Jesus Loves Muslims

I walked into the post office today and an older lady was standing in line in front of me. As soon as I walked up behind her, she turned around with a smug look on her face and said:

Sir, I'd like to ask you not to buy this stamp today. It is supported by our president and it celebrates a Muslim holiday.

She showed me a printed out email she got with a picture of the stamp on it that was clearly one of those outrageous political forwards that people stopped sending me a while back. I asked her what was wrong with a Muslim stamp and she said:

It's not right. It's just not right.

I laughed a bit, just loud enough for her to hear my disagreement, and said nothing more. She gritted her teeth and stood a little further away from me in the line, way too close to the lady in front of her.

She went through the line and and when it was my turn, I asked to buy a book of "those Muslim stamps", which they didn't have. I later found a picture of the stamp online and realized that it is not even real. It was made on a website that allows users to create and order custom stamps with anything on them.

Beyond that, I don't read arabic and I have no idea what the symbol on the stamp means, but for all I know it could say Spongebob Squarepants, or Go Hogs, or Praise Jesus. Arabic does not equal Muslim, and more importantly, Muslim does not equal terrorist.

Regardless, I did find out that the US Postal Service did create a stamp this past holiday season celebrating a Muslim holiday, so I guess this fake stamp doesn't really make any difference.

Either way, it is this kind of ignorance that saddens me to the point of near deflation. It is this kind of hatred that makes extremists out of people practicing a harmless faith.

Jesus loved people.

Jesus loved people.

Jesus

Loved

People.

Jesus loved dangerous people - people that ended up killing him, in fact.

When are we going to start loving people?

When are we going to start loving Muslims?

Restricting "Christian"

I'll try to keep this short, but I think I may be onto something here:I would like to propose a new restriction on using the word "Christian".

People should no longer be allowed to self-apply the the term "Christian". Instead, it should be up to everyone you interact with to determine whether you are a Christian or not. Your spouse, your kids, your boss, your employees, your plumber, the guy at Subway, homeless people, cops, black people, homosexuals, everyone.

What would they say you are?

An Open Letter To My Wife

Babe,You are an amazing mommy. The way you take care of our little munchkin is a thing of pure glory. The love and patience that flows out of you and into her is something I constantly admire and revere everyday. Her spirit is your spirit. Her sweetness is your sweetness. She didn't learn that stuff from me. You've taught her and encouraged her in ways that teach and encourage me not just everyday, but every minute.

Your love for life has been thrilling to me. Deep down, where I need to know it's true. Where I want to be convinced. Your heart opens up in me and gives me a secondary vault of strength and energy. I know I act like you're always bummed out like Eeyore, always sighing and harumphing around, but I want you to know -

it's not true.

You wake up in the morning with a happy heart and you (usually) go to sleep with a happy heart, if not a tired one. The more and more I meet and talk to other married guys, I truly realize how good I really have it. You take care of our family in such amazing ways every single day that I get bogged down with all the things I am thankful for in you, and regrettably voice them too seldom.

The term "homemaker" has become somehow derogatory in our current culture where the strong women's movement seems to demand CEO positions at major corporations and settle for nothing less. I reject that. Sure, any woman can be a CEO if that is what she wants. Women are certainly just as capable as men to run companies, but it takes a woman of infinitely more fortitude, patience, kindness, and sacrificial spirit to be a true Homemaker. I respect you and admire you far beyond any woman who can make it to the top of a company, because to make it as a Homemaker, you put the family before yourself.

And babe, you do it with utmost grace and poise.

You cook, clean, fold, swiff, scrub, vacuum, Kroger (that's a verb), entertain, and very rarely rest. You serve me and Emmy first, you constantly try to think of new things to cook, new ways to play with EKS, and new parks to play at. Not to mention carrying our second child in the most healthy, pure, and natural ways possible. You stay up all night with pregnancy-caused heartburn, discomfort, and frustration - all while making sure not to stir me.

I could go on and on, but let's just suffice it to say: I'm amazed by you.

You deserve more for yourself, and we deserve less. Your few minor imperfections are all but forgotten in light of your glory as a woman, a mother, and a wife.

