Posted tagged ‘trust’

A First Time for EVERYTHING?

July 1, 2014

Steven J. Callis

It was her first time. Emotions ranged from squeals of delight to shrieks of fear. The supervisors were filled with anticipation and excitement. I expect that several years from now her memory of it will be vague and intermingled with similar events. It was, however, fun to experience it with her.

Yes, it was our granddaughter’s first time to visit the beach. Not yet two years of age, the initial sight of the vast ocean and a seemingly endless sandbox did not leave her awestruck, but she realized this was something new. At that age, much of what she encounters is “new” to her, and a person cannot live in a constant state of amazement!

She enjoyed the feel of the sand, putting small scoops of it in the bucket. At low tide she found her own little pond on the beach where she could splash and play. Her mom took her for early morning strolls on the beach. Shells from the ocean were momentarily fascinating.

Then there were the waves. The sight and sound of the rushing water can seem ferocious to a small young girl. Even in daddy’s arms the fear did not quickly subside, but she did manage to sit with mommy close enough to allow the water to ease its way onto the toes. Overall, it was a great “first time” at the beach; she did well.

Do you realize that everything you have ever done or experienced in this life began with your first time? First step, first word, first solid food, first kiss, first clap of thunder, first paycheck, first car ride, first haircut – – even your first breath. Things that you do every day, almost instinctively, you once did for the very first time.

Can you imagine your life without a particular thing you truly enjoy because you were afraid to try it the first time? Almost every day our granddaughter experiences something new. Often it is accompanied by a level of skepticism or fear, but babies are risk takers. The level of trust eventually outweighs the hesitation, and the new thing all too soon becomes routine.

There is a two-fold lesson hidden there: step up to embrace new opportunities, and remember to enjoy those things that have become second nature to you. Wake up and smell the coffee; stop and smell the roses. However you choose to say it, life is too precious and exciting to let it pass as boredom or to take its blessings for granted.

Removing the Mask

November 1, 2013

Removing the Mask

By Steven J. Callis


               However one might explain it, they all just showed up.  A Power Ranger, a princess, a lion, a couple of bumble bees, a baby pumpkin, a football player, a gypsy, a politician, Batman, a cheerleader, Little Red Riding Hood – – there were so many, I could not possibly recall all of them.

               One thing they all had in common is that they had their hands out, expecting something from me.  Now, looking at that list, we might readily expect that attitude from some of those characters, but some of them looked too sweet and too cute to be so demanding.  Actually, those are the ones who did not need to ask.  They were so adorable, how could anyone not put a treat in their bags?

               It is fun to dress up, to be someone other than who we really are.  It can be refreshing to step out of character for a couple of hours and be someone else.  After all, how boring would this special treat night be if everyone dressed in their normal daily attire?

               Then, there is the morning after.  We are greeted with a double whammy: enduring our candy hangover, and then assuming again our true identities.  Well, that is what most people expect of us, anyway.  The mask comes off, the costume is hung in the closet, and it is back to the daily routine.

               There is a word that does not necessarily apply to our annual trick or treat event, but it does have to do with wearing a mask.  Our English word, “hypocrite,” is derived from the Greek word meaning “to act on stage; to play a part, or to pretend.” History tells us that actors would wear a mask on stage, and often the mouth of the mask would include a kind of megaphone shape to assist the player in projecting the voice throughout the auditorium.

               Today hypocrisy has to do with actions that do not support a personal belief system.  Whether it is a matter of insecurity, the desire for acceptance, or a number of other reasons, the result most likely includes the inability to experience genuine, interpersonal relationships with other persons; a sad and lonely way to live.  The logical progression will develop a mutual lack of trust between the mask-wearer and his/her counterparts.

               If you are one who may struggle to any degree with the feeling of low self-worth, or in thinking that no one else could possibly believe in you and accept you for who you really are, I encourage you give others the benefit of doubt.  Most people are not nearly as demanding as we believe them to be.  Knowing that you can be trusted, that your motives are pure, and that you are true to yourself goes a long way in developing friendships.

               And because I believe the Bible to be the Word of God, I take comfort and encouragement from Psalm 139, as the Psalmist perceives humanity from the perspective of the Creator.  I must wonder if these words of David are what inspired the familiar adage, “I know I’m somebody, ‘cause God don’t make no junk!” 

