Where Have I been?

Well, I’ve always heard from the blogging wizards that if you don’t post on your blog for an extended period, that when you come back, don’t bother posting the “Why I Haven’t Posted” post, because no one except maybe you’re mother really cares (Mom if you’re reading this, I know you care!).  This, despite the title, is not one of those posts.

I’m a firm believer that to get ahead in life, you have to keep your eyes focused forward on the prize.  Do a search on the words “focused on the prize” and see the results that Google returns.  Here’s a quote from my favorite book;

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  -Philippians 3:14

The last couple months, I’ve been focused more and more on where I’m going.  Not always did I like the direction I was headed, but now that I’m beginning to come out of the forest, I see that the path that was winding through the darkest forest, is now leading me into the light and into a bit of easier travel.  Oh sure, there will be some forest to travel through yet, I’m sure there will be tree’s blocking the path, dangers on either side and some scary times when I’ll feel alone, but because I can see what I’ve come through and have been made stronger because of it, the path ahead will be made easier because of those obstacles I’ve already passed.  I don’t need to look behind me, because those experiences carry with me and I use what I’ve learned to tackle anything that arises before me.

I can see the prize ahead of me, I trust the path that has been laid before me and I keep joyfully trudging along knowing what awaits me at the finish line.

So the real question is not, “Where have I been?”, but “Where am I going?” 

Dependencies

What are we dependent on these days?  Maybe the bigger question is, what are we dependent on that is truly not necessary? 

I work in the IT field and as such, I’m very dependent on a connection to the internet to do my job to the best of my ability.  Today our office’s internet was out.  It was amazing how little I thought I could really accomplish without it.  Couldn’t check my email, read my blogs, listen to my music streams, catch up on the latest news during lunch.  So many things that I think I’m dependent on, that when it’s not there, I feel lost.

What are we as a society dependent on?  Electricity!  We’ve all had times when the power has been out for a few minutes, no big deal (other than having to reset some clocks and things like that).  What about for a few hours?  We start to get a little antsy.  How about a day?  Well, now we’ve moved into a mode where we start wondering what to do with ourselves.  A few days or more?  No we’ve kicked into survival mode.  We worry about food spoiling, we worry about fresh water, we worry about heat and the list goes on.  Most people in America, would struggle to survive for a week or more without electricity (in my scenario, we can’t just hop in a car and travel a few miles to where power is and camp out in a hotel or at a relatives house). 

What if there was no supermarkets?  Could we grow or hunt our own food?  I suspect many couldn’t.  What if fresh water was difficult to come by?  Could we survive?   What if we had to live like our ancestors did not so many generations ago?  Could we build our own shelter?  Could we grow our own food and store up enough to last the winter?  That’s a question that I think many of us would fear the true answer to.

I don’t suspect that we’ll have to live through any of these scenarios anytime soon.  I sure hope not for all of our sakes.  But would it hurt to prepare just a little?  Maybe stock up on some canned and other non-perishable foods.  Keep some fresh water available for drinking.  Have the ability to have alternative heat (keep some wood chopped and handy in case you need to build a fire for heat and cooking).  Learn some survival basics.

Also try to remember that all we have, all those material things we are so “dependent” on can be gone in a moment.  It’s good practice to sit down and realize that most of those things we so depend on our just conveniences that we are able to enjoy.  Do we need them?  No, but they are nice. 

I’m gonna strive to be less dependent on these conveniences.  Will I ever go off the grid?  No.  I’m not giving up my internet anytime soon, I still plan on shopping at the local supermarket, and I’ll enjoy my heat and air conditioning.  But I will try to take small steps so that if those things every disappeared, I could survive and in the mean time I can live more independently and probably a lot cheaper.  I think this exercise will help me see the priorities that are important;  God and family.  Those are things I can and need to depend on!

Build something small

By day I’m a software developer, website builder, and general computer consultant.  Just the other day I read an article on a software blog I follow called Stop Giving Lousy Excuses And Start Working On A Small But Genuine Story.  This article, while it talks from a perspective of software development, leaves us with a message I think we all can relate to in life.

If we look at the world around us and see the struggles and troubles that we or our neighbors and friends are going through, we may think it’s just too large for us individuals to fix or even make a difference.  In fact the prevailing thought of many around the country is that “only the government can fix it.” 

We sit around in our homes, happily (or not so happily) paying our taxes and say “What can I do, I’m only one person?”,  “I’m just too busy to work on it.” or “I’m really not smart enough to do anything about it.”  

Well I say, drop the excuses, do something small.  None of those excuses work when you do something small.  They don’t take a lot of time, nor a lot of money.  They don’t take a lot of brain power and you can keep your day job.  You just have to take a little initiative, do something to make a difference and then do it consistently.

What type of things am I talking about?  Nothing real complicated.

  • Pay for a stranger’s coffee in a coffee shop.
  • Give a young mother a coupon for free milk if you see her in line in front of you at the grocery store.
  • Tell a soldier “Thank you!”
  • Hold the door for the person coming out of the store behind you.
  • Send $20 to a family in need anonymously.
  • Invite an elderly person over for dinner if they’re alone for the holidays.

Little things that we all can do (and things I need to improve on myself), that would make such a huge difference in people’s lives.  Each taking as individual act of kindness really is nothing big, takes so little time, effort or money, but can pay such dividends to the everyone involved.  And if everyone would do something small each day, think what a difference it would make on a large scale when you consider them all together.

It doesn’t take the government to spread kindness and charity.  In fact, forced charity is not charity at all.  We all, no matter how rich or poor we may be, can spare some small piece of ourselves to give to another.  That small seed of kindness will take root and grow if nourished.  I’m going to strive in this new year to make small sacrifices each day to help make someone else’s life just a tad bit brighter.

Go do something small and celebrate!  I dare you!