The Threads Blog
Hypothetically speaking….What would you do if a friend asked you to pick up their car and keep it at your house for a week? Over the course of this week, they have given you permission to drive their car if you like. Now, you must understand that they have a much nicer car than you do and to be honest, you are tempted to drive it frequently.
If you haven’t seen the documentary “Black Gold,” take the time to grab the DVD and watch it. You will remember the farmers. You will remember their children. You will remember the system that will condemn them to a life of poverty if we continue business as usual in America. It will forever alter the way you get your coffee.
So this month I was sent to Haiti (don’t worry it wasn’t in a banished kind of way). We are telling the story of a college student who felt called to Haiti for one of our upcoming Bible studies. This was a trip that was bathed in much prayer and consideration and now that I am back on American soil there are at least a handful of people at LifeWay who will probably sleep a little better. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and when you tell the US Embassy that you are going there it prints out like 6 pages of reasons to change your mind. But, I went and I’m back and it was an amazing trip.
It has been 6 years since my last international mission trip and I had forgotten what it was like to return to America. It is absolutely insane to wake up in a house with no running water or electricity in a country where the average education doesn’t go beyond third grade and then 13 hours later you are dodging teenagers leaving their prom (at your nice hotel), the majority of whom are bound for college.
I remember being in college and James and I being jealous as our friends married off. We wanted so desperately to love and be loved. We wanted a “successful” relationship. Now, just a couple years later and very happily married, I have learned something: Every relationship should be a success.
I don’t like American idol. There, I said it. I feel a little like I’m at an AA meeting: “Hello, my name is Michael, and I don’t like American Idol.” I wish there was a good reason behind it, something spiritual maybe, but there’s not. I just don’t like it that much.
But I think it goes a little beyond American Idol. I’ve been down the reality TV road and have come back. I have had brief stints of infatuation with Survivor, Top Chef, Design Star, the Apprentice, The Amazing Race, and—gulp—America’s Next Top Model. For some reason I’m just not into it any more. Any of it. And it seems like I’m the only one.
Over the past few months, I’ve discovered the depth of the friendships that I’ve cultivated and with which I’ve been amazingly blessed. My friends have rallied, carried me through, and cheered me on through a truly difficult era in my life. And I cannot be grateful enough.
I had the recent privilege of borrowing a mini van from the LifeWay fleet to transport some large backdrops for a photo shoot. The most entertaining portion of this drive was sitting so close to the dashboard that I was beginning to morph into a part of the vehicle. There was the speedometer, the cassette deck, the Johnny Cash bobble head, and Heather, the now permanent driver. I elected to drive that close to avoid duct taping the cargo door closed.
Recently, one of my friends made a presumption:
“When you get married, all this temptation gets easier, right?”
I remember thinking that way before I got married. I remember thinking that suddenly all of these lusts and desires would disappear and the world would be a wonderland, free of sexual temptation.
I responded to my friend in the most truthful manner I could:
Today I checked our bank account and saw that we have a whopping $150 to last us until our next paycheck. It was startling because it’s the first time our finances have been that low since we’ve been married. We’re in no danger, we get paid in a few days and our bills are paid up… but it was startling.
I think it’s a healthy thing to know for a little bit what living on a tight budget is like again. It wasn’t really that long ago when I was in college… $150 would have been like a gold mine that could stretch out across a whole semester. It’s amazing how quickly our perspectives on money can change.
This week, the New York Yankees announced in grand fashion that Roger Clemens, the 45-year-old fireballer from Texas was moving back to the Bronx. Starting in June, he will once again don the pen stripes for the Yanks. The kicker—Steinbrenner is going to pay Clemens a pro-rated contract for the 4 months left of the baseball season. The end result is a payday that will amount to almost a million dollars… a week. A WEEK! Not bad work if you can get it, right?
I love baseball, and I really like Roger Clemens. I certainly can’t fault him for his decision to go back to New York (even though I take great pleasure in the misfortune of the Yankees) from the Houston Astros. A million a week is a lot of money. So I don’t blame him for his decision. This move does, however, make me a little nostalgic because it reminds me of what I love about baseball.