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betsy

Do you feel as we feel?

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About 8 or so years ago, my husband and I were losing our business (and probably even our shirts). At the time, we were just getting started to discovering Christianity again. I remember us reading the papers because there were no customers, and the headline was about a farmer who lost all his 9 children and his pregnant wife in a fire. He was pictured in his grief, hugging the smallest coffin. Of course the media was all over this tragedy. Later, the farmer gave a statement through a relative stating that it is only his faith in God that's keeping him strong at the time, and that his faith had only grown all the more strong.

I remember weeping after reading that (my husband's eyes were red). It was so humbling. There we were fretting over money....when this guy had lost his entire family!

My husband and I talked about God that day, and we both resolved to place everything in His hands. Whatever happens we'd accept with grace. We both slept well that night......

Edited by betsy

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Greatness is an attribute of those who seek to change the world,

Or preserve what is good in the world.

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This reminds me of a Christian man I knew a while back who had three children, a fourth on the way, and a low paying job. He wasn't out looking for a better job, but he wasn't worried because he knew "God would provide." I had to bite my tongue to stop myself from pointing out that God isn't providing, the taxpayers are. He should have carried a heavier burden than he was instead of allowing it to be lifted from his shoulders - and onto the taxpayers' shoulders.

Anyway, all of your talk of God's "control" reminds me also of this quote - "Trust in God but row away from the rocks."

With your hypothetical Christian man (who could be indeed real), I'd then assume that he is a Christian - with a capital "C" - who tries to follow the teachings. I'd assume he is a born-again.

I bet his children are taught not to place importance on the latest ipods, silly little tweets and keeping-up-with-the Jones'. I bet his children are taught about the value of human life, the importance of family, and marriage.

I bet his children are taught and strictly monitored to stay away from drugs and bad influence, to follow authority....to discern right from wrong. Marriage before sex.

Did it ever occur to you that if parents actually spend more time with their children and instill with them good values, we wouldn't be having all these youths running amok on the streets with all these delusional grandeur of self-entitlement? There wouldn't be that much problems with drugs....and crimes?

Promiscuity and teen pregnancy?

Then we taxpayers wouldn't have to shell out more dough paying for abortions, rehabs, self-inject clinics, more social workers, institutions of various kinds, educational paraphernalia to combat all these problms we face now. Think of all the money we could instead channel to feed the hungry and homes for the homeless!

...if you're not noticing, things are escalating!

Is that coincidental, you think? Anyway it's good for another topic.

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Guest American Woman

With your hypothetical Christian man (who could be indeed real)

I didn't say he was "hypothetical," did I? In other words, he is indeed "real."

I'd then assume that he is a Christian - with a capital "C" - who tries to follow the teachings. I'd assume he is a born-again.

I bet his children are taught not to place importance on the latest ipods, silly little tweets and keeping-up-with-the Jones'. I bet his children are taught about the value of human life, the importance of family, and marriage.

I bet his children are taught and strictly monitored to stay away from drugs and bad influence, to follow authority....to discern right from wrong. Marriage before sex.

Perhaps they should be taught to take responsibility for the lives they bring into the world, eh? So they don't bring babies into the world that they look to others to support.

Did it ever occur to you that if parents actually spend more time with their children and instill with them good values, we wouldn't be having all these youths running amok on the streets with all these delusional grandeur of self-entitlement? There wouldn't be that much problems with drugs....and crimes?

Promiscuity and teen pregnancy?

Then we taxpayers wouldn't have to shell out more dough paying for abortions, rehabs, self-inject clinics, more social workers, institutions of various kinds, educational paraphernalia to combat all these problms we face now. Think of all the money we could instead channel to feed the hungry and homes for the homeless!

You're kidding, right? If some people weren't out earning good incomes, paying into the tax system, who would support the people who say 'God will provide as they turn to the government, ie: the taxpayers, to provide? At any rate, did it ever occur to you that if parents didn't bring more children into this world than they can care for they could do all of the things you mention - without looking to the taxpayers to support them? - Taxpayers who are doing the responsible thing and not having more children than they can afford.

