I’m Awesome!

Many years ago, I heard the comedian, George Carlin, saying how he dislikes the way Americans ask, “How are you?” and then answer with the dismissive, “Fine.”  He pondered, “What would happen if we didn’t answer ‘Fine’?  What if we replied, ‘I’m moderately neato!’ or ‘I’m just above average, thank you’?”  I agreed with Carlin, in that our mechanical response ends a potential conversation when we simply reply with, “Fine.”  It’s as if we’re saying, “I don’t want to really engage with you so I’ll politely dismiss you with ‘Fine.’

Taking Carlin’s message to heart, I resolved to reply with something other than, “Fine,” to see what happened.  So, when someone asked, “How are you?” I started responding with, “Peachy!”  This went on for a while until friends actually started referring to me as “Peachy.”  But at least we were engaging each other!  I’m also responded to “How are you?” with “I’m well hydrated,” or “Better than yesterday, but not as good as tomorrow.” Those inquiring of my mental status are usually pleasantly surprised by answers like these.  You have now informally invited them into a real exchange of thoughts.

One day at work a co-worker, Laura, passed me in the hall.  She smiled. “Hey, Cris, how are you?”  To which I replied, “I’m awesome!” as I passed.  We each kept walking and I didn’t give it another thought.  Laura stopped, wheeled around and called out.  “Hey.  You’re always awesome.  Why?

Why?!” That took me quite off guard.  Suddenly, something quickly came to mind.  “Well,” I replied, “I have an awesome God.”  I smiled, thinking that would satisfy her and turned to continue walking away.  Usually, when you mention God in the workplace, it’s a real conversation ender.  I had crossed into forbidden land and thought that would surely end the interaction.

Instead of walking away, Laura became very serious. “But, I have the same awesome God you do, and I’m not always awesome.”  Laura was a young single woman, and feeling far less-than-awesome that particular day.  I saw real honest interest in her face that moment and melted.  I walked over closer.

Can we go to lunch sometime?  I’d love to tell you about how my awesome God makes my life awesome everyday.

Laura agreed.  Later that week we met in a very public cafeteria (to keep it honest and above suspicion) and during that lunch I shared with her the joy I receive from investing my life in a personal relationship with God.  I gave her ideas for retreats, Bible studies, Christian music, and good books.  In short, I showed her that investing in a relationship with God is easy, if you just take the time to find the right tools.  And if you invest in an awesome God, you start to leverage what Jesus called, “The life more abundant.”

That little exchange in the hallway, which all began with a snarky reply to the question, “How are you?” led to a great opportunity for ministry, and God used me to reach a lonely young woman who was seeking life more abundant.

It just goes to show; you never know when or how God may use you to witness to someone.  So, the next time someone asks, “How are you?” how will you answer?  Looking back, I believe “I’m blessed beyond measure,” may have been a better answer than, “I’m awesome!”  But, I’m so glad God used that opportunity to minister to a lonely person through a snarky George Carlin wannabe.

Random Thoughts

         My dear friend, John, and I write together just for fun.  We write silly, random things that would be appropriate for a Monty Python skit.  Our two main characters are always Dan, a dashing American from Kokomo, and Jenny, a cultured blonde from England with royal ties.  I usually start with a few paragraphs to set the scene and tone, then send it to John.  He adds a few paragraphs to make it even more absurd, then sends it back to me.  This goes on until we’re bored with the story.  One such story ended up being pretty good, so we published it (Operation Cutback e-book), but most end up never getting beyond the first few paragraphs.  Below are two that I recently rediscovered that, for obvious reasons, never went beyond the first few paragraphs.  I hope they give a smile, or at least make you question our sanity.  Enjoy!

Jenny – Colonial Scout

       The young scout was surveying the hitherto unseen regions of the Western wilderness in what is now Davenport, Iowa.  She flitted quickly down a trail as lightly as a mouse.  Every now and again, the trail’s path was muddy and marked with human footprints.

            “Indians,” thought Jenny as she knelt and cautiously examined a set of prints, “I wonder if they’ve seen white people before.  This could get tricky if they think I’m some sort of spy for the French.”  She hurried along the path a few more yards and saw a more distinct set of prints.  Pausing again to examine them, she concluded, “Iroquois.  Male.  Five foot five with black shoulder length hair.  These tracks are less than 4.21 minutes old.  Hmmmmm…” she pondered, “…he obviously ate veal for supper last night, and has a tapeworm, but he’s carrying something odd.  I can’t quite make it out from these prints.  What could he be carrying?

            Fearful that the nearby Iroquois warrior might be brandishing a weapon, she stealthily continued down the path after him.  The success of this scouting mission could determine whether Pelt-Mart bought the land for a new distribution center or not, so assessing the Indian threat accurately was of the utmost importance.

            Then, as she rounded the bend in the trail and the path extended before her, she stopped dead in her tracks.  There he was, the Iroquois Indian just as she had determined.  And what he was holding arose fear in her that she had never know before.

            “Ohmigosh!” Jenny gasped as she stood frozen in horror, “Bagpipes!”

Coming in Hot

          “Air Force One,” Jenny said into the headset, “Approaching DFW on vector 2-1-0.  Air speed 300 knots.”

            The earpiece crackled, “Roger, Air Force One, we have you on visual.  How’s the President doing?”

            “The C-I-C is failing rapidly.  That massive coronary was worse than we feared.” Jenny continued with urgency in her voice, “Is the medevac helicopter ready to airlift him to Walter Reed?”

            “Roger, Air Force One.  We’ve got a Bell 206-B with stretcher capability, extra lift capacity for the secret service contingent, and a vanilla air freshener.”

            “I asked for summer linen, but vanilla will do.” Jenny replied, slightly disgusted.  She continued, “We’re coming in hot, what with two engines on fire and no landing gear.”

            “No problem,” replied Chief air traffic controller, Dan Sorenson, “We’ve removed all the concrete runway and tarmac and replaced it all with the deep shag carpeting as you requested.”

            “Is it Blue?” Jenny asked urgently, “Did you get the blue carpet?”

            “No,” apologized Dan, “On such short notice, all we could get was a rich burgundy with little accents of aqua and peuse.”

            “The President can’t be seen landing on that!” Jenny thought to herself.  Then speaking once again into the headset, she responded, “Is it too late to divert to Laguardia?”