Tuesday, April 3, 2007

leave it to oprah

there's like a million other things I should be doing right now. I had this afternoon off, my mom took lily and I had ambitions about cleaning, online banking, cooking etc... yet I found myself sitting on the couch watching oprah. That oprah. To me she is like that cartoon figure when you have the bunny or whatever, and over one shoulder is a devil bunny and over the other shoulder is the angel bunny. She is the devil and the angel bunny. I want to dislike her because she just might be the anti-christ... not really but she does so many "great" things, and contributes so much money and time to make the world a better place, but she does it all in the name of Oprah- not Jesus. She likes to pull the Jesus card every once in awhile, but for the most part she is on the "whatever you call God is God" trip. She's like that verse in timothy, "they are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning, but never able to acknowledge the truth." Well that might be a little extreme, but you get the point. Well today I fell prey and was, as usual, deeply moved by her topic.
I won't get into to many details, because I wouldn't do it justice anyway. But the gist of it could best be described by my main man and potentially my last life's soul mate... steinback- "...and of course, people are interested only in themselves. If a story is not about the hearer he will not listen. And here I make a rule- a great and lasting story is about everyone or it will not last. The strange and foreign is not interesting- only the deeply personal and familiar" (east of eden).
Now that I have kids, I feel this new intensity for any injustice to them. It tears at my insides and makes my heart ache to not only hear about orphans, but to see them. The orphans, or foster kids- whatever you want to call them- on todays oprah really got me thinking about my own kids.
I'm kind of one of those people who likes to savour things- some might call it hording. Like 'Lost' for example. When we get a disc from Netflix - it has 4 episodes on it. Brandon is ready to sit down and watch all 4 that first night. Not me, I want to watch two, and then save the other two. Or better watch just one and then it'll last longer. I do it with ice cream too, use a real small spoon so it lasts longer. I remember when we were living over in Scotland- we didn't have any money so everything - from food to movies- any indulgence was such a treat. The smallest thing or event was such a treasure- a new shirt, going out to eat- you get the point. That's what I saw on oprah- kids savouring everything- this lady started a charity where she donated pajama's to foster kids- most of these kids had never owned their own pair of pj's - some didn't even know what they were. Can you imagine? Lily loves pj's - in fact - it's one of my very favorite things to buy her. It's like the closest you can get to buying coziness. So what a perfect way to show these kids without much cuddling in their lives love and comfort. Their very own pj's- I just picture these kids wearing the heck out of their little pajamas- whereas I wash lily's every time she wears them... she could care less about them
Oprah went deeper than pj's though- she found this other guy who donated books to a remote village in Nepal- and was so affected by the experience- he quit his high brow job and spends all his time building libraries and schools for the world. Images flashed of these little barefoot kids just relishing their one little book that probably wasn't even in their language.
Seeing this made me want to throw all of lily's toys and pj's for that matter away and just keep one toy and one book and so on... just so she would cherish her possessions the way these kids do. Yet it was bigger than that - I look around my house, and in my closet and see all my 'stuff.' Each thing seemed so important when I bought it- yet most of it now doesn't even get a second glance. When we moved back from Scotland we didn't have anything. No furniture, no dishes, no nothing. Morgan of all people, gave us a couch. I use to look at that couch and think it was so cool and so nice and I would sit in it and feel so thankful for it. Now I complain it's not big enough and its outdated. And its not just the couch- it's everything. I've become so dissatisfied. Always looking for the next purchase, the next vacation, the next raise etc. How do I get back to the novelty of a used sofa... but more importantly, how do I get my kids to love and cherish that one book and that one pair of jammies...
I know it goes back to Jesus- doesn't it always, and if you tell me its the verse about selling all my possessions, I'm just not sure I'm ready... but seriously if anyone else has any ideas- throw em out there. My heart needs to change...


daddo said...

oprah may not be the anti-christ...but she's close...maybe she is the bride of the bride of the anti-christ...you know, like the bride of chucky.

esther said...

i have the same struggles, and while i know it always comes back to Jesus being my Ultimate Satisfaction, sometimes just saying that is not enough. I have to work it out, make it filter down into my soul. Jeremiah Burrows, a Puritan, wrote The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, a book i have never read. But my husband has, and has shared a quote with me that is my first step back to right thinking: I DESERVE NOTHING UNLESS IT BE HELL. Mr. Burrows of course elaborates on this, but this phrase alone sets me right. I look at our fastly shrinking apartment and pine after a house, where Ellie and Madeline can play on THEIR yard, can be as loud as they want inside without fear of retribution from the neighbors and suddenly this roof and these walls are no longer enough. Our digital camera could be better, our computer faster, our clothes (mine especially) more fashionable and up-to-date...and yet, what does it matter. I have to stop myself and, as Mr. Piper says, preach to my self, Self, look at all the good things you have! Thank God for them! And thank God for the wants you have, and the 'could-be-betters', because they remind you of the home you have yet to see, the good, unalloyed things you have yet to experience, and the God who knows what you NEED and has given you an abundance. And remember, Self, you deserve nothing unless it be hell, and in Christ you have been given far, far more than you deserve.
Anyway, Holly, it's not a foolproof solution; i have to do it weekly, okay fine - daily. But when i preach to myself in this manner, the eyes of my soul are lifted up from earthly, American cravings, to The Greatest Good, and i can smile and say with Paul, if just for a moment, "with food and clothing we shall be content," since they are given me by my Greatest Love. check out 1 Timothy 6 too. Like a splash of cold water.
also, give. Give your money so you won't have the opportunity to fill those unnecessary cravings and you can invest in the Gospel. In a manner of speaking, it's selling your potential possessions. not that that's any easier. But Jesus knew that.

for what it's worth. Esther
p.s. ~ your honesty is an encouragement to read. thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hey Holly,I hope you don't mind me leaving a brief message on your wonderful blog site, but I'm moved in many ways by your words. I'm not nearly as religious as you and Brandon are, but I know Brandon well and love like my own. I also know how much you two (+2) love each other and it warms me no end. I can't quote scripture, but I know closeness to God when I read your longing. I think you are much closer than you realize to being that child of Jesus in the real sense. Every time you look at your babies and fulfill their needs so lovingly you're offering the most beautiful gift to God. As for the 'stuff' obsession, I've never heard my kids talk about the great 'stuff' we gave them (and there was always too much!) They weren't impressed with the beautiful home and furnishings, but they remember moments riding bikes with us, us reading to them and them to us, and having dedicated time with us. We've moved away from great affluence through circumstance. Don't get me wrong - I LOVED that life. But during the adjustment years (and we're still adjusting) we've become closer than I ever dreamed possible. And I have truly remarkable, loving kids that I couldn't be more proud of, nor could i possibly love them more. I think if you had someone tell you all you are and what they see in you, you would see how really wonderful and close your relationship with the Lord really is. I don't think you have to 'sell all your possessions' to establish the connection with God. After all, you couldn't have them without Him. When you feel that overwhelming love for each of your family where there are no words and your heart wants to burst, how can you be closer to God?

(Did I say 'brief' message? I'm sorry!) Ginny