Friday, December 17, 2010

Thank you Michael J Scott

I love the television show The Office.  Don't you?  So witty, so clever, so stink'n funny.
While watching, there's one thing I bet we can all agree on...don't take seriously or emulate anything Michael Scott ever says or does.  Right?  He's one of the most hilariously selfish, self-centered, prideful, insecure, and clueless characters on television.

Well, you might be surprised to hear...

I found myself in a situation a few weeks ago where I decided the right thing to do was to be like Michael Scott.  It was a WWMSD (what would michael scott do) moment.

Steve has been a member of our church for many years.  Throughout that entire time he has been a committed member of our Friendship Sunday school class (our class for families and individuals who are homeless, wrestling with addictions, in poverty, etc.  I call it our "church as it should be" class.)
Anyway, Steve had a climbing accident when he was in his early twenties that left the right side of his body paralyzed.  Talk about an inspirational story.  He still manages to drive, walk, and yes, even paint!

This is where I took advice from Michael Scott.  Remember the episode a few seasons back where Pam had her first art show?  Michael barely makes it in time and reacts to Pam's paintings like someone seeing a Picasso or Van Gogh for the first time.  He is floored and sincerely can't believe Pam is so talented. He then looks at the painting of their office building and with utmost sincerity asks her, "How much."  And Pam is equally as floored at thinking that anyone would pay money for her paintings.  She is filled with dignity, encouragement, and love as she reaches out to hug Michael (perhaps the only time she's ever initiated a hug with Michael).  Is the episode coming back to you?

A few weeks ago Steve came to class on Sunday morning with a painting in his hand.  I said, "What did you bring to class today, Steve?"  He said, "It's my latest oil painting.  It's our classroom."  Yes, he had painted a beautiful oil painting of the Sunday school room from the perspective of where he sits every Sunday.  Simply magnificent.  I was so overwhelmed with the beauty of the moment that of course I asked, "How much?"  I was disappointed when He said it was not for sale.  I then asked, "Well, can we put it up in our room?"  He smiled his incredibly sweet half-smile and said, "Yes, of course."

That week I framed it, and it is now hanging high in our classroom so all can see it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

FBC Norman Advent Devotional

Yes, one more.  I had the privilege of contributing to our church's advent devotional guide this year.  Today's thought is based on the well known Christmas song O Come, O Come Immanuel.
I hope it finds you where you are today.

Click here to read it

Thanks, everyone.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Popcorn and Nostalgia

I have said it before, and I'll say it again, "I love the people my work allows me to interact with."

A few Monday's ago a homeless man shows up at our church early in the afternoon.  He was about 6 feet tall, african american, in his late 40's, and as meek as anyone can be.  After a while we learned bits of each other's stories and I discovered he needed some warm clothes (being that he is sleeping outside).  We went to the clothing rooms in our church and he picked out a warm jacket and a long sleeve shirt.  I asked if he needed any food as well, and he stopped shuffling through the clothing rack and said, "no, but do you all have any popcorn?"  Out of all the things he could have responded with I thought it unlikely that he would a) turn down free food and b) instead, ask if we had popcorn.

I said, "No, I don't think so.  You a big fan of popcorn?"  He said, "Yeah, it's one of those feel-good foods for me.  My mom used to make the best popcorn over the stove."  He and I continued to chat about popcorn, how much we both loved it, and fond memories of family.

Everyone has a story.  Everyone.  Next time you see someone you think might be homeless say to yourself, "That person has a story just like me.  They have memories of popcorn and nostalgia just like me."  That is the first step in making the invisible of our society visible.