we were in the cook shed (the back porch of my grandpas house that has evolved over the years into a second kitchen/ living room/ diner/ meeting place/..., of which my pawpaw is very proud of) sitting around talking about the origins of the mob we call our family, back when my parents, aunts, and uncles were spitting out us grandchildren. pawpaw, perched in his iconic directors chair, smoked his cigarette and listened to us cackle over the same priceless family stories we love to tell every year around this time. when the phone rang he answered it from his low-tech command center, a homemade chopping block sitting beside his chair complete with a cup of pencils, a notepad, ash tray, phone book, and of course a phone.
we continued our stroll down memory lane while pawpaw got news that his cousin may be on the losing end of an infection that entered his blood stream. we knew something was up, so when he hung up the phone we all looked at him, awaiting the news. he made it through about ten words and he just stopped.
ive never seen him cry before tonight. never really seen him show any emotion outside of happiness (if the cowboys win) or frustration (if mawmaw uses all the hot water in her bath).
the tension created by those opposing forces, Joy and Sorrow, in that moment brought my mom to tears and the rest of the room to silence.
may the revelation of my genesis be the fulfillment of my joy.
as her eyelids opened, thoughts of her friend immediately found her. apart from the untimely hour, this was commonplace, she thought of him often.
she rolled over to see snowflakes floating past her window. she then pulled her bedding up, leaving nothing exposed but her wandering mind.
carter was prone to the unexpected and anne had begun to expect such behavior from him. fortunately, by this point in their story, she could forecast, weeks in advance, the next front to blow in. she had spent the last few weeks preparing her self for this one.
she thought about the comfort that their friendship provided her and how she would miss it dearly if he were to go away. she thought about that same comfort and his avoidance of it, fearing that that warmth would be enough to keep him sheltered from the fronts that periodically blew in to sweep him away.
they loved to study one another. to look into the deepest motives of each others being and then compare them to their own, anxious that they would not align. but they always did. still she knew his ways were not hers. but it was those traits anne most adored.
"hope to see you soon, friend", she whispered aloud towards the icy window, smiled, and closed her eyes.
ever since ive known him hes been struggling with what it is that God wants him to become. we have that in common.
in our america, laboring through the torrent of careers and dreams, each with their seemingly life or death stakes, is the trademark of this season of life. but i dont believe that should be the fate of a 20-something that is impersonating Christ.
heres one thing i know. in a sea of measurless options and possibilities, successes and failures, i am meant to create. its not much of a direction in life but its a start i suppose. thats what God has given me and apparently thats all i need right now.
i love to look back on some of my older posts and think about that time, those thoughts. and so i want to record some of my projects as well.
this is a djembe stand i just finished for a friend of mine. it was a lot of fun. its a new trend so it was definitely a new project for me, lots of brainstorming and development. merry christmas.
Perhaps great risk would be perpetually rewarded with good fortune. Maybe overgrown paths would again be walked, with gifts of affirmation found along the way.
But if I discover that what I rightfully deserved is a far cry from the man I want to be and the woman I want to love, oh God give me mercy.
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hannah is a 13 year old in junior high and this is all becoming real to me now.
i remember her at a teletubbies birthday party and her as a lady bug for halloween.
now we watch house together and she uses words that ive only recently learned.
it was sincere and innocent. i wasnt much help to her, i know that, because she cares more about her friends at school than my selfish heart can comprehend. luckily she didnt really need the advice, she just needed someone to talk to and i was happy to be that someone.
music fans: check out this band that ive been addicted to lately, sleeping at last.
the growth began stirring in the deeps of my chest about a year ago, pounding from my sternum a primitive rhythm. so pure and true for reasons i still cannot explain. a quite unsettling notion.
then benign took the offensive to invade my veins that morning as i walked confident strokes down that white street; uniting the foreign to the beating in my own chest. to unmask this mysterious, infectious, growth would render my adventure a success.
but if i had found that the growth were nothing more than my father's world in disguise, that all i knew, forever was, all this existence could offer my longing soul, would i have survived that winter?
the station stood smirking before me.