...if you're not noticing, things are escalating!

Is that coincidental, you think? Anyway it's good for another topic.

Um, yeah. Since it has nothing to do with what I said. Again. They can do all of the things you suggest - which less children.

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For Christians, it is the confidence in knowing that earthly life (and all the pains and struggles that come along with it), is only temporary

We agree on that much.

....that eternal life awaits.

This part, not so much. For me, the billions of years that follow my death are going to seem exactly like the billions of years that preceded my birth. They won't seem like anything. I'm not afraid of what happens after I die. I am somewhat worried about the dying part, however.

Hence, it's the religious outlook of the Christian who'll go through those hardships and trials, the strength, the no-fear attitude.....the ability to find joy even in the midst of those hardships, which will carry him through. Thus in that humble acceptance of God's control over our lives (trusting that He always do what He knows is best for us), the heavy burden is lifted off our shoulders, and we have this tranquil peace.

And it's been my observation that Christians have the same worries as everybody else: Are my kids safe? What if I lose my job? What if it's cancer? How am I going to pay my rent this month?

When the storm comes, Christians are boarding up their windows just like everybody else.

Christians understand (like everybody else) that whatever happens after they die, they still have to take care of their responsibilities in the here and now.

How can atheists be able to feel that way? Can someone explain.

Feel which way? Tranquil peace? I find tranquil peace when I am hiking in the hills and when I'm kayaking on the lake. I find relief from my daily cares when I engage in activities that let me experience the joy of being in the moment. For me that includes things like my running and exercise, my time with my punching-bag and boxing with my friend/instructor. When I want to put aside the things I need to worry about for a while, I just do things that make me forget about the future and past and focus on the immediate.

How do I deal with hardship?

First off, perspective: realize that what might seem like hardship at the moment isn't really hardship. Billions of people on this earth would trade their hardships for mine without a second thought. My big worries, when it comes down to it, really aren't very big at all.

Secondly, accountability: realize that I'm responsible for taking care of myself. Whatever worries me, I have to deal with those worries. If I don't get the windows boarded up before the storm gets here, it's my fault, not god's or anybody else's.

And finally, I don't think we should meekly accept that anything is "god's plan". I think we're all responsible for doing everything in our power. If there's a god, he'd want it that way. His plan would be "deal with it". It's up to us to support things we think are right and oppose things we think are wrong. When I get to the end of the road, I think my greatest regret will probably be not doing more to fight things I think are wrong.

-k

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Do you feel as we feel?

Sure we do...listening to the Ozark Mountain Daredevils with a westerly sea at my back under a pitch-black sky ablaze with stars usually does it for me..."if you find it man, you're lucky".

...then comes the dawn.

Puts me on cloud nine every time.

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Guest American Woman

Read my reply to Bonam.

Anyway, if he's getting by in a low-paying job....what makes you think he has to work double shift or look for a "better job?" What's "better" to you may not be "better" to him.

He's getting by thanks to ME and the rest of the taxpayers who don't have more children than they can support and then turn to the government, not God, to provide.

Perhaps his present job, although low-paying it may be (according to your standard), provides him with more time to see his children, and actually do his job parenting them!

According to him! According to him he didn't make enough to put a roof over his kids' heads or food on the table. And why wasn't he out looking for a job that would allow him to be responsible for the children he created? Because "God will provide." Again. It's not God. It's the taxpayers.

It's all about priorities, isn't it?

You don't think being able to provide for the children you bring into this world is a high "priority??"

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Guest American Woman

The "spaghetti monster" or any such analogy is just that, an analogy. The point is it's something for which there is no scientific evidence.

So before there was scientific evidence that the world was round, was it flat? Before there was scientific proof of the theory of relativity, did it not exist?

Do you honestly believe that we reached the point where we have scientific evidence of everything that exists? Or do you think perhaps there might still be unknowns?

In that sense, believing in a god as described in the bible really is no different than believing in any other proposition that has no supporting evidence.

