Weekend throwing with the Bigg guy means post-throwing beers and cheese curds across the street at Leff’s Lucky Town. Leff’s is a ‘tosa (by the way, it’s TOE-sa. Not TOSS-a) icon owned and run by classmates of Matt’s. So when we’re getting served and some big guy (compared to the average ‘tosa dude) yells out, “Figures it’d be you WaNAt who wants to put steaming hot balls in his mouth”, it’s not offensive at all. Heh.
One just never knows where our post-throwing conversations will take us. It usually revolves around training, or Games, or travels, or religion, or politics, or family, or Strongman. Get the picture? You just never know. This weekend, it was religion. Kinda.
As I’ve mentioned before, growing up as a Lutheran PK (Pastor’s Kid to the one or two who don’t know that term), I saw a different side to the church. Political (when I was very young the church council tried to fire one of the other pastor’s. My dad said, “He goes, I go. Knock it off.” And that was that.) Hypocritical (small town Minnesota was better at that than big city. Ya know, all those Sunday morning church goers who wore their Sunday best and would smile at you and tell you they pray for you but then talked mad shit about you outside of those doors? I have a real nice hate for that little crowd.) Selfish (hey, I get that you need advice and value the opinion of the pastor but does it ever occur to you that it’s 9:30 at night and his family gets to spend maybe 15 minutes with their dad and husband before he passes out for the day so can you just wait until, oh I dunno, he gets into the office the next day instead of bothering him at home?)
To this day, I’m not a fan of organized religion. I have my beliefs, I’m solid in them. I don’t feel the need to bore the rest of the world with them. If a person were to ask my views, I’d give them while still respecting (for the most part) theirs. I joke about Catholic guilt with the Bigg guy. Oz went to school for 4 years to a small Catholic program so he considers himself a Catholic. That’s always good for a lulz. I still love the sound of a good Organ player and choir. In Wichita Falls, the local Methodist church had an amazing music program. When I was feeling a bit low, I’d hit a Sunday service and would feel a little revived afterwards from the music. An Assembly of God church is usually good for some great music during the service. I like contemporary Christian music but a good ‘ol fashioned Choir, there’s nothing like it for me. I remember one Sunday morning, I was in my early 20’s, where our Choir (run by an amazing Professional musician and beautiful lady who always smiled and gave me big hugs) sang on their way out and then lined the back of the church while they finished. There was something special about their singing that day, I still can remember the feeling. As if the heavens were opening up and angels were singing and celebrating. I could see the light and feel the warmth. I cried. I had no idea why, it had never happened to me before. When I got home, I had a message to call my mom. Turns out my Grandma had a heart attack that morning and was in a coma. As I was rushing around packing a bag to hot step it down to Windom, mom called again. Grandma was gone. To this day, and always, I will believe that our little local choir was singing my Grandma into Heaven. That’s why Choirs are special to me.
Anyways, that has nothing to do with today. I actually have no idea how we stumbled on this subject as we were waiting for the cheese curds to cool, but off we went. The question of the day was: do we gain favor with God, or with ‘the gods’ and therefore receive blessings from Him/them that others do not? Have I been blessed in a special way that puts me up a notch from the next guy? Have others? If we have career success or sports success or relationship success, does this happen because we are singled out in some way?Do we have a say in this? For example, we happen to be surrounded by some pretty amazing athletes. Why do some have more success than others? Is it because they have been selected by God to receive His favor for some reason that we don’t know about? OR is it because they have received the SAME amount of talent and opportunity AND worked their asses off hoping for a chance to display them? Is Big Z more blessed than Halfthor? I dunno. Or is it just that they each have strengths and weaknesses and sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t?
At one point in my life, I was going through some struggles. I relied on another to help make things work and instead of talking and fixing, they kept saying that they’re going to go to church and pray some more for God to fix us. Uhhhhh, hey! I need you here, doing. Can God make a house call so you’re actually taking an active part of a solution? The “I’ll stay at church until he changes your mind” approach didn’t work. Shocking eh?
Blessed is an interesting word. I use it a lot. I’m probably not using it in the correct context. I could say I’m thankful, or feeling fortunate. That’s probably closer to the point. I do feel thankful in so many ways for so many things in my life that I never imagined I’d be doing. But am I blessed? Like, God blessed ME special? Over someone else? Tricky, and it makes me a little uncomfortable. Cuz if we want to be all biblical and shit, all of this is covered under the umbrella of God’s Grace that He extends to everyone. FoShizzle.
At the end of the day, here’s what we came up with. Many of us are given opportunities whether it be in career; schooling; relationships; competition; art, etc. What we DO with those opportunities is dependent on us. Do we gain favor when we work hard and are committed to whatever we’re trying to accomplish? Sometimes. But not always. Hard work guarantees nothing. Hard work plus a couple good bounces helps. But I’m just not comfortable with the idea that God blesses someone else over another. Cuz there are some really good, committed, faithful people I’ve known over the years who have had struggle after struggle. Success in any arena is a snapshot that can represent your history/experience/practice/hard work/luck, not necessarily the hand of God reaching down and giving you a gold star over others. But if you, or someone you know, wishes to believe they are blessed beyond others have at it. The churches are full of such folks. Which is why I stay away.
I’m not an analyzer. I’ve got a son that analyzes everything and everybody. But I don’t analyze people.