Tuesday, December 23, 2014


We can by human nature be critical…Okay, not all but my money is on most of us. I have made a commitment with God to be an encourager not a critic. I confess that I have too often failed. I hate it so much when I do.

Is there a difference between being critical and giving a critique of something (not someone)? I think so. We can be complimentary to something and that can be an encouragement to others. An example would be… The music worship time at EBCI is awesome. When used this way, it can encourage all who are involved in that ministry. There comes a time though when an honest critique of something can also be encouraging. Can you tell where I am heading with this post?

Last night we took Marsha on a Bedouin Oasis adventure. I had never been on one and was actually excited. Now, I will be fair, not all of it was bad. Yet, when it starts bad and ends bad, the good in the middle gets forgotten quickly.


Part of the dinner expedition was that we were going to be picked up and taken to the oasis. Awesome (or so I thought), I could save fuel. When the vehicle arrived it was a Toyota SUV wannabe. This was not the larger ones which we saw plenty of when we finally arrived, it was one about the size of the Fortuner I drive. When the driver got out, he quickly ran around the car and opened the door asking the lady sitting there to get out for a moment. She did. Then he flipped a lever and told Pam, Marsha and I to climb in the back --- REALLY? Forget that my knees do not work properly but I know that that seat is designed for kids, not three adults and one of them my size. [I should have backed out then – sent Pam and Marsha by themselves]. I climbed in first and squeezed my body and legs into that space for 3 small kids. I sat almost sideways and realized that for the next hour, I would be stuck. I think the driver at this time took the tourism sign off the side of the car and put one on that said – AMERICAN SARDINES, HAHAHAHA.


Well, we finally got to a point and the driver got out and began letting air out of the tire. The road in front of us had no more pavement but there was plenty of sand and I knew then that however long this next part of the adventure was something I was not going to enjoy. Now to be fair, this would be an exciting event for many people. I know I am in good company because Martha Beyer did not like this part of her trip either. She is a very brilliant woman.

The driver told everyone to put their seatbelts on, so all the nice tourists in the front did as they were asked. He came to that back window where I was sitting and said for me to put my seat belt on. I laughed and asked if he was kidding. He then gave me a thumbs up sign, jumped into the driver’s seat and took off. NOTE: We did not need seatbelts... we could not move right or left / up or down. Now our heads would shake, so if anyone was behind us they would probably think that there were three life-size bobble heads in the back of this SUV. I am so glad I had not eaten that day or I would have had a meal delivered before dinner.

With eyes closed and prayers hurdling towards heaven for Jesus to return – NOW, we came to a stop. We were told to exit the SUV wannabe for pictures. --- REALLY? We would have 10 minutes to rest and then finish the drive to the oasis. Well, after 6 minutes to get pried out and 4 minutes to get pried back in, my 10 minutes were gone.

We were then off to some more shaking, rattling, sliding and me praying as we ventured forward. Finally we arrived. The driver told me that on the way back I would not have to sit in the rear of the SUV wannabe (he lied).


 I finally realized my legs were not stuck in a permanent bent position and I must confess that the pain I usually deal with was nonexistent. It should have been my legs were totally numb. They could have amputated my leg right then and I would not have felt it. I took a seat on the bench and begin doing some movement exercises to my leg and knee. I sent Pam Marsha off to ride the camels. I took a few pictures on Marsha’s phone. I then hobbled over to the tables where we would be sitting on pillows, on the ground. I thought this was going to be another nightmare but it actually was very comfortable. Pam and Marsha visited the small money changers shops…Pam got a package of dates.


The time had come for the show to begin. The first scene was a man in a lighted dress which was set to loud music (not a complaint but it did set the scene for the theme). This man spent the next 10-15 minutes spinning, doing some neat things with the lighted dress making the colors change and the designs he could make out of holding the dress in a certain way was interesting. The circling of the stage and shaking his behind in a suggestive manner to those who happened to be sitting next to the stage wall (as I was) was a bit unsettling. He seemed to be enjoying this part of his act, a little too much. On a scale of 1-10 for entertainment I will give him a 6 (and I am being generous).

The pre-dinner food was ready to be gotten and enjoyed. I thought it was good. I cannot tell you what it was but it was good. The next part of the show was a two man thing in a horse costume. Again, the music was loud which I enjoyed as part of the atmosphere that was being created. The horse did his jig, went around the edges of the stage and planted horse kisses on some of the guests. Of course, here I was sitting at the edge of the stage. I got head kissed and double cheek kissed. Maybe this was the best part of the night.

The buffet was open. We were instructed to go and forage the tent for our food. Little did I know that I would get into trouble getting into line with my wife. I was to be in the men’s line. With a chuckle, I hobbled over to the men’s line. The meal was good…different but worthy of the setting. The workers in the meal tent were a bit hostile towards anyone who did not do this thing in a certain way. I am still wondering if harsh tones when speaking to someone is the best way to treat them… especially after they paid good money to enjoy the evening. I mark this one up to differences.

The closing act was the belly dancer. One lady took the stage and did her belly dancing thing.  Out of the 10+ minutes of her part of the show, I may have looked her direction 3 or 4 times just to see if it was morally acceptable to me. Now, again I found myself sitting at the edge of the stage when she hovered over me, draping a red sheer something over my head and from the shadows she was leaving, I think she was trying to get a hip dislocation relocated. I did not look up. I am not being critical of the show, it was different and as far as I know it was like what it was years ago.


Well it was time to say goodbye to the oasis. With all the emotion I could muster, I said “good bye – so long – we will probably never meet again. We were told to sit and wait for our vehicle to be ready to take us home. We did… and we did some more. I actually was glad the driver told me he would not have me ride in the back again (remember, he lied). Here I go again, climbing into the back of the SUV wannabe and this time it was really worse. Maybe the position I got my leg into before they slammed the seats back into position in front of me. I should have hailed a taxi. Well, I told myself we would drive straight home, I could take a few Aleve and a BC, put on some heat cream to settle the pain but wait…wait… once we were in, we had to stop and let the driver put air back into the tires. This took 10 minutes. I timed it. It was 53 minutes later, I scooted out the door in front of our apartment. I stood there for a moment just to thank God for keeping me alive and shaking my leg hoping feeling would return before morning.


Am I glad I went? I can say that I now have had that experience. 

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