Stabilizing Faith

January 24, 2013

The Role Faith Plays

by Steven J. Callis


It has been said that people grow wiser with age.  On the other hand, I have also heard that the wealth of my knowledge decreases in direct proportion with the aging of my children – I felt smarter when they thought their dad knew everything!  Is it possible that both of these statements possess a ring of truth?

Wisdom is often equated with knowledge, but that is a misnomer.  Knowledge has to do with acquiring information, while wisdom is related more to the application of acquired information.

As an elementary student, I had little difficulty knowing that 2 + 3 = 5.  To help me apply that knowledge, there were “story problems.”  If Billy’s dad gave him 2 apples, and he gave Billy’s sister 3 apples, how many apples did Billy’s dad give away?  At this point, I did not care how many apples Billy’s dad gave; I wanted to know why Billy got the short end of the deal!

You may be relieved to know that, eventually, I got over it and learned how to apply that knowledge to every day life situations (but I still have a soft spot in my heart for Billy).  Something else I have discovered is that maturity has not lessened my knowledge, but it has increased my awareness of how much I do not know or understand.

Somewhat early in my life I readily accepted the fact that a small pebble thrown into a pond would sink, and that a large ship sailing on the ocean would float.  Later in life, however, logic caused me to question how something that weighed 1 ounce would not float, but something weighing 100,000 tons could sail across the ocean on the surface of the water.

The stabilizing factor that has been present throughout the years of tension between knowledge and wisdom is faith.  My first airplane ride was at the age of 3 or 4.  I don’t remember much about that short flight, accept that it was a twin propeller engine, and it made my ears hurt.  Flying in an aircraft as an adult, however, is an experience that increases my blood pressure and anxiety level.  Based on my own personal knowledge and understanding, there is no way a 187,000 pound aircraft can remain suspended in midair for an extended period of time without falling.

Experience and faith, however, teach me that it can, it has, it does, and it will.  With maturity I have come to accept that what I do not understand far exceeds that which I do understand.  For that reason, faith looms large in the picture of my life.

There is an entire chapter in the Bible about people who did extraordinary things, and faith was their motivation.  The apostle Paul wrote these words, “…for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him until that Day.”  Life is not finally about what we know or what we understand, but where we place our trust.  I choose to trust in God.

I Caught Them All

September 13, 2012

I Caught Them All
by Steven J. Callis

It’s a proud moment for every dad. All three of my children came to the moment in their own respective time, and it was very special each time it happened. I’ve watched other dads enjoy the same kind of moment. What I have discovered over my years of observance is that success is very important to the man standing waist deep in water awaiting that proud moment when his son or daughter gives caution to the wind and leaps with gusto from the side of the pool into his open arms. Success!
I’m not so certain my kids jumped with gusto – probably more with fear and trembling, anxious to end this terrifying ordeal – but they did jump. Interestingly, at home they were like jumping beans! “Kids, stop jumping on the bed.” “Son, don’t jump off the couch, you could get hurt.” “Hey, you kids stop bouncing around in the backseat of the car.”
Then the moment arrives, rules go out the window, and Dad has changed his mind about jumping. But now that he has decided that it’s okay to jump, the kids don’t want to anymore! And it seems that the more dad urges, the more attention is drawn from the bystanders (and byswimmers), which makes the event even more intimidating.
So, why is this moment so important? What difference does it make in the larger scheme of life if junior can or cannot jump off the side of the swimming pool? For me, the significance is in the promise, stated right there in front of God and everybody: “I’ll catch you!” They want to believe me, they really do, but what happens if I don’t make the catch? At this point in their lives, they have not become fully convinced that dad can do absolutely anything. That confidence comes a little later, and seems to be outgrown much too quickly!
What was I saying? I wanted them to know they could count on me to be there when they hit the water. I wanted them to understand that I would do everything in my power to keep them from danger once their feet left the cement. I am glad to say that all three of my kids jumped, and I went three for three in the kid-catching event. Of course, once successful, they needed to jump another 20 or 100 times that day, and I was always there to catch them until they assured me they could do it on their own.
That lesson was not primarily about jumping into a swimming pool. It was a simple lesson that I desired to convey to them about all of life. “You can count on me to be there; I’ll do everything I can to keep you from danger. And sometimes in life, you are going to have to jump. It may be frightening or intimidating, but there are times that staying on the side of the pool is not an option.”
Not only is it my desire and intention to be there for my children, but also to teach them that there is Another One who watches over them with Fatherly care, protection, and provision. Jesus himself declared, “Don’t be anxious about anything. Your heavenly Father will take care of you.” All we have to do is believe and trust Him.