“It was when I was happiest that I longed most. The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing to find the place where all the beauty came from.” ~C.S. Lewis
It’s time for Summer Camp again, and once again I find myself full of longing. It’s not always around Camp time, but it does seem to get stronger at this time of year. The quote from Lewis, above, sums it up better than I could ever say it. Jack has a way of doing that.
Perhaps some of you can relate, and perhaps not. Perhaps I’m truly crazy, but so many times throughout my life I have had such a strong sense of longing – a longing to see “home” – not to leave this life that is so wonderful, but to get back to where it is that I came from. I know I’ve said these things before, probably too often, but it is what it is and I can’t seem to shake it. God seems so close and yet sometimes so far away. Heaven is there and yet I can’t quite seem to grasp it. The way a tree sways, or a scent on the breeze in mid-summer, or even the color of the azure sky; all of these can sometimes have an ethereal feeling about them. There are times when many of these things remind me of something, and it’s not a nostalgic feeling but much more of a longing. The imprint of Eden remains despite the corruption that exists, and I can see it through what would seem to be a very thin veil.
I think others feel this way as well. I find myself surrounded by artists and musicians, poets and writers, all of whom feel lost, disillusioned, and like they’re not fulfilling their own purpose. We all believe and are often able to see, even if in nothing more than a glimpse, the influence of God all around us. And yet, we continue to drudge along at jobs that stifle, and stay silent at churches that are asleep.
It is damp and dreary here in West Indy, but the flowers on my porch and in my yard are in full bloom, and that makes all the difference. I’m sure some hate the thought of “yard work” or anything to do with planting and keeping something growing alive, but for me it’s bliss to have a few hours alone with nothing more than dirt, plants, and silence. I haven’t always been this way, but the older I’ve gotten, and the more chaotic things are with the rest of life, the more I’ve come to cherish the brief, shining moments in my little garden. In many ways the simple task of planting something and watching it grow, while at the same time adding beauty and color to an otherwise drab exterior – well, it reminds me of something else; something bigger and older and quite simply, better than most of what I see and hear around me.
The flowers and plants remind me that some things in this life are still beautiful and worth fighting for – my wife and marriage, my Godchildren, my family and friends, and the Good and Truth that remains here against all odds. I find that God places little reminders everywhere, and usually they come right when I need them. And hence, the reason for this post. I mentioned in the last update that I would be telling some of the stories of living with 3 children not my own and the dramatic change that this has brought upon my wife and I. This is one of many, and like my flowers, it’s one way in which God has broken through the haze and blur of postmodern life and stirred this otherwise cold and sleepy heart.
The last couple weeks have been particularly trying for us as parents. Due to some unfortunate…
It’s been an interesting couple of weeks to be sure. The weather here in NapTown has gone from a pleasant 65 degrees and blue skies to the more seasonal 45 degrees complete with the usual Novemberish ceiling of gray. In one word – oppressive. The skies seem to mimic what’s happening in my own life as well.
After a round of antibiotics to treat a bad sinus infection I found myself ill yet again with a bad cold. I can only presume that due to 6 weeks of being sick my immune system was just too weak to fight it off. So I spent yet another weekend and a couple days off of work feeling like crap and lying in bed with only my thoughts to keep me warm…well, that and a big fluffy blanket.
Our good friends, the Jewett’s, came to visit this past weekend, and as always it was a joy to be with them and have time for conversation and fellowship. We had missed them dearly and as the time for their own pending adventure nears we seem to cherish each time together a little more.
As a surprise bonus we had a visit from our friends, the Wendland’s, on Saturday afternoon. They traveled up from Cincinnati with their children to pick up a family member in the evening, but wanted to spend the day seeing old friends in Indy. Their 6 month old infant, Elias, has recently been diagnosed with Krabbe Leukodystrophy,
…I may always feel looking back on any past sin that in the very heart of my evil passion there was something that God approves and wants me to feel not less but more. Take a sin of lust. The overwhelming thirst for rapture was good and even divine; it has not got to be unsaid (so to speak) and recanted. But it will never be quenched as I tried to quench it. If I refrain…God will be guiding me as quickly as He can to where I shall get what I really wanted all the time. It will not be very like what I now think I want; but it will be more like it than some suppose. In any case it will be the real thing, not a consolation prize or substitute. If I had it I should not need to fight against sensuality as something impure; rather I should spontaneously turn away from it as something dull, cold, abstract, and artificial…
When we are tempted, we must remember that just because God wants for us what we really want and knows the only way to get it, therefore He must, in a sense, be quite ruthless towards sin… The more He loves you the more determined He must be to pull you back from your way which leads nowhere, into His way which leads you where you want to go… You may go the wrong way again, and again He may forgive you…but there is no hope in the end of getting where you want to go except by going God’s way…” ~C.S. Lewis
So, after a few months it’s time for another posting in the “Down the Path” series. The quote from Lewis (above) is one of my most favorite and one that has had a significant impact in my life. I was reminded of it after a difficult talk with an old friend yesterday, albeit one that ended well. The crux of our conversation was about desire, selfishness, longing, and the difficult task of finding our way in the world. It was good to catch up and to simply listen. As I mentioned in my last post it seems that life often just picks up speed and spins us around, and things move so quickly that we rarely stop and take the time to reflect on all that’s happened, or to catch up with old friends. There can quickly become a chasm of things unsaid, and that’s the real sadness of it all. Continue reading