Do you honestly believe that scientific evidence is the only kind of evidence that exists? There is plenty of evidence that God, a higher power, what have you exists - whether you accept it or not. If you can show me similar evidence that a spaghetti monster exists, I will no longer put you in the same category as the fundies who say homosexuals caused whatever is the disaster of the day. Until then, you are just the opposite side of the same coin.

But if you don't like that analogy, how is belief in Yahweh different than belief in Zeus or Odin?

You'd have to study religion to get your answer to that question, and you'd have to look at what people have to say with an open mind. But bottom line. I couldn't care less what you believe. It's your belief that what you believe is The Truth - as you have no respect for any other beliefs - that makes you no different from the religious who think their beliefs are The Truth.

The answer that billions of people hold this belief and that this alone makes it worth respecting is not a viable argument. Many people can hold a belief that is unjustifiable or even demonstrably incorrect.

I never said it was a viable argument; and what you say it true - and can be applied to your views as well.

Edited by American Woman

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Perhaps they should be taught to take responsibility for the lives they bring into the world, eh? So they don't bring babies into the world that they look to others to support.

FYI, that parent is probably doing the most important responsibility: by having more time with his children. In the long run, as I said...the dividends will pay off when those children become productive adults with good values that they can impart to the future generation. A parent has to teach his children how to become parents! Children learn parenting skills from their parents.

You're kidding, right? If some people weren't out earning good incomes, paying into the tax system, who would support the people who say 'God will provide as they turn to the government, ie: the taxpayers, to provide? At any rate, did it ever occur to you that if parents didn't bring more children into this world than they can care for they could do all of the things you mention - without looking to the taxpayers to support them? - Taxpayers who are doing the responsible thing and not having more children than they can afford.

If children are taught by their parents how to be responsible citizens, you'd hardly have problems with people abusing the system.

As it is....hardly anyone is at home anymore to do some actual parenting! Our obese children live on commercially prepared food, for crying out loud!

Wanna do a practical research? Stake out a grocery store. Every now and then you'd see a three-generation family who are on the "chunky" side. Grandma almost always look the "slimmest" of the lot....and the grandchild promising to be the most obese given time. You think it's fast foods that's to blame for obesity among our children? Think again....peel the onion....dig deeper.

Um, yeah. Since it has nothing to do with what I said. Again. They can do all of the things you suggest - which less children.

A lot of people I know who are busy chasing the almighty dollar to pay for their 3 acres estate homes have one or two children! For a lot of parents, children are an accessory. The height of parenting to some is to whine how time is spent taking these children to hockey games (nothing wrong with that)....but parenting is not about being a glorified taxi-driver.....or the "awesome provider" who can afford to gift children with laptops and ipods.

Never mind the qauntity (as the numbers of children)....but the quality of parenting. QUALITY.

What a shame to have only one child and that child becomes the albatross of society....and someone with five children with all kids having okay jobs (even when they're only minimum wage jobs) but with good parenting skills, with practical outlooks and no inflated egos thinking most menial jobs are "beneath" them.

Don't knock down people who don't earn high-paying jobs. You're pegging down the whole lot of retail employees (for starters)....

Edited by betsy

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I didn't say he was "hypothetical," did I? In other words, he is indeed "real."

Perhaps they should be taught to take responsibility for the lives they bring into the world, eh? So they don't bring babies into the world that they look to others to support.

You're kidding, right? If some people weren't out earning good incomes, paying into the tax system, who would support the people who say 'God will provide as they turn to the government, ie: the taxpayers, to provide? At any rate, did it ever occur to you that if parents didn't bring more children into this world than they can care for they could do all of the things you mention - without looking to the taxpayers to support them? - Taxpayers who are doing the responsible thing and not having more children than they can afford.

Um, yeah. Since it has nothing to do with what I said. Again. They can do all of the things you suggest - which less children.

What makes you so sure that only the low-wage earners are the only ones abusing the system?

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The point is: Even if He is not real (to atheist), he is very real to the Christian.

Actually, this is a reasonable stance. Faith in god is something that exists in one's mind, and it is the existence of this faith that makes god seem real to someone. So long as you believe, to you, god is real. And that's perfectly fine, and why the world's greatest nations have all realized that people are best allowed their freedom of religion, to believe or not to believe as they see fit.

