SUICIDE IS PAINLESS

“SUICIDE IS PAINLESS..”

EXCEPT, IT’S NOT

I keep going back to the beginning, where it all went wrong.

Genesis.

I know, I know, some of you think that is all a fairy tale, you know, with evolution and millions and millions of years.

But, after the recent couple of celebrity suicides, I realized there is a pattern.

In the beginning, God created…

He daily walked with the man in the garden, the man He made in His image, the one who was to rule over His creation.

The man had an important job, a purpose.

But, he needed a companion, so God gave him a woman as a wife; like him but different.

God gave them amazing freedom and possibilities with a few boundaries to protect His creation.

God knew what would happen.

But, He also knew that the love He created for man to experience was manifest in the desire to obey and please the Creator.

So, the first man and woman crossed the first boundary, tore down the first wall.

And he has been tearing down these walls ever since.

Walking and talking with God.

Marriage between a man and a woman.

Purposeful work.

And it didn’t stop there, because the enemy of God was involved in this whole tyranny.

Ready with the chains of a disobedient lifestyle.

Ready with the blindness that accompanies deadness.

Ready with a promise of self-reliance and accomplishment , and a reward of emptiness, hopelessness, and a desire to end it all.

Ready with the voice that screams over the loving whisper of the Creator…

The One that still whispers, “Come back to me.”

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A WRITER WRITESo

A WRITER WRITES

That’s what they say.

I always wanted to be a writer.

But, I didn’t write…except for that four page story about an invasion from Jupiter I started in the fourth grade…oh, and that attempt at writing in a journal one semester in college (Oh, to find those old spiral notebooks and read how wise I was at 19).

But, until recently, I haven’t written much.

I found a journal app for my phone in 2011, and, I figured, that would be the impetus I need to write.

Yep.

One entry in 2011.

One entry in 2013.

Four in 2014.

In 2015, I began to write…not a lot, but more.

I also decided to write a blog in 2011.

From 2011 until 2015 I made exactly 5 entries.

I was on a roll.

You can find that one at http://myrainywindylife.blogspot.com

Last week, I decided to get serious, so I joined WordPress https://randyepps.blog.wordpress.com

to set up a blog. I didn’t just do the free one…I actually paid money.

Now, I need your help.

Apparently, writers like people to read their stuff.

They write because they think they have something to say.

If I want to ever do more than just get likes on Facebook, I need you guys to follow me on Blogspot and WordPress.

The way you do that: you scroll down past the blog to the comments section.

There is a place to follow, to enter your email address.

Do that, and you will get notified every time I put something on one of these blogs, you will receive an email.

Why is this important?

Well, I never know who Facebook is showing my stuff to these days.

I know I don’t see everything you put on Facebook.

Understand, this is hard for me, this self-promotion, but I am being told that if I want to expand my readership, there is a need to promote myself.

Oh, and one more thing…if you think what I have written is interesting, thoughtful, funny, or inspiring, and you think someone that you know might enjoy it as well, then, maybe hit the share button.

Again, thank you for reading my ramblings, and all the encouragement you have offered.

I can’t help myself but to do what thrills me…and this writing thing…

Well, I guess I’m a writer.

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LOVE, MATH, AND LIFTING WEIGHTS

LOVE, MATH, AND LIFTING WEIGHTS

I love my wife.

She has been feeling pretty bad the last week. It started with a sore throat and progressed to all over yuck.

But, she still finds the energy to fix something good to eat.

“After I finish in the kitchen, I’m going to Lowe’s to get some border stones for the flagpole. I’ll show you what’s available.”

I had done the math. Circumference equals two times pi times the radius. For two layers, fifty stones should do.

I sent her pictures of the four choices on sale for 1.28 instead of 1.98.

She liked the lighter one. “It looks more like Texas limestone…why don’t you get sixty.” She never did trust my math.

I love my wife.

I got sixty.

To load this cart, I had to get on my knees on the concrete floor and empty the pallet, being careful to stack them so they wouldn’t shift as I pushed the cart. (I had hoped they would be out on the parking lot so I could just pay and pull up in my car to load them. But…no.)

Eighteen per layer, 3 layers, that’s 54, plus 6 on top.

I tried to push the cart to the checkstand.

I grunted. It was slow going. I only weigh 150…I think the cart outweighed me a little.

“I think I overestimated my energy level,” I said to some random lady customer. She smiled.

I saw an old friend walking into the garden center.

