Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Here

It’s a weird snapshot of life I somehow think is worth remembering. I think.

It’s almost 2 a.m. and I’m not really sleepy. Everyone feels a little lost, a little disconnected, a little gone.

Gone. We’re almost there. The dreaded summer is baring it’s ugly face though the return to family is on the other side, for some people. We all know things are going to change. We all know that we have no control of it and that we all will still love each other whatever happens. But what are we to do?

It’s getting warmer outside but the night’s are still nippy. I the boys are amazingly less talkative without Peter to fill the silence. I have to say I can respect the men on this green earth who can appreciate silence.

I’m not even sure why I’m writing this, it should be on my other paper journal. I doubt I’ll let this little bugger out…

Everyone says they feel weird, disconnected from God. Maybe I’ve brought it on myself, I think. Because of all the logical haywire running through my head lately. Perhaps I brought it upon myself. All the same I don’t feel the “sting” of this disconnect. For me the “crazy” visions and wild experiences stopped a little while ago. That really doesn’t change anything. I mean it was cool, but God's still the same...

It’s such an odd place to be. I’m dreaming of the ordinary in the school of the extraordinary. I’m supposed to be a world changer but the proof of my changed world is that I can live to simply live. I am dreaming of life, of houses, and jobs, and rainy days, and friends. I’m dreaming of the menial, and the hobbies, and whatever else I want to fill my life with.

The goal? The goal has and always will be the service of God. I will die for Him and have died to myself for so long. But as Christ rose, somehow, so must I. By some miracle the lost of my life has given birth to new life. I’m caught off guard and yet I can see I’m not the only one in the shocked faces of the disciples when they saw Him on the 3rd day.

I am overwhelmed at His goodness.

God was good long before I ever called Him so. I believed of, and called out, His goodness long, long before I knew it. See, death isn’t so hard to do for something ‘good’. It’s a little irrational but totally acceptable to die for a ‘good’—anything.

But Oh NOW,

Now look at His goodness.

I really have next to nothing. No theological proof, nothing too fascinating about my own story, but oh He is good. I could tell you how He brought me here and on many pages I could convey a story you would only interpret. Perhaps the best snapshot into His goodness is tonight itself.

The music playing on the computer now is “City and Colour” –depressing, but I’m not. It’s cold and dark and lonely, like the singer’s heart is some sort of bitter-cold rain, or a widow’s heart put to music. The shadows on the walls are long and looming from the lamp across the room. The warm yellow light is a bit of a joke since we keep the “heat” at around 60. It’s so quite I can finally hear the wall clock ticking along with the tapping of my fingers on the keyboard. The books piled around me are all needing my attention in some way or another but I want to read another set of stories unrelated…

It’s late night’s like this I realize, with every fiber, just how utterly alone we are. No matter the company, no matter the friends, I eventually walk home. We all dart through the empty streets of Buckeye and Clay one way or another and disappear from each other’s consciousness leaving our only witness our own minds and, God.

God. It’s far better to feel the sting of “lonely” with Him then to feel Him grow lonely as you fill your life with noise. It is an odd thing to say I feel His goodness. That I truly feel Him present when I feel my most disconnected. That I’m never too far away to feel that He is still good. That He is still unangered.

A friend wrote a story where the main character met with Jesus in Heaven. It is odd that it would strike me so but I can’t quite see Jesus as a man. I mean perhaps He were to, literally, knock on my door tomorrow and I knew without a doubt that that man was Jesus? Now the Spiritual Jesus, I have no problem hugging, telling Him all, hiding nothing. But the man? The guy named Jesus sounds frightful, awkwardly quiet, knowing everything, I imagine His eyes show all. And YET—I love Him. That I would give my life in a moment for Him—for whatever cause He deems. I would die for Him and even more so, I would, and do, look forward to that day when He truly is before me.

I can’t see us singing the same songs to Jesus if He were on the invisible top balcony we raise our hands too. I don’t know if we would pray such demanding prayers to our Friend, the guy we say liked us enough to die for us.

