Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A Mild Defense of Happy Holidays...

Never one to let sleeping words lie...

Several years I switched to saying "Happy Holidays." I worked in a company that was largely Jewish. They never chided me for saying "Merry Christmas." But for them, it wasn't the joyous greeting I meant it to be.

I decided that it was kinder to say "Happy Holidays." It expressed what I wished to express to them. Political Correctness had nothing to do with it (though I KNOW that it does in much of the current debate).

Just another thought to muddy the waters :)


Saturday, December 17, 2005

Empty chairs at empty tables...

When we began to reclaim our lives from chaos, violence and destruction, the task seemed insurmountable. In over 10 years of living in this home, Whitney, my oldest, had never had a friend over. Ever.

One family surrounded her and supported her even before I awoke to the horror that we were living. Katie Retelle was Whit's friend from the time she was 6th grade. Whit would ride her bike down to their home on Joppa Road.

Sue, her mom, reached out to us, and especially to Whitney's mom. Though Tracy pretty much rejected the hand of comfort and support, Sue never wavered and always held our family close in heart and prayers.

When we began to wade through literally every path in the home covered with at least a foot of clothes, food, papers, cans, cups, Katie insisted she would help us. She came in and held trash bags. When we got down to the horribly stained smelly carpet, Katie was in there first, pulling, prying, ripping. Once up, the aged but pretty wood floors were a constant encouragement.

Katie was our first dinner guest, and became a regular welcome presence. She called Tighe her boyfriend. He glowed every time.

Oh my God, how can it be?

October a year ago, she began feeling really crummy. It didn't pass.

She had leukemia. But that's so treatable these days.


Today, must have been around 1 or 1:15 in the afternoon Katie Retelle, redhead goof, sharp-tongued loving Katie, Katie who would take nothin' from nobody, who hung on tight to her friends, Katie Retelle passed away.

I can't imagine the grief of her parents, her brother, her sister. I can't imagine the grief of Whitney or the rest of Katie's friends. I only know that someone special is no longer in this world, and I am poorer for it, and they, who were closer, are infinitely more poor than I today.

Katie, you were such a light to us. Thank you Katie. Godspeed.


Friday, December 16, 2005

Prayers please...

For Katie Retelle, 20. Katie has had leukemia for a bit over a year. It's been highly resistant to chemo. She's been waiting for a new treatment regimen.

She's taken a really bad turn today. Pray for her please.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Counting My Blessings...

These lyrics from the Diane Krall Christmas CD. The song is a lesser known Irving Berlin, recorded both by Bing Crosby and Eddie Fisher:

"Count Your Blessings Instead Of Sheep"

When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessing instead of sheep
And I fall asleep, counting my blessings

When my bankroll is gettin' small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep, counting my blessings

I think about a nursery
And I picture curly heads
And one by one I count them
As they slumber in their beds

If you're worried and you can't sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you'll fall asleep counting your blessings.

So if you're worried and you can't sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you'll fall asleep counting your blessings.

Nothing more need be said.

Well... after posting this, I realized something more DID need to be said:

I Stand In Awe

(Mark Altrogge)

You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
Like nothing ever seen or heard
Who can grasp your infinite wisdom
Who can fathom the depth of your love
You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty enthroned above

And I stand, I stand in awe of you
I stand, I stand in awe of you
Holy God to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of you.

Now THAT is complete...


Monday, December 12, 2005

Musings on the "Paganity" of Christmas...

Have any of you read Peace Child? It was a very popular book in the late 70s and early 80s.

It was a missionary/anthropologist telling of his experiences relating the gospel to a tribe in New Guinea. The tribe had never been exposed to the Gospel.

The author believed that God has put into every culture myths and stories as hooks to connect. Seeds of the gospel. Whispers and echos.

Paul did this on Mars Hill in Athens, relating God to the Unknown God. I think if many church goers heard that sermon with current Evangelical ears, they'd accuse Paul of being New Age.

