A day that unravelled: part 2

A couple of weeks ago I had a doozy of a day. You can read the full blog post here, but in case you don’t feel like clicking there, I’ll give you another chance…

here.

OK then, if you’re still reading this, you REALLY don’t feel like clicking, do you? I’ll give you a very short recap. I woke up. Things were sweet. I did stuff. Then things spiraled out of control. I prayed. I went to bed. The day was just whatever.

The “take-away” was to start my day with prayer and even if drama happens, perhaps the day won’t unravel.

Now, to follow up: I hadn’t been paid for the work I did that dramatic day. So for days and days and days I went back and forth with Amazon about the 2 shifts that I definitely worked, yet they would barely even acknowledge my existence in the emailed responses. Formatted emails were what I was getting. It got to a point where it was just silly. I would ask them a very specific question that, if a person was actually reading, they’d have a very specific answer. Still,  nothing. Just vague emails with general policies.

I felt like I couldn’t win, but I wasn’t about to cave, either.

My prayer life was fervent because of this unproductive relationship I was having with Amazon. If there was any silver lining to the 2+ hours of volunteer work I had done for Amazon, it was this: a lesson learned about prayer and how the Bible says to “pray without ceasing.”

Now it’s been about 12 days since… and I have great news. Amazon, in their compassion (and perhaps annoyance of my constant nagging), decided to grant me a pay adjustment! Hallelujah there IS a God! So I totally got a two-fer… a lesson on the importance of praying and whatyaknow, I got paid to work. Crazy!

For being at the end of my rope and almost giving up, I’m grateful to God and the Amazonian who ruled the iron fist in my favor.

The take-away from part 2: well, I guess it’s something my brother told me years ago…

Work as though it all depends on you, and pray as if it all depends on God.

-Out of the Wilderness

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Kindness of strangers in unexpected moments

Part of what I do for income includes driving my car all over town and interacting with strangers. I know what you’re thinking, “Oh, he drives for Uber!” Thankfully, no. Drunk strangers will not be vomiting in my car. I really enjoy delivering smiles for Amazon Prime Now. But it’s not always happy times, I’ll tell ya! Traffic can be a bear and a few weeks ago, the weather was quite the menace. Here’s a snippet from my dash cam the night I was delivering in Nashville’s heaviest snow of the year so far.


Even worse than the snow, though, was the ice. Some main roads, and most secondary roads, were layered in it. On top of that, I had 10 deliveries! I felt like David going up against Goliath, with a Nissan Versa as my slingshot.

I left the Amazon warehouse with just an ounce of courage. I slowly crept my way to the first customer and missed the mark with my first stone. Here I am in a bit of a predicament.


I was halfway up the hill and started sliding down. I was able to back into a random driveway and with some help, drive in reverse, through front yards, narrowly missing two cars but getting back onto a flat road without incident.

Nine more deliveries to go.

Already my neck was sore. My shoulders were tight. A few of the next stops were in flat areas of east Nashville, so that was a relief, but Goliath still seemed larger than life.

Towards the end of the route, Goliath snorted as I approached the steepest hill yet. The house I was delivering to was at the top, about 5 houses in from where I decided to park the car. My slingshot wouldn’t win this battle. In fact, I felt pretty defeated at this point; half the deliveries were late and even after this one, I had a few more to go. To walk the delivery to the customer would take at least 3 trips from my car up the hill to the house, but as undesirable as that sounded, it’s all that could be done. So I started up the hill, a few packages under my arms.

As I handed off the first round of items, the most unexpected thing happened. The father of the crew that lived there began bundling up with heavy clothes and boots. My eyes widened. My heart beat faster. My shoulders loosened. He was coming back with me so we could slay this giant together!

We split the items between us and started back up the hill. We both were carrying almost more than we could manage by ourselves. And then another heroic moment happened: his son met us on the way and after giving him some packages, the three of us marched up the hill, up the driveway, up the slippery steps, and to the front door.

