Sunday at church our Pastor began a sermon series on the book of Jonah. Often deemed a children’s tale, most people are of course familiar with Jonah and the whale. Regardless if you’re religious, the overall tale is quite applicable to most everyone I know. Short story even shorter, God orders Jonah to go to Nineveh. Jonah has absolutely no intention of going to Nineveh and runs in the complete opposite direction to Tarshish. Clearly God – because, well, he’s GOD – is not too thrilled with this idea. A massive storm overtakes the boat in which Jonah travels and the sailors figure out he’s the one to blame…so into the raging ocean he goes. Whoopsies.
Basically, he should have gone to Nineveh. And once he finally does (post that whole whale situation), he still acts like a punk.
We ALL have Ninevehs. As my Pastor explained, it could be our marriages, our jobs, where we live…any situation we’re in that isn’t the way we want it to be. And as we all know, just as with Jonah and Tarshish, the grass is always greener on the other side. If you read this post, you know I certainly thought I had all of my acres upon acres of green grass planned out. When I worked at the theater, the corporate office was greener. When I made it to the corporate office, Los Angeles was greener. Although I appreciate all the experiences, both professional and personal, I had while in LA, it didn’t turn out the way I initially hoped. So three years in, I looked east and thought, huh, Dallas is a lot greener than I remember it being. And well, we all know how that turned out. All grass is greener when you’re unemployed and get your heart broken (especially when both happen at the same time!)
As the church’s Facebook post introducing the sermon asks, “what if the place you don’t want is the place you need?”
Again, if you read this post, you know I’ve worked hard on not planning my every move since June. I no longer think about how “much better” things will be when/if I’m married and/or have kids. Though I won’t lie, I still have a secret Pinterest board for a wedding. Cause if you know anything about my first, you know I get a major re-do on the next. Anyhow…what I realized as I was driving home from church Sunday is that I’ve not been practicing focusing on the present as much as I should when it comes to day-to-day or even week-to-week matters.
Example one: for a couple of weeks now I’ve known I am getting closer to full-time employment (hold the applause till it’s official). I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve said or thought “well when I have a job…” Now don’t get me wrong, there’s a certain level of necessary planning that can go on. Such as, when I have a job I must go to an allergist and get new tires. Kids, we know those things aren’t greener AT ALL. Those are just things that have to be done. But I know I’m guilty of thinking ridiculous things about “when I have a job”. Like what I am going to buy (not talking tires here), how people won’t think I’m a loser anymore (though I know no one does, but if I hear “I just can’t believe you don’t have a job yet” one more time…) or how I won’t have to worry…
Stop. Please. Have you met me? I will still have to worry. Not sure about what, but about something.
Example two: this past weekend all I could think about was next weekend. I’m going out of town (for fun) so a level of forethought is to be expected, but in the meantime, I almost glazed over a fabulous three days. A wonderful dinner and wine at The Porch Friday. A lovely day Saturday with my mom, sister and niece for my niece’s fourth birthday. A birthday she’ll only have once. Followed by a visit to my paternal grandparent’s graves for my grandmother’s birthday to bring flowers and have a great chat. Topped off that evening by a phenomenal Wade Bowen show at The Granada with one of my best friends. Sunday morning a wonderful sermon at church (obviously) and a day of getting organized at home. This all happened in one weekend. And all I could focus on was the next. I almost missed the chance to truly enjoy the awesomeness that was already happening.
Example three: it is cold. It has been cold for awhile now. It’s winter, so it shouldn’t be too shocking that it’s cold. This goes for all of you. No one likes the bitter cold (that I’m aware of). Just like no one likes 105 degrees with humidity. When it’s cold we wish for it to be warmer, when it’s hot we wish for it to be cooler. What we forget is the weather and seasons also mean time. Time we won’t get back. There will never be another February of 2014. I’m not trying to be all fairy dust and homemade granola here. I am just taking the bigger picture involved and lesson to be learned in Jonah and Pastor Forrest’s words and breaking it down into a daily practice and applying it to things of which you might not otherwise think. I’ve finally learned that breaking down most anything, from daily chores to accepting your current lot in life, into smaller bits and pieces is much easier to manage. It apparently doesn’t ALL have to be done at once. Who knew? So, as much as it pains us, maybe dealing with the bitter cold of February is exactly where you (or I) need to be right now.
PS I am by no means a biblical scholar and never will be. If anything in the beginning is wrong, my apologies…and if that’s what you focus on, you’re missing the point!