I need sleep but can't sleep because I need to write this.
You may have heard the phrase, "Coincidence isn't a Kosher word." I believe that know more and more. You see the day I had to day goes beyond any mathematical probabilities and the entire day, almost every part of it reflects how great today was. You may be wondering if I won the lottery. Sorry, not the lottery, actually it was something far more valuable and meaningful. In order for you to understand, the gravity of how great today was I have to give you some background. I hope that you too can see just how great a day today was!
[If you have not seen the movie Seven Pound and want to you may not want to read this blog as it will be a spoiler for you.]
This morning I get up for a long commute to teach out of town. I decided to listen to a debate on my Zune (MP3 player) and I pick one that I wanted to listen too back in November. Back in November, to my great frustration I could not get the Zune software to recognize the 1st file of the 4 files of the debate. Without the first part I did not want to listen to three quarters of the debate. What's the point? I really wanted to listen to it too! I called tech support and they had no idea what the problem was and had me try stupid things I knew would not work. (IT people hate to call tech support and deal with people who know less that we do, it is extremely frustrating.) After 4 hours trying to get it installed, I gave up. I tried it again last weekend and had the same problem. As it turned out the fix was to move it to another computer and then it worked fine. How frustrating is that? This morning, I figured, it might be a great idea to listen to the debate finally and get my mind off my stress.
The debate was on the existence of God and it was between Phil Fernandes and Dan Barker from the freedom from religion foundation. Dan Barker is normally a good debater, however, in this debate he made some very bad arguments and he was very disingenuous when he claimed Hitler was a Christian, everyone know that is not true. It is a well know dirty little argument trick to associate you interlocutor with Hitler. One particular statement he made caught my attention. He claimed that his moral code was superior to the Judeo-Christian God's moral code. Wow, what a claim, very presumptuous and outrageously boastful. At the time, I was thinking the guy was totally full of bullshit. What was his self-proclaimed universally know moral? "Avoid any unnecessary harm." Is that all his intellect could muster? Is this the empty and hollow moral principal that fills his life? What a piece of garbage. How is the passive, 'avoid unnecessary harm' better than and active, ‘love God, love your neighbor, love your enemy and love your wife as Christ loved the Church’? There is no way that a passive approach to avoid doing harm better than give of yourself for others and actively do good by loving others. To say that inactive passive avoidance is better than active involvement is akin to committing intellectual suicide.
The world becomes a better place when people actively seek to benefit others at their own expense, not when people seek to avoid unnecessary harm. In fact, from Barker's moral stance, you could argue the Nazis were justified in the holocaust (He played the Nazi card and now it is on the table). I think the Nazis really did believe that the harm that they were doing was necessary. Not on the individual level but on the level of preserving or promoting what they thought was best for the human race. You can't justify the holocaust with Christians morals of love your enemy, it is impossible.
After that, I got to where I was going to work and did my job. As it turned out my best friend (a new title I give out today as I have not had a 'best friend' in awhile [other than my wife].) and I were supposed to go to a class together that was cancelled. So, he suggested we go to the movies. With my son, we wanted to see Valkyrie. I checked the movies times online and proceeded to drive to the theater. On our way there, I decided to stop by a friend’s house and drop off something and when I got there, he had something for me. A mutual friend of ours (and the only other person lately I would have counted as a brother or best friend) had passed away in July and his wife had given us both a set of prints that he showed me before he passed away. I kept the emotions in and was just thankful for the gift from beyond. Words cannot describe how much they mean to me now.
I left got back in the car and headed for the moves. When we got there, we found out I had the wrong time. We could not see the movie we wanted to see so my best friend suggested we try the next movie to start which was Seven Pounds. I said what, the hell let’s do it.
The movie started 25 minutes late, which gave me and my best friend some time to talk about the debate I listened to this morning. I told him all about it. Had the movie started on time I would not have had time we would have not discussed it.