That is what the early church fathers did when they came into an area. They are accused of "baptizing" holidays. Perhaps some did for ease and for purposes of diluting the gospel and increasing numbers.

But most of these people were sincere lovers of God, followers of Jesus. They longed to communicate their faith to a world that did not understand, just like we do.

But how to do it? Holy days and resident myths were perfect ways to do that, just as Paul had done.

Need to explain Christ's death and resurrection? Link it to the new life stories of spring and easter.

Need to explain light shining into darkness as Isaiah refers to the Messiah? In the middle of winter talk of Christ's birth. Link it to the Winter Solstice, a celebration of warmth and light in the midst of darkness.

The traditions got merged, yes. But at the HEART of what the church did is the Gospel.

I'm reminded of Narnia.

I had a favorite English pastor who would visit our Bible Conference, C. St. Clair Robinson (even his name was so veddy British). I asked him once about his opinion of Lewis. My favorite thinking writer then as now. He shocked me. He doubted Lewis' salvation. Narnia was a pagan erotic paean, so he said.

Sure, you could see Narnia that way. Apparently Tolkien saw Narnia that way. But with a baptized imagination (Lewis' term) you can see Christmas in all it's wonder, with the seminal myths that God wove into those very pagan cultures just SO Christianity could take root and flourish, and His Word come to us.

All truth is God's truth wherever it be found.


The Nature of Redemption...

The impending execution of Crips founder "Tookie" Wilson is prompting a firestorm of conversation over whether his "redemption" is enough to predicate his release from his death sentence.

I don't know the man's salvation status, I've heard very little about him. But the conversation had in it something which sparked a response.

A friend relayed that "Tookie's faith is getting him through."

OH man, I hope he has a stronger faith than mine!

My faith isn't enough. My efforts won't cut the mustard. I can't EVER hold on tight enough for what comes at me on a bad day.

It may just be an expression, I won't hold any man to what is said like that... but I hear that all the time, "His faith is getting him through." And I was struck... Our faith is NOT what gets us through, our FAITH is what is granted to us by our REDEEMER. Our REDEEMER gets us through.

So the conversation on redemption misses the point. It's the WHO of redemption, not the what. WHO has redeemed you?


Friday, December 09, 2005

My Starbucks Runneth Over...

So... Continuing on my Starbucks theme...

First off, I do not own stock in Starbucks. Yet.

Second, in my old Seattle days, I considered Starbucks inferior. Inferior to Stuart Brothers (later to become Seattle's Best Coffee). FAR inferior to Batdorf and Bronson in Olympia.

Still, all that was before my exile to New England, where coffee was unknown. They drink a brew up here they call "Dunkin's". It's not coffee, per se, but has a few coffee characteristics.

OH, how I ached for real coffee. And my tenacity has been rewarded. There is now a TRUE Starbucks within 10 miles of my home. Perhaps all this is why I object to a boycott? Naawww, it's strictly on principle grounds. Coffee grounds.

So yesterday as I sipped and noshed (OOOoooh their Gingerbread Loaf!!!!), I eavesdropped on a conversation behind me. Two Christian men talking about a book, Blue Like Jazz.

It sounded (and sounds) fascinating and I'm looking forward to reading it. It's author has founded a writer's community in Portland. So much is happening now in the Northwest with the Mars Hill forum at my alma mater SPU, and now this, the Burnside Writers' Group.

I urge you to check out http://www.donaldmillerwords.com. What I see blowing through the church is revolutionary and real. Embracing Christ and Him alone.

I fear a bit of antinomianism, and even see that in myself, but it may just be fear. After all, we're shredding decades of legalism.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

From whom should we buy?

A recent Focus on the Family pushed my buttons and really got me thinking. They were running the list of initiatives various major American corporations have which run contrary to family values. Primarily, these are gay-agenda hot button issues.

Their suggestion is that we withhold our business from Starbucks because of a couple of egregious statements on their cups. For those not Starbucks-addicted, for a time Starbucks featured phrases from customers on their cups. One phrase was a gay man bemoaning the waste of time during the length he was closeted.