It is that faith that a Christian has that his God is real which carries him through all the hardships and stark realities of life...

What is your buoy?

See kimmy's post. She does a great job explaining it.

Edited by Bonam

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And it's been my observation that Christians have the same worries as everybody else: Are my kids safe? What if I lose my job? What if it's cancer? How am I going to pay my rent this month?

Of course I agree we do worry....it goes with being human. Even Jesus (if I'm not mistaken) had expressed some kind of nervousness or anxiety about His impending torture and demise (in the garden just before He got arrested).

When the storm comes, Christians are boarding up their windows just like everybody else.

I agree. But sometimes the storms are hurricanes in magnitude - tornadoes. And when one is caught helplessly in the middle of it, a Christian will naturally turn to his God. In fact, that's how a lot of Christians who'd gone astray - the lost sheep - came back to the fold. When the burdens get so heavy, or when one reaches rock bottom.....that's when one tends to hear God....to reach out to God...and they usually become born-again.

Christians understand (like everybody else) that whatever happens after they die, they still have to take care of their responsibilities in the here and now.

True. But there's always that reassuring feeling that we're never alone to weather what may come.

Feel which way? Tranquil peace? I find tranquil peace when I am hiking in the hills and when I'm kayaking on the lake.

I feel the same way around nature,.....and I'm always awed by it.....for to me, it is the simplest art of my God given to His children. Perhaps that's what they (nature) were intended for!

To feel how you and I feel. Some have been moved and inspired to write songs and poetry about them....

I find relief from my daily cares when I engage in activities that let me experience the joy of being in the moment. For me that includes things like my running and exercise, my time with my punching-bag and boxing with my friend/instructor. When I want to put aside the things I need to worry about for a while, I just do things that make me forget about the future and past and focus on the immediate.

Yes, we focus on the immediate too. But eventually, each and everyone of us will have to face the future.

How do I deal with hardship?

First off, perspective: realize that what might seem like hardship at the moment isn't really hardship. Billions of people on this earth would trade their hardships for mine without a second thought. My big worries, when it comes down to it, really aren't very big at all.

But if things aren't going your way (finacially-wise, relationship-wise, health-wise) how do you cope?

Secondly, accountability: realize that I'm responsible for taking care of myself. Whatever worries me, I have to deal with those worries. If I don't get the windows boarded up before the storm gets here, it's my fault, not god's or anybody else's.

So yes you say you acknowledge accountability. How do you deal with your worries? How do you board your windows before the storm gets there?

And you know the saying about "the best laid plans....," so I'm back to the question, what if your best-laid plans fizzled out? How do you deal with that?

And finally, I don't think we should meekly accept that anything is "god's plan". I think we're all responsible for doing everything in our power. If there's a god, he'd want it that way. His plan would be "deal with it". It's up to us to support things we think are right and oppose things we think are wrong. When I get to the end of the road, I think my greatest regret will probably be not doing more to fight things I think are wrong.

-k

On the contrary, Christians will try to do their best - because that's part of the deal. Visuals of a Christian doing nothing but waiting for God - that's a myth. We're supposed to do our best in our fields of work - demonstrating our Christian values in our everyday lives!

Edited by betsy

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But if things aren't going your way (finacially-wise, relationship-wise, health-wise) how do you cope?

...

So yes you say you acknoledge accountability. How do you deal with your worries? How do you board your windows before the storm gets there?

...

And you know the saying about "the best laid plans....," so I'm back to the question, what if your best-laid plans fizzled out? How do you deal with that?

You just keep on doing the best you can. You "cope" by relying on your own individual strength and intelligence, rather than any external all-powerful being. If things aren't going well financially or in relationships, you rethink why things are going wrong and try harder or try a different approach. If things aren't going well with your health, you seek out the best care possible. You deal with your worries by considering them rationally and taking whatever course of action can best prepare you for whatever it is you are worried about. And if your "best-laid plans fizzle out", you make new ones. Where there is life, there is hope.

