Monday, August 18, 2008


The announcer right now is doing a top five list of the greatest Olympic moments thus far - he listed the Opening Ceremonies, the opening basketball game, the butterfly (fingernail) finale, the womens' gymnastics all-around, and the final relay resulting in Phelp's 8th gold. I watched all of those moments, sans the basketball - it's really been awesome.

However, if you have followed the gymnastics closely, particularly the womens' - there's been some obvious injustices. One just has to wonder when China has been the "victor" from these injustices, if somehow, the scores aren't being influenced. You want to just scream, "that's not fair!"

I had my own "life's not fair" day that I can pretty much just sum up as PMS - aka - major irritability. My definition of irritability can often be described as this - "Whatever goes wrong, it is always someone else's fault and whether I express it verbally or not, I'm feeling the anger...." From the Blockbuster employee who put the wrong PS2 game in the case (and we didn't discover it until we were nearly home) to the Safeway employee who felt like only giving me one paper bag (and the rest plastic) when I asked for them to be bagged in paper (I re-use them for various purposes.....). Do I get mean and nasty and ruin their day too, or do I just bite my tongue and recognize "in the big scheme of things" this is not worth making an issue over? (I tried to learn from my own advice today when I told Brayden that Mikayla did not have the power to "ruin his whole day" - it was his own choice to make)....

Then, later this afternoon, thanks to Hollie, I was linked to two sites of families that lost their children - one that lived for only two hours - and the other that died 10 weeks after birth from SIDS - and the clencher - those two children are cousins. Once again, I was brought back to that place of reading people's grief - raw and transparent and recognizing just how UNFAIR this world really is - far above having to backtrack for errands, being hurt by your sister, or even the scores in the Olympic games. I've never been exposed to so many stories of grief as I have this month, and while it may seem depressing, it's actually been a very learning experience for me. While I hope that it will be a long time before I end up grieving to that capacity, it will happen. And, when it does, I hope that I will have the same amount of strength, hope, and faith that Thomas, Steven, Mary Beth, Greg, Nicol, Todd, and Angie have demonstrated......

It sure makes those plastic bags from Safeway seem extremely insignificant.


HollieHobbie said...

Wow, Steph! Thanks for giving the blogs such further beauty. I just could not do them justice, but I still wanted to share them. You are a beautiful writer too!

Anonymous said...

Have you read the book The Shack? I am in the middle of it right now. The main character had a horrible tragedy happen in his life, and ends up having an encounter with God where he gets to express his anger over all the injustice in the world. Shockingly, he is told that we do not have any "rights" in this life. We do not have the right even to be protected from evil. That the reason we suffer is always because we do not trust God enough; otherwise we would rest in the knowledge that EVERYTHING is part of his plan. That we only have freedom when we let go of every moment of our lives and live them completely in him.

And that's just what I've learned so far!

It's an outstanding book and it's really challenged just how strong my faith can be, with all the things I still pout about in my life.

God does use kids a lot, to point things back in our direction, doesn't he? It's humbling but I'd rather learn from them than anyone else, I guess.

StephieAnne said...

I have not yet read The Shack, but I've sure heard a lot about it. I plan to read it soon. And, Hollie, thanks - my pleasure. I sat down not really wanting to write anything at all last night and the Olympics thing just morphed into that.

Growin' with it! said...

*BIG sigh*...why oh why don't i look at the bigger picture too. i can't believe how many times lately i have looked back at something and realize i missed the moment cuz i was stressing about something dumb. great post girl!

Genny said...

I love your perspective. There are many times I get caught up in the small stuff when things aren't going well...and then it hits me that the small stuff is just that. Small. Thanks for the reminder to keep things in perspective and to be grateful, even though life is sometimes not fair.

Michal Ann said...

I hopped over from "Bring the Rain"~~and you're showing the beauty and power of lightning! I am in the Seattle area so I shared some of that. I love your writing. Wish I could spend all day blogging; what an amazing way for an "ol' grandma" of 56 to peek into the lives of beautiful families such as yours. Keep it up!

Keep as "cozy" as you can while you nurture each other for the glory of God. I loved what you said about SCC, the Smiths' and Sponbergs' challenges. I never cried much with my kids either but this is definately one situation that deepens the heart of compassion within us and prepares us for life. (Sorry, Joel Osteen.)

You can pray as Paul did that the thorns be removed but sometimes the answer that comes is "no." His strength is made perfect in weakness which is not culturally correct or comfortable. I like to say "Life is hard. Then you DON'T die." "Abundance of life" includes the good, the bad, the ugly and Christ in the reality of life on a sin-stained planet.

I noticed you ref'd Frank Peretti. It's been awhile since "the fad" of his books on spiritual warfare. Have you ever read C.S. Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters" or "A Grief Observed"? VERY worthy titles!

Thanks for all the info about Michael Phelps' challenges and victories. Beautiful analogy. Mark Hall of Casting Crowns has a book and he discusses his challenges with ADHD. Praise God in the storm.

In His love, Michal Ann McAllister (Lake Forest Park, WA)

(immichal@yahoo if you would like to email. I don't have a blog or profile.)

p.s. This is a long section that is "all about me" but over the years, I tend to know the questions people ask about my name. (IGNORE this if you want!!)

Michal was the daughter of King Saul, first wife of King David. The Hebrew meaning is "brook," a channel of life and refreshment, I pray! In English, my name is pronounced like "Michael" but in Hebrew they kinda gargle "h" and say something like "Meek-(roll the "h")---all." The "h" sound puts a "breath" in the word. God added "h" to Abram which was changed to "Abraham" and Sara to "Sarah." I think it's like the breath God breathed into Adam "in the beginning."

My daughter (28) is Caitlin Michal and her daughter (5.5) is McKenzie Michal. A daughter of my church family (maybe age 35) is Michal Ann like me. (I'm 56.)

Obviously, "Michal" is still rare in this culture although many languages have a feminine version of the male name Michael, the archangel, meaning "Who is like God?" (Michelle, Michele, Michaela, Mikayla and so on).

Most baby name books are not correct about "Michal" and many Christian commentaries such as "Bad Girls of the Bible" don't accurately tell the story of her life. Chuck Swindoll is correct in saying that she was a victim, a pawn of Kings Saul and David. (Can you tell I've been defending my name for years??) ;)

Michal, Saul, David's story is mostly in I Samuel 14:49, 18:20-27, 19:9-17, 25:44, 2 Sam. 3:13-18, 6:16, 21:8-9, 1 Chron.15:29.