Do you have Gains or Losses?

Gains…..or losses?
Recently my mind has been fixated on something. Strange, but I can’t get this issue out of my mind. As I review my life I find that there have been a great deal of things that I’ve lost.
A few nights ago I had a dream that all losses had turned back into gains. Things and people that were gone much too early were suddenly and systematically reappearing. It was a euphoric feeling. Then I woke up.
When we think of gains….and losses we usually equate that with the monetary and the physical. It could be a job. It could be our dream car that we just couldn’t afford and had to give up. It could have even been a job we loved (there’s a concept!) we lost for whatever reason. But besides monetary, the next thing that immediately come to our minds, is who we’ve lost. It may be a spouse, a parent, or a close friend. It could have even been a lost love that never quite happened. When we survey the landscape of our lives we very often think about and pine over things or people that we’ve lost.
As we lay awake at night trying to imagine what it would be like to have someone or thing back  we think of all we think of what we should have done differently. Maybe if I’d only said this differently, maybe they wouldn’t have left. Maybe if I’d been a little more understanding and patient? Or if only I’d not spent all of my savings on building my business, only to see it fail and with it my nest egg for the future.
We do a lot of second guessing, don’t we?
The emotions associated with our losses run the gamut. We go from shock to sadness to madness and move on to the blame game. It’s usually somebody else’s fault! And at times that might be true and justly laid at someone else’s feet. But at some point we cave in and realize that the loss is just our reality. Then what do we do? We try to pick up whatever pieces are left and move on. But in our pursuit of sanity we end up lugging around guilt, shame, hurt, regret, and other heavy millstones needlessly. So what’s next?
During a particularly difficult and dry period of my life I came to the conclusion that I was an expert at failure. I would take walks in the morning and have little discussions with myself. My self told me, “Self you are much better at failure than at success”. There was a realization that I felt safe missing the mark or loosing the game. And I was an expert at feeling sorry for myself and being content there. It finally became clear. I was afraid of succeeding and winning.     
This thought process led to me asking God to simply help me accept what had happened in the past and let it be. And to also ask God help me move from fear of failure to success in faith. Failure was about me, faith is about God. I owned failure. God owns success. So I finally let go of the past and decided to live in God’s success, whatever that would mean.   
Let the past go. Don’t deny your memories, but live for now. The future is in God’s hands. I believe and trust that He cannot fail. What about you?

W.W. Samuell 1971 – 40th Reunion

Survival of the fattest…. 40 years.
Never in a million years did I think I would ever be old enough to attend a 40th high school reunion. Officially, I’m old.
You always don’t know what to expect seeing old classmates. For our 40th – the word “old” does have new meaning. You know you are old when the music sounds very familiar but is just too loud. You cannot hear anyone talking 2 feet from your face. So you just nod and smile and hope your reactions are correct. The lights are so low at these things that you have a hard time even seeing peoples faces (maybe intentional). And the name tags with “Senior” photos must have been done in number 7 font.
In my opinion this one was a lot better than the 30 year reunion. People were outgoing and friendly. People who wouldn’t or didn’t speak to you in high school are now your BFF’s. Maybe this is a realization that we might not be able to see or hear (or even walk) at our next reunion!
Many of my cohorts were barely recognizable. Perhaps it would have been good to take a few long haired wigs in several different colors. Then when you had that puzzled look you could throw one of those rugs to figure out who they were? It really makes you (me) appreciate the gray and the white hair you (we) have!
And wrinkles. Wow there were a lot of wrinkles. I would have had as many as most, but my wrinkles have been filled in for a number of year with no sign of retreating any time soon. But thanks to low lights that was not an issue.
And you should have seen the belt buckles. Or should I say we wish we could have seen the belt buckles on most of the guys, including my own. Some days I can’t even look down and tell what color my shoes are. But I am not alone.
OK, now for the ladies. They scored better than the gentlemen this time. Some of them were A-OK. I respectfully (for my wife) declined to use modern terminology for nice looking. But also remember, the lights were very low. Some (even guys) were dressed to kill and others of them you wanted to send then to detention for the way they dressed.
All seriousness aside, it was a fun and interesting time to re-unite with people that are just as old as me. And I’m glad to report that I’ve found that most of us have mellowed and gotten much better. Many Facebook profiles I’ve read encourage me by the books my classmates now read, the people they quote and the God that they embrace and worship now. In conclusion, the bedroom community of Pleasant Grove instilled many good values into the lives of thousands of grove rats like me. This was a good place to live and a wonderful place to grow up and go to High School. I sure hope that good memories like this will inspire generations to come. We had fun growing up here.
Go Spartans!