School of Life

Wednesday April 27, 2011

Well, my Dearest, I already told you how we’re discovering the hard way that our kids learn from us and imitate constantly.  What I sometimes forget is that, even before the eyes of the rest of the world, we are always teaching something.

I met with my dear friend today to have coffee, share life, and bare our souls while entrenched in the words of the life of Jesus.  I must admit, no matter how many other things I need to get done on a Wednesday, I look forward to these times with baited breath.  Today we were just tossing stories back and forth and she laughed as she described a joyful occasion (in the eyes of her one-year-old son) in which he got hold of a box of wipes and proceeded to extract maybe about 30 or so before caught and detained.  Her opinion of the situation was two-fold… she loved seeing his joy, but felt so badly that so many wipes were wasted.  Then she remembered something.  A few weeks before, we had been visiting and as we talked I was stuffing cloth diapers and folding cloth wipes.  (I have a system for folding the wipes so that, like the disposable ones, when I pull one out the next one pops up ready to be used.)  As she considered the waste before her, it apparently brought to mind a picture of me seated on my messy floor surrounded by diapers and the simple technique of folding wipes.  She applied this to her dilemma and, voila, problem solved.  We are always teaching something… even when we’re elbow deep in the quotidian of  life.

Today I read an article that really grabbed my attention and made me realize that Jesus really knew what he was doing!  The article is called The 7 Habits of Reasonably Green People.  Habit number six is Be Sociable.  They talk about how merely being in relationship with others as you live your life differently (in this case, green) is critical to passing on the values and lifestyle you hold dear.  It is a strategic move, a choice to live intentionally, that you may learn from others and share your own life with them in return.  Living in relationship.  Being sociable.  As I read this article, I realized that 2000 years ago Jesus used (and taught the men and women he discipled to use) this same strategy of sharing our lives to make an impact.  He did not invite everyone to the synagogue (or church) to hear about who He is but rather went to them, joined them in their walk of life and by living alongside them and allowing his Father to work through Him, shared his own Life.  It is revolutionary stuff… living intentionally… living differently alongside others.  It stirs the soul and causes questions to bubble up through the waters of our comfortable lives.  I like it.

One of the TV shows we have been fans of for a while now is Survivor.  I know, I know, when you really look at the premise of the show you may realize that it’s horrible.  It throws together a group of people specifically chosen for the entertainment value of their personalities or looks and places them under a set of “laws” that are contrived to bring out the worst in each and every one of them.  …But the challenges are really fun!  Anyway, there is a guy on the show this season who has won my allegiance and I now find myself rooting for him on a weekly basis.

In case you don’t follow the show, let me give you a bit of the picture.  Poor, poor Matt is blind sided in episode 2 and voted off, sending him to “Redemption Island”, where he lives alone until someone else is voted off and then they duel to see who may have a chance to win their way back into the game.  The next five people to get voted off all lose their duels to Matt and he remains alive until Episode 8 when he is reunited with the merged tribes and rejoins the game… only to be voted off that very same episode and sent packing right back to Redemption Island.  Tonight episode 11 aired and, would you believe it, Matt is still alive and winning every single duel on Redemption Island!

Aside from being an underdog fighter (I usually root for the underdogs), here is what I like about Matt: from what we can see he is living his life intentionally (before the whole world) with Jesus at the center.  He has talked about God as the one guiding his life from episode one.  Another player who passed through Redemption Island had a Bible with and left it with him so he has been reading the Word every day.  Matt’s MO has from the beginning been “I will stay here as long as you want me to.”  In tonight’s episode he began to falter in his own drive to remain and I think we all expected (after everything he’s been through) that perhaps he’d falter and lose this duel.  Well, not only did he make it through, he came in first among the three of them that were competing to remain… to which he flashed an almost rueful smile, shed some tears and said, “I said I’d stay as long as He wanted me to… so I guess He still wants me here.  I’m not sure why, but I said I’d do it.”  Here is a young man before the eyes of the whole world entrenched in today’s pop culture and allowing his steps to be led by God even though it’s not what he himself would choose.  That is intentional living.  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t interested in seeing what God chooses to do with this one small disciple, who knows… Don’t sell out now, Matt!… I’m rooting for him.  

So, it turns out Jesus of Nazareth had a strategy that is still respected and used today.  It’s the intentional living in life that ends up teaching people… like someone growing an organic garden in the front yard instead of the back, or raising your kids in a place that is diverse and less materialistic even if it’s not as “safe” or convenient, or meeting for discipleship in a restaurant or public place once in a while, or choosing to do what God wants you to do rather than what you yourself want to do in a hard situation…  It becomes the school of life for those watching and by throwing yourself out there you might just learn a few things too.

I’ll keep you posted!

The Epistolarian