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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

No more waiting around...

Good things come to those who wait
or so I've heard some say,
But tragedy will be our fate
if we would live this way.

Good things never come to us,
that lie has stood for years,
When good men wait without a move
a vacancy appears.

This void of good that could have been
spreads like a cruel disease,
leaving hearts untouched, alone
and all because we freeze.

Freeze in place awaiting just
the time to know for sure,
if every action will be safe
and every touch will cure.

But we are not let into this,
our place is just to give,
not asking if our plans will fail,
but letting go to live.

Letting go of certainty
with all its gaurantees
Embracing our humanity
and it's complexities.

If we would wait for good to come
then we shall never see,
The shroud removed, the curse undone,
and hearts alive and free.

For good will come to those who go
and make it happen now,
Refusing lies of easy gain,
for plants succeed the plow.

I will never see my vision come true by waiting for lighting to strike in the same place. As a harvest assumes a sowing, a dream assumes a going.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I love you the mostess...

Taylor just stopped in with her mother to see me as I set out on the adventure of this fine day. I took her from the arms of her mother for a couple minutes and talked to her cute little heart. She kept wanting me to look at her mouth. She would pucker her lips and then open her mouth really wide like she was at the dentist. She said, "I bwushed my teeth." I could see that. Her mouth had this chalky white substance caked all around her lips. I kissed her soft lips again and again until she dug her nails into my face and pushed my over zealous affection away. Sometimes I get carried away with the kissing.

Heidi had to get to a meeting, so she took Taylor back and I said, "I love you, Tay." With one eye squinted shut and the other one looking into my soul, she replied, "I wuv you the mostess." I tickled her under her chin and said that I loved her the mostest. She disagreed and we bantered back and forth like dads and daughters do. The kind of exchange that would be awkward for anyone else to be around other than members of our family. This is that kind of intimacy that can only be shared with the ones who share your blood or your bed. I can't get enough of that.

My wife looked radiant this morning. Her skin tanned with a bronze softness. Her blue eyes sparkling like the surface of a rippling brook on a sunny day. Her hands softly tucked within my own. Her voice chasing away silence and filling the room with gentle affirmation. When she left she said, "I hope you have a good morning." Little does she know that her presence has already accomplished that word of well-wishing. I am blessed beyond measure...beyond pleasure. As the sun presses through the cracks of the drawn shades in my office, I can't help but think that God's love is breaking into my day and inviting me to drink deep of his warmth and enlightenment. And I love him the mostess.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

constriction...

I don't know what to call this...the sqeeze, the tightness, the ache...it's this feeling in your gut that is taut with anxiety over something that can't be explained. I just had breakfast with a guy that was talking about it, yesterday I talked with someone who was trying to put words to it, last week I encountered several people all saying the same thing with different words. People live with an abiding angst on most days. They wake to a cold world regardless of whether their life is filled with money, pain, accumulation, hardache, signifigance, loneliness, or success.

There is this storm inside all of us that won't subside even if things are put in order on the outside. Almost every morning I have to talk myself out of insecurity, despair and fear and into joy, freedom and confidence. Why is that? I have a great life...better than most. My parents are still together, my siblings are all in full time ministry, things are going well at my job, I have a beautiful wife, I have three adorable daughters that keep me on my toes, I have a sweet house, I have a cell phone, cable, a membership at the YMCA, I can play the guitar, I can play sports, I love to read books, I have alot of good friends, I have a laptop, I have freedom of schedule, I'm recording an album, we have two cars, we have a McDonals playland in our town, I live close to two rivers with a couple covered bridges, and the list goes on and on. I have nothing to complain about, but still I find this relentless voice whispering dark words to my soul. It speaks of futility. It taunts me. And it's a loud voice even though no one else can hear it around me when it's screaming it's poisen into my heart.

Keeping people alive around me is a full time job. I'm continually reminding people of hope against all odds....but the odds are daunting if I do say so myself. I'm breathing life back into their collapsed lungs trying to get them to inhale in some "possibility". As I identify with their feelings of abandonment, despair, loneliness, and apathy...I wonder where this unspeakable pressure and presence comes from. Why is there this universal ominous cloud of confusion that plagues the human spirit? Why can't we find the freedom that we're pining for? Why doesn't yesterday's joy trickle into this morning's woes? Why does last week seem like it was a different life time and the memory of it leaking out of my mind as I type? How can years of study and hours of time spent in prayer and Scripture reading seem so powerless in it's defense against the onslaught of overwhelming depravity? Is it me, or are we outnumbered? I know our world is filled with refreshers who must wake early to the sounds of moaning souls needing an "at a boy" or a "keep your head up", but sometimes I just feel sequestered in a world of daunting opposition...my demise ever nipping at my heels.

