Thursday, November 19, 2009

God Is Busy

A United States Marine was attending some college courses between assignments. He had completed missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the courses had a professor who was an avowed atheist, and a member of the ACLU.
One day, the professor shocked the class when he came in. He looked to the ceiling and flatly stated, "God, if you are real, I want you to knock me off this platform. I'll give you exactly 15 minutes." The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop. Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, "Here I am God, I'm still waiting."
It got down to the last couple minutes when the Marine got out of his chair, went up to the professor, and cold-cocked him, knocking him off the platform. The professor was out cold. The Marine went back to his seat and sat there, silent.
The other students were shocked and stunned, and sat there looking on in silence. The professor eventually came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, "What in the world is the matter with you?! Why did you do that?"
The Marine calmly replied, "God is too busy today protecting American soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid stuff and act like an idiot. So He sent me."
The classroom erupted in cheers.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Unanswerable Question

This past weekend, someone that I work with had to make the extremely difficult decision to "pull the plug" on their mother. When this person told me what they had decided to do, something inside me quaked. I knew that this person loved their mother and didn't want to do such a thing, but, because of the situation, had decided that it was the most loving thing they could do for their mother. Ever since I talked to this person, I've been troubled. Part of me can't help thinking that, no matter what was wrong with a person, ending his or her life is never the right decision. But the other part of me wonders if, sometimes, it's the best and most loving decision. So then I'm faced with the question: is it ever okay to remove life support from a person in order to let them die, and if so, when is it okay to do so? If the person is completely paralyzed, has to be fed through a tube, is on an oxygen machine, and can't communicate at all and yet is not brain dead, is it okay? If a person is in a coma and shows no signs of coming out of it, is it okay? If a person is on life support and is partially brain dead, is it okay? What if they're completely brain dead? If a person is in a vegetative state and is completely brain dead, are they even technically alive anymore?
And then we must think about children that are born that are paralyzed or physically or mentally retarded in some way. If there's a certain standard for when it's okay to take life support away from an older person, there are children that are born who'd fall into the same category. Is it then okay to let a child die if an old person in that exact same position is allowed to die?
These questions trouble me, not only because I may one day be put in a place where I have to make such a decision about my parents, but also because, from a Christian standpoint, I firmly believe that all life is precious and everyone deserves a chance to live. As a Christian, can I condone taking away life support from someone, no matter what kind of physical/mental position that person is in? If Jesus was here and I asked him these questions, what would He say? Would He Who healed the sick and the mentally challenged say it's okay to pull life support? Or would He Who had so much compassion on the sick and mentally challenged say that it's the most loving thing that could be done? Is it taking someone's life into our own hands or is it giving someone what is best for them?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Military

As the roar overhead drowns out all other noises, I'm reminded again of one of the reasons why I really like living in this particular place in the city. I was raised in the country on a small farm, and I'll always be a country girl at heart. Because of that, there's only a few things that I like about living in the city. I don't hate the city, per say. I just don't enjoy living here, as a lot of people do. The few things that I like about the city are that I'm close to my work, I'm close to other stores so I can go shopping whenever I want, and I'm close to the Air Force base. As the crow flies, the base is just a few miles from our apartment. Every day, fighter jets, huge cargo planes and other military aircraft fly right overhead. In the evenings when my husband and I are watching a movie, there are many times when we have to pause the movie because the roar of low-flying military aircraft is so loud that nothing else can be heard. Some people probably get very irritated by the noise, especially if it wakes them up at night. I, however, think of the noise differently... with gratitude. I'm so grateful that there are men and women who are willing to enlist so those jets and planes can be flown in the defense of our country. I'm grateful that I work at a grocery store that's close to the base so I can see military personnel everyday. I'm grateful that we live close enough to the base so I can hear the sounds of freedom everyday.
When I was growing up in the country, we didn't see soldiers or military vehicles very often. But now, living where we do, I have a constant reminder of the sacrifice of those men and women. That soldier who comes through my line at the store - he may be deployed next week, and the week after that, may be counted among the fallen. I will never stop being grateful to that soldier.
I only wish that more people in our country were grateful for the sacrifices of our military. I don't really care if you agree or disagree with the war, the president, past presidents, or decisions that were made. Those men and women deserve our love and gratitude and support.

My love and prayers especially go out to my sister Melanie (Air Force) and my brother Josh (Army National Guard). I'm so proud of you both.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Authors and Books

It's been quite a while, dear readers, since I've written anything. Life has been busy for me, but that's not the only reason I haven't written in so long. Those of you who know me well, know that I love to read. I used to read for hours and hours every day but, as I got older and more important things came up (such as going to college, getting married, working an almost full-time job, etc.), reading was one of the things that got put on hold. Of course, I didn't give up reading altogether (I always had a book around that I'd pick up when I wanted to relax), but I just didn't read for the hours a day that I used to. However, I've recently realized that I've really missed reading and I'm now trying to read for at least half an hour every day (if not more). Because of my new determination, given the choice between reading and writing my blog, I usually choose reading. Now, I'm sure you're all on the edge of your seats, wondering what I've been reading lately. Well, about a week ago, I finished Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. For those of you who've read that book, you know that it's quite an extensive read. However, from the very first page of the book, the story captured me and I could barely put it down. In my opinion, it's the best fiction book I've ever read. The other book that I just finished is Dear John by Nicholas Sparks. I read Dear John because my younger sister Bridget read it and recommended it to me. When I was younger I used to read a lot of Christian romances, but haven't for awhile. But I must say, Dear John is a pretty good book. I'd recommend both Lonesome Dove and Dear John to any of you readers. The book I'm on now is Dead Man's Walk, another book my Larry McMurtry and a prequel to Lonesome Dove.
So, what makes a good book "good"? Well, I think there are two things that make a book good (this mainly applies to fiction books). First, the author writes in such a way that you can actually "see" and "feel" what's happening. You can see what's happening to the characters, you can feel what they're going through. I've read books where I haven't been able to see and feel, and those reads weren't very enjoyable. For whatever reason, the author just didn't have what it took to make the characters seeable and feelable (is that a word?). And second, the author is able to make the characters "live". For example, at the end of Lonesome Dove, one of the main characters dies (I won't tell you who because I don't want to spoil it for you). When that character died, I felt the lose. When the character was alive, I felt like he was really alive. Now, you may think that these two things are the same, but they really aren't. You can "see" what's going on in a book without feeling like it's really happening. If an author is able to write in such a way that you not only see and feel what's happening, but also feel that the characters are really alive and the events are really happening to them, then, in my opinion, that book is a good book, that author is a good author.
Well, that's all for now. If you don't read, I encourage you to pick up a book and read today. You truly can travel the world and beyond, past, present and future, in the pages of a book.