The offering plate, part 2

ADVISORY:  This post includes explicit content that some readers may find objectionable.

One lives in a world substantially of one’s own creation.

The previous post asked, “What can I give as an offering?”

As of now, I am essentially a panhandler.

Except at the gofundme page, I don’t stand in one place and solicit money from strangers.

But as I go to and fro the different places I do go throughout the day, every single friend or acquaintance I meet, if I can muster the nerve, I hit up for cash.  This is ongoing.  It never stops.

Proud as I am that I’m doing a job search and that I actually want to become self-supporting — I think I can be proud of those facts. — job search has become far less urgent than simply getting the cash to keep going day after day.  That fact is humiliating.

I never, ever imagined I’d ever want cash for its own sake.

I have to be careful what I tell my family, lest I wound them over a situation they cannot change.  I wounded them in December and January in talking about my (at that time) clinical depression.

I can’t talk about this too openly at church, either.  A few weeks ago, I told the congregation that the question isn’t whether “Black Lives Matter,” but whether I will act as if my own life matters.  This wounded some people.

I can’t even talk about it too openly among my friends at the shelter, lest it wound them.

I’m not ashamed of panhandling.  Too many of my friends do it, for me to regard it as shameful.  On the other hand, my counselors unanimously urge me to take certain steps that would secure my situation for a long time; that I cannot talk about even here.  Taking those steps would leave me truly ashamed.

I have been tempted to despise my circumstances — that is, my bootstraps.

I have looked all around me, energetically and futilely, for someone to blame.

I have resented it when someone can’t give me as much cash as I’d wished.

I have been tempted to be mad at the world.

I’ve found myself at times impatient and irritable; and that’s been the worst.  It makes me disappointed in myself.  I’m not the man I thought I was.

One lives in a world substantially of one’s own creation.

The offering plate comes around every week.  What do I have to offer?

What will it mean to offer myself?

My gift consists of the work I do.  Right now, my gift must be first to seek my own material best interest.  In my current context, anything other than that would be irresponsible.

As a believer in prayer, I need to be diligent in prayer also.  It will be seen that my work is my prayer, and my prayer is my work.

In these dire straits, I’m not averse even to trying magic; if I only understood how that works.  But it has come to me in this writing, that whether we know it or not, we are all continually involved in the dynamics of magic.

It is, in effect, how we create.

Crucial factors:

THE AFFECT I CHOOSE:  Emmet Fox as much as identifies goodwill, or happiness, with the creation of prosperity.  We can see this in purely practical terms.

Any affect is prone to create ideation (thoughts, thinking) consistent with itself, resulting in behavior that expresses itself, with results that, in turn, justify and reinforce the affect that created them.

A malcontent, for example, is an unhappy person who creates unhappiness.  He or she will engage in activities like vandalism, with results that feed back into his or her self-loathing.  He or she will vandalize a job interview: showing up late, wearing dirty clothes, slouching in the chair, chewing gum or tobacco and sneering defiantly at the interviewer.  When the job interview, then, fails, this reinforces the person’s unhappiness and sense of entitlement.

A positive outlook will let me present myself at my best at all times; equip me with better judgment and decision-making; and yield results most likely to please me.

One lives in a world substantially of one’s own creation.

HOW I REGARD MY BOOTSTRAPS:  Maintaining goodwill is essential to how I will regard my circumstances, which ARE my bootstraps.  I can look at my situation from a sense of deprivation and entitlement or instead a sense  of providence and gratitude.  So much poverty comes from looking at one’s boostraps askance.  (Related:  “‘Do the right thing,’ part 2.”)  Yesterday morning at this time, my financial assets consisted of two $1 bills and some quarters and dimes.  This morning, they consist of two cents.  These are my bootstraps.  Wherever I may want to go, these are the tools I must use to get there.  I am best to respect and honor them.

MANAGING UNWANTED AFFECTS:  An offering is sometimes a sacrifice.  We need to sacrifice emotional toxins.  My resentments, impatience and irritability:  it is correct for me to put those in the offering plate.

WHAT I CHOOSE TO THINK, AND THINK ABOUT:  Ambrose Worrall said, “Every thought is a prayer.”  What one thinks or thinks about, one in effect prays for, whether one likes it or not.

Related: What you “see” is what you’ll get.

In a recent conversation about my situation, Pastor expressed anxiety that I may not find work soon, given the obstacles I face; in particular, age discrimination and a lack of recent work history.  Each of those is destined inevitably worsen with every passing day.  We can do nothing about them, per se.  However, to focus one’s mind and heart on obstacles only aggrandizes and empowers them.  I need to focus mind and heart instead on opportunities, so that I will be vigilant when they appear, and ready to act.

My “cup” isn’t half empty; it’s almost completely empty.  But I can envision that it will be full.  I can hope for that, and act accordingly.  When it overflows (Psalm 23:5), I can share material wealth with others.

This is my work.

This also is prayer.

This also is magic.

3 thoughts on “The offering plate, part 2

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