Edited by Bonam

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You just keep on doing the best you can. You "cope" by relying on your own individual strength and intelligence, rather than any external all-powerful being. If things aren't going well financially or in relationships, you rethink why things are going wrong and try harder or try a different approach. If things aren't going well with your health, you seek out the best care possible. You deal with your worries by considering them rationally and taking whatever course of action can best prepare you for whatever it is you are worried about. And if your "best-laid plans fizzle out", you make new ones. Where there is life, there is hope.

A Christian do most of that except that we also rely and put our trust in God.

Not too long ago I visited a friend who's dying of cancer. She looked relaxed actually....and if I didn't know about her illness, I wouldn't think she was dying.

We held hands...and she told me with firm conviction..."I'm ready to go."

Then we joked about death...and later on I told her she better remember to pray for me on the other side, that I may be able to say "I'm ready to go" when my time comes. She said she will!

We talked some more about family...and I had to look for her misplaced comb. I don't know the exact word to describe that visit. I don't remember us crying, although of course there's sadness inside. It's just like saying goodbye to someone who's going home...

A few days later, she was gone.

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See kimmy's post. She does a great job explaining it.

Her buoy? All I saw was the boarding up of windows, the preparations for the storm.....we all do that! But how about when one is in the midst of utter devastation?

How did she explain? Perhaps I'm so wrapped up with my faith that I don't see it...so kindly take me step by step.

Edited by betsy

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I spoke about a recent death of a friend....so let me use dying as an example. When one knows death is at the door, the Christian prepares for her meeting with her God. Of course there must be that certain nervousness (if not fear) about dying - since no one knows exactly what happens during the "transitional moment," so for some of us Christians it's not exactly the fear of dying but the fear of what's it like since no one has ever really explained, scientifically, how exactly it feels like.

But we heard of near-death experiences accounts - most basically describing a light at the end of a tunnel - which were dismissed as hallucinations or whatever by science or those who seems to be "in the know."

To a Christian, dying, as is commonly called by its name, is not actually "dying." "Dying" is just another step - or a state of being - as we wait for the second Coming. Jesus (I think) referred to it as "sleeping." Some seem to actually welcome this much-needed rest, that perhaps instead of being an active participant on earth, one can just quietly watch from the sidelines. Some perhaps, who feel they've still got purpose, or reason(s) or obligations to be fulfilled may not be too keen to leave....but of course Christians know, when your time is up, it's time to go. That's why you shouldn't tarry or procastinate in what you have to do....because you never know when that time comes.

To an atheist, dying, as is commonly called by its name, is exactly what it is: the finality of death.

Since an atheist doesn't believe in the spiritual....or the afterlife....death is death. You won't exist anymore.

For some reason(s) some atheists welcome non-existence (perhaps because of the kind of life they have in this world), for indeed life on earth can be just a life of misery if one has not had the utter luck or random good fortune to have been accidentally born with a silver spoon, or a life of ease. Since atheists believe they have only one chance at life - and the quality of that life is largely attached to enjoyment of all wordly pleasures (which mostly means you have to have money!) - how would it be like for someone who has mostly misfortunes and misery?

And then in the face of coming death.....how does that atheist reconcile himself to the fact that he'll become nothing and that one precious chance of living life wasn't what he wished it was.

And then to add to that, of course it's not hard to imagine that at some point there will be that slight curiousity - the what-if - that it may not be true all along what he believed in: that there might be a God after all.

How is tranquil peace possible in the moment of "death" - the same kind of tranquil peace experienced by a Christian who had lived and prepared for this next step to eternal life?

Edited by betsy

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Let's not confuse having a "stiff upper lip" in the face of what is inevitable to mean, "tranquil peace."

I couldn't exactly describe that kind of peaceful feeling....but I'll try:

It's the feeling of having reassurance that says, "you've trusted in me all along....trust me on this."

"it's okay....I'm here. Everything will be fine. As promised."

Edited by betsy

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Kimmy:

How do I deal with hardship?

First off, perspective: realize that what might seem like hardship at the moment isn't really hardship. Billions of people on this earth would trade their hardships for mine without a second thought. My big worries, when it comes down to it, really aren't very big at all.

