Posts Tagged With: life

Un-Prose

All the lies I let myself believe, will they someday haunt me, be whispered in my sleep? Tell me true, for there is there is value in honesty. I realize that I shoot myself in the foot with the same regularity as I eat, and I’m not foolish enough to believe that that’s mostly for the cause of enabling others, though it is occasionally.

I’m more selfish than I want to be; sometimes it’s hard to believe there is yet goodness in me. Once I had convinced myself I was artsy, but now I know that I’m just angsty… the drama queen I always strove not to be. Are we ever who we want, in reality?

Fame is fleeting, as is beauty. I’ve been lucky enough not to be granted either in excess. Nor do I have great knowledge, though I once thought I liked philosophy  Philosophists’ agonizing over-analyzing killed that theory. Yet, even in these words I seek to be more known. In everything I am the antithesis of all I hoped to be. I show, in all things, too much of my humanity, which I’m told is tacky…but I always admired vulnerability.

There are moments I wish I could freeze, but really nothing is all that we remember it to be. In conclusion, I’ll refrain from over-speculation on where I see myself, let alone our nation in any span of time: a month, a year… Though, through ash colored glasses, I see myself not much closer to my destination, yet closer to death. Make what you will of that prediction. Kind salutations to you on your trek, whose path crossed with mine on this occasion. Fare thee well.

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Categories: Poems | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Awakening

“I want to wake up kicking and screaming.
I want to live like I know what I’m leaving.
I want to know that my heart is still beating.”
~Switchfoot

I get so lost in the haze these days. Granted, I probably remember the past as being more simple than it truly was, but still… I’m looking for answers in what feels like a half-asleep daze, yet I dislike both those who claim to have simple, pat solutions and those who say “Your choice…I don’t want to sway you.” Why don’t we all come with instruction manuals?

I complain too much. I’ve got it good compared to many, both in mental and physical ways; to grumble about feelings of stagnation and apathy really doesn’t do anyone any good, but then what does? Someone told me “You did come with an instruction mainual– God’s Word.” It isn’t that simple. I don’t like change, but neither do I like rutstuckedness. I think I would take change over these feelings. Maybe I’ll meet God at camp and He will tell me what to do, but I have my doubts.

Doubts…I think I have all of the disciples’ weaknesses: doubting Thomas, impulsive Peter, wanting God to do what I expect is his plan and remove my troubles (for him the Romans) Judas. So many weaknesses and so few strengths. I wish I got directions in visions like Paul. “Go here. Do this.” But I guess we all have different versions of the thorn in the flesh to remind us of our humanness. That’s something I hope never to forget– my unworthiness and God’s grace. Our camp theme is going to be “It’s Not About Me”, something this grumbler could use to be reminded of. It’s about Him and His glory and His plan, even when I see no semblance of an organized plan in my life.

I need to get out of this fog. I want to wake up, know what I’m leaving, feel my heart beating, and really live, whether that means leaving the humdrum and mundane behind or learning to live voraciously in the midst of routine I do not know. I rather hope it is the former. Care to share any ideas of what has helped you to break out of spiritual ruts? I would love the help of The Body. Tell me, how do you keep from losing heart? How do you stay spiritually awake?

Categories: My Life, Ponderings | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vegetables vs. People

Remember when I used to post twice a week back in my good blogger days when I had at least some of the answers and life was slower and filled with the people I loved? Those days are long gone now. So much has changed now, and I know less than I did before. But I’ve had a precious opportunity to go back for a week to people. Summer camp…those magical words. Senior high…I’ve been there, done that shebang. I may not have much wisdom, but at least I can relate. The idea of summer, and being surrounded by excited brink-of-adulthood people, and wearing normal or abnormal clothes (my job makes me realize how much I took both jeans and Ts and being allowed to express my weirdness through my apparel for granted), and seeking God together, and being outdoors makes my heart light up in places that have been dim for quite some time. Actually, I’m afraid I’ll be discontent when I have to go back.

