Friday, June 25, 2010

The Atlas Offensive

My wife and I were talking the other day how as human critters, we criticize others on a regular basis. Why? He became man that we might fully understand what it means to love one another and to live a life worthy of heaven. He gave us our faith that we might share His love with the rest of the world--forever. However, He also knew we would be persecuted for it. I, again, question why.

If we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, why are we compelled to bring each other down? When a person, an organization, a religion, or--you fill in the blank--is blessed with God's gifts, for whatever reason, it seems to be human nature to take the offensive and take or break that special gift or grace from God.

In Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand explored an interesting question. What would happen to the world if all those who work hard and are successful (I would call God's grace), who are also attacked because of their success, decided to disappear? What would happen if those who hold up the world had had enough of the criticism, and decided to let the world go on without them? We can only imagine. 

I am reminded of good friend of mine who had a very athletically talented brother. All through high school, in every town he played in, the fans booed him--just because of talent. Coaches, even, would use psychological tricks to try to take him out of his game. He became a target because of talent. Ironically, he was a very good person, and would have given the shirt off his back to anyone who needed it. But all that took a toll on him, and before he could share his talent with the world (he would have been pro), he took his own life.

I suppose we get so competitive, we want to make sure everyone is on the same playing field following the same rules. Mostly, I think it comes from jealousy. When someone has been given a gift from God, others want it for themselves, but if we have faith and patience, God will bless us with our own gifts--in His time and in His way.

Long story short, if a person is blessed with a gift from God, he finds himself at the top, so he becomes the target. It is just a fact of life. It is the American Way, unfortunately, whether in athletics, faith, leadership, or otherwise. Instead of celebrating the gifts of others, we pick them apart, and I am sad to say along the path of life I have fallen into that myself. We can't take it back, so we learn to forgive or be forgiven and move on with life. We can only hope it is for the goodness of mankind and for the glory of God.

Thus, if God blesses an individual with a gift, that gift is a blessing for everyone. While it is natural for Man to criticize that blessing, it is still a gift from God, and the criticism is that individual's albatross that must be endured. However, we should perceive it not as an albatross, but as a blessing because of a blessing--and Christ prepared us for it more than 2000 years ago.

Monday, June 14, 2010

"Powning" Tom Sawyerland

So I'm painting a wall in my basement today, and my second son, "McFly" who is 14, comes downstairs and asks if he can go hang out with his friend Daniel-son (spoken with an Oriental accent). I say, "Sure. Although, you can always help me paint." His response was classic teenalian, "I don't know how." I told him he would learn if he would help. Then in one of my best accents, sarcasm, I said, "But you'd probably just 'Tom Sawyer' it anyway.

His response: "Dad, if there were a Tom Sawyerland, I'd 'pown' it." (Teenalian cross of "pound" and "own" and pronounced poned as in loaned.) In other words, he would be the best at getting others to do things for him. He's right.

You see, my second son is a natural charismatic. (God help us it never goes to his head.) He can get anyone to do anything for him, and they will thank him for it no matter how miserable it might be. God has truly smiled lavishly on this one. One time one of his best friends (he travels in a herd, so you can never say "best" friend) was at the house. They wanted to go hang with another friend. I told him he had to clean the counter and sink in the bathroom first. In classic McFly fashion, he proceeded to clean the sink in the worst manner possible. His friend, "Touk" as I affectionately call him, saw what he was doing and was appalled.

He said, "You're doing it all wrong. Let me show you." I couldn't believe my eyes: Touk began cleaning the sink to a shine Aurora herself could not muster. (Later when revealing this story to Touk's mother, she was absolutely at a loss, for he had never cleaned so well at home.) McFly began to smile that s*#t-eating grin that makes him so irresistibly and classically McFly, and I could only grin and think, "How does he do that?"

What makes matter worse, not only does he know he's Tom Sawyer, everyone else does too..and they still don't mind being "powned" by Twain's fence painter! (Though his three brothers are much the wiser.)

So as for helping me paint the basement, McFly "powned" Tom Sawyerland...and I finished it myself.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Getting Things Done

It seems the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray. I, like many others, am constantly searching for better, more efficient ways to be organized. To get a handle on the stuff of life. Using Evernote has been a lifesaver, and I am still discovering new ways to use it. I recently joined the trend, and downloaded Getting Things Done from Amazon to my Blackberry to see what David Allen has to offer. While I have only scratched the surface, I have been dabbling with some of his ideas in Evernote.

While projects have their own file, and actions lists do as well, I am finding it difficult understanding how he distinguishes the difference between his Action Lists and a To Do list--other than one's resolve to take action on those actions. It will be interesting to see how his philosophy unfolds.