Ok, since I said all that, I must say that between yesterday's post and today's, nothing has much changed. This one just steps back and takes a look from a different angle at the same thing. All of us have infinite facets that make up the whole of who we are...and just a tilt of the head and a shift in the background scenery can take the object you're gazing at and give it a whole new texture. I think I'm experiencing a bit of that today. I still feel strangely encouraged. I feel like I'm resting on top of a heaving chest cavity with a pounding heart just below the surface...and the living being is none other than God Himself. To seperate myself from feeling the intensity of these emotions and considering the weight of these intellectual arguments would be to climb off the lap of our Lord and run for cover under the cloak of composure. How I long for composure...some days I would trade almost anything for its smooth and fluid feel. I lust for the life of knowing...surety...certainty...constancy. Why can't I just pull it together?

But I've noticed something...I still laugh really hard, I listen with attentiveness, I desire with a passion, I love simple things still, I adore nature, I play with my kids, I joke around with my wife, I speak at church with ardent honesty, I care deeply, I cry about meaningful situations (movies or otherwise), I love to study culture, history, and people, my senses are sensitive still... undulled by common killers of the human spirit...and I wonder. I wonder if being fully alive costs something that many are not willing to pay. I wonder what torture of the soul I must endure to experience the full orbed life of a Jesus follower. I cannot buffer my heart or insulate my heart from the terror of the bad without keeping it from the beauty of the good. Or so it seems. I would love to keep all the wonderful without the threat of the aweful, but that's silly really...we all know that is just crazy talk.

So people are being ravished all around us today...haunted by painful memories, hunted by ruthless shame, hounded by paralyzing lies...and they are proped up with thining braces of belief. If the kingdom, in fact, will ever come to this world...it will come through one human being to another. Or so it seems.

Monday, April 17, 2006

where do I start?...

It's been too long for me to try to sum up the past month of my life...so I won't. Suffice it to say that I have been through quite possibly the darkest season of my soul yet. The loss of my friend couldn't have come at a worse time (in my human judgement, of course). I was already feeling the sting of confusion and the jaws of doubt nipping at my heals. The night before I found out about his passing, my wife and I were venting our frustrations with God...his distance and silence. I felt as though I was hanging by a thread to begin with when I heard the heart-rending news of his death. It was like I was laying in a hospital bed nursing my wounds when someone walked in and punched me in the stomach and knocked the wind out of me. I felt dispised and rejected, smitten of God and afflicted. It almost felt like it "pleased the Lord to crush me." Sounds a little like Isaiah 53, hugh?

I think that's why this last week was special to me. I thought much of the Passion of Jesus. The road he walked. The loneliness he felt. The abandonment. The reproach. The weight of depravity. As I walked with him toward the cross, I felt as though my pain was being transfered to his shoulders, the cross he carried, my own. I felt bad for him. I could picture him inviting me to lay it on him and then wincing under the weight when I finally took him up on his offer. The way his eyes squeezed shut under the burden of it all started breaking me.

I really wanted to come close to the cross and stay there a while, letting it sink in. Letting it permeate my being and my not being. Letting it rush into the places that were sealed but for a needle hole of access. Letting it drown the doubt and disallusionment. Letting it ignite the wet wood of my damp soul. Letting it moisen and soften the parched ground crying for rain. And that is what occured. As sure as my fingers are softly pressing these keys, the very blood of Christ ran over me like a rushing river...soothing, cleansing, refreshing, invigorating, RESURRECTING. My heart was liberated from the tomb of death and brought back to life this last week. The pain is still there of course...sometimes sharp, sometimes dull...but it's coated with some sweet salve of "salve"ation.

I mulched my landscaping this last weekend...I even put in a new mulch bed that took nearly two yards of mulch in and of itself. I labored for hours covering the old with the new and then stepped back to survey the product of my labor. It was stunning, if I do say so myself. Jesus did this to me this last week. He re-mulched me. It feels good to say that.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

death to words...

Since my last post I had a good friend pass away in Columbus, Oh. With his death, words died inside me as well. I've had nothing to say for some time and I've been scrambling for words ever since. I've had people asking me when I'm going to post on this thing again and I guess my response to that would be, "when words come back". You've heard of getting your breath knocked out...that would be "breathless". I've gotten my words knocked out of me...that would be "speechless". Many days I sit still and zone. I get lost in a labyrinth of daydreams and lose track of things. So, these are a couple words I can string together to give explanation to my mysterious disappearance. Words will come with time...for now, they are nowhere to be found.