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Tag Archives: unhappy

Traces of Decay

As a car ages, there are certain subtle signs which convey a vehicle on its last legs.  Driveways become stained with oil, unusual noises will surface and acceleration pauses just a bit before finally kicking in.  Although modes of transportation can be lemons, there are plenty of what people call “old reliable” which get you where you need to go.  However, traces of decay should serve as a warning that it may be time to move on.

By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return, Genesis 3:19.

Meanwhile, human beings possess there own signals that they are about to breakdown.  Frustration, irritations and unhappy faces can be like taking a look under the hood.  While individuals can put on fake smiles, inside bitterness can erupt into a raging inferno.  On the other side of the spectrum, discontentment cause many to lose that loving feeling for life, slipping into periods of depression, despondence or isolation.  As these stages approach, intervention is essential before traces of decay turn into reality.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away, Revelation 21:4.

As for me, I find myself taking on a new persona when I get into my car.  Suddenly, I become perfect and all the drivers around me are idiots.  My commentary is relentless, lasting throughout my travels.  This self seeking nature is fueled by a desire to get home, abandoning the rules of the road like a politician during an election year.  Recently, these traces of decay have come to my attention, one of many stains of sin within my heart.  If you too are feeling like you’re going down the wrong road, may the Holy Spirit serve as a pit crew, cleaning up the messes you have made, one sin at a time.

by Jay Mankus

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Where Did Optimism Go?

If you want to get a pulse on how people are doing today, just listen to a group of unhappy teenagers.  Although being around a losing team, the down trodden and less fortunate may paint an inaccurate picture, spirits of optimism seem to be disappearing.  Whether its listening to the rants of co-workers, observing body language or viewing a news telecast, negativity is taking over.

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals,” 1 Corinthians 15:33.

When I was younger, during my junior high years, I battled depression.  Maybe this is normal, a phase of adolescence, yet positivity was lacking from my life.  I guess you could say I was a Debbie downer, able to suck the life out of any room that I entered.  Until one of my classmates committed suicide in eighth grade, life didn’t seem worth living.

Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, Proverbs 22:24.

However, sometime between eighth and tenth grade, a series of events led me out of this negative mentality.  A teacher, youth group and spirit of emptiness set the stage for rebirth.  While I resisted change for two years, my heart wasn’t ready to accept Christ until the world dealt me a hand of disappointment.  Perhaps, optimism remains invisible today until the Holy Spirit breathes new life into dead and dying souls.  God willing, this trend of pessimism will be reversed to spawn a revival of optimism.

by Jay Mankus

A Not So Happy Thanksgiving

For most of my days, I’ve lived a sheltered life.  However, my first job after graduating from college brought me to inner city Wilmington, Delaware as a social worker.  My eyes were opened to the homeless, poor and unfortunate.  This experience led me to serve the needy during my first Thanksgiving in Chicago, going to a homeless shelter near Cabrini Green, one of the roughest projects in Chicago.  I didn’t see any television cameras or professional football players handing out free turkeys, what I observed was a not so Happy Thanksgiving.

Everyone should get of their comfort zones once in a while to see what its like on the other side.  I’m not talking about Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd in Trading Places.  Rather, I think its healthy to see how little other people have so that you may begin to appreciate all the things you have accumulated in life.  Fashion, shopping and temporary pleasures blind most individuals to what’s really important: family, faith and fellowship.  Without this type of perspective, a spoiled generation will continue to whine, “what’s in it for me,” while the less fortunate have another not so Happy Thanksgiving.

Clothes, food and a place to call home is foreign to some individuals.  Though many may receive a Turkey to cook, how long will the leftovers last?  Will some have to wait til Christmas before the next act of generosity finds these helpless souls?  Therefore, as you watch the parades, gather for a feast and watch some football for dessert, don’t limit your giving to a couple of times per year.  Rather, take a look around and see who you can help so that a not so Happy Thanksgiving can turn into a very Merry Christmas.

by Jay Mankus

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