I remember running into an older gentleman about three weeks ago.
It was the weekend, and this gentleman was just sitting by drinking a coffee.
I had just been yelled at by two other men who insisted on talking to each other, even though there was an empty table between them. That day, I decided to talk back, since no one deserves to be yelled, and for the time being I had learned that I do not have to put up with the disrespect of others.
Then I told this older guy that I did not have to put up with other people's rudeness.
"Yeah, that's right!" he told.
"You know what! I like you! Thank you for your support!"
Then he followed it up with:
"You know what? I like you too!"
I was really thrilled, so I gave him a copy of one of my "Waxman Watch" slips, the same that I wanted to give to the other two gentlemen before they yelled at me for no good reason.
"Here, take this." I then told him how I was getting the word out about Henry Waxma, the Congressman who has been in office for thirty-eight years, who now wants to run the South Bay. I am doing all that I can to stop this guy.
While I was telling him about the little campaign that I was running, he handed me the copy of an article that he had written for the Peninsula Magazine, something that caters to tight and well-off communities up on the Hill in Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills Estates.
The title: "Life is a bear." While I was looking over the article, he told me that he was a registered Democrat, and that he liked Henry Waxman. I decided to live and let live at that point.
"I've worked with many Presidents!" he then told me. He then shared how involved he had been in politics earlier in life.
"Life is a bear" the article started out. The older man then gave me some background on the piece.
"I wrote this for the local paper, " he then told me. "I also drew the picture." It looked like a messy kid's drawing, much like what a third grader would put together. This guy was rich and entitled, I suppose, and the only reason that he said that he liked me was so that he could give me a copy of his article to read. While looking over the piece, I notuiced that he had a number of copies of this story.
The story that he shared in that article was not so much a story as a lament. Life is hard, life is tough, nothing works out the way that you hope it would. Very depressing, to say the least.
I then gave him the tracts that I have been making -- the one about how in Christ we are forgiven and thus receive the grace to forgive, grace which is released in our lives even more as wew forgive others! We are grace-bought kings in Christ!
I remember the guy's name now: "Boots" he called himself, a name that his mother had given him to spite his father. Funny, how often I have heard that kind of tale. Two parents not getting along, then to get back at the spouse, the mother or the father changes the name of the child. Pretty petty stuff, and very troubling, in my view.
I looked over the "Life is a bear" story - and I remarked that much of it was patently false. At the end of the column, he wrote "Life is a bear, but the journey is worth it." That final statement was trite and contrite, trite because the rest of the piece had denounced the idea that life was worth living. If life is so hard, then why bother, I thought. I crumpled up what he gave me, I said "Thanks, but no thanks" and moved onto working on something else.
I have since then reflected on what that old man shared with me in that story.
This man had worked with Presidents. He must have had untold wealth. He lived up on the hill in Palos Verdes, some of the most expensive real estate in the Union. Yet for al that he had -- kids, grandkids, houses, money, publications in the local paper -- "life was a bear."
That's too bad.
The more that I think about it, though, the consoling nonsense that life is a journey, no matter what the destination, is not comforting but depressing. What's the point of going anywhere if you do not know where you are going, or if the destination is planned out for you in advance, anyway?
We do not need a destination, nor do we need a question to answer. I have run into so many people, myself included, who have created goals for themselves, only to realize those goals and be left empty.
The tricks and games and missions and fame that we seek for ourselves are not adequate. We have a desire for infinity, a sense of eternal security that will protect us from the hardships of infinity, that will minister to us beyond the upsets. On the other hand, too often we are still convinced that the life that we lead is our own.
We are dead and we need life. No matter what we try to strive for, it will be grasping for the wind, unless we accept by grace through faith that God with us, Jesus Christ, grants us the life and that more abundantly that we seek.
Man is looking for the unending source in this world, yet this comes through His Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity who comes to live and dwell among us, the promise of Jesus Christ, who could release His Spirit on the earth for us to receive.
We all need a parent, we all need this life in us, not just a standard to live up to, not just a sense of pleasure and entertainment which lasts for too brief a moment and cannot supply us the life, free from our sensual posturing and our frustrated searches.
We need to know that we have the eternal and unconditional acceptance of another -- of God Almighty. Because of the frustrations that people have met in their homes, in their churches, among other religious types, I am not suprised that many people have given up on God altogether, convinced that He tool their loved ones away, or that He died to prepare us a Way to Heaven, but nothing for us here on earth.
He wants us to abide in Him, and more importantly He wants us to open the eyes of our understanding to see that He is bigger than ourselves, larger than the universe, greater than our past, our present, our future. That in Him, all our sins are put away, sent away forever. That He lives in us, through us, and that in order for Him to work in our lives, we have to REST, not work, so that His life, Himself, flows through us!
Life is not a journey, but rather a revelation and an expansion. We are not called to go somewhere, but be someone in Him, to be trees of righteousness who bear fruit of righteousness for all to see and enjoy.
When God first made man, He said to them:
"And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth." (Genesis 1: 22)
"And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth." (Genesis 9: 1)
We are called to BE fruitful, to let flow the life of God which His Son gives to us by the Power of the Holy Spirit.
We are also called to:
"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen." (2 Peter 3: 18)
Life is about revelation, not destination, which is also met in Christ:
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14: 6)
Jesus is Christ is the Journey, the Desination, and the Certainty of Both!