Stinky Worms — September 22, 2011

12 23 OBOE THEME

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People complain.  Usually two reasons–first, they complain because they don’t think they get what they deserve; and secondly, deep in their hearts, they know they don’t really deserve it, so they complain about how their unworthiness is going to leave them out in the cold.

It’s always been the same. Even back in the Old Testament, the children of Israel were freed from Egypt to go into a desert where they became hungry. So as the story goes, God sent manna from heaven. It was a little wafer that tasted like honey, landing on the grass each morning, and all they had to do was go out and gather it–an omer apiece, for each man, woman and child.  Now, I don’t know what an omer is, and the Bible tries to assist our understanding by explaining that it is one-tenth of an ephah. (Thanks a lot.) So let’s just say that it’s somewhere between the size of a McDonald’s coffee cup and the trunk of a Chevy Impala.

Here was the catch for this magic bread–it only lasted for a day. So if you tried to store it up, you would wake up the next morning and it would be full of worms and it would stink. (I assume this was God’s way of making sure that people would not horde, creating the dreaded “omer envy.” )

Yes–stinky worms. The manna was for today and if you didn’t use it, it turned into stinky worms. 

Right on point. Likewise, if we don’t use our daily bread of emotional give-and-take to heal ourselves and keep ourselves fresh for each and every moment of our lives, we, too, will wake up to a heart filled with stinky worms. There are three types, you know:  doubt, dismay and disgust.

When you don’t deal with your daily bread of emotions and address your feelings in a candid and often-times humorous way, you will find that doubt will become part of your ongoing position. You see, doubt is not something we feel towards God or others. It may manifest itself that way, but because we actually DO love our neighbors as ourselves, when we cease to comprehend that we are going to attempt to address our own difficulties, we certainly do not have any faith that others will do it, either.  So we doubt ourselves first, others second, and of course, once you doubt people, it’s hard to believe in a God who made them. Doubt cannot be resolved by telling people to study the Bible or become more spiritual. That’s why Jesus said that “if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed’ and do not doubt in your heart …”

So where does doubt come from?  The emotions. “I did not deal with today’s problems so I probably will not deal with tomorrow’s, so in seven days I will have a week’s worth of difficulty which will certainly make me feel weak.”

Now that’s a stinky worm.

The second one is dismay.

  • ” ‘Dis may be the worst I’ve felt waking up in my whole life.”
  • ” ‘Dis may be the least money I’ve had to live on since I was a baby.”
  • ” ‘Dis may be the worst group of people on any job that I’ve ever held.”

Because once you realize that you’re going to dodge your emotions instead of dealing with them, a bit of dismay comes into your life about the prospects of improving your situation and making things better. Candidly, this is where I meet most people. They’ve already given up on the notion of newness of life; they have not seen their faith in God deliver any practical goods to the table and they’re going through the motions of adulthood without any sense that improvement is on the way.

Now that is a stinky worm.

Which lends itself to the final “smelly wiggly”–disgust. It’s so easy to become disgusted. Disgust is the sensation that fills our being when a seed of anticipation we had in our youth is snatched away and we’re just left with dirt. We can’t even stare at the dirt, hoping something will grow, because we know the seed is gone. It makes us grumpy with other people, selfish over the few crumbs we have and suspicious of anything or anyone who would suggest that life has potential.

It is a stinky worm.

Once you decide that you’re going to table the discussion of your emotions and what you feel, you open the door to worms inhabiting your daily bread–because it was never meant to last more than twenty-four hours. 

Doubt, dismay and disgust.

So politics feeds on these worms by trying to make people even more disgruntled with present conditions. Religion acknowledges the worms by telling us that “someday we’ll go to a better place that isn’t infested.” Corporations attempt to advertise less wormy options. But no one addresses the real problem. When we receive our daily bread of both trial and opportunity, if we do not emotionally address what we feel and turn it into a sense of good cheer about our possibilities, we will try to bottle up our feelings and end up with stinky worms.

What can you do with a society that doubts that miracles are still possible, is dismayed over the surroundings presented to them and has a certain amount of disgust about life as a whole? The only possibility is to take our daily bread, use it in the day to address our problems and then, as evening falls, “let it go”–and prepare for the next day’s opportunities.

If you can’t get yourself into the twenty-four-hour period that is afforded you, you will either presumptuously think that tomorrow will be better, or you will give up on all the chances that could come your way.

Stinky worms: doubt, dismay and disgust.

It’s no way to live.  It certainly isn’t what God intended when he created a utopia called Eden. So what can we do to expose our infestation and set in motion a new way of thinking that allows us to deal with our feelings in the correct moment instead of allowing them to decay inside of us? Because what we all need is a sensation of being clean. 

Yes. Clean, baby, clean.

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