to go?”

“I sure hope so,” Goober said. “I’d hate to go and not wake up.”

“Well, we need a urinalysis.”

“Uh, the way I see it is I’m having trouble going to the bathroom.”

“I know that, Goober. What are you talking about?”

“You said you needed my analysis so I told you what I figured the problem was.
Like I told you, I’m having trouble going to the bathroom.”

“No, not your analysis. Urinalysis.”

“Doc, I told you, I’m having trouble going to the bathroom.”

“Goober, just go fill up this cup and leave it on the counter in the bathroom.”

“Fill it up with what?”

“Number one!”

“What are you gonna do with that?” Goober asked.

“See what’s wrong with you?”

“I told you what’s wrong. I’m having trouble going to the bathroom.”

“Goober get in there and put some number one in this cup!”

“That ain’t gonna hold it all.”

“Then just finish up in the toilet.”

“Why don’t I just go in the toilet and you just scoop out what you need?”

“Because it don’t work that way,” Doc Brown said.

After a few minutes Dr. Brown came back into Goober’s room. “Goober everything looks fine. I don’t see why you should be having trouble going to the bathroom.”

“It’s the seat, Doc. It won’t stay up. I put it up and it just keeps falling down. I just can’t go when the seat’s not up.”

"Then why on earth did you come in to see me?" Doc asked. Smoke was visible drifting out of his ears.

"Grady, saw this commercial on the TV and said we needed to come," Goober said.

Almost immediately, Goober found himself back out into the waiting room. Grady asked, “Well, did you get your pills?”

“Nah, Doc Brown said they don’t make pills for what’s wrong with us."

"Well, if you ask me, Doc Brown doesn’t watch enough TV commercials,” Grady answered.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

God Don't Make No Junk!

I’ve never been very good at the activities of life that gain you notoriety or fame. I wasn’t the fastest or strongest or the one everyone looked up to. I haven’t won at contests that reward you with wealth or prestige. I couldn’t sing or speak or act as well as others more deserving of the position or role. I haven’t written the novel everyone wants to read which will become the movie everyone has to see. I’m not overtly influential or significant. The earth doesn’t shake when I walk by. No one asks me at the end of the day, “Will that be all, Sir?” Nobody sits at my feet to hear my wisdom and insight. I stick my finger in a glass of water and leave no impression.

But when God made me, He did so with purpose and plans. He had intentions and ideas. He had a strategy that vitally connected me with more than I could ever comprehend.
So being the best doesn’t really matter. I may not even be in the top ten of the best. I may be somewhere in the middle. I don't even get to hang out with those classified as the best. I may be closer to that horrid word average. But the thing that makes me special is the fact that God doesn’t make junk. He never says “Oops,” He doesn’t make mistakes.

I’m not an accident. I am a child of God who by my very existence brings delight to my Father. I have the privilege of giving Him pleasure by entrusting my day to Him. By faith I will live this day as though the spotlight of His greatness is on me. I face the day with the confidence that through my life God will gain great praise and His reputation will be exalted above all others trying to interfere with His honor.
Today, I’m dwelling with the best of all bests because I'm walking with my God.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I'm a Work in Progress

Imagine you rear-ended a car at a red light. Imagine it was a black Dodge Challenger. Imagine before you could get out of your car lights started flashing from the Challenger’s grill and dash. Imagine two uniformed officers got out of each side and walked back to look at the damage, then at you. That’s one guy I don’t want to change places with.

It’s bad enough to hit someone, even if the damage is minimal. It’s another if the guy you hit is the law you’re required to report to when you do so. It’s not a time to ask if we can just take care of this privately and not have to deal with the police. You’re nailed. Not only are you going to pay for the repairs (or your insurance will) but you’re going to pay a fine.
Because we’re accident prone we live with the hope of always getting away with it—not get hurt, not hurt someone else, not get caught, not be punished. We’re hoping for mercy not justice. We’re wanting someone to say, “Oh, don’t worry about it,” not, “Okay, that will cost you X.”

For some reason we believe we deserve mercy rather than justice. Maybe it’s because we tend to average our wrong and grade ourselves on a curve. Compared to what I see around me, I’m just not that bad.
But guilt is guilt. We either are or we are not guilty. We can’t be just a little bit guilty.

I’ve been stopped speeding. And I truly was at the moment. But two miles back I noticed I was under the speed limit. When I asked the officer to average my speed he laughed. I was guilty because I was speeding at the moment I was caught.
Nobody wants that kind of scrutiny. I don’t want to be judged by one moment of one hour of one day of one week. Look at the over-all. We can’t stand up to that close of examination. Back up and take a broader look at my life. If anything use binoculars but not a microscope.