I am utterly alone, by geography at this time. It’s now almost 2:30 a.m. and no one is awake. Still He is here. Him. That guy who if He were in the flesh I’d be a little creeped out by. But if I can talk to Him like that man, the Man who died for me, look how different I can feel. I feel a closeness that doesn’t make sense. A closeness to the Man I will see in the flesh someday but who is with me in today too. The one who has an adventure of a life to live with me and all the time in the world.

Dreaming with Jesus is a whole different topic once you think He’s listening. That your friend isn’t half the douche we pray to, and that he’s so close to whisper is to yell in His ear. These are the days of my life that hurt as they slip through my fingers.

I should be more “productive” yet I can’t put a value on the days like this where life simply went by without a hitch. I simply did my life. Breakfast, school, walking, friends, talking, and then it was over. If only to relive this day a few times over. I really can’t be sick of it. It’s all changing so soon yet I’m totally content right here and now. I’m at peace with my soul though I can feel that utter disconnect. It’s just so different in the light I’m trying so HARD to describe. I feel he’s goodness, I feel Him near.

I am in love

Saturday, March 26, 2011

in the beginning

Just watched Rob Bell,
It's about the 3rd time around I got to thinking about something not so ignorant,
not so main stream,
maybe it's just a normal point for everyone else,
maybe I'm the last to get this,
but...

Think if every other religion, the greek, the egyptian, the tribal, all thought,
that Creation was born out of the conflict of the divine. Heard this,
that God spoke, and what came out of it was good.

Good.

We are not born of war, and strife, and pain. not of overtaking of winning and loosing. no, there is only one God, no one to fight with. Yet we are so full of our own brokenness that we can not see past it. That we invent a creation of the same chaos. Truly the best part of creation as the story of Gen. 1 is that there is a wholeness and a completeness "in the beginning." That in the beginning we have a wholeness.

Yes. Now it sucks. Now there's pain and suffering, now we are lost and born in cycles of chaos. Okay.

But now at least that's not the start. At least there's a hope. There is a dark and a light. A good to view our evil with.

Everything is Glorious

Last night I listened to a conversation between a couple of Clay st. dwellers. Somehow the subject of pointless jobs came around. The guy who worked at DollarTree had the floor it brought back something I’d also experienced.

Here at Bethel we’re “prepped for greatness,” we are told just how awesome God made living and how it’s all a free gift of Grace. Great, but what about the DollarTree-Man? DollarTree-Man (DTM), lives in a tent in the ravine, one row of houses back. DTM bikes in the rain to work, as does his wife; wanna talk about “menial” or “working for the man.” So where does this ‘meaningful life’ come in here?

I remember thinking similarly about faith when I was in youthgroup. I remember preparing a sermon and thinking about the half dozen or so students whose lives, truly, sucked. I remember thinking ‘Do I believe that God is with them? That their belief is actually worth it?’ We have to come to a point where you can honestly say to the homeless, the starving, and the hopeless, trust in God. Yes! Trust in Him even though I don’t have to trust as much as you will.

So back the party. I return (from in my head) where DTM picks up with his story.

[paraphrase sorry] – “My boss always gives me 2 hours of work due in an hour and they don’t pay overtime…and I was starting to get really stressed out. I was freaking out about work… But then you think about what Christ did. About how He died so that everything could be given to me…. If God raised Him from the dead then what do I have to worry about? What is there to stress out about if death can’t even stop me? All things are possible.”

I’m not even sure how working at the DollarTree suddenly became so glorious, but that’s the only word I can use to describe it. That we work, live and breathe in the life God has given us and that is somehow glorious. I reminded me of on night last August working at the pet store.

Ah that wretched existence. There wasn’t a costumer in the store and my manager had given me the fantastic chore scrubbing the algae off of over 80+ fish tanks. I had just been attacked by several very large parrots (‘large,’ as in, I was lucky to still have all my fingers). Better yet the salt water, I was up to shoulder deep in, made the cuts on my arms sting and get all red and puffy. Oh and I had 3 hours to go, and after an hour and a half of this job I would get to clean the diarrhea-filled puppy pen in the back room. Joy. There was nothing to look forward to, and nothing pleasant in my near past. Wretched. That was the only word to describe my existence at that moment. It was a pathetic survival and I had nothing to look forward to anytime soon since I planned on working there for another year before coming here to Bethel.