Focus was discussing how much effort and time it had taken them to move their bank just recently from Wells Fargo to another. Wells is actively promoting a campaign from GLAD (Gay Lesbian something) to jointly raise money to counter organizations such as Focus.

I highly respect Dr. Dobson and the Focus ministry. But I think they've got it wrong on this one.

I think their move away from Wells is well and good, and moreso, simply the right thing. But I think that *I* have to cautiously look at any wide "boycott".

First, hotbutton issues are troublesome. They miss the broader sweep of things.

Second, if we remove ourselves as Christians from the world, where will be the salt and light of our witness? Jesus went to the sinners, shouldn't we?

Third, and most importantly, Starbucks is just now FINALLY bringing a GOOD cup of coffee to New Hampshire. How could I possibly turn away?

They say all politics is local... in fact, it's so local it's centered in my tastebuds.

Quite seriously though, attempting to sway with the pocketbook strikes me as worldly. Individual beievers must be moved by the Spirit where the Spirit will move.

It could be the pocketbook is one place that God will lead us to consider (He has moved on my heart that way). But I fear it may actually render us impotent to move with the power He seeks us to experience and wield in other occasions.

Food for thought...


Friday, December 02, 2005

writer's block...

It's been forever since I've posted. I love writing here, and I'll admit it, it's been depression rearing its ugly head.

I am just now realizing how under the influence of down-ness I've been...

Yes there's reasons, but bottom-line, I am saved at a tremendous price and have SO much to be grateful for.

AND I've been seeing God answer prayer after prayer. So many of them involve remaking me, gouging and shaping me into His image.

I'm back and I'm going to do better at posting. This is important to me and I value you who wander by.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Intelligent Design...

Several times today I've run into Intelligent Design as a radio topic. The sources ranged from Christian (WDER AM 1320), to secular (Don Imus on WTKK 96.9 FM), to avidly opposed (NPR Day to Day).

The most maddening came from Ira Flatow, generally the host of Science Friday. On Day to Day he commented on a Kansas Board of Ed ruling that Intelligent Design must be included in any discussion of origins.

He was asked if Evolution is really a theory. "Well, in most truly scientific circles, it's actually taken as a Law or Principle."

He commented that they even had to CHANGE the very DEFINITION of SCIENCE! Why, in the definition, "Science is the observation and study of physical phenomenon," they struck the word physical.

If Mr. Flatow really looked at this defintion of science (before the ghastly change) the study of origins cannot in any way be science. There is no way to OBSERVE what happened in the past.

The further past, the less can be observed. When we get to the margins at the the beginning of the planet, the universe, time, we are out of the realm of science. It is all conjecture.

This tied in elegantly with a conversation on Radio Bible Class on WDER. They are beginning a segment on "Faith's Hall of Fame", Hebrews ch. 11. Notice how it starts:

1 Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. 2 For by it our ancestors were approved. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible.

The first place of faith in the believer's life is in understanding that God created all we see out of nothing. Our faith in God includes faith in Him as Creator.

We step back to the brink of time and peer over the edge. We see nothing. Neither side sees anything.

What we say happened is what we BELIEVE happened. And whether we are aware of it or not, BOTH SIDES say it this way. We do not apprehend this with the senses. BOTH sides apprehend this by faith.

Look at the reality of this. The evolutionist must believe that time and matter have always existed. That they are eternal. They must BELIEVE it for how else can it be known? Eternity past cannot be proven. It cannot be observed. It can be postulated as an a priori a before-the-fact-take-it-on-faith surmisal.

Postulating that a substance, a thing, an entity, a quantity, a value, a force, a whatever, exists outside the bounds of observation... that sounds a lot like belief doesn't it? Isn't belief what is mocked? How is one belief different or better than another belief, if it all comes down to belief?

What the Evolutionists believe is is exactly like the animists and the idolatrous of the mocked earlier times. It is a belief in an eternal deadness. An eternal something that has no will, no life, no force. It's basically modern-informed superstition.