God, who has the right to examine anytime and in any way, happens also to have a really good handle on mercy and judgment. Not so sure I want you judging me but I’m pretty comfortable with God doing so.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Grady, Goober and the Hunting Trip

Grady and Goober took Uncle Vernon deer hunting. You’d think that a man who lived his whole life on the outskirts of town would be an avid deer hunter, but Uncle Vernon had other interests, not the least of which was an apparatus of questionable character hidden out in the woods. Because of his commitment to operate this apparatus, he only had time to take out the few squirrels and raccoons that came within range. So deer hunting was a new experience.

Leaving at five o’clock in the morning was also a new experience for Uncle Vernon. He never used an alarm clock so waking up earlier than normal was asking a bit much.

“Uncle Vernon,” yelled Goober as Grady knocked on the front door, “Uncle Vernon, you up?” After several attempts, their old uncle appeared at the door.

“What in tarnation is goin’ on?” he asked.

“Deer hunting, remember?” Grady said.

“Ohhhh,” Vernon moaned. “Ain’t no respectable deer gonna get up this early, don’t know why we have to, blasted nephews think I need to get up before the chickens to go out and kill me a deer,” He grumbled walking away from the door back to the bedroom. Grady and Goober followed him inside.

“You need any help?” Goober asked.

“Think I can dress myself,” he yelled back, disappearing into the bedroom. “Been doing it everyday for seventy-three years. Why on earth would you think I couldn’t get dressed today?”

“Tell me again why we invited Uncle Vernon to go with us?” Goober asked.

“Cause he needs to make a memory before he dies,” Grady answered.

“He’s gonna die?”

“Yeah, someday. He’s already got one foot in the grave. That’s why we need to hurry and let him enjoy what little time he has left.”

“I didn’t even know he was sick.”

“He ain’t. He’s just old.”

Uncle Vernon appeared in his customary plaid long-sleeve shirt and Big Smith overalls. In his hand was a vintage, single-shot, 12-guage shotgun.

“Uncle Vernon, you can’t hunt deer with a shotgun,” Goober said.

“That’ll work just fine,” Grady said. “Let’s get loaded up.

“He can’t hunt deer with a shotgun,” Goober whispered to Grady.

“That don’t matter. Old people can’t see, so he couldn’t hit anything anyhow.”

“What you gonna do?”

“After I put him in the deer stand, I’m gonna hide in some bushes. When a deer comes along I’m gonna wait until he’s about to shoot then I’m gonna shoot at the same time and I’ll get him his deer,” Grady said.

“Won’t he hear the two shots?”

“Naw, old people can’t hear nothing. He’ll just think it’s an echo or something.”

With Uncle Vernon up the stand, Grady told him where the deer would likely come from and told him to watch the trail that was beside the bush he was going to hide in.

About daybreak, Grady was getting restless and moved to get more comfortable in the bushes. Uncle Vernon noticed the movement and let loose with a load of single aught buckshot right into the bush. Grady caught several pellets in the rear and jumped up howling. Uncle Vernon came out of the stand and approached the bushes with another shell in the chamber, gun cocked and ready.

“Uncle Vernon, wait,” Goober yelled. He had heard the shot and came running to help celebrate the scheme.

When they got to the bush, Grady came out dancing around, holding his rear. Uncle Vernon raised up his 12-guage and aimed it at Grady. “Uncle Vernon, no!” shouted Goober. “It’s Grady!” Uncle Vernon lowered his weapon and took out his knife.

“What are you gonna do with that?” Goober said.

“Gut him so the meat won’t spoil,” Uncle Vernon answered.

“What!” both Grady and Goober said in unison.

Uncle Vernon began to laugh. “I may be old but I ain’t dead, blind, or deaf.”

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Biting the Hand that Feeds us

Buddy bites the hand that feeds him. Is he stupid or what? Why would a cat bite the one that’s meeting his daily needs? I place his food in his dish, scratch his head and he turns and bites my finger, not hard but with enough pressure to make me jerk away before he can latch on.

You would think that he would understand that such behavior is inappropriate. It’s not like he’s a kitten who doesn’t know better. He’s a full grown cat.
Biting the hand that feeds you is one of the more insane actions anyone can commit. Here you are being served your supply, being cared for, caressed and you turn and express your gratitude by biting the very fingers expressing love.

Is it ingratitude for what’s in the dish? Is it confusion as to how important the provisions are? Is it because of a disconnect between what we wanted and what we need? Is Buddy showing disapproval of me?
Buddy is an old Siamese who lives three houses down but is always in my garage every morning for breakfast. He’s been coming for so long I consider him my cat. I care for him. So why does he bite me?

 All I know is how it makes me want to react—lock him out and send him away empty. Why don’t I? Because I have chosen to care for him. His attitude and actions don’t erase my commitment to him. I rise above them.
He may not respond with the gratitude I prefer, but I know what’s best for him. He needs what I offer. I will continue feeding him, scratching his head and pulling my fingers back just before he bites.