The checker had seen my plight with the heavy cart. “You can just leave it there. I can check you out from here.”

My friend said, “Oh, Randy, are you going to put all those in your car? You don’t think they will flatten your tires?” She made a good point. Or ruin my shocks? I hadn’t thought about this.

“That will be 83.14,” the checker said. “Would you like some help loading these?”

“….I think I would. After loading the cart…I think I would.”

“You loaded these by yourself?” I think she was impressed, but she may have been thinking ( silly old man should have gotten some help.)

“Just push that cart out there, pull your car up, and I’ll call someone to help you.”

So, I followed instructions.

I figured I could load a few while I waited for the help.

Help never came. It was a nice theory, though.

As I drove home, every bump seemed to go to the limit on the shocks.(I think they call them struts now…shocks were better…back in the old days.)

I made it home…went in for some water.

I told Wendy about loading them alone, twice.

“Oh, honey! No one helped you?”

She had the right amount of compassion in her tone.

I love my wife.

“Be sure and use a long level. You don’t want an unlevel border, because it will make the flagpole look crooked…and, you’ll probably have to dig out where the ground is higher.”

She was right.

I actually hadn’t thought that far ahead.

Digging a trench.

That’s why I never became a plumber.

So, I did it, trench and all.

I think it looks nice.

I am pooped.

I went in to take a shower.

Just out of curiosity I took one of the stones in to see how much it weighed.

I had figured originally before that probably five pounds apiece was the weight.

For the story, though, I hoped at least eight to ten pounds, so you would be impressed.

I put the stone down, and stepped on the scale.

149.

Hmm. I think I lost some weight.

I picked up the stone, stepped back on the scale.

170.6!

Math…is that right? 21.6 pounds.

Each stone weighed 21.6 pounds?!

I’m glad I didn’t know this before.

Just so you will be impressed…

60 stones

Handled three times

That’s 180 stones

Times 21.6

Equals

Are you ready?

3,888 pounds.

Oh, and I carried that one stone in.

That makes 3,909 pounds.

That is almost two tons!

I am pooped!

I do love my wife, though…!

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OUT OF BOUNDS

OUT OF BOUNDS
It seems like I mow the yard a lot.

I like to mow…the noise allows me to think, to reflect, to consider things.

Like, why is this golf ball laying in the street by my curb?

That would be some drive, considering I am about 7 miles from one golf course, and 10 miles from the other!

It reminds me of a good drive I hit one time.
I was about nine years old, went with my dad (to be his caddy) to Tenison golf course in Dallas. (The West course.) So, on the second hole, while we were waiting for the group in front of us to get out of range, Dad told me I could take a swing.
This fairway ran parallel to a street off to the right.
I teed up the ball, took my dad’s driver, and swung with all my might.
I toed the ball with the tip of the driver, and it shot out to the right, across the street, hit the pole of a street sign, ricocheted back across the street, down the fairway, 250 yards.
I never duplicated that shot.

You weren’t that lucky.

But, it doesn’t matter how great a drive it was, it costs you a stroke…it’s out of bounds.
Plus, I assume that, since it is still laying here, you lost it…that’s another stroke.

Life is kinda like that, yeah?

You go through life, swinging for the fences (oops, baseball term, sorry), uhh, shooting for the green, and you cork one, a huge drive that felt so good, you figure it’s the best drive you’ve had all day, maybe ever, and it hits one tiny branch over the fairway…one tiny branch… and It ricochets off into the woods, and you never find it.

Does that ruin your game?

Well, if you’re keeping score, it may.

But if you are out there because you love the game, the scenery, the walk (or, I guess, the ride in the golf cart) you laugh and go look for that little white sphere and continue the game.

When you live your life for the One that made you, you’re gonna hit some branches, and life is gonna ricochet away from the plans you made.

You’ve got some choices to make… trust Him, knowing that He is making your entire life purposeful,

Or, regret that you ever started this game.

But, if you are still looking for your ball…it’s right beside my curb in the street.

Nice drive!

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I MAY HAVE BEEN HASTY IN JUDGMENT

I MAY HAVE BEEN HASTY IN JUDGMENT

Last week, I made a statement about what hearing old rock music from my teen years did to me.

I heard another one today. I always thought it was really, really shallow. But, thinking about it, I may have decided it was genius.

“ADAM! WHY ARE YOU HIDING?”

Eve gripped his arm and hand in fear.