It's dead, Jim (a Trek reference HERE D?)

On the other hand, the Intelligent Design theorist (aka the Creationist) asserts a belief in a willful intelligence, a person, a God.

BOTH lean on faith. Which faith makes more sense to you?


Wednesday, November 09, 2005


They say that you
Are able Lord
To mend this hurt
To heal this pain
To find that answer
Bring that aid
To bind that wound
And save that heart

They say that you
Are able Lord
To show the way
To lift the load
To bring that hope
To fight that fight
To grow this love
To stop this grief

But Lord I wait
I wait on you
And I don't see
Where is this hope
Where is this answer
Where is this joy
Where is this peace

When I will see
When I will know
That you do stand
That you do rise
You'll take my hand
That you aren't deaf
That you aren't blind
You hear my cry
Your peace I'll find

You died for me
You saved my heart
You filled my soul
You made me whole
You shaped my life
To make me yours
To bring me life
To teach me joy

If I but look
Your joy I'll see
Though I must wait
Transformation comes

Monday, November 07, 2005

A Flight of Fancy...

I mentioned earlier my fun at building a tryout tape...

Here it is:

Lights, camera, action :) ...

Enjoy :).


Saturday, November 05, 2005

What it's All About...

We ARE in a war. We ARE in a passion play.

Two song lyrics by David Wilcox:


You say you see no hope,
You say you see no reason we should dream
That the world would ever change
You're saying love is foolish to believe
'Cause there'll always be some Crazy
With an Army or a Knife
To wake you from your day dream,
Put the fear back in your life...

Look... ... ...
If someone wrote a play
Just to glorify What's stronger than hate,
Would they not arrange the stage
To look as if the hero came too late?
He's almost in defeat
It's looking like the Evil side will win,
On the Edge of every seat,
From the moment that the whole thing begins

It is...

Love who makes the mortar
And it's love who stacked these stones
And it's love who made the stage here
Although it looks like we're alone
In this scene set in shadows
Like the night is here to stay
There is evil cast around us
But it's love that wrote the play...

For in this darkness love can show the way

So now the stage is set.
You feel your own heart beating in your chest.
This life's not over yet.
So we get up on our feet and do our best.
We play against the fear.
We play against the reasons not to try.
We're playing for the tears
Burning in the happy angel's eyes

For it's...
Love who makes the mortar
And it's love who stacked these stones
And it's love who made the stage here
Although it looks like we're alone
In this scene set in shadows
Like the night is here to stay
There is evil cast around us
But it's love that wrote the play...

For in this darkness love can show the way


 David Wilcox, all rights reserved

and one more ... what I played for my son ... my answer to what we do next, after we pray for God to rise up, victorious...


I see you dreaming by the ocean window
I hear you breathing like the waves upon the shore
The tide is turning on your time of sorrow
You will never be so lonesome any more

The breezes whisper as the curtain dances
Your dreams are deeper than the mystery of the sea
The sun itself is in the room beside you
With a message of how good your life can be

I know that a heart can just get buried
Stone by stone, crushing hope until it dies
Far away, but the message somehow carries
Beloved, it is time for you to rise.
Time for you to RISE UP...

With a sudden sense of wonder
Though the promise goes unspoken
As the joy comes to your eyes
When the joy comes to your eyes
From the burden you?ve been under
For your soul was never broken

Beloved, it is time for you to rise, time for you to rise.

There's nothing wrong with taking time for sleeping
Your eyes are weary with the things that you have seen
A deeper promise your soul is keeping
Right in time for this appointment in your dream

Angels whisper so as not to wake you
There's nothing else in this whole world for you to do
But follow on to where your dream may take you
To see your footsteps from an eagle's point of view


 David Wilcox, all rights reserved

Rise. Playing for the tears in the happy angels eyes. RISE.


Friday, November 04, 2005

Hard Truths...