I will be faithful to him, even if he is unfaithful to me. Not because he deserves it but because my commitment to him demands it.
Lord, Buddy and I are a lot alike, aren’t we?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ranting About Reality Shows

There was a day that the title “Star” meant talent. Someone had shown achievement in singing, dancing, acting or any combination of these abilities demonstrated by producing quality entertainment and as a result were designated with that austere title. A staring role meant you were the main talent. Secondary roles gave you a lesser title of co-star or also appearing.
 What’s the deal with reality show “stars?” These people, however scripted or not the shows are, simply react to stuff going on around them. And that makes them stars? Whatever happened to good songs and good scripts whereby people with talent could capture you and take you into their performance? Watching someone’s stupidity or vulgarity inspires no one.
Where have the creative minds gone? Is no one capable of producing TV shows, movies or music that inspire you to reach deeply within the page and latch onto that nugget of good, polish it off and use it to sing better or act better? Can anyone write humor without being vulgar? Can singers do their performances without becoming immodest? Can writers look into the future and see hope? Can we ever realize that fifteen minutes of exposure doesn’t make us famous?
Just because someone’s on TV they are not a star. They may be a feature but they are not a star. Take them out of their weird world of “reality” and make them do something that requires skills and genuine talent and see what they do. Watching them throw fits is not entertainment.
I don’t have a direction these thoughts are taking me, just releasing some frustration. I know what talent is. I see it in my family every day. I recognize it in a song. I read it in a book. I watch it in a movie or show. I don’t think what is being thrown at us today has anything to do with talent.  And while we’re being force-fed this trash, the real talent is never being discovered and not being given its chance.
You with talent…keep it up. Don’t lower your standard just to gain fifteen minutes of recognition. Know the power of the Creator has greater things in mind.

Monday, June 6, 2011

There's a Pill for That but I Wouldn't Take It if I Were You

Just watched one of those pharmaceutical commercials advertising a drug that’s supposed to be the answer to my problem. Then things went weird. About halfway through, after they had convinced me their product would meet my need they tried to talk me out of it. Sure you’ll be helped by this pill but you’ll probably start growing hair out your ears, your fingernails will fall off, your teeth will itch, your guts will dissolve, your voice will go up three octaves and then you might die.

If the side effects are worse than the condition the medicine is treating, I think I’d rather just keep the condition and tough it out or wait for something else to come along.
Some of those commercials downright stupid. One was advertising something that was for the “problem” of waking up to go to the bathroom at night. Made me wonder what their solution was. Does their pill make me not wake up when I need to go to the bathroom at night? I really think waking up and going is far better than not waking up and going. But I digress.

Why on earth would somebody do that—try to talk you into something then immediately start talking you out of it? It’s not natural. Who wants to know the downside of something helpful? If what they come up with can’t help me without creating greater risks than leaving me alone, they need to go back to work and find something else. Whatever happened to the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm? Shouldn’t that apply to the whole medical field, including pharmaceuticals?
I wonder how a pharmaceutical company would to a commercial for salvation. God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Call out to Him and you will become His child. He will give you eternal life and bring you into His family forever. But some may experience abandonment. Others will slip out of His hands. Many of you will find He has forgotten your name when you cry out to Him. Only for a few will be heard and get their prayers answered. Some will end up rejected when they get to Heaven.

Who on earth would buy into such sloppy inconsistency? Why would someone ever consider giving their life to Someone who just might drop it somewhere along the way?
If your product can’t do what it promises it shouldn’t be offered. If it can, believe in it with all your heart and don’t live like it isn’t true.

Friday, June 3, 2011

How I Wish It Would Rain

We lived in the desert for eleven years. The total expected rainfall per year was only three inches. Obviously, it doesn’t rain much in the desert. If you grew up in a rainier climate, you miss the rain at first, but after a while you stop expecting it. You adjust to a dry and weary land where there is no water.

I’m beginning to feel the same thing down here. Southeast Texas isn’t a desert. We average over fifty inches of rain a year. Usually. But we’re in a drought. My front yard has lost the fight. I’m drying up. We don’t need a rain shower, we need a tropical storm. We don’t need rain measured in inches, we need rain measured by the foot.
The lake is down so low you can see stumps and sand barges far from shore. Fish are coming into the Vallero asking for bottled water. It’s getting critical. We need rain, big rain. The situation is desperate. God send us rain!

Being desperate for rain is similar to the longing God desires us to have for Him. David wrote: O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; my soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
I’m sure David had been through drought before. He had felt the drying, draining effect of being waterless. So the transition into a spiritual application was no major shift.

Longing for God on the level of dying of thirst makes sense to those who have drank of the goodness of God and then stopped drinking. Slowly, at first, the sense of fullness begins to leave until, eventually, pangs erupt. Cravings, like the gnawing emptiness of hunger. We dry up from the inside out. It’s called dehydration. By the time we feel thirst, we’re already there.
For David that was an indication he needed to seek God again, to go back to the fountain and drink until he was full.

I’m there. I want rain to wash away this drought. But more, I want the reign of God’s goodness to rain and replenish my dry spirit. Lord, let it rain! Saturate again this dry and weary land.