Thursday, October 29, 2009

Candy Corn

It's a good thing candy corn is typically only widely available in the fall, because I have a real weakness for it. I'm not sure why ... they don't really look like corn, they are excedingly sweet, and they leave my teeth feeling coated. Their flavor isn't really anything that stands out (though one year they had caramel apple candy corn - oh my! I've never seen them since though, pity).

I have some in a leaf shaped bowl in my apartment right now, and I was noticing the other day how though most of them have a white tip, an orange middle, and a yellow bottom - there are always a few stand-outs. A yellow one with a white tip, a completely orange one, and of course the broken pieces. If there was such a thing as a perfect piece of candy corn, the model the company was striving to reproduce, it does not exist in these bags. Each piece is unique.

Just like us. Some of us have holes where things aren't filled in quite right. Most of us are dented or broken. We have something missing - sometimes as severe as missing an entire "color." But when you get down to it, we all "taste" pretty much the same. We're all human. We're all sinners. To God we all have something missing, something that makes us fall short of perfection. And yet when he made humans, he looked at his creation and said that it is good.

The closest I think I can come to understanding why God loves something so imperfect and often downright ugly - something that misses the mark by so much, is art class. At some point in school I think most of us had to make something out of clay or paper mache. It never turned out quite like what we had in mind, it missed this mark of perfection. But because it was something we made, we cherish it. It means something more to us than a soggy collection of newspaper. I still have my favorite art project, a paper mache butterly-frog-cat, which has become very meaningful to me though many would look at it as trash.

Perhaps there are some of us OCD enough to pick through the candy corn and only put the "best" out in our bowls. But I think most of us would agree that candy corn is candy corn and it all tastes the same (AKA - YUMMY!). They all sit in the same bowl, and (at least in my house) they're all gonna get eaten. I know when God looks at me, He doesn't see that I'm missing a color or that I've been broken - He sees me as the child He made and loves.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Results Driven or Spirit Driven?

I noticed today that I often have a feeling of "unrest" when I have something open at work. Apparently I have a touch of OCD that LOVES closing things. Taping up boxes and sending them back on their way brings me a certain amount of satisfaction.

I've always been a "hard worker" ... something school and work have always given me a little pat on the back for. People who needs things done like people who get things done. But I'm not so sure this little personality tick is always such a great thing.

Last blog, I talked about these hideous caterpillars I didn't kill, because I found out they'd become bright and beautiful yellow butterflies. Once I knew what the outcome would be, I was more tolerant of their appearance (and destruction of my lemon tree).

During the past few weeks, my lemon tree has become nearly leafless. And the ugly caterpillars have fled. How they even left, I'm not sure. Where they went? I have no idea. But they are gone, and I don't even see a hint of a cocoon. I saw ONE on my lime tree, but now I can't even find him.

The fact of life is, we don't always get to see the results. And this can drive a person like me crazy. I like to see the end! If I start a book, even if it is terrible, I want to finish it! If I pay to see a movie, I want to finish even if it is aweful.

But life isn't a race. There is no rush to get to the end. As the song says, "One day at a time, sweet Jesus ..." Life is a journey. There is so much I can miss along the way if I'm focused on the end. I thought I had learned that, but I find myself receiving needed reminders.

Earlier this week, I start watching a movie because I had read the book ("The Ruins" by Scott Smith ... think Stephen King only somehow less ... meaty? Less filling? More soulessly haunting.) and I actually turned it off. I didn't finish.

As irked as I am that the caterpillars ate my lemon tree and left ... that I don't get to see them transform into butterflies ... I'm trying to see what God can teach me from that. That sometimes we plant a seed and don't get to see if it grows. That if I rush through life trying to reach my goals, I'm going to miss things along the way - which may have been what God really wanted, not for me to reach that goal.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to become a Mary Kay consultant. I was excited, I think I would have enjoyed it. Then my face broke out into a pimply rash worse than I ever had as a teen. I truly feel like God was working on something by having me start to move in that direction - but obviously I will not be selling skin care products I'm allergic to!

So, as much as I like results, I'm going to start appreciating the process. Appreciating each precious day God gifts me on this earth. Because the thing I'm focusing on may not even be what He has in mind. Detours happen (HOW many detours have I had thus far in my life? I'm starting to EXPECT them!), plans change, one calling overpowers another.

If my focus is where it should be, on God, I can take all these things in stride. He may change my direction. His path for me may meander up the mountainside, and it may be the twists and turns He wanted to show me, not just the view at the top. How much more do we appreciate the view at the end of a long hike than when we've zipped up a ski-lift?

One day at a time sweet Jesus, show me where I should stop and smell the roses. You love me, and I can trust that I'm not going to miss out on a thing if I'm looking to You.