I guess if you haven't had any real big worries so far (in fact you seem to be among those who'd been lucky enough to have what's described as a "charmed" life), your perspective in dealing with hardships may not be as enlightening compared to the perspective of an atheist who actually experienced real hardship.

Nothing wrong with a charmed life - I'm not criticising you for it.

Edited by betsy

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Perhaps I'm so wrapped up with my faith that I don't see it
This is the only thing you've ever posted that I think everyone can agree with.

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This is the only thing you've ever posted that I think everyone can agree with.

That's good! We have to start somewhere, don't we?

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Guest American Woman

I guess if you haven't had any real big worries so far (in fact you seem to be among those who'd been lucky enough to have what's described as a "charmed" life), your perspective in dealing with hardships may not be as enlightening compared to the perspective of an atheist who actually experienced real hardship.

Nothing wrong with a charmed life - I'm not criticising you for it.

Why? Because she realizes what she feels is a hardship at the time isn't a hardship in comparison to the hardships so many in the world face? - Isn't that exactly how you said you and your husband felt the night you read about the man who lost his family - that here you were worrying about money while he lost his entire family and it put things in perspective for you? So why do you attribute her feeling the way you feel to a "charmed life?" - as you attribute your feeling to trusting in God? Seems to me you can't accept that people who do not turn their lives over to God can have the same perspective and peace of mind that you have.

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Schroedinger's Christ. He's both real and not real at the same time. :rolleyes:

Hey I like that.

Quantum mechanics is just as bizarre, and shows that reality does not comply with human perceptions and common sense.

Edited by Manny

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I guess if you haven't had any real big worries so far (in fact you seem to be among those who'd been lucky enough to have what's described as a "charmed" life), your perspective in dealing with hardships may not be as enlightening compared to the perspective of an atheist who actually experienced real hardship.

Nothing wrong with a charmed life - I'm not criticising you for it.

In lots of ways, I've been very fortunate. I'm smart and physically gifted and and cute as a bug's ear, and grew up in a home where we weren't wealthy but were certainly never short of anything we needed. On the other hand, I grew up with an alcoholic mother who was emotionally and often physically abusive to me. That's not an appeal for sympathy or anything like that, and it's not an invitation for people to psychoanalyze me. It's just so that if I talk about hardship and fear and hopelessness, you understand that I'm not talking about the time my N*Sync CD got a scratch in it.

But if things aren't going your way (finacially-wise, relationship-wise, health-wise) how do you cope?

(...)

So yes you say you acknowledge accountability. How do you deal with your worries? How do you board your windows before the storm gets there?

And you know the saying about "the best laid plans....," so I'm back to the question, what if your best-laid plans fizzled out? How do you deal with that?

Like Bonam said. If your plans fizzle out, make new plans.

How do I board up my windows before the storm gets here? As best I can. Have the intelligence to think ahead, and the sense to start preparing. None of us have crystal balls, we just do the best we can. I'm pretty worried about the future in terms of things like the economy and my future financial security... so I'm doing as much as I can to plan for it right now. Lots of savings, paying off my mortgage as fast as I can, trying to plan a future where I have very low expenses and can provide a lot of the things I need on my own. That sort of thing.

Her buoy? All I saw was the boarding up of windows, the preparations for the storm.....we all do that! But how about when one is in the midst of utter devastation?

How did she explain? Perhaps I'm so wrapped up with my faith that I don't see it...so kindly take me step by step.

Utter devastation? If it's utter devastation, I'll be dead. If I'm still alive, it's not utter devastation and I'll get busy trying to decide what to do next.

My buoy? What will keep me going when everything seems lost? Just the knowledge that this is the only life I'll ever have. What stronger motivation could there be than knowing you only have one chance?

I mean, what would a Christian do? Sure, she'd pray and trust in god and all that good stuff, but she can't just sit there waiting for got to solve her problems, she has to do everything she can to carry on too. I'd do exactly the same. The only difference between me and her is that she carries on because she thinks it's part of god's plan and that things will work out eventually, while I carry on because this is the only life I will ever have and giving up isn't an option.

-k

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