Thankfulness for God, Church, and Family

If you know me or have read my posts, I tend to over-analyze and try to explain every detail or concept in my writing. I’ve realized that I tend to hover over topics such as beauty, love, mental illness, depression, and compassion, but rarely delve into a personal outpouring of it here. Even as I write right now, I have to fight the urge to overshadow the emotion and heart with analysis to defend my reasons and thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that analyzing and philosophizing about these things is important, but there are times for the restless mind to take a break and surrender to allow something else to lead it into quiet waters.  This post will be those times of surrender as I express what I’m thankful for.

 

God:

Thank God for this life that given me through the cross. For every good and perfect gift that I have been blessed to have. Thank you for the good and bad times. For the times where you gave and took away. Everything I have is from you; all my thanks that I give points back to you.

Church:

I cannot express how blessed I am to have church in my life. No church is perfect and believe me, I’ve had my share of ups and downs with it, but there’s no doubt that without this church, I would be in a very dark place. The amount of love, care, support, and guidance I’ve received throughout the years is beyond what my words can say. Thank you for every individual that I’ve crossed paths with not only in East Valley, but also in other church, schools, or random encounters.

Family:

Oh man, this one’s difficult, not because there’s nothing to be thankful for; rather it’s difficult because it reveals how unthankful and selfish I am towards them.

This month, I’ve been learning to stop focusing on the things I don’t have, but rather focus on the things that I already have, and what I have is a family that loves me- loves me so very much. I feel uneasy writing my thanks for my family on this blog at a crowded Starbucks. For one, I need to say these words to my family, not on a blog. For two, I don’t want to be holding back my tears at a public place as I write and reflect on how thankful I am and should be for my family so I’ll end it here.

 

 

The Legend Lives On, After a Fitting Goodbye.

Back to my 89′ Acura Legend. It’s back to normal, back to how it once was after one week. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t bummed out, sad, frustrated, and stressed about the whole situation. No one is immune to the feeling of worldly loss. So with any loss, there is this wrestling with oneself. Negative feelings develop that make us feel like sleeping all day. It makes us run away, hide, and forget. It turns us into sloths to the impending consequences that await the future.

Why is it that when we’re pushed down the slope of life, we find it easier to stiffen ourselves up or curl up in a ball to keep ourselves safe, even though we know it hastens the speed. It’s because we know that trying to slow the roll will result in more cuts, bruises, and failures to grab hold of steady foundations. But when we are able to find this steady hold, we must grab onto it with all our might and not lose faith in it.

The ideas of philosophy, psychology, and Christianity are deeply ingrained in my life. I spend my free time reading and thinking about these things. I know that I need to have an “examined life”,  to “think positively”, and to “pray without ceasing”. The question becomes whether or not I have faith in these things.

Head knowledge is one thing, but putting to action the things that I believe to be true is another. The way that I feel, my moods and my emotions or lack thereof, trumps my reasons and beliefs many times.

This is the “wrestling with oneself” that I eluded to earlier. Whether or not you believe in religion, psychology, philosophy, or even science, faith is an essential aspect of acting on these beliefs. You can have head-knowledge that “positive thinking” is good, or the biological truth that exercising releases endorphins, or that we should “store our treasures in heaven”, but there’s a good chance that we don’t act on these beliefs based on our moods.

When we feel depressed or like shit (excuse my language, but feelings don’t need to be anymore sugar-coated or politically correct), the last thing we want to do is listen to reason or to the things we once believed in. We narrow our view to the subjective or personal feelings, rather than objective truth.

When we see our friends depressed, sad, or dealing with loss, we draw from objective truths that we’ve learned or experienced and give them advice. “Don’t spend all day at home”, we tell them. “Go out and exercise, pray, or go write a blog about it… It’ll make you feel better”. But when we become depressed, sad, or lose something, we lose faith in the things we’ve once passionately preached.

So the question now becomes, what are these firm foundations that we can put our faith in. When I got my Honda Fit, I put a large chunk happiness into this car. I dreamed of ice cold AC, long road trips, taking my mom and dad (separately) to the beach, and taking girls out on dates without being ashamed of my car. Like my car, these dreams were shattered in a matter of seconds. From all this, I realized that when I put my hopes and dreams into material things, I am just setting myself up for a greater fall. So the firm foundation that I need to put my faith in, my stronghold and fortress, is Christ and the verse I’ll hold onto is this.

“19 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)”

This by no means is easy for my worldly, materialistic self, but all good things come with a cost. Exercising is not easy for my lazy, junk-food eating self, but strength and endurance can only come as a result of it.

All this to say that our material things are still of value to us. They are necessities that make our lives better. No religious prig can make us think otherwise. The most important thing to have, therefore, is not simply material things, but to have thankfulness always accompanying these things. Thankfulness in all situations allows release from this entitled generation. It is a virtue we all believe in, yet cringe, when we have to practice it because we think we deserve anything and everything.

Thank you for this Legend of a car. It deserves a good wash 🙂

legend

and thank you Honda Fit for keeping us safe and for a week of fun and AC.

fit