I’ve said it before, I don’t really mind my job. I like handling food, produce in particular, though by this point I’ve seen more than my fair share. The people are pretty amazing. They appreciate my weirdness (apart from the store owner). My boss works with me and forgives my stupid mistakes (like showing up for work two hours early due to bleariness from working mornings all week and general incompetence with numbers.) The money isn’t bad, and we’ve got a pay raise coming up here soon. Honestly, my only complaint is that my wrists being mutilated from the repeated motions of the wrapper. Writing two pages in a notebook never hurt like that before. But when your boss gets you a $10.00 pen for Christmas, it’s not exactly right to complain that your job is encumbering your writing either, is it? I’ve faced worse pain. I’ll survive.

No, I don’t mind my job much at all. There are good days and bad days, but such is life. Yet, while I don’t dislike my job, it also does not fulfill my passion. Maybe it’s unrealistic to expect that anymore. Maybe I’m stupid to still want to do something that I love. After all, I’m lucky to be doing something that I don’t hate with people that I get along with most of the time. That makes me better off than many I know. Besides, I might not even like teaching. It’s a morning job, and sometimes being cooped up in a building with a bunch of over-dramatic adults is enough to get on my nerves, and that doesn’t even hold a candle to being in a classroom with a group of melodramatic teens, struggling, sometimes in very unattractive, frustrating ways, to find their place in the world. Even still, that mental image ignites my soul, much like that of the week of counseling at summer camp. I want to be making a difference. No matter what the par of my work with vegetables and fruits, no matter the degree of excellence or professionalism I achieve, it’s not going to change anyone’s life. Should I settle for less?

I should note here that I realize the possibility of being a light to my coworkers, and I do strive to be one. But there is something about the impressionable, young time. The majority of people who make a decision for Christ do so before their late teens. Even if it were not so, those people, those kind of places put a light in my soul like no other. A week without pay is more than worth a week at camp to me. But is there a way I could love the people and make a living simultaneously? Something achievable, and not debt inducing? A journey there that I could enjoy along the way? Or should I settle? Some of the employees at the store I work with have been there for twenty plus years. Regardless of whether I stay there, do I want to work any job not geared towards the people for any length of time? I think these things, and I get up and go to work each day. I’ve come no closer to a conclusion. I think, for now, maybe I’ll buy myself a car.

 

Categories: Journey Prologues., My Life | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

So Ready

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“I feel like going home.”

“Beulah land, I’m longing for you.”

“I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”

He tells me I’m young. I have a life to live. But what is that life in light of Heaven? I’ve never been oh so ready to meet my maker, to rest easy–like Bilbo in Rivendell–to be at peace. “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” I stay for the people. I love them. They need Jesus. I stay to “go ye therefore and make disciples…” To love them as He has loved me. Caring so much means my heart is torn out over and over again. I can’t save them, and they choose destructively often. But I stay. To love is to be as Christ to the people. But I fervently yearn to go. Maybe God will take me early. I’m homesick for Heaven; I’m ready to fly away “like a bird from these prison walls.” I am not afraid of death, no, I am ready.

Maybe saying that makes me apathetic or depressed. I would say it just makes me world worn. The monotonous repetitiveness of life drains me sometimes. I work every day for money I hardly care about. Everything repeats–large and small–there is nothing new under the sun. All is vanity. We are ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Who and what we are in between is complex and incomprehensible. Worldviews shaped by lives. Lives shaped by the choices of so very many people. Just when I think I finally understand someone in comes a new facet I had totally missed…

I think we fear death too much in the church today. Look back to the old songs and you catch that yearning for Heaven. Today we are entirely caught up in surviving and thriving and worshiping in the now. Which isn’t wrong entirely, but…the pleasures on this earth are merely appetizers, foretastes of the pleasure of Heaven. We devour them and chase them and still feel lack. At least, I do. We weren’t meant to live for the now. We were meant to live for the hope of then. To store our hope, our treasure in Heaven, for if our heart is there moth and rust cannot destroy and the thieves cannot break in and steal. If my hope is in that grand afterlife nothing and no one can take it from me. I like what C. S. Lewis said: “If I find myself with desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” Yes. The best of times here are echoes of what is to come.

I am ready to leave, but as I wait I’m going to invite as many of the lonely, broken people to come to my Father’s house with me as I can. I don’t force it down throats. But I try to live as His child. I try to show them why. And in a way, each day I say “Wait a little longer please Jesus. Just a few more days to get [my] loved ones in.” But sometimes I resonate much more with Rich’s word: “It won’t break my heart to say goodbye.” I am torn between two worlds. I am a sojourner here. But I belong there…”This is my temporary home.” Are you ready? Are you torn also? Are you reaching people for the Kingdom? Are you ready and prepared to finally go home? Oh, what a glorious day that will be!

