30 August 2003

Episode IV: A New Hope

Pardon the Star Wars geeky-ness. I am excited to see my brother, crackers from the Westside, and Bachelor Pad of Glory alumni and current B.P.O.G. brothers this weekend! Supposedly 6-8 guys will be coming with their instruments and frisbees, and will be bringing me beer (oh precious Guinness, thou art fairer still…) and flesh meats. Oh happy day! And, as an added bonus, my precious little God-daughter is coming for a visit! Thank you Father!

28 August 2003

BS&T Day

8/28/2003 @ 10:49p.m.

Tessa at 6 Weeks

Yes, that’s right. Today has been mostly a “Spinnin’ Wheel” Day. (Old Blood, Sweat, and Tears song…if you don’t know it, you should) I’m believing more and more that men go through some type of “cycle” just like women do every month. Perhaps it’s the moon’s gravitational pull. Perhaps it’s the closeness of Mars. Perhaps it’s the 36 oz. of Italian Roast coffee. Perhaps it’s the secret black box government mind control tests. I don’t know. All I know is that sometimes I feel like I’m on a roller coaster. Content one moment and cranky the next; much like my little Goddaughter. I’m learning so much about myself from her. I never would have guessed that I would see more of the Truth from a 4 week old baby. I’m beginning to see the great blessing in having children. Not sure if I’m ready for my own yet…

Tess cries one moment, eats the next, and then goes to sleep…not much different from most adults I know; just a lot less complicated. I suppose not much different than me. 🙂 (Except for the complicated part of course.)Which, begs the question: Why does she seem so content, and I seem so unsatisfied? With some thinking, I believe that I am starting to understand Christ’s words, “…you must become like little children…” When I look into Tessa’s eyes, I see complete humility & meekness, simple trust, unconditional love, and deep serenity. She trusts me completely, and without question. There is no hint of doubt in her eyes. She looks at me when I hold her with this love that permeates the cloud that hangs on my heart, and I know that her love for me is not dependent on the fact that I’m holding her, becuase I see it everytime she gazes at me. And the peace in that gaze…good Lord! How I long to be wrapped in that! To be held in the love and peace that I see there in her eyes.

What is it then that happens to us; to me. To go from that to this; from peace to fear; from trust to doubt. Why do I wrap myself up in all the cares of this world? Why do I buy from the brokers of lies? Why do I believe the lie that I am alone in this world; that no one is out there? Why, when I have the unconditional love of The Lover, do I let myself feel rejected and unworthy? Why can’t I just simply TRUST in that Love? I mean, Jesus came to ME, Luke, and I still feel alone!!! I see now why I need to go back, in a sense. If it’s true that, because of the Lie and ultimately our choice, the world is upside down, then the path of wisdom lies in becoming a child again. So, I suppose it’s true that everything I ever needed to know, I learned in kindergarten. Or, perhaps even sooner. Perhaps I was born with everything I needed to know, and I’ve just chosen to forget it. Scary thought. I’m born with the knowledge of God, all the trust and grace I’ll ever need, and yet now, 25 years later, I’ve got to work hard just to remember that I’m still His.

So how does it end then? The more I get the blessing of holding little Tess, the more I think I understand. Everything Jesus ever said was so simple that “even” children could understand it. I (and most likely all adults) add on the “even” to the children. As if we really ever understand. Yet, for all of the things our Lord said, so many of the “intellectuals” of the time had absolutely NO idea what he meant. The children seemed to get it just fine! I think Solomon summed it up best by saying, “I’ve found that God created us to be very simple; and we have made ourselves very complicated.” Look at the troubles that divide humanity; war, racism, greed, power, sex, etc. A child cares for none of it! She learn’s to care about it. We, in all of our wisdom, raise kids to be “adults” and to think “maturely” on their own. We teach them to fear. “Be careful! Watch out! That choice may lead you to suffering. You don’t want to hurt do you?” “Make sure you keep your grades up.” “You want to go to college and be “successful” don’t you?” “Make sure you don’t get married until you’re out of college and have a stable job; You’re not old enough to make good decisions yet.” and on and on and on. The sad thing is, this permeates the Church as well. For instance, “You can go to church camp as long as you won’t get kicked off the football team for missing practice.” “No, you can’t quit school for a semester and go on a missions trip! Do you want to throw away the best years of your life?” “Your ball games are on Sundays? Well, I guess we’ll just have to miss church for a few weeks.” We teach our kids that what matters most isn’t knowing God and living a life of love; it’s getting a good education so that they can have a great career that will provide them with a stable future so that they won’t have to suffer. They learn to distrust God, and then are robbed of wonder. Life becomes so regimented that it loses all sense of awe. Is it any suprise then that suicide is the number one killer of adolescents? Then, after telling them all this, we read them scripture and tell them that God should be most important in our lives. It’s a double standard. Why do we look suprised then when less and less of todays youth desire to serve the Lord in ministry? Why do we water down the Gospel until it just becomes a nice “idea?” Rich Mullins says, “Christianity is not about building a perfect little niche in the world, where you can live with your perfect little wife and your perfect little kids in your perfect little house, where there are no gays or minority groups around you.”