"well, well, the boy did show". he remarked with a chuckle.
we had met many times before. a stalwart portal sewn with stone and mortar and laced with discarded ignorance. i grew infatuated with its energy. i often sat on the platform to breathe deeply the joy of the homesick reuniting with the the homes they left incomplete and to covet the look of uninhibited wonder and anticipation on the faces of my fellow adventurers as the unfamiliar desert wind draws the moisture from their pores.
i removed my hat and reached for my ticket.
thats right, a friend.
and i wouldnt have it another way.
then the snowflakes became falling train tickets.
"damn, i forgot the ticket!", i thought to myself.
i gave myself a frantic pat down and quickly felt the thick paper ticket in the breast pocket of my coat. this led to a mental inventory of everything i had in my pack, as if i had not been through this with my self everyday for the last year.
in it, matt carter says things about the Church that ive felt, but not been able to put into words. kinda like intuition but im pretty sure its more the Holy Spirit than my anything. he talks about how God can detest our worship. and that,
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (James 1:27 NIV
its been challenging for me and if you want to hear it, let me know.
but to take that a step further, i cant help but believe that our current state of affairs in the united states is a slap in the face of the Christian.
the way i see it, its not the governments place to provide help to the poor and needy in this country. or food to the hungry, or clothes to the unclothed, shelter for the homeless. its the job of the Church. matt. 25.
yet all we choose to do is hate the men who are unsuccessfully trying to fill the void of our disobedience.
churches fleeing to the suburbs to avoid the inner-city. there are too many homeless people there.
church members fleeing the country to do ministry over seas. the people here dont deserve our love.
church calendars littered with events to bring in the types of people that we want inside the walls. thats basically what Jesus did. only its the opposite.
he spoke on suffering. the suffering we are called to as Christ followers. the whole thing was very joel osteen-esque.
as i sat in that small, one room, country church, surrounded by 150 year old stone walls rising twenty feet into a cracked and leaking ceiling, i found some truth.
Christ suffered while he we a member of the human race. therefore my life here will not be all cowboys games and hot wings either. and that is worth rejoicing over.
we bring perspective to photos, and a story that each viewer can imagine for themselves.
i love the ones on the north face website. adventurers trek miles into remote territories, packing heavy cameras and other equipment, to discover landscapes that would make even a mommas boy detest their cozy suburbia.
managed to save.
(its one of my life dreams that i would be able to survive a survival situation and have heroic stories to tell about my adventure. stories that that even i couldnt ruin. im just not a good story teller.)
but its the contrast between nature and man that is so powerful to me. the little men, head to toe in the latest and coolest north face gear, become beautifully insignificant amidst the glories of an awesome God.
i love seeing creation towering over mankinds self-righteousness.
on the opposite side of that idea, i think God likes pictures with people in them too. that really makes Him who He is. a brilliantly inconceivable deity, who calls the stars by name, the maker of love, music, logic, and grace. He knows me. He wants me to be in the picture.
i had the great privilege of being a part of a weekend retreat for the youth group of an old friend labor day weekend. i hope it was a beneficial experience for the students that attended, but i know it was good for me.
it was good to travel to austin, great to be on the road and in a cool city. it was great to play some music with a great guitarist and worship leader, and i got to try out some new ideas musically that turned out really sweet (if i do say so myself...). i needed those things. i need to feel inspired in order to function well. i need to ponder in order to keep my mind on track.
the guy leading worship has issues, but he does harbor some pretty interesting ideas. every time we get together we always seem to get into these discussions about the christian church and our, ever so, humble critiques of the institution. normally i hate these conversations, most likely because those that want to discuss this are typically arrogant college students who somehow imagine that their a minus in an intro to new testament class gives them the credentials to revolutionize the american christian church with “new” ideas about how it how should should operate and ultimately cater to their “needs”. but these conversations arnt like that. they do turn into arguments on a fairly regular basis, but that is just part of the give and take.
so its about 9pm on a monday and its past my bed time. im watching bear gryles take on the wilderness of vietnam. but i have to get up quite early.
how early you say? when i wake up, the clocks are still sleeping. time is bobble-headin it from an antique wooden chair precariously perched in the corner. i wake him to the sound of my boots hitting the floor. he jerks and mumbles a disoriented, yet quite conscious line (hes always warning me to let him be), and so i begin my day with a smile.
im learning more and more about a side of God that has always been strange to me. God as my friend. im still not a fan of "i am a friend of God", but ive never labeled it as hypocrisy.
the trinity is awesome.