“Stay down,” said Adam, “We can’t let Him see us like this.”

“I said, why are you hiding?”

“ I was afraid, because I was naked.”

“Who told you you were naked?”

They both were hanging their heads, not looking up, focused intently on the dirt in front of them.

“Did you eat from the tree I told you not to eat from?”

“Well…the woman you gave me…”

Eve jerked her hand away. Adam could see her glaring at him out of the corner of his eye.

She kept glaring at Adam. “It was the serpent…”

__________________________

“Eve, where are you? Wait!”

Adam was running after her, leaving the garden.

“How could you do that? You threw me under the bus!” she called back, over her shoulder.

“What? What are you saying? I don’t understand! What is a bus?”

“I don’t know. It’s just an expression! Just leave me alone.”

Adam watched her walk into a cave.

He walked, alone into the woods.

____________________________

“Eve…Eve…are you in here?”

Adam was sobbing.

“I’m here. What?”

“ Back there…in the …in uh gadda…when we were…in uh gaddavida…”

“Adam! Pull yourself together. I can’t understand a word your saying! Take a breath and talk to me…like a man!”

Adam sat down…took a deep breath…and another…”Eve, you are bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh…you are mine…I am yours…”

“And, I wrote you a song.”

“What?”

“I wrote you a song. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking.”

“Okay. Sing my song. What’s that?”

“A zither. I made it to play music…for your song.”

And he started to sing…

“In the garden of eden, honey

Don’t you know that I’m lovin’ you

In the garden of eden, baby

Don’t you know that I’ll always be true

Oh, won’t you come with me

And take my hand

Oh, won’t you come with me

And walk this land

Please take my hand”

Then Adam put down his zither, picked up two limbs from the ground, and started beating out a rhythm…on trees, on rocks, on stumps…for a long time…a long, long time…

Then he picked up his zither, and sang the two verses again…

For emphasis.

He looked at Eve, smiling kinda sheepishly.

“What was that?” She asked.

“Your song!”

“No, the part in the middle.”

“Oh, that was the best part, the drum solo…” He saw her begin to frown… “I don’t mean the best part…the best part was the “lovin’ you” part…then the drum solo.”

She smiled, took his hand, looked into his eyes, and said, “I like it. Could I change one thing?”

Adam handed her the skin with the song on it.

She made the changes, handed it back.

“In a gadda da vida? No one will know what that means?”

“It’s my song. You wrote it for me. I’ll know. They’ll just have to figure it out.”

“I love you, Eve. You look real pretty in that leather dress.”

“Thank you, Adam. It’s a Designer original.”

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BLACK MAGIC WOMAN

“BLACK MAGIC WOMAN”

This is one of the old rock and roll songs playing on the radio as I was cleaning windows at the house of an aging hippie and his wife.

I think, “That could’a been me.”

It was turned up high, so you could hear it from anywhere in the house.

I used to love this stuff.

I have to admit, it was nostalgic.

Ah, “nostalgic.” What a pleasant word.

Okay, maybe “nostalgic” doesn’t describe it that well.

It did bring back memories.

Memories of a time when loud music helped drown out my emptiness and feelings of insecurity, and doubt.

Did I say “insecurity”?

“Turn that up! I love that song!” (I can’t stop this feeling, deep inside of me…)

The old days…when life was simple…live for the moment…don’t worry, be happy…if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with…we can change the world, rearrange the world…imagine there’s no heaven… Hello darkness, my old friend…

That’s what it was…a feeling of darkness.

Not in me…the light has overcome the darkness…

In the house.

The music brought back the memories of life before…life that was dark…life that was empty.

The music that used to excite…it sounds so empty…so desperate…so needy.

But I realized what was wrong…

When the music was playing, I couldn’t hear the voice of the One that I love…

That still, small whisper…

The voice that fills that place inside…

That I tried to fill with noise before…

Until I heard it for the first time…

“You must be born again!”

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HYPOTHETICAL SITUATION

HYPOTHETICAL SITUATION

Suppose Sears was sending a repairman out today between 8:00 and 5:00.

You are supposed to visit your father-in-law at the rehab center in Tyler.

So, you call the 800 number to get a little better window.

4:00 -6:00.

Then the repairman calls and says, “3:00-6:00.”

So, you ask him if he could call you about an hour before he comes.

So, you tell your spouse that you will go, but you’ll have to take your car.

While your spouse is getting her or his makeup on, you go outside to figure out how to put the front wheels that fell off your mower while you were mowing last week back on.