I wholeheartedly agree, and I can only pray that as I am transformed into being God’s in the measure He so desires, that I will pass on to my God-daughter, and eventually (God-willing) my own kids a sense of the wonder and awe that He has bestowed upon me. I can teach them to laugh and love all of their lives, and by my example to remember that living a life of love is more important than living a life of limited liabilities. Perhaps, in doing this, I will remember what it was like to love unconditionally and without fear of rejection, and finally acquire inner peace and complete trust in the all sufficient Grace of God. All I know is that I see Him in little Tessa’s eyes, and I never want to look away. That’s contentment! Glory to God for All Things!

25 August 2003

Nap Town

Back from a short weekend in Nap Town. (That’s Indy for all ye uninitiated.) I thought I should perhaps post again about the whole depression thing. While I often do feel lonely here in the woods, I also somehow feel at peace too. Being back in the city was fabuolous, and only makes me miss it more. However, being back also makes me realize how much of a gift this time away has been, and still will be. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but somehow, it just seems that way. I think it just makes me appreciate my family and friends, and also the parish there even more. It’s kind of like when you go on a family vacation, you have a ball, but by the end of the week (or two) you can think of a billion places you’d rather be than with your family, and you can’t wait until the vacation is over because they’re all about to drive you over that fine line between sanity and madness. How’s the old saying go, “You never miss something until it’s gone…” I find this to be more and more true; city life, family, friends, youth, innocence, Starbucks… (Had to throw that last one in. 🙂 )

I’m such a fickle creature. On the one hand I want peace and simplicity, yet I have a cell phone and computer; I take a rest in the country, and then pine for the city; I say I want to love the Lord God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and my neighbor as myself, and then go about forgetting Him and cursing my neighbor for interfering in MY life! I say that I want to give the Lord my whole life, and instead, I second guess Him as to what He’s doing with it. Why? Because it’s too painful! Why do I make these stipulations? I’ve thought more and more about this since Summer Camp. Our theme this year was Ephesians 5:1-2, and 1 Peter 4:8. It talks about “…living a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us…” The more I consider this verse, the more I’m ashamed of my own unwillingness to do that very thing. Christ gave Himslef up for us without any stipulations. He obeyed the Father in all things. His love was unconditional. My own love is so cheap compared to that! “Use me Lord; oh, but not in that way and this way. And, if at all possible, I’d like to avoid any pain and suffering.” Lord Have Mercy!

It seems that more and more this world is sliding into the abyss of self satisfaction and complete disregard for true love. Even modern Christianity is touched by it all. So much of what I see on T.V. or listen to on radio is about God giving us an annointing to amass wealth and power. Sure, it’s easy to follow God’s will for your life if it involves wealth and power. Wow. As blessed C.S. Lewis says, “Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud-pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

21 August 2003

Depressed

It’s 5:30 a.m. and I’m wide awake, having gone to bed at 9:00 last night. It has occurred to me more and more lately that I’m depressed. I’m usually a pretty happy guy, but I miss my friends in the city. I really (arrogantly) thought that I’d do just fine here in the country, but apparantly that’s not the case. I’m always on the quest to know myself better, but most times I just fail miserably at it, and then wind up right here again. Depressed. Who was it that said, “Know thyself.” I’d like to thank him and then shoot him. Can you ever really KNOW yourself?
In doing some analysis, it seems that I thought I needed wide open spaces (and perhaps I do…to explore my dixie chic side…) but I am so energized being around other people. Hence, a city type setting, which can be stressful, but I love the options and the possibility of seeing people when I would like to. However, I am so calmed and at peace here in the woods as well, and often felt the sense in the city that I needed to get away. Perhaps I just need to set better boundaries. Ahhhh….the magic word. Janna gets on me all the time about having clear boundaries. I tend to say yes and no rather than, “I don’t know” or “I’ll think about it…” Get’s me into more trouble than anything else. And then, being here in this depressed space, I suddenly find myself wanting to turn to all the old passions to “pacify” what doesn’t feel so good in me. You know, kind of like giving candy to a spoiled kid. Sure, they’ll shut up, but you’ll only have reinforced the rotten character. Why do we do this to ourselves. “Satiate and gratify, feed yourself, believe the lie…” (Those are copyrighted lyrics, so hands off…) 😉 It seems that I live, perhaps with others in this pattern, on a continuous winding path. The only problem is that is just keeps going ’round. Over and over and over and over and over again; much like a broken carousel. I can deal with that if I only knew that it was slowly widing upwards; “further up and deeper in” to quote the blessed C.S. Lewis. However, most of the time it just feels like I’m endlessly spinning around, while being sucked to the outside of the circle and at some point, I’m gonna get sick and puke. Perhaps that’s what purgation is then…I get so tired of the loop and so dizzy and sick with sin that I have to spew it out in order to start again. Hmmm…confession…such a pain in the ass and yet a real blessing in such dismal times. Wisdom? Perhaps. At any rate, it’s lonely here…
Ooops…late for breakfast…the lady beckoneth me…