after a long morning of driving, loading into the warehouse, and goodbyes, im on the surprise second leg of my flight to houston. we just stopped in new orleans and dropped off the gang of drunken sorority girls sitting across the aisle from me. klynn is in the window seat next to me listening to her ipod. she doesnt even look out the window. i love the window seat. jerk. im putting down my second cran-apple juice and trying to replay an exciting summer in my head.
there was the morning at lee university when alyssa changed my rec partners and i had to switch the rec leaders colors 5 minutes before orientation.
or the load-in at estes park colorado that will forever live in infamy as the snowy load-in of 2009.
or at the same location when kevin and i watched elk right by our porch. at like 6am. in our underwear.
and the kickball game under the lights of the oklahoma baptist intramural fields, while campers watched from all 4 stories of the adjacent building, cheering us on to victory over the student staffers...
now its time to go back into a world where Gods will seems harder to pinpoint and my will is crystal clear.
our time at ft lewis college has been packed with more ridiculous situations than a daytime soap... we should make a soap opera episode for our end of the year video...
i think our team has grown a lot during this time.
there are more questions rolling through my mind at this point than at any other moment, of any summer ive been a part of. and theyre rolling faster and faster around each turn of thought, threatening to collide in a mess of broken hopes and redirected ambition. im hoping theyre not all talk.
also, i may have slipped back into a summertime addiction. ive been waking up every morning with a banana gram hangover from the night before, head jumbled with random words, groggy from sleep deprivation, and stomach in turmoil from late night snacks that were slightly less than nutritious.
along those same lines, our team have discovered the texas taco at serious texas bbq here in durango. its youre basic artery clogger. pulled pork, cheesy potatoes, and jalopenos in a flour tortilla and covered with bbq sauce. if youre ever in town, it has my recommendation.
3 camps left. holy crap.
the next day most of the team spent the day at six flags.
im realizing now why my last few posts have been much more abstract than this one, im boring myself.
so yeah, we went to six flags, it was fun.
albuquerque appeared like the mirage of a smoking hott brunet on the horizon at about 8pm the next day (im trying to spice up the details). not too surprisingly, despite all our history, i was excited to be back. we ate deserts at flying star and laughed under the neon lights of historic route 66, as though walking past those tattoo parlors, bars, and quirky coffee shops, in each others company, embraced everything we were searching for in a summer.
yesterday, we spent the afternoon at our final destination. durango knows how to do the 4th right. from parades, a live country western band, to street dancing, all set in the quintessential colorado downtown tourist trap. and to top it all off, we sat shoulder to shoulder (on prop stools from the set truck) in the glow of the firework show against the mountainside backdrop. the girls oo'ed and ahh'ed over each colorful burst and began to plan how they would incorporated fireworks in to their weddings, while the guys sat smiling and shaking their heads.
it was great.
im just not the hugging type.
i guess its been my experience that “huggers” are a needy bunch of people.
although, i hugged a guy tonight and it was great.
a few days ago miriam, our resource coordinator, came and found me in the overflow room here at louisiana tech. i had been checking my facebook and writing on this blog and frankly did not want to go see if the crying boy on the stairs needed any help. when i got to the stairs he was sobbing, head between his legs, the occasional tremor, the whole nine yards.
so i sat at the foot of the stairs, with my back to the wall, just a few feet from him. i asked him if he wanted to talk; apparently he did.
the next 45 minutes was littered with short questions, short answers, and long pauses. clayton's story made mine look like a fairy tale a mother would tell her daughter just prior to turning on her princess nightlight and shutting the door. his story was a nightmare that had reached its climax with the news of his best friend's suicide.
i spent most of the time there with him, staring at the gum wad on the carpet below me, not knowing what to say, but listening to every word and sniffle. listening to him tell me of two other suicides he had gone through in his world, and the one of those that left their body for him to find.
and now, tonight, he blamed himself for her death. the one who name appeared in the earth-shattering text message he had just received. they had fought over something silly a week before. he said she had no one else.
i checked on clayton through out the week. he told me he was doing better each time i asked.
tonight he found me after the worship service at front of house, hugged me tight and sobbed.
he had found Christ and couldnt wait to tell me. he was overjoyed and i was so happy to share that with him. he told me he wants to see his friend up there one day. we cried and smiled for a while, prayed and talked.
im praying for you clayton.
am i really meant to be in the constant state of romanticism i find myself in?
