Thursday, February 21, 2008

Amazing Ideas attract Petractors

Sorry for not posting for a while, I am in the process of changing vocations once again and seem to have my thought process focused on that.

However last night I did go to church.

At our church, we have a computer hooked to a video screen. The person running the video screen always goes through the slides before the service so that he can familiarize himself with the screens and does not get surprised.

Now I was sitting there watching him go through the screens, which my daughter and I like to as we get to see which songs we are going to be singing and what the sermon will be about.

Well up pops the screen saying something like, "Amazing ideas attract petractors" and off he went through the rest of the screens.

Now the person running the computer is a very smart man, and I was having a terrible crisis in that I had no idea what a petractor was. So I approached him and asked. (he does not make up the slides by the way)

He was not familiar with the word either, we brought up the slide again and worked it out. He said that "petra" is greek for rocks or earth, so it must have something to do with rocks. I sat down and with my daughter worked over the word in my head and finally came up with a word that meant acting like a rock.

Well we sang some songs, and got to the sermon which was about building the wall around the temple. Part of the sermon was about how some people were not doing their fair share, some were working hard, and some weren't working at all. All the while I am sitting there thinking 'petractor' a person acting like a rock, not doing any work, acting like a rock, OK, maybe this can work.

Then finally the slide pops up

The minister says, "Whenever someone has a great idea, like building a wall around the temple, petractors are attracted"


"Whenever someone gets a great idea, there are those who want to shoot it down, the petractors"


Petractors have nothing to do with rocks, it is a misspelling of the word "protractor" which is being misused instead of "detractors" which would have been the proper word and spelling.

At this I decided I needed to write about it in my blog.

My first inclination was to write about the education system in America. My daughter had announced that they were going to have spelling tests in 6th grade now, but the tests are stupid (according to her) because they are 1st grade words. Like: Their, they're, neighbor, weigh..... you catch my drift, they are words that should have been learned in 1st grade, but by 6th grade it seems nobody knows which witch is which.

I will admit that the Mountain Man is fairly lazy with his spelling too. My computer automatically tells me if a word is misspelled, no matter where I write it.

So when I see something on the computer, especially for a presentation, I assume that the spell checker caught it, and that it really is a word....

But that is not what I need to write about, because that was not the intent of the sermon. After the service, my friend the computer operator and I talked about the word. "Do you think it was intentional?" "Wouldn't it have been great if it was?"

We decided it probably wasn't.

The sermon was about "High Definition Living". Being so in tune, so focused, that you accomplish the goal without regard to the 'detractors'.

If it was intentional, it was great. Here I was totally in a fog, paying almost no attention to the task at hand, worrying about a word that was only a detractor for the task at hand. It would have been great. Lesson learned.

But I don't believe that was actually the lesson......

I think the lesson was far beyond the intent.

I am thinking, maybe, just maybe, we aren't supposed to know the end.

Maybe the fault was not in the person misspelling the wrong word, but rather the person reading ahead in the book.

I have learned over the years that a book, a really good book, needs to be read in the order it was written. Skipping chapters, skipping ahead, reading the end.... ruins it.

Life might be the same way.

Maybe the lesson was to not look ahead at what was going to happen, that I would have enjoyed the songs, enjoyed the lesson, a lot more if I did not know the ending. Worse yet I got the wrong ending. By taking a moment in time, and looking at it before it happened, I got the wrong conclusion, thereby ruining the story.

I remember back in the late 80's the "Prophecies of Nostradamus" were all the rage. He predicted Hitler's rise to power and may other things. I remember those people saying that it was theorized that he has predicted that WWIII would start around 1990, and shortly after NYC would be attacked. I remember this because around 1990 the world went to war to rid Kuwait of Sadam Hussein. Later NYC was attacked, and the world went back to war to rid itself of Sadam Hussein.

I remember he also predicted a major calamity that would devastate the earth. Followed by a very long period of peace.

I don't remember when that was supposed to happen.... and I am thinking I am not supposed to know.

What Nostradamus did not predict was that in 1994 I would meet the love of my life, and my son, and a year later my daughter. Nobody told me that we were going to live on a street a block away from an ice cream store or that after we dropped off my son at school, my daughter and I would go get a freshly made bagel and a cup of coffee.

Or that we would live in a house in Mississippi with a pond in the backyard and multiple rose gardens spread throughout the yard.

Nostradamus totally left out the part about living in Alabama, and swimming in the pool, not to mention being a substitute teacher, or reading parent and working with all those kids.

I don't remember him ever saying anything about the school plays, the band concerts, the Christmas at the Chinese buffet....

I don't think I am supposed to know the future. Sometime in the future something WILL happen. So many things will happen that if we focus on one thing, all the other things get lost. This may be the root of High Definition Living. Maybe its NOT about focusing on one thing, but letting all things happen as they were meant to happen and being a part of all things. A HDTV screen is not about one pixel. Its about all of them, and to focus on one thing means losing the picture. Focusing on the picture means losing the story, focusing on the story means losing the life.

So I guess I need to stop going through the previews of the Wednesday service.....


Dene said...

Hey Nephew, so very profound! I am amazed at your thought process, and want to say that you've expanded my understanding of 'life unfolding' by reading your insightful, articulate and perceptive essay--albeit with dictionary in hand! Thank you. Very much. Lots to ponder....

Anonymous said...

Hey MMM, what a great post. You make me think, and appreciate life, and appreciate you. Keep it up!