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Everything Changes

The more messed up this world gets, the more God makes sense.

Spectacles

Tuesday, September 09, 2014
I've had my share of spectacles - both the dramatic kind and the kind you see through. And when those two worlds collide it seems that my eyes are the only things that suffer. Seven years I blogged about one such event, and today my spectacle saga continues.

I bought my newest frames 6 months ago, after purchasing similar glasses from another retailer that I returned for a full refund. It was the first time since getting eyewear at age 9 that I returned a pair of glasses. It was also the first time I've owned progressive lenses, which I thought might have contributed to the problem. But that wasn't the case.

You would think that if you had two sets of lenses made from the exact same prescription and measurements that the lenses would be identical. You would think. When I returned the other glasses earlier this year it came after the lenses had been replaced twice. There were some strange digital scratches on the lenses which strangely enough appeared on the replacement lenses also. But even stranger than that was that I couldn't see properly out of the second set of lenses. So I got my money back and went elsewhere.

I was happy that at the new retailer I got a great deal - over $100 less than the first store. The optometrist assured me that, in time, I would get comfortable with the new progressive lenses, but that it would take up to six weeks to adjust. And I did, basically, adjust. Unfortunately my new lenses were getting scratched up even with the scratch resistant coating I ordered. My old glasses, which I purchased over 6 years ago, still didn't have scratches on them, so I knew something was wrong.

I took the glasses back to the store and they ordered new lenses. Long story short... the second set of lenses scratched within 2 weeks and today I received a 3rd set of lenses, that are apparently made of different material that make them even MORE scratch resistant.

Problem was, I couldn't see out of my left eye with these latest and greatest lenses! And so, yes, I immediately went back to the store and asked if the second set of lenses was still around, and they were. I needed the left lens.

Have I lost you yet?

Now I have a new updated lens in my right eye and the old lens in my left eye. Meaning there is a strong possibility that my left lens will get scratched up, while my right lens will stay clear.

This should be simple. I get a prescription, choose frames and order lenses. Within the last six months I have had 5 sets of lenses, and I'm currently wearing a combination from sets 4 and 5.
"This should not be, but at least I can see!"

 (Sounds like something from a Dr. Seuss book!)

It has become apparent to me that customer service is breaking down significantly in our day and age and that even glasses are succumbing to the idea of disposable consumerism - we have become a throw-away society. And unfortunately my eye health is no longer important to the retail bottom line.


Apartment Shoppers Anonymous

Thursday, September 04, 2014
I have this weird obsession for apartment shopping. There, I said it. Whenever I see an APARTMENT FOR RENT sign I feel the urge to INQUIRE WITHIN. I also have a thing for signs.

When I saw the sign today I knew I wouldn't be able to afford the advertised apartment. It is in a downtown condo building and I've looked into apartments there before. They are not overpriced, but they are definitely outside the confines of my latest budget. But that's beside the point.

The sign inspired me to look at apartment ads online, obviously an extension of my obsession. And where else to look for an apartment that I don't need but on Kijiji! For my American friends, Kijiji is kinda like craigslist without the murders. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not.

I digress.

So I safely located some cool apartments in my area that will be available in a couple of months. Perfect. That gives me time to go look at them and then decide to stay put, which I almost always do.

Truth is, I'm a homebody and don't usually move unless I have to. I hate change and I hate packing up my stuff. Regardless, I love to hunt for the perfect apartment.

Wish me luck!

A Broken Man

Monday, September 01, 2014
It's day one of my sabbatical so today I created a chart to track my goals. On the chart I have listed a series of things like, Bible, walk, read, etc., and I plan to check them off daily if I completed them. Not every goal is to be accomplished daily, so I will check those goals off when the time is right.

Today I've already checked off Bible, walk and read... and now I am blogging!

Last Wednesday I went to an air show in my city that is sponsored by the Rotary Club. It is a fun event each year and I usually take a couple of my friend's kids along. This year was no exception and I also invited a neighbour to attend.

As we were entering the parking area of the show a gentleman volunteering approached the car to take the parking fee from me - $10. I immediately recognized him as a local pastor that I had heard about, but had never met personally. As I gave him my $10 I introduced myself as the worship pastor of another local church. The long line of cars behind me waiting to park didn't permit us time to talk more but it was a friendly exchange of "nice to meet you" nonetheless.

Two days ago, while I was reading my newsfeed on Facebook, I saw a headline that caught my attention: Prominent local minister faces sex charges. Needless to say I immediately clicked on the link with my heart in my throat. Was it someone I knew? Someone I had worked with in our city? And, God forbid, someone from my church?!

It was the pastor I met at the air show. And although I read the news article in disbelief my heart was broken - broken for the young victim, and broken for a man who may or may not be guilty, even though the "jury" is out and has already sealed his fate.

Job 30:24 says, "Surely no one lays a hand on a broken man..." - unfortunately the complete opposite seems to take place in our culture. We kick 'em when they're down, and then kick 'em some more.

Now hear me out. This pastor might be guilty, deserving punishment for his alleged crime. But he also might be completely innocent, which will never be the case in some people's minds regardless of the verdict.

Part of the reason I am taking a sabbatical is because I, too, am a broken man. I think in some ways we are all broken. And often our brokenness causes us to sin - or do things that are out of character for us. Which is why the first scripture I read this morning during my time with God was so encouraging:

A bruised reed He will not break, 
and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out.
~ Isaiah 42:3

Without God, where would any of us be today? "Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions (or mercies) never fail. They are new every morning..." [Lamentations 3:22-23] 

And every morning, every waking day, I need God to be merciful to me, a sinner. That is the beauty of the grace and salvation that God extends to us:

God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
~ Romans 5:8

I don't believe in coincidence, so I don't believe it was a mistake that I met that pastor last week. And although I cannot "care" for him at this time in my life, perhaps a day will come when God will allow me to extend His grace to that broken man. Grace that is greater than all his sin.

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled. 
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin! 
~ Julia H. Johnston