It's hard to know who reads this blog. I know a couple of people who check in now and again (more again than now since my posting has fallen off recently).

I know I've sent a couple of people here, even a work friend. That's a little scary, especially with what I'm about to post.

There have been some circumstances in our household that I am convinced are Satanic. *gasp*

"Oh *I* get it," maybe you're saying. He's one of THOSE kinds of people!

Well, I suppose, yes. I don't come to this lightly. I grew up as the church rediscovered the truth of our spiritual battle. I grew up around some pretty outrageous teaching, little of it grounded in Scripture.

But none of that matters... what matters is that I am convinced we are facing spiritual warfare. Some of it centers on the kids, some of it on money and work issues. I feel a bit like Daniel who agonized and prayed trying to understand a Scripture. He was told that Satan interefered with his answer.

So today is a prayer and fasting day for me. Remember Jesus' disciples hit a rough patch with their demon-throwing-out experiences, and Jesus said, "This type does not come out except by fasting and prayer."

I know people who have formulas for casting out demons. Who have rituals they practice.

But what I see in Scripture is a very simple battle. Putting on the whole armor of Christ (Eph 6) and imploring God on our behalf (Jude). And in this case, fasting and prayer.

I'll be praying for answers for our money disasters. I'll be praying for peace for the kids whose sleep has been terrorized, who don't want to go to their rooms.

If you pray, pray with me?



Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Hard to hold on...

I've realized that one of the disciplines that's being worked on right now is perseverance. I have a tendency to try to shuck off things that aren't going well. It's not a bad thing, it's good to clean up non-working parts of your life.

But in this case, to start shucking off things would be very damaging. I have to sit with the difficulty and the unknowing. I can't write creditors and tell them when I'll pay because I have no idea. I can't dump my job because I need its flexibility.

It's a very tough place to be. To just sit with nothing to say and no amount of knowing. It's sheer fingernails' grip faith.

It's learning to wait on God. Wait when everything screams MOVE!

Oh God, rise up. How long can I sit? How long can I stay silent as You are silent? Rise up and answer, my only hope is You.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

As it lifted...

For days
I wandered
Stripped of sight
Hindered in hearing

Light dim
Hope apart
City of my life
Dim, dark, hopeless, lost

Then, there
Light, Jesus
Hope, bare but there
Him, His light, His hope

Not mine
None of me
But Him, my light
My only hope, cling

Cling still
Unchanged but changed
Oh wondrous Jesus

Your heart
Your applied
Peace, joy, love, hope
Sun burning through mist

Light, yes
There IS light
The light is Him
In Him, In Him, hope.


And now for something COMPLETELY different...

... And I've done something really odd, really different, and exhilerating. I've created a 3 minute video for the Food Network. I'm submitting it to be the Next Food Network Star.

It turned out well. It's something I'd love to do. If chosen, at the worst, I'd be a part of a funky reality show for 3 or so weeks. At best, I'd have a 6 week run on the Food Network.

Well, well, well. It makes me smile just to think of it. I'll research to see if I can post the video.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

Whining as an art form...

Are blogs becoming simply whine-fests? Is *MY* blog simply a whine fest?

I ask myself that off and on ... so in that light:

God is GOOD.

My kids are INCREDIBLE.

Fall is an amazing time. The colors are spectacular.

I am employed and money is coming into my bank account regularly!

I have a church I am fed at and people who meet with me to talk about Jesus!

I have people who love me.

Pass this blog on to 35 friends and you will be amazed! My "Number of times profile viewed" will increase by some number between 0 and 35!

Isn't THAT amazing?!?!?!?


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

So far that down is up...

Can't say where I first heard that phrase in the title. But I sure get it. ... ...

It's hard to live like this. But it is a good thing to learn that pleasing men isn't the answer to life. That's an important thing for me to learn.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

New Orleans and New Hampshire...


This site is an oral history of what happened in New Orleans. This particular post talks of one man's efforts to protect his family and the horrific rumors that were flying through the New Orleans Convention Center.