Categories: My Life, Ponderings, rants | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Muddling on

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf I told you everything that is happening in my life right now you would think I was making it up because it sound more like science fiction than reality. It’s odd, because I’m living under the shell of normalcy– I go to work every day, I’m applying for college–but none of that really matters. It’s the conversations in the wee hours that mean something to my numb heart. Answering questions about Hell and “Have you ever been depressed?”, acknowledging together that the hungry darkness doesn’t want to stop with taking just one soul, trying to help with unnamed problems…many other things I will not tell you here.

Sometimes I don’t know why the people trust me. God knows, many days continuing the fight seems just as impossible to me as to them, but (as a new friend of mine likes to say) “I know the rules. Muddle on.” There is nothing new under the sun. Man is still born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. And that trouble is heavy. The darkness is deep. There is no way to prevail without God, yet  I talk mostly to those who have not yet chosen Him. It gets sad sometimes. Someone told me the other day “I am a perfect, wretched soul.” Truly, God has planted eternity in the hearts of men. Yet we can be so close to truth and still so far away.

I am not better than them. I am human. Maybe I was unfairly blessed to have God in my upbringing, but that is the only difference. It is amazing that even with all the study of life and psychology and the human condition we cannot understand them. They are uncondensible. The only words that get them right are found in lyrics and the Bible because both are vague enough to retain the mystery. I laugh when people call the Bible God’s love letter. Have they read it?

But I am getting off topic. My train of thought is a train wreck of late–even more scattered than usual. I’ve been wanting to write here though. Again, I have no perfect ending, nothing to say except that I covet your prayers. I try to impart wisdom in the wee hours; I am struggling to live wisely myself. I am discovering how important it is that my hope is built on nothing less and nothing more than Jesus, that it be found in Christ alone because all else will fail. I am fighting emotions and lack thereof. “I’m not all-right. I’m broken inside.” But I don’t want pity; don’t worry over me. So long for now, friends. I will be back sometime, writing who knows what. It takes so little time for everything to change.

 

Categories: Journey Prologues., Ponderings, rants | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

My Purpose

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was afraid of losing my purpose, of purposelessness. I was  afraid of too much suffocating small talk this winter at work. “Nice”, facade shrouded Christian  people who wouldn’t let me in versus the “bad”, crazy, hurting, needy ones at the people place I’ve had to leave behind. That is what I was going to write about last week. I had the words scrawled in a notebook. It wasn’t my best post ever, but it would have done. But I didn’t get a chance to type it, because I was too busy doing more important things. Instant messaging is amazing. It means I haven’t had to leave the people behind.

Go to bed they tell me. Go to sleep. Get off the computer. And I do. I always leave before I want to, but sometimes it’s hard to balance the necessary things that don’t mean anything to me, and (what some people would call) the unnecessary things that matter beyond words. The joke at our house has always been “I can’t get off! Someone is wrong on the internet.” but that doesn’t even begin to compare to my reason now. “I can’t get off. Someone is hurting, needy, broken, desperate, seeking God…on the internet.” I thought for a while that I wanted to be a psychiatrist. I think I even talked about it on here. I decided not to because it’s a lot of time and money to get the degree, and with it I wouldn’t even be able to help the ones I want to anyways. The ones I want to help can’t or won’t pay. But just because I’ve decided against that career doesn’t mean that the reason I was attracted to it is gone. The people still need love and hope. I still feel the deep need to be the ear they need. No one wants to be alone.

Another thing I said I was afraid of in my old post was living for the weekend. Not in the typical sense, but still. I’m afraid of surviving the workweek, not really living, always waiting for the next time I get to see the people. The next time I get to be Jesus. This is what I live for now–to love on the people. This is what fulfills me even though I know (and am becoming ever more aware of) the fact that it isn’t me or my words that can heal them. I can’t heal, but I can be an arrow. I live to point them to the one who can help. I live for this, which is why the last few years before I went to the people place were so hard. I was purposeless, living in a bubble of Christian “friends” when what I really wanted to do was reach the broken. I am terrified of being that again.

