Life Side-by-Side

Grammy was my mom’s mom. She and I were close. When I was little, I’d often go to her house on Sunday afternoons or spend the night. We played Solitaire side by side. We had tea parties. I roller skated for hours in her large driveway (or in her basement on rainy days). She let me eat Jello with whipped cream and Little Debbie treats.

Grammy was still alive when I got married, and I wanted to learn how to fix my favorites of her recipes. I could have simply copied her recipes but I scheduled a day of cooking with her. (1) It was going to be fun to spend an entire day with her, and (2) I knew I’d
learn more of her “secrets” by working by her side. The women in our family don’t necessarily follow recipes closely, so handing over a recipe usually won’t duplicate someone’s end result.

Lasagna and custard were the two recipes I remember requesting. I wrote specific notes as Grammy blended, whipped, and
folded ingredients. I still have my original notes, and I’ve used them many times (I’m getting hungry for both recipes as I type!). I learned what ingredients I could substitute and what were “must haves.” I learned a couple short cuts. I learned how to tell when each dish was “just right” to pull from the oven and how soon I could serve them.

Most of all, it was a great day – not because I learned how to make Grammy’s lasagna and custard but because I got to spend the day and make memories with her.

She died several years later, and the end of her life was tough on our relationship, but I have a lot of great memories with her. Her life was a gift to me. I’m sure there were times I took her for granted, but I’m glad for the times we invested time in each other.

There are people – related or not – in your life who can pour into you. Who comes to mind? How are their lives a gift to you?

There are people – related or not – in your life you can pour into. Who comes to mind? How is your life a gift to them?

Write two notes of encouragement – one to someone who influences your life and the other to someone whose life you influence. Don’t put it off. Do life side by side. You’ll learn a lot more than you might expect.

A good person gives life to others; the wise person teaches others how to live. Proverbs 11:30

Which Search Engine is Best?

Some of the top Google searches this week include basketball wives, Arlington National Cemetery, mojito recipes, above ground pools, pawn stars, portable air conditioners, potato salad, and jet ski. Perhaps you prefer Bing or another search engine. What questions have you asked recently? Have you trusted the answers?

Once upon a time, not so long ago, we didn’t have access to vast information the way we do today. We used encyclopedias (the ones printed in bound books) for research. We watched the skies for signs of changing weather (okay,the tv weatherman helped, too). We learned a lot from people around us. We built relationships, and as we determined who we could trust, we asked others to teach us.

We had less access to information but discerned truth from falsehoods more actively. In this age of technology, giving us easy access to extensive information, I wonder how frequently we search for information instead of truth.

There’s a difference. Information can be truthful, but information isn’t inherently truthful. When you ask a search engine a question, are you looking for information or truth?

The problem arises when we argue that truth is relative, depending on who is seeking and why.

When truth is assumed relative, nothing is reliable. There’s no difference between fact and opinion, good and evil, real and imaginary. Questions of purpose, personhood, and faith appear to be unessential. Purpose, faith, and life itself seems to float in air – with no firm foundation. Do they even exist?

When we become information – driven instead of truth-driven, we don’t change reality as much as we might think we do. We kid ourselves into thinking we’re much more powerful than we are. We don’t define ourselves, our world, or the reality of either. We don’t – and can’t – change truth. There is foundational truth in life, and there’s a search engine you can use to seek it.

God.

I’m not saying you can’t access some accurate information using search engines such as Google and Bing, but when you search God, you’ll always find truth. It’s a different sort of search. It’s not instantaneous. It’s often a journey of one question leading to another and another. You’ll often reveal pieces of truth and continue to fit new pieces as you search more.

Searching God isn’t as easy as using a search engine, because it’s based in a relationship. Relationships are ongoing, challenging, developing.

I’d rather have a relationship filled with effort but also filled with truth than an impersonal, brief, uncertain interaction. I want to invest as I search. What about you? Do you want to search passively or actively?

God, you are my God. I search for you. I thirst for you like someone in a dry, empty land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1