The thing that struck me was this:

“Today I asked my twelve-year daughter if she remembered what happened in New Orleans.” He said she answered “Yes Daddy, I remember all of it.” and they held each other and cried.

OHHhhhhh my.

I had a conversation like that last night with my second, my 14 yo daughter.

Last night was a bad night for me, the worst in a couple of weeks of difficult times. My stomach has moved to a bad place, and last night it was at its worst. ON top of that, I don't have answers for questions which are pressing in on me.

She looked at me and asked if I was ok. "Have you ever felt like there was nothing but questions you couldn't answer?"

"Yeah, Dad, it's worst at night. At night I just can't shut out the problems anymore."

Her problems are expressed in terms of school, but I wonder how many of the OTHER struggles she's not talking about are coming from our mess of a family situation.

I have been at times over the last couple of days to the place where ... I couldn't. I could no longer try to patch, fix, repair. The levees are broke beyond broke. I am beyond that which I am able to bear. I am NOT functioning right. The house is falling apart. WE are starting to come apart as a family.

And I can't pull it together.


Monday, October 10, 2005

Does Trish Yearwood Know a Borderline?

Listening to her new album. I've already mentioned "Georgia Rain".

Maybe the thing is that Country music is about lovin' and losin' which ain't always smart-like. Guess that defines getting into Borderline relationship.

But this song defines loving a Borderline... Only, I promise, the last line is NOT me...

"Trying To Love You"

I blew out all my plans.
The world fell in my hands,
The day that I began,
Tryin' to love you.

The secrets I have kept;
The nights I haven't slept.
I've laughed until I've wept,
Tryin' to love you.

Tryin' to love you...
No one's come as close or gone so far, (Tryin' to love you.)
I've lost and found myself in who you are. (Tryin' to love you.)
So easy and so hard tryin' to love you.

I've watched myself get stuck,
I squandered all my luck.
I've almost given up,
Tryin' to love you.

Tryin' to love you,
Broke my heart; it's chipped away my pride. (Tryin' to love you.)
Every time, I'd see that fault line slide. (Tryin' to love you.)
I've crossed the great divide tryin' to love you.

[Instrumental break]

Tryin' to love you,
I've screamed your name, I've slammed a thousand doors. (Tryin' to love you.)
An' I've worn a million miles across the floor. (Tryin' to love you.)
Still I could not ignore tryin' to love you.

It's pulled the best from me,
For all the world to see.
I guess I'll always be,
Tryin' to love you.
Mm, mmm, mm, mm.


Sunday, October 09, 2005

Scattering Thoughts...

Nice evening. Went to a birthday celebration, dinner and a movie. The movie was Wallace and Gromit. What wonderful visual puns tucked away in the corners. The closeups on the claymation were fantastic, you could see the working lines where the characters had been formed.

Had a good time talking about coffee while sitting at Starbucks. Learned about how Equal Exchange makes a difference for local growers, and how mercenary the normal system is.

While I'm a thorough-going capitalist, and am leery of cooperatives and the like, it seems to me that this is the kind of thing that relief-minded evangelical Christians should look into. It comes along the lines of second-order change.

I believe most relief efforts are first order change, and like most "more of the same" change efforts, the end result is generally at best dilution of value, and at worst, negation of value, a moving backwards. I remember when I did business in South Africa hearing talk of the reputation World Vision has for destroying local economies.

Common sense conservative Americans don't think things through, so we throw money at a problem through the church in the same way we criticize the liberal side for throwing money at problems here at home. It strikes me as I write this that we do EXACTLY overseas in many of these relief organizations what we criticize here at home as the welfare state.

Locals in South Africa told me how the abundant influx of free food into an area destroys local market economy. How can a farmer compete with free rice and beans from America? Why would you BUY when you can queue up and get free? Why would you plant if it seems the bloody Americans are going to swoop in next season and give away, hacking your hope at self-sufficiency at its roots?