You drive to the hardware store get the bolts you need (with lock washers, because….well, you know) put the wheels back on ( after dropping one of the bolts through the deck, crawling under the deck to find it) then loading the mower onto a trailer to get your mechanic to take off the bent mower blade that caused the problem in the first place because you just don’t have quite the strength you used to have to turn that bolt.

You change out of your work clothes, drive to Tyler and have a nice visit.

When they take your father-in-law to therapy, you and your spouse might decide to go get something to eat. ( By now it’s probably 1:30 and you realize you are running on coffee…and not that special kind because…well, that’s a whole nother story)
“Not Chick-fil-A. I ate there yesterday,” your spouse might say.
So you suggest Taco Bell, telling how great that new Naked Chicken Chalupa Wild tastes…and she pulls into Panda Express…and you say, “Panda Express is fine.”

Long line for 1:45.

Standing in line you hear, ” They are making some fried rice and it will be ready in a couple of minutes.”

You’re kinda in a hurry…and you’re pretty hungry, so you figure to just get steamed rice.

“We’re out of steamed rice…it’ll be about 20 minutes…”

So you decide on the fried rice.

20 minutes later you head back to the rehab center, with three meals in a bag.

You’re eating, visiting, talking about exotic lunch meats and cookies at Fresh.

You’re phone rings. It’s the repairman. He’s giving you the warning that you asked for.

So you grab a big cookie, and your egg roll and go out to the car.

The fortune says: “THERE WILL ALWAYS BE DELIGHTFUL MYSTERIES IN YOUR LIFE
PANDA EXPRESS”Oh, come on,” you think, “is this the bargain basement fortune. I wanted one that meant something.”

It’s hot, your air-conditioning on your old work car doesn’t work so you decide to take the short cut to give you a few extra minutes before Sears guy arrives.

After a few turns and a bit of a drive you start to wonder “Did I miss a turn? This doesn’t look right. I should be going northwest and I’m going southeast.”

You know that one little left then right jog your supposed to take about five minutes from home?

Yeah, you were thinking about that fortune cookie and you forgot and turned right instead of left.

So, you know you’re going a little bit out of the way, but, you figure an extra five minutes won’t hurt.

It turns out, it’s going to be an extra twenty.

You start to think about that fortune cookie.

That delightful mystery is “am I going to make it before the Sears guy?”

You do, with a couple of minutes to spare.

He has to order the part.

I hope this never happens to me.

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LANGUAGE BARRIER

LANGUAGE BARRIER

We were traveling up the Atlantic coast, hitting all the major cities, a once in a lifetime trip for us. We had left “the South” when we left Virginia Beach.

We came to a Walmart in Baltimore right on the Chesapeake Bay. I thought it was weird that there were ducks in the parking lot. When we checked out, I said something to the checker. She looked at me, “WHERE are you FROM?”

“Rahht heah,” I said, smiling. “I mean, Texas. Why do you ask?”

Later, in the trip, we stopped at a Starbucks on the Freedom Trail in Boston.
I ordered my Pikes Place, Grande, no milk, and got the same question from the young man behind the counter.

In the elevator at the hotel in Boston, I was exercising my Texas Friendly, chatting with the strangers in the moving box with us…they turned away. They turned away. Who does that? I was ready to go home.

This divide that God implemented when mankind, sharing the same language, decided to rise up against God and throw off the “shackles” He had placed on them, and go their own way, has gone beyond just the different languages. There is a divide between dialects.

Today, I made my normal breakfast stop at McDonald’s, this time in Mineola.
Breakfast here is usually fast, and easy to hold while I drive to my first job.

I was behind three guys having trouble navigating the English menu board.

The young lady at the register was very fluent in their language, and spent considerable time translating the menu, and taking their orders, patiently pointing, and translating, keying the register, then going back to the menu board, back to the register.

She showed kindness to the three as she quietly cared for their needs.

When it was my turn, she looked at me and said, “And what may I get for you?” She was also fluent in my language.

“You speak both languages very well,” I told her.

She beamed.

When my order was ready, she handed it to me, big smile with it.

I thought, here she is, maybe 17 or 18 years old, fluent in two languages, speaking each one in the accent required.

I had tried, in the past, to learn German, French, and Spanish.
I think, when you speak another language, you are opening yourself up to a whole other world of experience.