It’s a huge responsibility. Which words to say? I represent Christ, and if I flub up there are consequences. It’s hard sometimes because there are so many, and I can’t help them all. When they all message me at once, and I want to give each the attention they deserve it can get overwhelming. But I’m learning how to balance.  I’m learning how to balance four conversations at once. I’m learning how to balance the annoying necessities like earning money, and the deeply meaningful like loving on other humans. Like accepting them, embracing them, and being the ear they need. They’re not weak, they’re just human. We all need a listening ear.

So whatever I do, wherever I go, I don’t want anything ever to stop me from this. This is my purpose. This is my passion. This is my reason to live.

Categories: Journey Prologues., My Life | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beyond Milk

Life , God, truth– these are uncondensible. We try valiantly to stuff them into 45 minute Sunday school lessons, but it doesn’t work because life isn’t always simply black and white.,DSCN0277“Tommy shouldn’t have done that.” like the didactic  story lessons. Sometimes life can be made to feel absolute for a time, like at summer camp, or a Christian retreat facility. But isn’t that lying? The re-committed victims come home and try to hold the feeling only to crash and burn eventually. All that to say that I feel guilty for teaching condensed milk  lessons, but I don’t know what to do about it.

I can’t teach life. Sure, I can bring in real life stories, and try to broaden the focus of my topic, but ultimately I will always fail to unpack all aspects of a subject. I will often fail to bring out enough to apply to even most real world situations. It irks me even though I know I am not superhuman. It scares me be because I don’t want always to teach to a single end, or through a single lens like the teachers that frustrate me. I want to pull in multiple angles, explain and express them well, and finally to present a choice, as  my favorite teachers have. I do not want to be like the ones screaming “This is the only true view!” as I shove my beliefs down students’ throats.

This is my conundrum. It takes longer to make great lessons, and inspiration doesn’t always come. Even when it does come I am never fully satisfied with the results. I will never reach perfection because I am a broken vessel, exceedingly imperfect. I know I should lighten up, but I don’t know if I can, because it’s human souls we’re talking about here. The best I can do is pray that God uses me in my brokenness to reach their hearts.

Categories: My Life, rants | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Snapshot

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASummer is almost over. I am squeezing all that I can out of these last days. I cannot stop the passing of time. I cannot go back and fully appreciate all the moments that I missed, but I can live for now, today, this moment. I cannot capture every ounce of now and preserve it for other months which are beautiful in different ways, but I can capture glimpses, snapshots, tidbits…”For now we see dimly as in a mirror…” It’s worth trying in vain to capture the foretastes of Heaven that I see on earth, if only for the experience.

But I don’t want trying to lead to obsessing, for then  I will miss the current moment trying to hoard the past. We are, after all, given daily bread. The wisest man ever to have lived said to eat, drink, and be merry. All the hoarding is in vain if I die tomorrow, for I cannot take things with me into the next life. I am convinced that no one ever has truly lived life to the fullest. No one is exempt from regrets. No one fully appreciates the hoarded memories of those who brought us here in the first place. Mostly we just ignore the past, and that’s why living for the present has it’s problems.

If no one has lived fully and perfectly, then I hold little hope of being above average, but that will not stop me from drinking deep, laughing long, or working intensely. Perspective means so much. I know I lose perspective far too often. In the grand scheme of things I am invisibly small, but that will not stop me from living my vapor life as best I can for my Creator.

It is true that I always fall short. I don’t pray enough, witness well, fully enjoy,commit as I should…but  that’s where grace comes in. It’s another thing to celebrate, so much bigger than the changing of seasons; so much bigger than I can grasp. But I will rejoice in it anyways with reckless abandon. I can never praise the Savior enough to make up for this great gift, or any of His gifts for that matter. But watch me try. Watch me please Him by participating in His gifts. Jesus’ applause is the best feeling in the world.

As I’m living in the moments that bring summer to a close these are things I’m thinking of, though hopefully I’m not thinking too much to miss the moments. It’s an impossible juggling act I will admit, but I think it’s worth a try.

(Giving credit where credit is due I thank N. D. Wilson, and incredible end of summer day trips for the inspiration for this post.)

