Logan just didn’t like what he saw. And he had to look at it every day.
At least, he had to if he wanted to give the impression that he didn’t go straight from bed to school.
That groggy, sullen face gazed back at him from the bathroom mirror, and if it could talk, Logan was sure it wouldn’t have anything nice to say to him. He could imagine it. You slouching slob. You can’t get any answers right in math class. You stink at taking tests. Your teachers think you’re dumb, and they’re right. You’ll never get a girlfriend. Your friends probably think you’re a loser and are only acting like they like you.
It’s no secret that millions or even billions of people are searching for meaning, fulfillment, happiness, success, or whatever they may think the measurement is of purpose in life—while the key to those things remains a secret for most. Ironically, queries to Google for these things return no fewer than 3 billion results (but hey, delivered in less than a second!). So we have no shortage of places to look.
Many, searching for something they can’t quite define, wander from one risky behavior to another, and some realize in time that those behaviors don’t bring them what they’re after. Others drift from relationship to relationship. Still others pursue modern definitions of success or happiness and discover it’s a false promise.
The Parable of the Soda Fountain depicts these pursuits as different flavored drinks at a carnival. In the story, Jenna represents any of us when we opt for the more colorful and sweet-tasting offerings in life. But at what cost? To me, it’s a story of a universal search for satisfaction. None of these other “drinks” truly quenches a person’s thirst as much as pure water.
As a teenager, I couldn’t get enough of theatre. Maybe it had to do with the insecurity that comes to most youth, but I enjoyed pretending to be someone I wasn’t—someone much more interesting than I inherently was. So when someone in town decided to put on a community theatre production and my parents told me about it, I was in. Well, at least for the auditions. Couldn’t count on more than that.
But imagine my excitement when I saw “Garrett Cartwright” on the website listed next to the supporting male character’s name. That’s me!
Although each of the four Gospels relates events from the night of the Passover and the Crucifixion the next day, they are reverently scant on details about Jesus’s suffering. One of the things we do know is that in the Garden of Gethsemane, “being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). Over a century earlier, an angel prophesied to the prophet-king Benjamin: “And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people” (Mosiah 3:7).
The saying goes that a sparrow shall not fall to the ground without God’s notice (a mixture of similar passages in Matthew and Luke). How much more then was every drop of His innocent blood He shed for us honored of His Father, in part because those drops fell for us, the rest of God’s children. Gethsemane being the garden of the oil press, Jesus there took upon Himself the incomprehensible weight of our sins, flaws, and other struggles. I would suggest that it was not some massive conglomeration of the horrors and heartaches of mortality that fell upon Him, but rather the cumulative weight of individual sins and pains, large and small, innumerable to us.
Two farms nestle together in a beautiful valley. Both receive the same amount of sun and rain. One farm produces tall, green corn, with fat milk cows in the pasture and corpulent chickens in the yard surrounding a lovely home. The neighboring farm, however, stands in stark contrast, with withered cornstalks, emaciated cows, scrawny chickens, and a rundown, ramshackle house that loses more shingles with every passing storm.