Monday, April 8, 2013

Ok!… Here’s Your Chance…Throw Me A Kiss!

Growing up with a Mom who was very ill by times, I knew that kissing was something that wasn't going to happen much. But, as I remember it, she did throw kisses. One winter day as I struggled to plant a spruce tree for Mom in the lower garden, so that she could see it from her window… she threw me a kiss. Our children growing up were taught to throw kisses to Grandmas, Aunts and all sorts of relatives and friends, as we were leaving to return home. That has been a tradition still carried on by our own children and grandchildren, as with many families I am sure. There is a meaning to every kiss thrown.

First and foremost it should always mean to show love. I remember someone telling me that when a kiss was thrown to a favourite member of their family, they always made the motion of catching it and putting it in their pocket. This signified that it was important and could be retrieved, enabling them to relive the joy of the kiss over and over again, until that person returned for another visit.

Second, the thrown kiss may show caring thoughtfulness. In ministry especially the joke is that a pastor’s spouse will throw a kiss to signify that perhaps people are getting anxious and the sermon or Bible study is getting a bit too long! It is always done subtly, but does tell us something; there is a balance needed and time elements of delivery may not align with everyone’s attention span… especially if it is a difficult topic. Even though Karen has joked about it, she never once in the 27 years of sermons has thrown me a kiss. Of course she is biased! LOL But there may have been times when she looked quietly at her watch to remind me that a Bible study was going a bit over, even though I was deep in contextual explanations.

I have to chuckle at the times that it has been mentioned in various contexts by different folks on very different occasions. I had a rather “intentionally direct” member of a congregation add subtlety to his bag of tricks, when he set his watch alarm to go off at the sharp top of the hour. I let him go on for some time thinking that someone would ask him to turn it off previous to the service, but no one ever did. So, I boldly asked him one day, “Why the alarm?” He smiled and said calmly, “It is just a gentle reminder that the service time is up!” Our family laughed about that for years, but the truth was that something was being said in that alarm. It was the “Kiss” principle. Keep it short stupid!

Now my wife would disagree with that always being the take on the “kiss” principle. She would sometime interpret it as, “keep it simple sweetie”, especially if I ranged into the more technical side of a Bible Study on the theology of the Paul in Romans for an example. So, what am I saying this morning? Does the “Kiss” principle have a good reason to be put into practice? Well,… yes. Now there, I have conceded a point that I have not always wanted to give up on in my life. My mind will lead me down paths of recollection and philosophy that sometimes can overwhelm the most avid of readers. (I use caution here to not use the term reader, not follower, for to follow me is an error; make sure you are followers of Christ.) I have been known to be overly verbose at times. I do try to be reasonably to the point, but sometimes though, I admit that I just let my thoughts flow.

In India, I have a few times been challenged to keep it short. It has not always been a simple task and the request was received so that someone who was there for the first time, might have opportunity to speak first. I often felt like I was getting the leftovers, as schedules need to be strictly kept and time then ran short for me to lecture properly. You have to understand the culture there and their sense of timing. LOL. But, I was being asked to make the lecture shorter as a way of accommodating other’s needs. During those times I sometimes tried to evaluate my reason for going all that distance and what it is that God was trying to accomplish through me, if I was not allowed the time to do a good job at teaching, with both depth and Spiritual challenge.  A friend there told me that it was because I could accomplish the task no matter the time allotted and I didn't need not follow a script… it flowed from God’s presence, after years of the faithful study and practice. I think he was overdoing it, but the challenge is always before me. It is when I am spiritually challenged that God picks up the pieces and carries me through the work. My job is to present the facts, the subtleties of the Word and help others to better understand the dynamics of faith… in total dependence on Him, not encumbered with the worries of time and schedule.

You see, the team perhaps felt that I was one of the faithful sureties. They knew that I was there each year and could do the task at hand. That is the way God works. He enables those He sends, who suddenly feel unsure; He equips them for the tasks at hand, no matter the trials along the way. It is never easy to face the challenges, when expectations are not met, or cast off self-doubt when we feel less than equal to the task, after hours of preparation and then be confronted perhaps, as the parameters change. God is in the down moments, as well as the peaks of joy and satisfaction we find in the victories. Get ready for the “Kisses” that may come in life… they will come!

Finally the thrown kiss may have a level of threat. My heart sinks when I know that many use this form of what should always be loving and kind gesture, for something else. Now-a-days there may be other gestures thrown in there, but nothing good ever comes of the emotions that provoke these responses toward another person. I often wonder if it wasn't very similar with Judas, when he signified who Jesus was to the guards, when they came to arrest him before his trial and death. Even though he would have directly kissed Jesus on the cheek, perhaps it would have been that same emotion, that same disdain, which drives people to react with such thoughtlessness.

So today I have a question for those who have made it this far. Do you feel that you need to throw me a “Kiss”?  No, I don’t mean the mean and nasty .. lol… although if that is how you fell, I don’t mind getting feedback from readers no matter the context. I have had some good stuff, along with a few not so gentle criticisms in my day… all in a life’s work I say. While I may take the high road and continue to follow what God is leading me to do, I can perhaps add more of my life’s experiences, talk about my many travels (Oh my… I have had lots!) and try to do a better job blending in the meaning of life, in Christ, through those experiences (if you feel that I am falling down there). My plan though, is to continue to write from the edge. I have no desire to take the easy path… that would be just plain out of context for me and I don’t want to let my kids down…LOL... they are too used to me being off the wall, out to lunch, and as my oldest daughter lovingly puts it, “Dad you are such a freak!”

So come back and connect with the challenges, the fun I poke at collections of life’s experiences, trials, and disappointments, but most of all the joys, as we walk toward God’s blessing, while living near the edge. Not comfortable at this point? Hey, it is always in how you define the view from there! Blessings for your day and always!