i mean, im not reading romance novels by a fireplace in my pjs, but i do think about it. i have for some time now.
the question is, does He perpetually put people of interest in my life to occupy my time and affections, or do i create these divine gifts out of my own rosy imagination?
this must be one of the most difficult emotions to decipher, the crush.
divine or not, returning the innocent smiles that flash through the heavy fog of perfect tension may be the one of the greatest experiences one can have.
now im sure if youre reading this youre thinking that this is a current issue in my life (dont get your hopes up, mom, this has been on my brain for a while)
the band offered to buy pizza; awesome. we also used the conveniently located skating rink behind the worship room. disco ball, limbo, couples skate, races. enough said.
now im trying to avoid packing my stuff. we leave tomorrow afternoon, headed for texas. it will be quite a climate shock though. its been in the 50's with wind chill in the 40's and raining all week here in estes park colorado. san angelo, texas... in the 100's. i think thats how you get pneumonia.
tonight greg matte spoke a simple truth that hit me pretty hard in his sermon. "He chose you." i like the simple stuff that God uses to show His love.
dad called me today. it was right in the middle of rec, but i could tell it was important. sarah, a girl that has been attending our church and i have had on my heart for some time, is no longer lost in this world. my dad was able to point her to Jesus this morning during her unprecidented visit to his office. so good.
this could easily be the most beautiful place i have ever been to in my life.
ill try to paint a picture for you. the descent into the city after a breathtaking, 30 minute, winding, and twisting, drive of crescendoing beauty, you come down into a valley with a huge lake and the most amazing mountains the Rockies have to offer. the mountains are still snow covered, though its the middle of june, and believe it or not it snowed on us during our load in. intense snow.the city of estes park is a tourist landmine. the town itself is littered with shops and restaurants that scream western culture.
this morning i woke up around 5:30, still disoriented from the 2 time changes ive experienced in the last 3 days. i sat up in my bed and looked out the huge window and saw something i have never seen before. so there i am, in a matter of seconds, out of my bed standing at the window in my underwear, telling my roommate to get up. 5 elk were grazing 5 feet from our porch. ive never seen such an animal to close, not to mention the incredible backdrop that was provided as the icing on the cake. You are a good God.
in typical colorado fashion, The Centennial State casually and effortlessly puts the rest of the nation in their places. a natural beauty where any given square mile is exponentially more dramatic and awe inspiring than its neighbors. time to shower and get warm for a very strange registration day with student life camps.
but perhaps my prideful focus is simply a display of insecurity. one could ask, "why would a guy avoid simple conversations with aquaintences and seek out "meaningful conversations" with people who also care about him?" maybe im hiding behind the security of relationships that are without consequence. relationships where no matter what i do or say, that person will not change there mind about who i really am.
so am i showing insecurity by not making small talk? or am i rising above the insecurity of our society by not trying to boost my ego with half-hearted compliments and lip service?
i left on tuesday, may the 17th from hobby airport in houston bound for birmingham. every time i drive to hobby airport i am baffled that one can be in houston and still be an hour away from your destination,on the interstate, no traffic. if everything is actually bigger in texas, then houston is our poster child.
my first day in the office in birmingham would rival a black family reunion in the hug and "oh my goodness, (insert name) ! how are you?" department. i love these people though. i dont say that about too many people. in many ways i feel at home here.
tomorrow we pack the trucks for travel. its gonna be a long day. very exciting though. that will be the last thing to be done before the rest of the teams get here for training on sunday. its hard to believe this is my fourth summer with Student Life. when im here those summers seem like they happened last week, just with a different hair cut and a much smaller worldview.
you should definately check out The Bittersweets. i downloaded them from Noisetrade.com
just found them.
my understanding of the world of relationships is that one can only be truly close to one person in this life at a time. by "truly close" i mean a mutal love and respect that envolves a mutal investment into a single account, acessible to each, if and only if, they are making deposits.
the bank that holds these accounts is quite small. the tellers in the lobby dont see a whole lot of action. the New Account Forms are gathering dust. too bad it cant receive a bail-out.
some people have a piggy bank. and piggy banks are great.
cargo pant day will come. (d. martin) youll walk up to the first homeless person who asks you for change and say, "you just hit the jackpot fool!"
well maybe get to know the homeless person first...
if you have an account with a friend, realize the wealth you have available to you.
if you dont, youre not alone.