Then again, those efforts to help the farmers are often just as foolish. Buy seed for the farmers to plant? Why should the farmer be frugal year after year and develop good practices? The Americans will take care of him. Why should he learn how to increase yield? The Americans will come and plow up more land for him to plant.

So interesting that overseas, the liberal community have it so much more right (it seems from this amateurish observer) than we do. Overseas, they work with a crop already plentiful, with high demand. They do not create an artificial market. They do not override the methods or take over a piece of the production cycle.

Instead, they step in as honest brokers. They fill the niche needed to allow the local economy to flourish. If done right, they would be disappearing as well, allowing local individuals to step in and take over that function, moving to their native place, top-level consumers of the product, being simply the importers.

Fascinating thoughts for the Sunday morning wee-hours.



Thursday, October 06, 2005

Strains of the Manger...

Kindof an odd occurrence today at the coffee shop. Usually I hear soft jazz or classical lilting just under the crowd noise.

Today I became aware of a sweet sound ... a little different. I listened. It repeated over and over. It was a sweet whistling of Away In a Manger.

It was insistent. I looked around and saw a fellow whistling halfway across the restaurant. Nobody seemed to really register it, but it was there.

It occurs to me that the presence of Jesus in our world is like that. We know it. We all know it intuitively. It's the sweet tune that our hearts truly long to hear. So much is around it. But it's always there.

I love thee Lord Jesus
Look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle
'Til morning is nigh.


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Time Passages...

One song got me going... it led to another. It started with the new Trish Yearwood, "Georgia Rain." A heartbreaking ballad.

Then thinking about writing here I moved to "Time Passages." A funny aside. I always that that raspy voice was Rod Stewart. It's AL Stewart.

Time Passages

It was late in December, the sky turned to snow
All 'round the day was going down slow
Night, like a river, beginning to flow
I felt the beat of my mind go drifting into

Time passages
Years go falling in the fading light
Time passages
Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight

Well, I'm not the kind to live in the past
The years run too short and the days too fast
The things you lean on are things that don't last
Well it's just now and then my line gets cast into these

Time passages
There's something back there that you left behind
Time passages
Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight

Hear the echoes and feel yourself starting to turn
Don't know why you should feel that there's something to learn
It's just a game that you play

Well, the picture is changing, now you're part of a crowd
They're laughing at something, the music's loud
A girl comes toward you you once used to know
You reach out your hand, but you're all alone in those

Time passages
I know you're in there, you're just out of sight
Time passages

Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight

A divorce after a long marriage is like that. For years I did a mental calculus. The pain of the present, whatever pain it was, was bearable. We had a shared future together. We'd look back on this together and the pain would have been bearable, because we came through together. Because we found happier times.

When divorce is necessary (and I know that sometimes it is), that equation is broken. Suddenly all the balance is left unbalanced. It takes a while, a long while, before a new mental set is built.

I loved her. And sometimes it wells up and hits me. There were good days, or at least better days... I say it that way because now I hardly know what the past was.

But there were better days. Days of hope. Days of shared dreams, shared jokes, shared life.

Her steady barrage of emails about what a cretin I am hurt more than she knows. Or maybe she does know. There's a love "velcro" that makes what she says stick.

In divorce, when love comes unhinged, there's a lot of feelings hidden in there that are prone to sudden appearance. "Georgia Rain" did it to me today.


Thursday, September 29, 2005

Nothing Good Ever Happens to Our Family...

That's what a couple of my kids have been saying. I have an idea that their pain is more intense than I think.

But something wonderful DID happen to our family. Our car was saved. I did have the money I needed to make the payment to keep the repossession away, but the check hadn't cleared the bank. Even that check was a wonderful gift from my cousin.

But it looked like all would be for nought. It would be too late. But a working acquaintance heard of my crisis through Connie, and offered a $300 bridge loan. If you prayed, God answered.


I'm becoming a mantra to the kids ... Something WONDERFUL happened to our family even if nothing else EVER happened. My kids. Five incredible human beings that humble me.

