Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Inventions and Epiphanies

I've been watching a show off and on lately called American Inventor. Contestants present an idea they have for an invention to a panel of judges. Some have rudimentary protoypes while others have only ideas and drawings. But the judges evaluate the ideas and a lucky few move on to the next round. Design teams and marketing firms assist the inventors in further developing their ideas, and the inventors must re-present their product against a much more rigid criteria.

It's an interesting show to me - watching these neat ideas come to fruition. The one thing that bothers me is a lot of great ideas, with potential to drastically change lives, are rejected in the name of mass marketing. Take for example, the hand-held translator which could aid the deaf community in conversing with the hearing without the use of an interpreter. It lost out to an under-the-kitchen-cabinet plasticwrap and tinfoil dispenser. And there was also the lightweight wheelchair design which could be collapsed, assembled and lifted with only one hand (a very appreciated feature to the disabled person I'm sure) that lost out to a computer program that helps you design your own working paper model cars and airplanes.

Don't get me wrong, all these inventions are fantastic and I'm not saying the wrap dispenser or the paper model designer didn't deserve a shot (actually, I really love the model program and will probably buy one for myself if it ever becomes available!). But it's a shame that ideas that could really make a difference in someone's quality of life were pushed aside in interest of sales numbers. But I guess that's the name of the game. And just because one effort doesn't revolutionize the world as much as another might, it doesn't mean it won't be of great benefit in its own way.

I wish I could come up with a cool idea.

I've been thinking about the task of changing my own life lately. I've been recently thinking a lot about the adage of serving the Lord and this leading to a happy heart, but I often struggle with this. I converse with God quite often throughout the day - little impromptu chats in my head. But I am not always dwelling on scriptures. I'm not always humming praise choruses or compiling a list of what to thank Him for during my evening prayers. I'm never on alert for someone to convert. I rarely wake up in the morning with the first thought of, "Okay, how can I glorify Christ today?". And as I've said frequently lately, I'm often of mood most foul, laden with worry about one thing or another. In fact, don't tell anybody, but I think I might even like having my panties in a bunch about something sometimes. You may find this hard to believe but I can be a little dramatic now and then.

But an epiphany so simple came over me today, and it's going to relieve my stress and pressure I tend to place on myself so much. "Serving the Lord" doesn't always have to be explosive evangelism or gushing hymns of praise in the streets. Serving the Lord can be accomplished by simply going about what I need to do on a daily basis - Doing what I am supposed to be doing in my routines, with a joyful heart. Performing my job. Caring for my family. Doing my part in maintaining a harmonious living space for us. Spending time teaching and playing with my son. Loving my husband. Listening to and comforting a burdened friend. Treating strangers with courtesy. Helping someone who needs help.

All of these things serve the Lord. All of these things make Him happy because they reflect His compassion for all of us. It's all so simple. I love it when I finally get something.

You'd think after being a Christian for 30 years, even a half-butted one, I'd know a little more than I do about living right.


Martie said...

Perhaps the timing is best for learning some things later in life.....Hugs and I love and miss you!

And, BTW, welcome back!!!!

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be so hard on yourself. I liked your point about ways to serve the Lord. I sometimes shudder when I hear someone say that phrase, "Serve the Lord." I first think of becoming a missionary and living somewhere remote where I could be the subject of cruel treatment. But, you made points that helped me see that being a good person can simply start with everyday subtle things. Thanks for making that point. It gave me something to think about now.

Take care and have a great week!