These words don't seem like much, but all of what I've said above is contained herein:

I love you.

Be loved,

Your Husband

P.S. - You rock my world.

Hearts & Bricks

When you are born you have one heart.When you fall in love you get another heart.

When you have a kid you get another heart.

For everyone you love in your life, you have a completely separate heart for them, that is all theirs.

When a person dies, that heart turns into a brick and stays in your chest.

So by the time you are old and weary and nearing the end of your time, your chest is full of hearts and full of bricks, but it is probably more filled with bricks than hearts, because you are old and most of the people you loved throughout your life have died.

Eventually, I imagine, the power of the bricks outweighs the power of the hearts and you slowly lose your resolve to continue on, to keep the hearts you have left beating and bringing life.

Bricks are heavy and with a full load of them, you just want to sit down and rest.

This is what happens when you get old.

Not that I am old, but this is what I imagine happens.

I only have one brick in my chest right now, because I am still young and most everyone I have ever loved is still alive, their heart beating strong within me.

But as I get older I notice the fullness of all the hearts I host. And I recognize their potential to one day become hefty bricks that I will keep until the day I finally go.

And it makes me afraid to accept too many hearts, because when I love someone I love them wholeheartedly, and the idea of having that many bricks inside me one day is almost too much to bear.

I can feel the bricks forming now, like a phantom pain that exists before the heart is ever hardened. The multiplication of the single brick I now hold, and how it must feel to have a whole barrow full of them.

It hurts me deep in my chest, the transition of heart to brick, because it doesn't always happen fast. It hurts enough that I am tempted to allow the heart to slowly die before it ever starts to bricken.

It hurts even more to imagine the heart of my daughter. Her heart. Her real heart, in her little chest. And how she has no idea the load of bricks she'll one day lug.

A brick for me.

And a brick for her mommy.

Auld Lang Syne

This song stirs me.

My first thought goes directly to the last scene of Its A Wonderful Life, wherein the crowd of friends and family and even bankers all gathered to celebrate the new year and the fact that Jimmy Stewart's character is still alive are gladly singing the timeless melody and swaying their champagne flutes, and the little girl makes the comment about bells and angels getting their wings and then the viewers realize that the angel who just got his wings is Clarence.

This reminds me of my childhood. How my mom always makes us sit together and watch the movie when it comes on NBC only once a year. How excited she gets. How my Dad pretends to be uninterested and clangs around in the kitchen doing the dishes while we are all gathered together watching and laughing and everyone yells DAD!! all at the same time because we are in the middle of the part where Jimmy Stewart meets his wife at the library but she doesn't recognize him because it's some other dimension of time where he gets a glimpse at what would really have happened had he not been born.

Somehow I think my dad always gets a kick out of that.

But then I listen to the actual lyrics, which people do not often listen to - especially with these classic old tunes that are only sung loudly and in unison and drunk and cold and most people are making out because its new years eve, but the lyrics really do speak volumes.

It's a song about life, troubles, difficulty, and old friends, and old memories.

It's about broken relationships, old girlfriends, old teachers, holding hands in the seventh grade, staying up late at night talking on the phone. It's about kindness. It's about being kind to one another because we all remember good old times that are broken and fading in our minds, but want them to remain no matter how futile the effort.

Standing in a room of people singing this song doesn't really happen often (or ever), and no one really knows the words, and no one is really ever that sentimental, especially when half drunk. Or fully drunk.

But we all wish we were that sentimental. We all wish we didn't need to get drunk. We all wish we could put our arms around each other, totally sober, clear eyed and crying, and sing these words into each others eyes with all honesty and truth and love. Glancing around the room and smiling at all the people who mutually love and forgive each other for everything.

I'll not write out the lyrics here, because I want people to listen to them for themselves, and find that they sing them alone in the car on their way home from work. Quietly wondering if they will ever have one of these moments with their very own loved ones around the Christmas tree and the piano and the eggnog bowl, with the snow coming in the door in bursts along with the late comers whose cars don't have front wheel drive or chains on the tires.