DJ Gorena

Life as I see it

Month: December, 2014

Merry Christmas to All!!!

So there are a lot of people who don’t enjoy Christmas because of all of the commercialization of the holiday. Well, that’s the problem, isn’t it? That it is considered a “holiday” more than a time of remembrance of what it is that Jesus Christ did on our behalf? After all, when you consider what Paul the Apostle wrote:

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:5-7)

You see, this is the true reason for why we celebrate Christmas. It is the fact that Jesus Christ existed as God but left His authority as God and although He was still God, He emptied Himself. After He emptied Himself, He took the form of a bond-servant and became like you and me. He lived His life as a carpenter and started His ministry at thirty years of age. He walked everywhere He went and had no place to lay His head as He ministered to the throngs of people. Although they loved Him for a time, He was despised but read what the writer of Hebrews said:

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endure the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  (Hebrews 12:1-3)

This was the joy of Jesus Christ! This is what we celebrate! And although He faced hostility from sinners like you and me, He still did what He said He would do, that is, He would die according to the Scriptures, be buried and would be raised from the dead according to the Scriptures (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

So, forget about all of the commercialization and quit complaining about it! Just enjoy remembering what Jesus Christ has done, what He continues to do by saving people from their sins, and that one day soon He is returning to catch us away to be with Him for eternity!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

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My BIG Mistake…ugh!

Have you ever made a mistake? I mean a really big mistake? Well, in a moment of frivolity, I made a mistake. It is foolish to say things that you really don’t mean when joking around with friends. Wait! It’s just foolish to say things you don’t really mean! So, here’s the story–and it is a true story–unfortunately, it’s my story…

A few days ago, my eight year old son gave me a note from school about a party that his class is having. It requested that we send $3 with him to school for this upcoming Christmas party. Playing the Scrooge I complained that I already pay a lot of money in property taxes which include school taxes. Then I wrote on the paper that very thing and said that I thought it was ridiculous to pay anymore than I already pay! Then, in a moment of sheer foolishness, I told my son to show his mother the note and then give it to his teacher.

Now here’s the lesson for me: Don’t tell your eight year old to give anything to his teacher if you really don’t want her to see it! Second, don’t forget to tell your wife, who knows your sense of humor, about it so she makes sure that it is not returned to your eight year old’s teacher. Finally, don’t be stupid and say foolish things! Well, I obviously did not follow the third lesson, but it is a teachable moment for my son…and me.

When my son told me that he had given his teacher the note, I turned as white as a sheet. Needless to say, my wife socked me on the arm and asked, “What were you thinking?!?” My response, “Well, I was only kidding! I didn’t really expect for him to give the note to his teacher!” My son retorted, “Dad, why did you tell me to do that if you were only kidding?” Talk about embarrassing.

The following morning, I walked my son into the school to ask forgiveness from his teacher for my foolishness. She was glad to see me. She told me that she was about to send me an email asking for me to come and see her and wanted to speak with me about my note. I immediately asked for forgiveness and apologized profusely to her for my foolishness. I told her how I jokingly say to my wife that there’s too much government waste (which in reality there is but there are also some very good programs out there as well). I’m always kidding with her about her job and what she does all day and we get a laugh out of it. I said all of this in front of my friend while I was writing that on the note from school. After explaining this to my son’s teacher, she ended up laughing with me and all is alright now that everything is clarified.

You see, my wife works for a government agency. My mother worked for a government agency. My twin sister used to be a second grade teacher. My oldest sister is school teacher. My nephew is a school teacher. My step-dad is a school teacher. I have more family that have teaching degrees and have been in ISDs for years and years. I know that they each struggle with budgetary items for their classrooms and jobs. It’s the nature of the beast. I also know and realize that teachers are constantly spending their own money to help their students throughout the year. They have to supply many of their own supplies for their careers. It’s much like a mechanic having to buy his own tools or a pastor who has to buy study materials which are his tools.

Things are expensive nowadays. Teachers are some of the least appreciated people it seems (so are preachers!). My joke was not appropriate nor was it appreciated by anyone. Foolishness generally is not appreciated and it is certainly inappropriate.

I asked my son to forgive me for my gaffe and he did. I asked his teacher to forgive me and she did. If I have offended you I ask you to forgive me as well. I’m thankful that they forgave me and we have laughed about it since then, but the ramifications will continue for a time. Then, when the dust is settled, I hope people will simply realize that I’m just as human as they and we all make mistakes…BIG mistakes…ugh!

So I was thinking last evening…

It was one of those nights. You know, the dark, cold and rainy nights (well, it wasn’t really raining at all, but it was somewhere other than where I was!). I could hear a slight rustle of wind blowing through the trees outside my window. And it struck me: It’s 3:30 in the morning and I’m still wide awake! I was sitting in my chair in the living room and I was watching different comedians on Netflix. I was laughing…I was laughing a lot! For the first time since my twin sister passed away, I was laughing a lot! Prior to my laughing, I was sitting in my chair thinking of Denise and I teared up–I cried. I often tear up when I am alone and my mind is with her. But I was laughing!

Now laughing is a great gift, don’t you think? I mean it really is a great gift that God has given to us and it helps us to be able to cope with various circumstances in our lives. After Denise died on June 27, 2014, I was in a very dark place. It seemed as if the walls were caving in around me. I have been halted in writing anything either on my blog (in which you find yourself reading) or in any of my journals or other writings. But today, although I’ve only had about two hours of sleep, I am free to write again.

This site is not really that large. I have a couple of thousand people who are currently following my blog from all over the world. I am blessed to be able to have that many people reading my musings. And many of you have responded to my grief over the last several months with direct comments of sympathy for my loss. I want to say “thank you” for your thoughts and prayers for me and for my family. It has been difficult this entire year. In fact, it has been the most difficult year of my life. I thought it was the most difficult year of Denise’s life as well. My parents went through the wringer watching their youngest daughter go from life to death. My oldest sister and three brothers all went through the wringer as well.

It was an amazing time. All of my family was together helping my twin sister Denise the last two months of her life. All of us were helping her, praying with her, talking with her, and laughing with her. There was one day when she was quite weak that she needed to go to the restroom. We had a walker for her to use when she stood up from her recliner in the living room. She walked slowly and one of us was behind her to ensure that she didn’t fall. Then, when she was walking back to her chair, she said that she wanted to do it by herself. Denise was very independent; she always has been. On her way to her recliner, she picked up the walker and danced all the way to her seat! Our entire family–who was so stressed out over everything that was going on with her–just began to guffaw! We laughed! We all really had a great, deep laugh! And then, I said to her, “You really don’t need this walker!” She laughed as her eyes glistened knowing that she won over her audience once again.

I laughed last night. I was laughing so hard at one point that my stomach was hurting. Watching comedy is funny. Then I stopped laughing and began to think of Denise again. Then I laughed again! I was thinking of all the things she used to do as a kid. I remember, during the days of women wearing wigs, my mother had a blonde afro wig. It was a great wig. Denise and I had just finished watching the movie “Annie” just a few short weeks before this incident. She spent a lot of time in her room practicing her flute, reading, writing, being creative. All of the rest of my family were in the den watching television. Then, all of a sudden, Denise jumped from the living room down the steps to the den with that blonde afro wig on her head and was singing: “The sun will come out tomorrow / Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow / there’ll be sun! / Tomorrow! Tomorrow!” We were all shocked and awed at her performance but there was nothing but a standing ovation for her performance!

Out of those places you will hear songs of thanksgiving and the sounds of laughter and merriment… (Jeremiah 30:19a)

I laughed last night. I needed to laugh. It was a good thing. And I laughed with Denise.

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