No rules this week. On Facebook, I call myself “Kimberly Emerson, Writer and Ponderer,” and it occurs to me that I haven’t openly pondered lately. So here we go. In no particular order, a list of my ponderings this week.
1. The meaning of forgiveness
During Children’s Time in church this past week, the assistant pastor asked the kids what it meant to forgive someone. One of the girls replied, “It’s like when you say, ‘It’s okay that you punched me in the face.’” She was messing with the pastor – I think. But I wonder if people actually think that. Just as a public service, let me put this out there: forgiving someone means that they did something wrong. That’s inherent. If they hadn’t screwed up, you wouldn’t have to forgive them. You’d just have to listen to why they did what they did, and try to understand. Forgiving someone takes more effort than that. To use Sunday’s example, it means, “You punched me in the face, but I’m not going to get back at you for it, and I’m not going to bring it up again.”
By the way, it’s okay to utter this statement when you are far away from them, and will never be within striking distance of them again.
2. My resemblance to The Prodigal Son’s older brother
The Prodigal Son comes up in conversation frequently in church. God will always love you, nothing you do is so bad that you can’t go back to God, etc. You can read the whole thing in Luke 15:11-32. Much rarer a topic is the older brother, who resents how easily the prodigal is accepted back into the home.
The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ - Luke 15:28-32
I’ve always kind of hated the Prodigal Son story, because I totally identify with the older brother. I’ve been a good little girl all the time. Where’s my chocolate and peanut butter ice cream cake? (Fatted calf isn’t really my thing.) But this time, I heard something new at the end of the story. ”The father went out and pleaded with him.” It dawned on me that when the prodigal son comes home, he’s the one who makes the move. He comes back to his father’s house. Yes, the father meets him outside, but the son came back from the city. With the older brother, on the other hand, the father follows him. The older brother doesn’t make any move to go back, and the story doesn’t tell you if he ever will. But the father leaves the party that he himself arranged in order to bring his other son back to the party.
There have been times in my life when God’s love has followed me, too, before I got very far away.
3. Why I can’t stop watching The Trailer Park Boys
Flipping through shows on Netflix, I got sucked into the story of two ex-convicts in Canada, living out their lives in a mobile home park. It’s a contrast on this list, but on reflection, it’s not that surprising. Aside of my off-hours philosophizing, there’s been a crazy amount to do at the job that actually pays me. Yesterday – well, let’s just say that Microsoft Excel is a blessing and a curse. (There’s a misbehaving formula in there somewhere, I just know it.) Stare at a spreadsheet for six hours and brain cells start to rebel. After eight, it’s a full-on mutiny, which can only be remedied by copious amounts of chocolate.
Enter The Trailer Park Boys. An extremely foul-mouthed show about two guys who get out of prison in the pilot episode and are back in it by the season finale. It defines a whole new spectrum of tacky. Let me explain: living in a mobile home does not, in and of itself, make you tacky. Buying a non-attached prefabricated home can be a reasonable alternative in our world of high cost real estate. My grandparents lived in one for many years. There’s actually a whole “tiny home” movement that holds up living in trailers of around 100 square feet as the gold standard for an ecological lifestyle.
On this show, however, the characters take it upon themselves to earn the label of uncouth. Think you’re tacky for burping in public or spilling lunch on your shirt? Think again. Embarrassed because you have trouble pronouncing Les Miserables? No worries. Ask yourself these questions, before ever again accusing yourself of a lack of glamour:
* How many people were arrested at your wedding? Where you one of them?
* How many doors is your four-door car missing?
* Do you refer to re-selling stolen shopping carts as “employment”?
* When arrested, is your main source of depression the lack of decent pot in prison?
* How many low-budget porn films have been made at your place of residence? Do they all have the same soundtrack?
* Have you ever been viewed in public without a glass of scotch?
and last but not least,
* Did you cater your friend’s wedding by robbing a grocery store? Did you tell him about it before you brought him along?
The show seems to exist to reassure you that yes, there is indeed further down that you can go. This explains my inability to look away. Kind of like gazing over the edge of the Grand Canyon.
4. Paul Ryan thinks we have very short memories.
This is the only explanation I can find for why he is advocating a new budget that’s basically the same budget no one wanted before, and why he’s still bent on destroying Obamacare when even Fox News thinks it’ll never happen.
5. Cats are God’s way of playing “Poke the Human”
What other possible explanation can there be for the fact that my cat can go an entire day without making a sound, right up until just when I am falling asleep? Perfect silence, no sound but traffic dull enough for me to ignore, and suddenly…”maow…maaaaow….maaaaAOW?” Like she is dying of thirst in the middle of the Gobi Desert. My house is 450 square feet including the hall closet and the shower. Her food and water are ten feet in one direction. My bed is perhaps eight feet, if you add up the distance she will have to travel going around the corner. But her paws are glued to the hardwood floor in the living room. Almost like someone planned it that way.
6. There is one good thing about really stressful tasks
When you’ve finally muddled your way through them, the normal heap of confusion that is your life seems blissful by comparison. See my comment in Number 3 about Excel. Bill Gates is laughing at me, I swear it.
That’s it for me, at least for now. How about you? What have YOU been pondering this week? Enquiring minds (inquiring minds? take your pick) want to know.
Kimberly finds it soothing to make lists, and that’s just scratching the surface of her weirdness.