Wednesday, August 20, 2008


It's been a mixed bag so far this week. The news with my father seems to be a mixture of good and bad, though I haven't been up to see him since Monday. My brother lives only a couple miles from the center he is at so he sees him pretty much daily and keeps the rest of us up to date.

Monday I was coming home and got clocked by a state trooper doing 16 over. He pulled me over and went over everything and let me off with a warning. Pays to be polite I guess.

I have been unemployed since the first week of July but have a very promising interview with a plant who is looking for experienced industrial painters (such as myself) and pays 50% more than the job I was just laid off from and is a little more than the job I was laid off from before that. The agency that connected us is maybe a little too confident that I have the job but we'll see. Interview Friday morning.

Now to serious stuff.

What does one's religion give them? It has not given me wealth, looks, fame, or any such thing in fact I probably drag along the bottom in all categories. But it has given me things that cannot be measured. It is has given me hope and purpose in life that would be missing if life was simply a temporal line from point birth to point death. Truth be told, I couldn't imagine living like that, believing that I would soon dissolve into nothingness.

But another thing it gives me is a sense of serenity. Now that does not mean I am never sad or angry or other so-called negative emotions. This may sound strange but I do not consider happiness to be an emotion. Joy and ecstasy are emotions often associated with happiness but happiness is not simply an emotion. It is a state where your emotions are in their proper place and proper balance. You feel anger, sorrow, fear etc but when the circumstances that drive the emotion pass, so does the emotion. You do not hang on to them.

Actually I think of love as the same way. It is not simply an emotion, though it certainly has an emotional aspect. Love is an act of the will, and though it is often denied, you love because you choose to love. When people mistake love for an emotion then it will not last because the emotion does not last.

I think serenity is similar but it involves the ability to actually keep your emotions in check. (Not eliminating them but keeping them in their proper place.) The ability to keep from drooling over every scantily clad cutie that walks by, the ability to keep anger from boiling into uncontrollable rage, or the ability to keep sorrow from becoming despair. I have a vicious temper but I very rarely lose it; my "tantrums" or whatever you call them, are years apart. A walk with Jesus and some of Him rubs off on you.


Blogger KurtP said...

Good luck on the interview!

10:06 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

I am also enjoying that walk with the Holy Spirit. Good luck with your interview Friday. I start a new job tomorrow.

11:30 PM  
Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

I agree with you 100% that happiness and love are not emotions but acts of will.

"The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" says it all for me. There's a human tendency to be lazy and apathetic which leads to selfishness (which to me is the opposite of love) and a sort of dead emptiness (which to me is the opposite of happiness.)

To receive grace from God requires some (usually small) effort on our part.

2:15 AM  
Blogger Gayle said...

"A walk with Jesus and some of it rubs off on you." That's true, but it's also beautiful, Shoprat! :)

I wish you good luck with your interview too.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

I am working on the "drooling at every cutie walking by" part. I also have a temper. I pray every morning and try to keep it in check but must confess that I blow my top a lot more than once a year.
I hope you get that job.
Getting off with a warning going that fast was very lucky. I got a ticket recently for 5 over (clocked at 12 over) on the freeway. Even though I had a $100 fine, there are no points on your driving record, so I felt happy about that. I guess we both enjoy God's favor (apparently you do a little more because of your calm serenity, which I will try to learn from).

10:33 AM  
Blogger shoprat said...

tim You never defeat it totally your darker traits this side of the grave but you can semi-tame them. I still look at girls but being a little over 50 probably helps keep what passes through my mind as I look under control as it's easier now than it was 15 years ago. Here's something that helped me, instead of seeing a potential partner in every woman/girl, look at her as a work of art from the ultimate Artist Whose glory is reflected in her beauty.

I'm glad I got a warning too as I couldn't afford a fine. But a state trooper that I knew many years ago told me what to do to improve my chances of just a warning and I followed his advice. Be polite. Don't deny you were speeding and no lame excuses (like saying my speedometer is off.) A good driving record also helps.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

1. Being kind pays off.
2. Serenity pays off Big Time.
3. So goes a sense of grace.


12:24 PM  
Blogger Z said...

one of THE nicest posts I have EVER read. Thanks for the inspiration.

Love is a decision.

God cares more about our holiness than his happiness. I will be praying SO HARD that that is the job you're supposed to have. Good luck, SHoprat.

And I'm so glad to hear your dad's will to live is back and wish him ALL the best.

10:48 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Praying you get the job.

Peace, Shoprat - that is what faith brings me.

12:28 PM  

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