Categories: My Life | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Not All Better

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt would be nice to say that everything is all better now, but it wouldn’t be honest. There are good moments and there are bad hours. Such is life. These last days have been busy without much time for thinking, and I’m still not sure if that is good or bad. There has been much laughter with people, and many unshed tears of frustration without them; the laughter was real, and so was the frustration. I’ll never figure me out, though I do know small things. I know I like to play hard, and I know that I am horribly selfish. I know that I like people, and words, but especially sarcastic words and people. I usually dislike numbers. I know that I enjoy good food almost too much, and that I’ll never stop wishing to fly. I know that I am loved by God. Well that was off topic, wasn’t it?

What I really came to share was a poem I wrote recently because I thought I lacked the words to write a blog post. I’m beginning to doubt that I lack the words, but I still hold that I have nothing new to say. So I present you this poem in all it’s imperfection, not because you need to know more about where I am or say nice words about it, but because maybe it will touch you, and maybe the brokenness of art will stir your soul. That’s what I would like to hope anyways. Before that poem I’ll share some words that belong to Rich Mullins, a fool for Christ, which helped me make it  through this past week.

    “We don’t ever understand what we’re praying.”

Simple faith and wonder
Back when all wasn’t based on me.
They say we only progress through times of despair;
I say I want to see.
I want God to quench my longing,
to fill my cup over.
The desert sands are calling
For a sip of living water.
 
He said drink and you’ll never thirst again,
But I am as the deer-
Panting, longing, yearning when
The water must be near.
Just Beyond my grasp it seems,
Spirit and tongues of fire.
Will I ever glean
Why He ways wait to my desire?
 ¶
Jesus, Savior fill my cup.
I need to feel your nearness.
If You don’t come I might give up,
For nothing can match your dearness.
Categories: My Life, Poems, Ponderings | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Tidbits

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen real life has taken over blog life and there are far too many things that I feel I need to explore in words on my own before I can write them here understandably, what am I to do? Maybe I will forsake reason, and do said exploring here, leaving you to wade through the muddle of my mind and sort it into piles. Maybe I will try to categorize things a bit, with a new paragraph for each topic . Maybe I will do a bit of both. In any case I wish you luck in understanding the following; please know that there is no guarantee this post will make sense. Read at your own risk.

It was good to see the ones I hadn’t seen in almost exactly a year last Sunday. It was grand to see them again, and relate as we always have through sports. After a hectic week lifting the weight off of my back through hockey was a wonderful experience. I guess the week wasn’t so much hectic as it was heavy, emotionally speaking of course. All the same, getting in the game and in the zone where everything fades away was good. I think I almost always have a better outlook on life after that game. Teamwork, mutual encouragement, and a lot of sweat must be a magic potion of sorts.

Speaking of the emotions of last week, I must say that I am less apprehensive about this summer than I was last. I will miss school, but the school time activities seem to be transferring into the summer time more. The volume of the people I’ll see may fade, but they won’t all leave. I wasn’t as close with this year’s seniors either. Still, I can’t believe it’s already the middle of June. I don’t want to wish the summer away, but I can’t wait for next school year either, though it is kind of a anticipation and dread. You can’t treasure every moment, and time is growing short.

On to a very different topic… I keep finding myself focusing on teaching. Bad teaching frustrates me even more than it used to, and a certain (new) good teacher I’ve found recently is even more appreciated. It’s not everyone who can make an applicable, powerful lesson out of Leviticus. I’ve been thinking about that lesson for almost a week now, and things keep connecting. You know, it’s not hard to obtain a wrong view of God. You know, it’s easy to do the right things for the wrong reasons, and I need to repent of that too. You know, God looks at the heart, at the reasons behind the actions.  Salvation is not based on works. It’s always hugely humbling when so many obvious things  come together and convict me as they have.

I’m trying to make time to think about all of those things, and change my motives. I’m supposed to have more time now that school is out, right? I’m trying to make time to write things out so that they make sense in my brain (Does anyone else do that?),  but things keep coming up. Scheduling trips, and loving on children near and dear to God’s heart… Yearly traditions that can’t be forsaken, and little chores that need to be done. I make time but never enough.

So there you have it. A rambling nonsensical post. It’s not quite as bad as I thought it would be, but it is a bit long. Hopefully a rambling blog post is better than no blog post. Well, that’s all I have to say ’til next time.

Categories: My Life, Ponderings | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

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