I look for signs

ELVIS

I like to talk to Elvis.

He says, “Hey, Pretty Mama,” and I walk on over.

He knows I look for signs, and he is so kind to tell me everything I need to know for my current situation. He even includes my lucky numbers, though I’ve never tried playing them in the lottery or using them to bet on a horse.

I bet you’re probably thinking, “Hey, Elvis has gone on. How can it be that he talks to YOU?”

THIS Elvis, just one of the many forms of Elvi that can be found on Lower Broadway in Nashville, is a robotic half man that sits in a glass box.

He calls out to tourists, who, in turn, give him exactly what he’s looking for–a crisp dollar bill.

He kindly gives them a fortune, printed on yellow paper with the consistency of cardstock that has been run through the wash and then dried.

Anyhoo, Elvis knows all and tells all to those who look for signs.

I have never been to a living, breathing fortune teller, at least not one acting in the capacity of fortune teller. I don’t consult the Farmer’s Almanac. I’m not into tarot, and I can’t read tea leaves–though I do enjoy a lovely cup of tea.

The spirit world is a very dangerous place for those of us who have been forbidden to peek behind the veil.

I also don’t advise asking God a question and then flipping open the Bible to find the answer. I don’t think we can command God to do anything, but we can pray.

God  chooses to do for us in a way he sees fit. That’s why believers walk in faith. A person has to be of great courage to walk in faith because only a strong person can release total control.

I’m working on it.

But I do enjoy looking for signs or at least being ready for them should they appear.

I like seeing a shooting star and then making a wish. That’s the whimsical part of me.

I like analyzing dreams. Sometimes mine have come true! Sometimes I have dreamed things about other people’s lives. I don’t intentionally try to do that. It just happens. I guess God chooses to reveal what he needs me to know. I don’t always understand, but maybe someday I will.

Sometimes what I dream is simply Teresa trying to talk to Teresa in a way she can understand. (Sorry about the third person, but that’s the only way I can think to say it.) I take in the info. My brain swirls it around, and then it sends it back to me in a dream. As I analyze it, I figure out what I’m hiding from myself.

Last night I had a nightmare about a hospital going up in flames. I certainly hope that one doesn’t come true.

A week ago I dreamed that students were now in charge of teachers’ health care. Instead of going to the doctor, we teachers had to go to the school guidance office. A student would be chosen to diagnose and treat our illnesses. Wait a minute! That sounds an awful lot like what’s happening in education today. Students DO determine our well being. If they don’t pass the tests, we fail.

Again, I digress. Let’s get back to Elvis.

I like looking for meaning in unexpected places and things. I like poetry. I like song lyrics. I like books that are allegorical.

But mostly, I like Elvis.

I have a very small purse. It’s filled with ID cards and discount cards, not much cash, and a whole lot of yellow cards from Elvis. I don’t know why I keep them. I mean, Elvis’s words of wisdom only count for the moment. I don’t think I can pull one from random and apply the advice to today if Elvis gave me the card two years ago. Can I?

Can I recycle a fortune? Let’s see if it works. Here we go: Random Elvis card, drawn from my wallet.

Elvis says, ” Unexpected wealth will arrive. Remember he is richest, who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature. Although you may look for riches, realize that wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants. When riches come, do not forget that man’s true wealth is the good he does in the world. So, when opportunity knocks, grab it. It is easy at any moment to resign the great fortune, to acquire it is difficult and arduous.”

Does this mean that I’m about to get a whole lot of nothing?

What does that mean?

I’ll take a whole lot of nothing, if something refers to trouble, drama, and stress. I’ll take not having many wants. I’ll take being content, happy, and satisfied.

Maybe it means I should grab every opportunity to build my fortune by doing what good I can do.

Then again, this is a “recycled” fortune. Perhaps I should look back and count my blessings, and a person can’t do too much good, now or later.

Maybe, I should head to Nashville and take a trip to the Legends corner. Elvis is waiting for me in a glass box.

He’ll say, “Hey, pretty mama,” and I’ll say, “Oh, you ain’t nothing but a hound dog. I bet you say that to all the girls.”

I’ll slip him a crisp dollar bill, and he’ll give me more words to fill my wallet.

 

 

 

Can I get there from here?

This past week one of my sweet little newspaper babies came to me for advice. With graduation just a few months away, she was overwhelmed with the thought of stepping into the world on her own. Bless her heart. I understand what she’s feeling. I just can’t fix it.

When I graduated, I had no idea of what it was like to be on my own. I tried to do what everyone else wanted me to do. I knew what I wanted, but I didn’t know where to find it or how to get it. I guess you could say I was like a pinball in a machine, propelled into life, bumping from here to there until I found myself where I am now, slightly bruised but a whole lot bolder.

My little newspaper kiddo asked me, “What if I make the wrong decision? What if I do the wrong thing?”

I wanted to say, “Brace yourself. It’s going to happen.” But I didn’t want to make her cry.

The truth is life is full of uncertainty, but for those who believe, life is all about hope. Is it possible that every road we take leads us where we’re supposed to be, even if we get off on the wrong exit on the interstate of life?

Old timers say, “You can’t get there from here.”  I say, “Why not?”

Last summer when I wrote my first manuscript, I jumped in blindly, never considering how many mistakes I would make. It’s taken a while to fix them, but step by step I’ve made progress.

For months I’ve stayed up late, polishing my work, submitting it to my critique group, and revising. It’s amazing how I’ve managed to go to work each day on so little sleep. But the journey’s been worth the effort. I’ve learned so much. I’m a better writer, a more confident writer.

A couple of days ago I submitted my entry to the 2011 ACFW Genesis Contest. There was a moment before I hit “send” when I wondered, “What if I pour everything into my story and the judges hate it?”  

It’s scary, being vulnerable, putting your heart on the line.

I wish I could tell my newspaper student that every step she takes will take her exactly where she wants to go—or that she’ll know without a doubt what she should do. But I’d be lying if I did.

Our troubles may be difficult and even painful, but every bump in the road can be to our benefit—if we put our trust in God. He said so (Romans 8:28). So even if we mess up, God can make it work for our own good. No matter what.

In other words, living life is like writing our own book. God’s critiques show us the revisions we need to make.

Just as young grads are afraid to take their first steps into the world, we older folks sometimes fear that we’ve traveled so far away from our dreams we’ll never get find them again. In other words, we wonder “can we get there from here?”

Sometimes what we want seems impossible because we can’t figure out a way to make it happen. But just because we can’t figure out a way for it to happen doesn’t mean that it won’t.

So, my frightened student (and anyone else who may sharing these fears), as you set forth into the great unknown, know that no matter what decisions you make (or have made), God can take all situations and make them turn out for your good. We have to work for an attitude that accepts that everything we go through makes us stronger, better.

The alternative attitude leads to a life dominated by fear and regret.

Choose wisely to avoid as many heartaches as possible, but ultimately, if you believe, you’ll get where you’re supposed to be—no matter what.