Friday, June 7, 2013

Out of the Mouths of Babes and Adolescents

I have been doing these inspirational offerings so long now that I am not surprised from where ideas come.  If something spiritual has to be biblical, then probably the Bible is going to be the primary or only source.  If something spiritual has to be Christian, then doctrine will factor into the picture.  I am sure some of my inspirational pieces are biblical, since I quote the Christian Bible.  And I am positive some of them are Christian.  But I also know that I do not limit myself to these two categories.
           
The way I see it, the entire world is God’s source of spirituality and spiritual inspiration.  Nature might be a source of inspiration.  Who has not enjoyed the beauty of a sunset and been stunned by the beauty of this awesome sight?  Sometimes it is the majesty of a mountain that inspires.  I have been inspired by lush cornfields and by the barrenness of a desert.  God has offered us plenty of possibilities.
           
Various things I read afford multiple opportunities to see something spiritual in the ordinary.  I actually think that is the key to seeing spiritual.  Maybe you and I are the real issue.  Perhaps the question is whether you and I can learn to “see spiritually,” rather than whether there is something objectively “out there” which is spiritual to see?  I think this may be the case.
           
The latest source of some spiritual wisdom was a story I read in CNN news online.  I am sure it probably was part of a syndicated series, so it likely appeared in many newspapers and electronic news sources.  I am not surprised to find spiritual, inspirational things online in the various news sources.  There are countless good, human-interest stories in that context.  What was surprising to me, however, was the focus of the story. 

The focus was gambling!  Actually, it was the lottery.  I did not begin reading that article suspecting an idea would pop out that begged me to reflect and write about some interesting spiritual tidbit.  The headline was certainly meant to draw in the reader.  “Costly Courtesy in Powerball Line.”  Certainly nothing ostensibly spiritual in that line---with possible exception of the idea of “courtesy.”  The story focused not on the winner of the $371 million dollar winner of a recent lottery.  Instead the focus was on a loser!

The winner was an 84-year-old Florida woman, Gloria MacKenzie.  I had to laugh.  Some folks might think it is unfair for a woman that old to win that much money!  I can hear people now saying, “She’s so old, she can’t spend it all!”  That might be true, but does it matter?

The story’s real focus was on a 34-year-old loser, Mindy Crandell.  Mindy is a wife and mother.  She went to a Publix supermarket in Zephyrhills, FL to buy a ticket.  Or perhaps, she just went shop for groceries and decided, “why not, I’m going to buy a lottery ticket.”  So she stood in line for the machine to dispense a ticket.  However, at some point Mindy stepped aside so that 84 year old, Gloria, could step up and get her ticket.  The rest is history.  Gloria won; Mindy is a loser!

An interesting twist came when we are told Mindy was asked by the clerk if she wanted to jump ahead of Gloria in the line?  Gloria is quoted to say: "While in line at Publix, another lottery player was kind enough to let me go ahead of them in line to purchase the winning quick-pick ticket."  Apparently Mindy was ok with where she was and, as a result, is a loser.

The article picks up the old saying, “everything happens for a reason.”  Most people I know think this is true.  I am not sure, but let’s assume everything happens for a reason.  So what possibly could be the reason for Mindy to have been in place to win, only to give $371 million up to an old lady?

It seems Mindy’s 10 year old daughter had the insight.  Ten-year old Mallory said, “Sometimes it’s better to be patient than rich.”  Now that’s a spiritual comment, if I ever heard one.  Out of the mouths of babes and adolescents come the spiritual nuggets.  I like Mallory’s insight.  Being rich would be ok; perhaps it would be great.  Most people think it would be.

But being rich probably never is a trigger to being spiritual.  Rich people can be spiritual; but being rich never makes one spiritual.  Patience, on the other hand, is a virtue.  It usually is spiritual.  Dealing with God normally requires patience.  And certainly God has to be patient when dealing with us!  I do agree that sometimes it’s better to be patient than rich.  In fact, that may always be true.

I’m actually glad I am not rich.  I think to win $371 million would completely mess up my life.  And I am sure it would torpedo any sense of spirituality I might have.  But patience?  If I can learn patience and learn to be patient, then I can learn to wait for God’s desire for my life to become clear.  Patience is the spiritual antidote to our culture’s frenzy and superficiality.  Sometimes it is better to be patient than rich.  Thanks Mallory.

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