Monday, 28 April 2014

Think Big

I've been challenging myself to think bigger lately.  It's really easy to fall into routine.  You do the same thing day in, day out.  You know exactly what's expected of you, and exactly how to do it.  You know when your alarm clock will ring, when you have to be at work, when you'll finish, what your job entails, etc...   and if you don't watch out, it all becomes standard and, dare I say, boring.

I'm not at the point of boredom, certainly not, but I do find myself falling into routine.  It's easy.  I find myself knowing exactly what's expected of me at work, at home, at church, with my friends...  I know how to do it well (or at least fool people into thinking I know what I'm doing, haha).  Worst of all though, I find that I sometimes fall into the routine of praying the same things...over and over, so much so that they've lost their meaning.

Hence, the title of this post.  I think an important cure for this trap of 'the routine' is to think big.  It's when we get tunnel-visioned, caught up in only our own little worlds (remind you of a Matthew West song?) that we start to fall into the ordinary and unimaginative.  We see only our own needs, our own desires, and only what we want to achieve.  We forget to see the bigger picture - that there are people in need; that we can do so much good with small gestures of love and kindness; that spending time at work and with family are blessings, not obligations.  Most importantly though, we forget that God is calling us to more.

Here's one of my absolute favourite quotes:

To sinful patterns of behaviour that never get confronted and changed,
Abilities and gifts that never get cultivated and deployed -
Until weeks become months,
And months turn into years,
And one day you're looking back on a life of deep intimate gut-wrenchingly honest conversations you never had,
Great bold prayers you never prayed,
Exhilarating risks you never took,
Sacrificial gifts you never offered,
Lives you never touched,
And you're sitting in a recliner with a shriveled soul,
And forgotten dreams,
And you realize there was a world of desperate need,
And a great God calling you to be part of something bigger than yourself -
You see the person you could have become but did not;
You never followed your calling.
You never got out of the boat.

- Gregg Levoy

I don't want to be the guy that misses out on 'a great God calling me to be part of something bigger than myself.'  Hence the challenge - think big.  Think God's kind of big.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Easter reflections

This Easter is standing out to me in a unique way.  It`s the first Easter since my trip to Israel with 33 LIFE listeners in November, and I'm finding that I'm thinking about it a lot differently than I ever have before.

It`s different reflecting on Easter when you've actually been to the places you're reading about.  They take on new meaning and significance.  Journey with me for a second, you may see things in a new light.

This is the Garden of Gethsemene, where Jesus spent His last night before He was crucified, praying to His Father and calling for His will, despite the pain that Jesus would suffer.  I pictured Jesus walking among the trees the same way that I did, but remembering how He created each tree in love, and looking at the temple a few hundred feet away...and crying that the people (that He loved so much more than the trees) did not understand His love and what He was trying to do.

I remember picturing Jesus being led from the garden and up these steps after he was arrested, escorted by an angry mob.

Those steps are right beside the house of Caiaphas, where Jesus spent his last night before He was crucified. Never once have I thought about what Jesus last night must have been like...until I visited the house of Caiaphas.  He spent it in a damp, dark, disgusting, 20 foot deep pit, where the only way in or out was by being lowered through a hole in the ceiling.  What a long night that must have been.  I bet He didn't sleep a wink.  He must have spent the whole night in prayer, praying for the souls of those about to crucify Him, and for the strength to go through with the pain and suffering He was about to endure.

In Nazareth we saw a replication of a cross from Jesus' day.  The crosses we have today in our churches and homes and around our necks are perfectly carved, ornate, and beautiful.  The cross we saw was a log for the crossbeam, mounted on another log, both jagged, both rough.  It also had a seat on it, which I never knew.  I knew that those being crucified would suffocate, then push up to get air, then go rest a bit, then push again, etc...horrible torture.  The seat prolonged that torture so that the person could sit for a few seconds, and then push up...awful.

It's believed Jesus was crucified here (can you see the skull in the mountain?  There's actually 2-3 of them)...

...and laid here (far left)...

...and the stone was rolled over the entrance...

As you reflect on Easter, remember the suffering Jesus went through.  The (perhaps) bittersweet feeling of walking through the Garden of Gethsemane, the long night in a dungeon, the beatings before the cross and the pain of the cross itself...  And it was GOD that went through that for US.  Doesn't make sense, should be the other way around.  Talk about leading by example - that's complete sacrifice..

