Learning through Life

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Hampshire, United Kingdom
I love how our day-to-day life can teach us lessons to help us understand our past, challenge our today, and inspire our future. We can learn through experiences, situations, conversations, songs, books, nature ... the list is endless! Live with eyes ready to see, ears ready to hear and a heart ready to be touched.

Monday, 23 May 2011

The one with the Take That Tickets

Early Friday morning I awakened to the sound of my mobile phone vibrating against the bedside cabinet.  When I eventually realised that the Bzzzzzzzzzzing sound required an action, I turned over, and picked up the phone to my sister.  After a couple of grunts of greeting my sister asked a peculiar question.

'What are you doing at 9am and would you be able to sit on the phone for a while?'

What?  Why on earth would my sister be asking me to sit on her phone like a hen on an egg?!!!

Having only been awake a few minutes, my poor little brain just didn't have the capacity to understand what it was she was asking me to do.  As I began to wake up a little, and she continued to explain, I realised that my sister wasn't asking me to sit on the phone at all, but to sit by the phone and dial a number in for her.  You see, at 9am that morning Take That were releasing a limited amount of extra tickets for their forthcoming tour.  Evidently if you are a big fan of the group, this is very good news!  However, due to the high demand for these tickets, the phone lines were expected to be incredibly busy and very difficult to get through on.  Not such good news if you have somewhere else to be when the lines open!

As it happened I had a free hour between 9am and 10am so I agreed to walk round to her house and dial the ticket agency number for her.  She said she would write down the telephone number, the concert dates, her credit card information and anything else she thought I might need and leave it by the phone for me. 

So, at 9am exactly I picked up the phone, dialed the ticket agency number, had credit card details at the ready, and waiting for someone to answer my call.  Ha!  As if it would be that simple! 

'Thank you for calling Ticketmaster, we are sorry but all our operators are currently busy, please try again later'

 After nine or ten attempts to get through, I began to get a little bored.  So, I left the phone, popped to the kitchen and made myself a cup of tea.  Then I returned and tried again several times.

'The telephone network is busy, please hang up and try again'

A short while later I realised I had not had my breakfast, so again I left the phone and made my way to the kitchen to grab some cereal.  In between mouthfuls of weetabix and banana I half-heartedly tried to get through to the ticket sales, with no joy. 

This was taking longer than I expected.  Next break - the toilet! 

Then I tried the number again.

Then I had a quick look at Facebook on my mobile.

Then I tried again.

Then ..... well ... you get the idea.

You see, although I had said I would try to get these tickets for my sister, I just was not that interested myself.  I tried, but I didn't give it my all and I allowed myself to be distracted with other things.

My sister on the other hand had a totally different attitude.  She had arrived at work early that morning so that at 9am she could sit outside and dial the number from her mobile.  Continually!  As soon as the busy message appeared she hung up and redialed.  Time and time again without a break!  Her heart and her mind were totally set on getting these tickets and nothing was going to get in her way. 
She was so determined to see Take That - that at that time, nothing else really mattered.    She was prepared to give up time, energy, effort and money to make it happen.  All this to see Take That -   Four men that can sing well and put on a good show for an hour. 

Although I obviously don't share my sister's passion for Take That, and was not expecting to gain anything personally from my feeble attempt that morning, I did realise something important that I hope will have a lasting impact on my life ...

I know someone far, far greater than any member of Take That - someone who instead of singing to a crowd from a distant stage, invites me to have a personal relationship with them.  Someone who knows my name.  Someone who loves me unconditionally and someone who forgives completely. 

And yet, do I really put much effort in to spending time with Him?  Do I give it my all like my sister did to see Take That -or do I only put in minimal effort?

You know what? Far too often I approach God with a half-hearted attitude.  I allow distractions to get in the way; I get lazy.  I remain unfocused and get far too complacent.  I am not proud of this, but am honest enough to admit it, and determined enough to change it.

When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus answered:  

'The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.' (Mark 12:30 - The Message)

Wow.  Love God with all your PASSION, PRAYER, INTELLIGENCE and ENERGY.  This is what I want to do.  This is what I need to do.  God loved me enough to send his Son to die for me, he gave his all.  He demonstrated effort and determination powerfully and perfectly!  What am I prepared to do in return?  What about you?

May I just draw one more quick point out of this experience?  As I explained previously, it proved very difficult to get through to the ticket sales.  The lines were continually busy and you were asked to try again later.  It was frustrating!  

This is different with God.  Listen to what God promises:

'Call to me and I will answer you. I'll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.' (Jeremiah 33:3)

He has promised to answer when we call. Yes!  God will answer :) There will never be a busy tone.  He will answer and tell us amazing things.  

So, I hope we can all learn from this experience.  I pray that we will realise how amazing it is to be invited to spend time in God's presence, and that we will work at loving him with all 'Passion, Prayer, Intelligence and Power' - not half-heartedly!  :)

To finish the story ... after an hour or so of trying my sister DID get hold of the tickets.  Not only did she have to put a lot of time and effort into obtaining them - she also had to pay a high price for them!  Over £200 for two tickets!!  Oh my!!
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