As it turns out, it was people that overtook Goliath this cold, snowy night. What does the Bible say? A cord of 3 strands is not easily broken. I’m so thankful for those guys that night. Their act of kindness won’t be in newspapers, it won’t pop up on anyone’s Facebook feed (except maybe for mine!), they won’t be ABC’s persons of the week. But for a stressed out delivery driver, this father certainly made an impression and lived out the Golden Rule. Plus he modeled for his son (and his daughter and wife who were watching from the window) one way to be a good man.

He reminded me a lot of my dad.

And that, my friends, is how Goliath fell that night.

-Out of the Wilderness

A real shocker

It’s electric, boogy woogy woogy
Every winter there’s something I dread more than the icy cold temperatures, the sun setting at noon, and football seasons ending. Have you ever gone to shake someone’s hand, or open your car door, and zap! you receive an electric shock that startles the bejeebies out of you?

It happens to me a lot every winter so when this time of year rolls around, one of my top goals is to find out when it’s more likely to happen, and to avoid it avidly.

Queen of the Amazons
Last year I scoured Amazon and was happy to discover there are key chains out there for the sole purpose of eliminating static electricity. Click here to take a look at those (and please note, I’m an Amazon Associate so I receive a portion of any transaction made through this link). And yes, I just watched Wonder Woman last night, who said something like “Queen of the Amazons” more than once. Great movie, by the way!

I also came across a YouTube video that gives step by step instructions on how to manufacture an “anti static electricity stick”…

I went the DIY route, making my device pretty much exactly like the guy recommends in the video. Here’s my static eliminator stick.

img_20180105_091845448.jpg

Walking in high cotton
I’ve also tried to be more aware of what I’m wearing. Polyester is bad for static. So I try to wear more cotton. When I’m exiting my car, I try to get out without sliding across the fabric seat, and I’ll also grab the metal door frame as I’m exiting. Even inside my home I’ll get shocked as I go to pet my dogs. The air in my house is really dry because of the heater being on, and I use a space heater as well. One possible task for the future may be to get some sort of humidifier. Anyway, all of these methods seem to be helping.

So if you’re constantly getting zapped, try some of these ideas and hopefully, like me, your winter will be a lot less shocking.

-Out of the Wilderness

 

If You’re A Broke Alcoholic

“Money will make you more of who you are. If you’re a broke alcoholic, you’ll be a rich alcoholic. I had a $15,000 bed but couldn’t get any sleep. I had 10 cars but wasn’t going anywhere.”

To have a list of “favorite quotes” is fairly common. If you need proof, sign up for any social network-type site and you’ll soon find all the sites have a section for this type of list. A quick search for “book of quotes” on Amazon.com returned 7,622 results. Why are quotes famous? Why are simple statements from random sources popular?

1. Because someone has stated an observation or feeling that we’ve observed or felt, too, but couldn’t find the accurate words to express.

2. We want to be inspired. We want to laugh. We want to know that we’re not alone in our feelings of happiness, joy, anger, curiousity, or hunger for life’s meaning.

So we cling to the quotes we relate to, the ones we wished we thought of ourselves. Quotes that draw their arms around us as if to say, “It’s ok to feel this way.” Quotes like the one listed above are hard to hear, though. It’s quite counter-cultural to say anything about money not satisfying. Especially when the person who said it was one of the most prolific football players in recent history. After chasing the things success brought him, Deion Sanders realized it was all meaningless in the end. I wonder if he was reading the Bible at all…Ecclesiastes, maybe?

“Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”

The very next chapter of Ecclesiastes includes text that has been used in music and movies for decades. The Byrds made this song famous:

Samuel L. Jackson, Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Spacey and Sandra Bullock starred in this feature film:

I challenge you to search around and find quotes you can relate to. Find something that inspires you and hold tight to it. Memorize the words and recall them when no other words can quite grasp what you’re experiencing. And for a second challenge, come up with your own quotes. You’re an original and every generation needs someone who’s not afraid to speak their mind and pour out the emotions in their heart. One day, many years from now, you may be the person other people are quoting.

“He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

The very next day, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. saw more than just the Lord’s glory, he saw the Lord himself.

“He that but looketh on a plate of ham and eggs to lust after it hath already committed breakfast with it in his heart.” (C.S. Lewis)