While everything seemed to point towards hating life I can remember a moment when everything stopped. When I could see myself scrubbing those awful fish tanks yet the presents of God was also there. It sounds cheesy, or out of place, perhaps far too Christian to be edgy, yet there He was. Somehow He, gracing me with his Presents, was Grace enough for me. That it mattered for Him enough to be there. There, not in the twitchy, charismaticy, way but in the still, quiet, SUDDEN Presents of God. As you can imagine, the fish tanks got very clean that night. The menial wasn’t any less menial, but it was far more glorious.

That, indeed, is what Christ died for. Yes, we are called to live greatness, we are called to dream big and reach far, to jump into the unknown. It’s just that it could look like anything. Anything God puts value on is suddenly valuable. That’s what living greatness is, living in his perfect will puts a value on whatever He wants. It’s how we live a life He paid for in blood at the DollarTree and in the White House.

“You make everything Glorious, and I am Yours” --David Crowder*Band

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I want to remember this feeling.

I want to remember this feeling.

It’s raining outside, not cold but very wet. It’s been gray for what part of the day I have been awake for, which hasn’t been much but at least I didn’t really miss anything. I’m in a giant green sweater, the bedside table next to me is displaying heresy’s kisses and a homemade candle. The stew tonight will stretch 3 more meals thanks to rice but that’s the least on my mind tonight.

Tonight I’m thinking a thousand things because for once it’s fantastically quite. I’ve been here for hours and no one’s asking me anything. People finally have quit texting me for a moment, and facebook has officially shut up! Now I can think in hopeless circles about life, love, Kierkegaard, and Karen’s youtube video about the 10 dimensions.

I fit in here. Really, I’m no less an oddity then what I was back home but even people like us seem to have our places in the world. I’m happy here. Here on my bed with this thin comforter and my laundry all over the floor. I fit like the yellow paint on the walls which warms the room when the heater doesn’t. I’m alive in this cold grey place. I’m at peace in the silence of my life.

I’m not fully understood…at least not to my understanding. I’m ok, here in the time between times. There’s something so sweet about living in this now, in this very moment of nothing. The wee hours of morning are still apart of late last night; my mind thumbs through these thoughts like a proud librarian her books. I turn conversations over my head with a strangely fond musing. Even as the fool I’m still free. It’s so simple now, knowing this isn’t over yet. This time of thriving is a pure joy. I like being ok in this place. Even if it’s just a breath of fresh air in a long, long, road ahead.

And that’s why I’m writing this now. Now when my heart is so very full and my eyes see in the presents of this bright light. I can accept that I have no idea just how hard what I see down the road could/will be. I don’t want to pretend I’ll do everything right or—yes let’s just leave it at, I feel the uncertainty.

Tonight I want to feel now not what I can project on to the future. I want to remember the feeling of the almighty God in the utter deep silence that overtakes Clay st. in the morning before school. Because I want to hold it in my hands when the world gets too loud. I want to remember the passion and fire in my eyes the roar for justice in my heart when I look out onto stiff-necked crowds and coldhearted communities. I want to remember the feeling of the Father’s heart for His children when everything within me cries out in anger and in hurt. I will refuse to be shocked by their behavior or their apathy. I will refuse to be bitter to callus myself to the love I feel here and now. Let it never come to a day when I forget the moments I have truly and wholly been alive. Never let me forget the faces I have looked across, the lives I have witnessed when I knew I was truly in love the faces of Jesus. I resolve to love.

Years from this moment, you may not feel what I’ve described just now. Maybe you will only feel the hurt and numbness of whatever we will cross. I don’t expect even now to come out unscathed, I know my God is good and in this place I am home. Years from now I imagine you will find the me of the past quite silly and that I am quite too innocent and na├»ve. Laugh all you want I’m here now and so were you!

Remember, you where 19 (newly), and this was your first year beginning to be alone. You had just come back from Arcata where you saw the hand of God that our whole lives will deepened on and revolve around. You had life and hope and people to run beside. Remember me.

Today is Tuesday 3/15/11, you are alive.