We are all born into one language group. Learning that one is easy, because that is all you hear. You begin to think in the language as you learn it.

They say, if you immerse yourself in the language and the culture, you really learn it.

They also say (“they ” are so smart), that when you finally begin to think in the new language, you find it easier and easier to move in it as you use it in conversation.

Kind of like, being born again?

In 1978, I began to hear a voice that was different from the voices of the culture around me.

The culture said, “Take it while you can, do your own thing, if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with, freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose, turn on, tune in, we don’t need no piece of paper from the city hall keeping us tied and true….”

The voices were loud.

But, this new voice was quiet, soft. You had to listen for it .
“I will show you a more excellent way. Come to me.”

This new voice spoke a new language, one of putting others above yourself, loving God above all else, obeying His voice, living for Him…because of His great, great love for me.

As I immersed myself into this new language, a whole other culture began to open up to me.

Until, one day, I began to think in this language.

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“AND THE WORLD WILL LIVE AS ONE”

In the Bible, there is a story about a time when all the people had a common language, a common speech.

They all got along.

They could do anything they wanted, because they could all understand each other, work together and make a great name for themselves, so they could continue to live together in perfect harmony.

One problem, though.

There were some people, probably a small group, who kept telling them to honor their Creator, to follow His ways.

It made them kinda mad.

“We don’t need some God telling us what to do, taking away our fun, putting all these chains on us…. We will build our own tower to heaven, become powerful, well-known, show this god that we are just fine without him. And you guys, you can just leave and go do your thing, and bow down to your god.

We just don’t need you telling us what to do.”

God wasn’t pleased.

He made language differences, where, suddenly, this “oneness” of the people changed because they could no longer understand each other.

Their hearts already had the desire to do what they thought best.

Now, they thought it best to get away from these people that they couldn’t understand,

And build their own place,

Do their own thing,

“Because, we don’t want anyone telling us what we can and can’t do.”

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GROWTH SPURTS

When I was a sophomore in high school, I sprained my wrist one time, bad enough for my mom to take me to Dr. Smale for an x-ray to see if it was broken.

“I have some good news,” he said in his soft, British tone. “It’s not broken, and you are still growing.” He showed me the x-ray and pointed out the space in my wrist where the bones hadn’t yet “fused” together, as they do when growth ends.

This was great news for me! I was only 5’7” at the time. My brother was 5’9”, my grandfather almost 6’.
There was still hope.

The doctor was correct. Over the next three years, I had a growth explosion, all the way to 5’8”. (Well, 5’7 3/4”, probably just over 5’7 1/2”) And that is where I stayed. Physically.

Today, we honored two young men in our church who just graduated high school. I have known both for quite some time. Both carry a level of character and drive that is not usual these days. I talked to each of them about beginning this new course of life; the process of becoming an adult, a man. “You never stop growing. I’m 66, and God keeps moving me from one of my plans to the next (of His plans). It’s never boring…but sometimes it’s kinda scary….”

If you know me, you know that I am a believer in the Life that can only be received from faith in Jesus’ payment for everything i have done in opposition to God.

But, these days, I find myself trying to find myself; not in the old ways, when we were trying to discover who we are, who we are meant to be, what is our purpose, why are we here?

I’ve always had a desire to write. As long as I can remember. Only in recent years have I begun the process of actually purposely writing; maybe not every day, but I do kinda get a pit in my stomach when I go a couple of days without trying to put something down in words.

I carry two people inside of me: (1) the one that was knit together in my mother’s womb, with a personality that was also planted inside me, and the sum of earthly experiences that have helped mold me into who I am today. The one that likes to be liked, likes to make people laugh, desperately wants people to think well of me.
(2) The one that received this New Life in 1978, and has grown to love his creator and the plans his creator has for him as he navigates his way through this new venture.

I am trying to find my voice.
And, every time I think I’ve got it, that little voice, that quiet voice inside me keeps saying , “Just keep moving forward…there’s more…there’s always more.”

So, if you are reading my scratchings (can you call them scratchings if you are typing them on a computer ?) then realize that some are for fun, some are about the life I have lived, some are about the imagination that was planted in me from a very early time, and some are proclamations of the Joy I find in serving the One I love over everything else in this life.

I hope I can make you think, and laugh, and see more than you already do.

And, I am not afraid of criticism.
There is much to be gained from an honest, polite (stress on the word ‘polite’), friendly exchange of ideas.
So, join in, anytime, and enjoy the ride.

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