Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Good times, Video Games and the Ultimate Irony

Once upon a time...
Aaron missed hanging out with his friends and especially his old dorm roomie, B-Joe. B-Joe liked to be called B-Joe because his real name is Bradley Joseph and it is cooler to tell people your name is B-Joe. Aaron thinks he's pretty cool, so they hang out and they were dorm roomies. So, Aaron found a few days he could get free and headed down to Moberly, MO (known by some as "Mo-town"...or a craphole), the place where he graduated college. College classes were coming to an end for the semester, so a bunch of guys decided to get together and celebrate. Luckily, Aaron was there and had nothing to do with the end of the semester, but went with them anyway. The guys decided to be adventurous and went to Buffalo Wild Wings (better known as "B-dubs" or "BW3's") in Columbia, MO. It just so happened to be 50 cent Boneless Wing Thursday and so the wings were ordered and eaten in no time. Some of the guys had as many as 16+ wings, some had something else and realized it was Boneless Thursday and ordered some more wings, some had a hamburger...

Many of the guys went home for Christmas break, so B-Joe and Aaron hung out and played video games. Then on Saturday, they played more video games. Then on Sunday, they played...chess...or video games. They had a super time as millions of inches of snow fell outside--ruining any chance of doing anything outside of Moberly.

Aaron visited other friends during his visit, including Tyler, Tyler, and Keith and really enjoyed catching up with them. Unfortunately, the time had come for Aaron to leave. Looking back on the time he spent down there, Aaron really appreciated what he had to cherish. He missed hanging out with friends that he missed a lot. He developed even more appreciation for the community of these guys and the great times that he had with them. He appreciated Dave for all of his extreme comments and loving words. He cherished Jon for his humor and Brett Favre-centered thinking. He appreciated Tyler Myers for his Taco Bell obsession and serving heart. He cherished Tyler Morris for his manly minivan and his pest control sermon illustrations. He appreciated Keith for his wisdom and generosity. And for B-Joe, he cherished his new Nintendo Wii and the willingness to do what God asks him to do...even when he doesn't know what that is. Most of all, Aaron appreciated and cherished these guys for being his friend and encouraging and building him in many ways.

He looked back on that and missed it. He looks forward to years of continued friendship with these guys.

The ironic part comes now. Aaron was running after someone, tripped, went down to his knees, then went face-first into a cement wall. Somehow, he seemed fine and didn't suffer any serious injury because of this. Ironically, Aaron has a blog entitled "Walk"...or else you might hit a wall.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

When I'm Not Being Jesus

The other day, I got home from work or somewhere and it was cold out. I pulled into my parking space and this lady pulled in to the spot next to me at almost the same time. She was first out of her car and then I got out. She was doing something near the front of her car and I didn't know what, so I glanced over. I saw that she was trying to open her hood so she could put antifreeze in. Unfortunately, we have had ice and snow for the past week and this was proving to be a hard task with the iced-over hood. So, big walks by and pretends that I don't see anything...ouch. Could I have helped her open that iced-over hood? Absolutely. Did I do anything? No. I went into my warm house, turned on the TV and pretended that that didn't just happen. I guess you could say that was one of those times when I was not being Jesus.

Well today, I was making four sandwiches at the same time for a group of people. I wrote down their specific orders, yet I decided to totally ignore what one of the guys wanted and made him something totally different. My mind was somewhere else, to say the least. I didn't realize this mistake until I took the sandwiches out to their table and was handing them out. No one was responding when I was asking who had the mistake sandwich...and that's when it hit. I apologized, of course, and offered to go make him the right order. Before I could say another word, he says, "Don't worry about that. I'll eat this one. I'm not picky." WHAT?!! Who does crap like that? I am so picky when it comes to wrong orders, especially when it is a totally different order. But this guy totally ate it and said he liked it (while he might have just been "being nice"). They paid later on and I gave him the sandwich at no cost because of my stupidity. Here's where the story gets even better. On the way out the door, the guy stops at the counter and leaves me a tip!! WHAT?!! I was pretty sure that I totally screwed up this guy's order, tried to make an excuse for making the wrong order, let him eat the mistake, and then he tips me on top of that! Now that's being Jesus.

I don't know if that guy was a "Christian." I don't know if he even believed in anything, but he displayed it better than I do sometimes. It's not because he gave me money, while that was fun. It is because he took a rough situation (that could have gone MUCH worse), just laughed and then even gave me something despite all that. I can tell you, I have read about Jesus doing this a lot during His time on earth--along with many other amazing things. He continues to offer things to people, even when they don't deserve it. That's what us Christian folk call grace.

Man...sometimes I suck. Please don't hate me...I'm working on it and I'm sure I'm not alone. I can probably think of other times where I did alright at this, but I sure missed it this time. God forgive me for letting that lady struggle out in the cold to get the hood open. Forgive me for the hundreds of other times I missed out on being Jesus to someone. Help me to learn from this and take the opportunities that come in the future.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Don't Take Christmas Away From Me...

Okay, now that it is officially December...we can start talking Christmas. I love Christmas--for lots of reasons. The sad thing is that I have heard from some people over the years that we should stop supporting so many things during Christmas. The Hallmark-ization of the holiday, the materialistic focus, the bitter shopping trips, selfishness, greediness, family feuds (not the cool game show), etc. The list goes on. Have you heard one of these excuses from someone who just can't stand Christmas or what Christmas has become over the years? Did we forget baby Jesus? I'm sorry people, but I think there are still a lot of things about Christmas that baby Jesus would be ecstatic about.

Almost every year, my extended family and immediate family get together at my grandma's house in Ohio. It is a small house and the average number of people is somewhere around 15 and growing. The house can really only sleep 2...okay that was a bit of an overstatement, but you get the point. However tight the sleeping arrangements are, it is a BLAST! I shudder at saying the word "tradition," but we have a lot of it as a family when it comes to Christmas. I was telling Sonia about these the other night and they are pretty extensive, but all very cool. I'll spare you all the details, but these things are what I think of when I think of Christmas. Most of all, I love hanging out with the people I love. I also think of buying presents (for people who need and don't "need" them), seeing town streets decorated with lights and wreaths, and driving slower just to see what that house has for lights and decorations this year. I love how businesses start thinking Christmas and decorating and putting out the cinnamon potpourri. I love giving gifts to people. Not because they need more stuff or so I can have debt, but because it feels good and it is a way that I can show love. It's not vital to the season, but I love doing it. I don't give with expectations of receiving. It is just fun for me to put thought into gifts and to give them to people on Christmas.

Christmas is something special to everyone. There are many things that people love about the season. Some people get it more than others, some people love it more than others. I totally understand people who don't take Christmas to the extreme. I am not pushing Christmas down your throat if you are one of these people. But to those who are trying to push anti-Christmas, anti-giving, anti-materialism, anti-selfishness, anti-greed, anti-Hallmark, etc. down my throat: PLEASE...don't take Christmas away from me...

Have a blessed and happy Christmas! It is a great season because it teaches us to love, give without expectations, spend time together, and cherish God's gifts to us...including Jesus. These are things that I think would make baby Jesus smile and giggle. Yay for that!