Monday, 14 April 2014

Jim Flaherty

The details have been announced for Jim Flaherty's funeral - it's this Wednesday, and it's a state funeral.  I'm really glad it's a state funeral, he deserves it.  Although I'd never met this man, I respected him and felt a unique connection to him.

It's hard to be in a position of leadership.  But to be in charge of an entire nation's finances, with all the critics (as you definitely can't - and won't - please everyone)...that takes a strong person.  I always thought Jim Flaherty handled himself with class, even in the face of criticism.

When the world economy crashed in 2008, it was Jim Flaherty's guidance and leadership that kept Canada on the straight and narrow.  Yes, there were others involved of course, but he was the head.  Canada's was one of the strongest economies in the world.  While almost everyone else's was collapsing, Canada stayed strong.  Other nations even started adopting Canadian policies.  That says a lot about our country's financial policies and practices, put in place by our leadership.

I mentioned at the top that I felt a bit of a personal connection to Jim Flaherty, despite never having met him.  As the News Director here at LIFE - and the sole newsperson for 6 years - it was my responsibility to cover every election, every budget, every financial update, etc...  I would be done my shift for the day, and would come back in to cover a budget update.  I've watched Flaherty deliver every budget since I started at LIFE in late 2005.  I've watched him give dozens of speeches, answer questions tactfully, and go about the duties of one of Canada's highest ranking politicians with class and dignity.  His character made me respect him.

Mr. Flaherty, I know you resigned before your passing, but I will miss watching you during the next budget update.  As a proud Canadian, I thank you for your guiding hand.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

April Fool's Day

A few years ago, AJ the Wonderdog pranked me on April Fool's Day.  This was back when I was doing the morning shift.  I came in at 4:30am to find everything on my desk tied to my chair with fishing line. But of course fishing line is almost invisible, so I didn't see it until after I pulled out my chair and everything on my desk came crashing down.  Frustrating.  After cutting all the lines and putting everything back in order, I began to do my work.  Except that when tried to type up my newscast, what I was typing was not showing up on the screen.  Different words were instead.  AJ had set up a couple of macros that changed certain words.  So every time I typed 'Tim Maassarany', the macro automatically changed it to 'fart'.  Funny, but annoying.  Then when I tried to write stuff out instead, I found that the ink in all my pens had been replaced with garlic powder...and my office stunk for about a week after that.  And finally, there was an alarm that kept going off every 15 minutes all old cell phone that he hid in the ceiling tiles.

This year, my revenge.

I started out in his office.  That's BBQ sauce on his ear piece.  You'll also notice that there is tape on the tab that pops up to give you the dial tone, meaning the phone will keep ringing until the tape is removed.

Then onto the mouse.  It's funny how much frustration one little piece of tape can cause (perhaps you have had this done to you?).  It's simple - the mouse won't work and you can't figure out why...until you turn it upside-down.  Post-it notes work well for this too.

For good measure, I also removed all writing utensils from his office - pens, pencils, highlighters, markers, everything.

Step three, the cell phone.  I hijacked this for a couple of minutes and did as much damage as I could in a short period of time (this is why you lock your phone by the way).  First was to change the home screen.  Now AJ will always remember me, or parts of me.

Then I changed all the sounds for everything - his ringer, texts, facebook and twitter notifications, calender reminders, etc...  I wanted to change the language, create fake calendar reminders, and upload an embarrassing ring tone, but I didn't have time.  There was still more to do before AJ got off the air at 9am.

The gem is the car.  I ended off by snatching his car keys and moving his car to the opposite end of the parking area that also happens to be hidden.  Since I had access to his car, I also lifted his steering wheel as high as possible, moved his seat as close to the steering wheel as it would go, and cranked the radio to max for a fun surprise the next time he listens to LIFE.  But my favourite - besides moving the car - is using AJ's own maple syrup, which I grabbed from the staff fridge.  His shift stick now smells great.

There were about four other ideas I had that were really good, but I ran out of time.  I'm pleased with my efforts though.


Now that all the pranks have been discovered, my favourite two parts of the day were when AJ came into my office at 9:30am and yelled, "You're driving me crazy!"  And that was just all the office stuff, he hadn't gotten to the car yet...which leads to my other favourite part of the day, when he went out at lunch and his car wasn't there...  Yup, it's been a fun day.