Saturday, December 31, 2011

God Has A Sense Of Humor

Okay, what follows is a true story. Some of the details might differ slightly from being retold for 20 years, but the story is true.
Back when the Mall Of America was fairly new, it was a bit of a novelty around here, a destination. So a family that hails from about 40 miles west of where I live, made it their Christmas shopping destination. Dad and Mom, one of their married daughters, and her husband leaving in the early morning hours to spend the day in Minneapolis.
The daughter and her husband leave their rural home, drive to the parents farm where Mom has breakfast waiting for them. After about a half break for breakfast, they got back into their still slightly warm vehicle, and are off on their day.
After driving for about a half hour, everyone notices an awful smell coming from their car. I mean bad, really bad. So bad in fact, it looks like they might end up stopping to attend to this. But after another half hour, everyone decides that the smell is getting better, and they forge on.
Upon arriving at the Mall, they parked in one of the upscale parking ramps, and went in to spend the day.
About 3 pm, with all their money spent, and their time used up, they head to the parking ramp to go home.
As this small group approached the ramp, the automatic doors opened, and they were greeted with the same stench that they had experienced on the drive up. Obviously, it was coming from their car. When they opened the hood, they found that during their breakfast stop, a cat had crawled on the car's warm engine and had met its' untimely demise. So they emptied out a shopping bag, grabbed a ice scrapper, and a tire iron and cleaned the remains from the engine. Upon finishing this gruesome job, they closed the hood, set the bag down, and walked back into the Mall to clean themselves up.
Now the story got interesting. As this small group returned, and approached the automatic glass doors to the ramp, they see a lady in her mid 40's scanning the ramp. Seeing no one, she walked across the ramp, and steals the bag containing the dead cat off of the hood of their car. She makes a right turn, heads right for them and enters the mall, walking right past them.
So now what to do? The two couples decide almost immediately that they need to see her reaction, and start to follow at a safe distance. The shoplifter walks quite a distance through the mall, and enters a set of restrooms near the food court. The guys are telling the women that they should follow, and the women are telling them in no uncertain terms, that that isn't going to happen, when a scream like someone is being axe murdered comes from the restroom.
Now, not far from this restroom is the offices for security. Doors blow open and into the restroom they go. They find the shoplifter passed out on the tile floor. And she isn't coming to. So the EMTs are called in, and when they can't get her to come to, they haul in a gurney to take her to the now waiting ambulance. The EMT's truss her up like a Thanksgiving turkey on a backboard, plop her on the gurney, and out the doors she goes.
The couples are watching all this unfold, quietly taking in all the events, when an EMT comes running out of the restroom. In his one hand is the woman's purse, in his other hand is the shopping bag containing the dead cat. He runs up to the gurney, stuffs the them between her knees, straps them in and off she goes to the ambulance.
So somewhere in the Twin Cities, there is a EMT crew, still wondering why on earth some passed out woman had a dead cat in her Nordstroms bag.
And yes, I think God has a sense of humor. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Passing of an Agvocate, and Getting in Trouble in Church

So yesterday I got to usher in church. Not a difficult job. You show folks to their seat, hand out bulletins and hand out kids bulletins to the children. Well, yesterday i handed out the kids bulletins to a bunch of adults. Some college age "kids" got them, as well as some of the kids from my high school youth group. Everyone involved got a big smile on their face, and a nod or wink. I was a little worried that not everyone who would see me laughing in church would think it was funny.
The thing that occurred to me was that we so often take too much of our life too seriously. Like a church service. I believe laughter is a gift from God. How often have you laughed, I mean realy laughed in church? Me neither.
I've often told people that I want the punch at my funeral to get spiked so we can hopefully loosen up a bunch of buttoned up Dutchmen. Yesterday, and in the past I've had folks volunteer to spike the punch.(My only worry is that no one is going to dare drink the stuff.8)). But the conversation did get me to thinking about my funeral and who would show up. Would they mourn my passing, would they talk about things like the weather, or would they share the fun/laughs that we had together. I'm hoping the latter. Because as a Christian, upon my death, I get to reap the ultimate reward that Christ has offered us. Eternal life. It should be a party. I mean, the cops show up, kind of PARTY.

Then I open up my SM today and find out that Chris Raines, meat professor, agvocate from Penn State died in a car crash last night. His twitter handle was @itweetmeat. I'm not sure if I met Chris or not, I met so many people this last summer at the #AgChat Conference. But from everything, everyone is saying about Chris, he blessed those who came to call him their friend. He led a full but too short life. The accolades are beautiful and bountiful.
 Which lead to this thought. Why do we wait for someone's death to let the world know how they have blessed us? What would happen if we flash mobbed those in our life for being a blessing to us. Granted, like any good thing it might lose some thing in translation, but let each of those who have touched our lives, know what they mean to us? And that our lives are richer for having known them.What if we picked a Brent Boersma day? Or a Kelly Rivard or Alec Winmill Holiday to let them know they are something special?  Somedays we could all use that kind of encouragement.

So here goes. Erin, Elizabeth, Troy, John, Kari, Kelly, Elliot, Kaycie, Haley, Laura, Jordan, Sam, Thomas, Derrel, Jay, Marcus, Ray, Brett, Brent, Eric, Dani, Ryan, Jessica, Cal, Steve,Joelle, Shane,Lynn, Dawn, Myra,Janice, Alec, Darin, Brooke, Marie, Ward, Megan, Elizabeth, Lee,Seth, Claire, Cody, Justin, Jon, Michaela and Jeff..............
You mean.this to me ........
Volume one is gonna be really long.................