The movie is about a man, played by Will Smith, who lost his wife in an accident he caused which also resulted in the death of seven innocent people. His way of making amends was to find seven worthy people and donate his organs to them. In order for him to do that, he would have to sacrifice his life for them. He had survivor’s guilt and wanted to make things right in his own way. My friend and I talked after the movie how Dan Barkers approach of avoid unnecessary harm did not come close to the self-sacrifice in the movie. In fact had he followed Dan's approach he would not have done anything and bankrupt in comparison. Because of his sacrifice, seven people got a second chance. Because of God sacrifice, we all get a second chance and we know this love because He first loved us!
On our way back home I mentioned what a coincidence it was all this stuff coming together today as if it was divinely orcastrated message. I told my friend at that time that coincidence was not a kosher word and we continued home. I thought that it was ironic that Dan Barker said that experience is not evidence of God existence because when he was an ordained minister he thought that God talked to him to even though he now knows 100% for sure it wasn't real. I shrugged my shoulders and thought to myself maybe it could be all just a coincidence. When I got home I got out of the car, my best friend said see you later and was going to his car. I opened my trunk and pulled out my gift from beyond and just then, it all hit me. An epiphany!
My friend who had passed away in July once confided in me his survivors guilt form a long time ago. A heavy burden he carried for the rest of his life. He wanted to know from God why it was him who survived and not his friend who died in his arms. I told him at the time that he could not carry that burden and that he had to let it go. I told him that maybe, just maybe, the good he has done in the rest of his life was the mission God had for him and that maybe, there was a higher purpose in his survival.
The reason I had said that to him was because, about two years ago, he went to a local VA hospital to visit those coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq. In the poly-trauma unit he saw a young Marine officer who was just sitting there. He said to him "Semper Fi" a coming marine greeting and the young officer looked up into his eyes and said "Semper Fi" back to him. The nurses were astonished because those where the first word that he had spoken since he came back to the States. From that time my friend, no, my brother, would go to the hospital to care for wounded and raised money to help them in any way he could. We met some of Americas finest there.
About a year ago, we started to raise money for a special bike that was needed at the hospital for rehabilitation. They needed a three-wheel bike as many of those recovering had head injuries and had issues with balance and needed a bike they did not have to worry about balance with. Our organization started to raise the money but it was going slow. The bike was $3200. People wanted to help but not that much. We continued on. He was actively giving to those in need not satisfied with simply avoiding unnecessary harm.
He passed away before he completed his mission. The members of our organization, his family and many in the community donated money in his name for a three wheel bike for the poly-trauma unit. In November, we delivered the bike to the poly-trauma rehabilitation unit. We were a team and the mission had to be completed. That’s what Marines do for each other, even if one falls, we continue until the mission is complete. As it turns out, we had lost track of that young Marine officer in the time between starting the collection until after our brother passed. We found out the week before we were going to deliver the bike that the first person that was going to use it would be that very same officer that had inspired my friend to start the program in the first place. What a great completion to his mission.
Tonight, as I walked into the house with the prints (my gift from beyond), I realized how much the movie and all of today's events culminated into this epiphany. Though all of our pain, suffering and lose, we have a choice to give and to love. Self-sacrifice leads to fulfillment, you give and yet you get so much in return. What an empty dead place this would be if all we did was simply avoided doing unnecessary harm. How wondrous is God’s love, that while we were undeserving, He sacrificed Himself for us, in our place?
My friends life gave a new chance to countless wounded heroes.
Will Smith's character's life gave a second chance and new life to seven.
Jesus life gave a second chance and new life for all of us.
Had my Zune work as it should have in November. Had I not decided to listen to it today. Had the commute not taken so long as I would have missed listening to it all. Had our class not been cancelled. Had my new best friend decided to flake out on me, which he could have given it was late and he had a long drive home. Had we not decided to go to the movies. Had I got the time right. Had the movie not been delayed. Had I not decided to stop by and drop something off at my friends, which I wanted to blow it off until another day. Had I not picked up the gift from my friend. Had we not discussed this. All today. I might have missed this.
Does God talk to us? I think so. He did for me today. Call it coincidence if you want. Or you can ask Him yourself.
And We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
Trackback URL for this blog entry
Please login first in order for you to submit comments