Yes, we all brag on our kids, but mine are more special. They really are. It's not just that they are the best kids in every aspect, but they are ... wonderful.

OK, others' kids might be just as wonderful... it's just that I doubt it.

Nothing good ever happens? God has blessed me beyond measure.


Monday, September 26, 2005


Wow, I'm exhausted. We're all exhausted. The kids are feeling what I'm feeling. They're even articulating it some.

We missed each other while I was gone. We had a nice weekend. Some of the stress released. My cousin blessed me with an incredibly generous financial gift that lifts the corner of the pressure.

We all felt the pressure lift up.

And now we feel it press back down. We feel a new week start.

I've spent a little quiet time with each kid tonight. We're all feeling so worn out. We're all tired of a house that is worn and desperately needs a cash infusion. The older ones who remember Seattle from a visit a few years back asked if we could move... then said, maybe they don't want to leave friends.

We all want out of this.

But out is through, or at least it seems to be. We are all crying to you, God. We're all so tired. We need YOUR HAND. MOVE O MY GOD! ARISE, let the world see you care for us, your children. Let us see you stand for the right and care for children.

... Let this Dad stand strong. My soul wants to faint. I'm so close to fainting. Hold me.


Saturday, September 24, 2005

Time for an Ellipsis ... ... ...

I've missed posting here. I didn't mean to slow down but time on the road will do that.

The road. The West. *sigh*. Time for an ellipsis ...

We had yet another team meeting out west. Out west being, specifically, San Jose. I've been intending for a long time to check out my parents' will. With money at such a high need right now, I looked into getting it sent to me. The cost to do that, to get the last will and testament of the dead, is between 30 and 100 dollars a person.

It made more sense to let Cisco foot the bill to get me to San Jose, then use frequent flyer miles and hotel reward points left over from the days I DID travel last year (when I didn't have the kids for an awful 3.5 months).

So... the quick answer is, they DID disinherit me. They said they would if I ever married, and they did. Disinherited me for marrying someone that shared the same personality disorder that Mom and Sis had. Time for an ellipsis...

But ... To be in Seattle. I've been back now 5 times in 14 years, nearly 4 years since the last time. Never has it seemed so much like home. I ached seeing the places I grew up. Places that were key in my early marriage, my college life. Places filled with pain, but also filled with hopes now dashed.

I'm back. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make the divorce over, the financial crisis over, the kids well protected, our lives free to move on. Tonight I've been talking to a friend about that over and over and over and over and ... well, you get the idea.

Kurt Kaiser, the fellow who wrote the classic "Pass It On"

"It only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon all those around will warm up to it's glowing"
and who wrote "Oh How He Loves You and Me"

"Oh how He loves you and me. Oh how He loves you and me. He gave His life, what more could He give..."
also wrote a song "Thou Shalt Not Go Down but Through".

Sometimes Google fails me. I just tried to Google that, and it came up empty. It wasn't nearly as well known a song as the others. But I met Mr. Kaiser once and asked him about the song during a music conference. He said the song came from the time when he had a heart attack and thought he wasn't going to make it through rehab. He was surprised I knew the song. It was included in a songbook I had and I used to (badly) pound out the song on the piano. I think I MAY have heard a recording of it on some better-forgotten gospel album.

But the song was worth remembering... something like,

"When thou walkest through the water, thou shalt not go down but through."

Right now, I'd like this all to be over. I want God to end this. ENOUGH! It's been 20 years of nearly constant financial drain. Twenty years of nearly constant emotional drain. More, really, but that's what I count.


I've been reading John Eldredge, "Wild at Heart". God IS taking me into my wounded places. I feel as though I have no options, nowhere to turn. Just like I used to feel around my dad. Like there were no places I could go that were MY choices... Like I had no power, no way to make positive impacts on MY OWN LIFE.

*sigh* *ellipsis* ... ...

But. GOD IS ABLE!!!! TO DO ABUNDANTLY MORE THAN WE ASK OR THINK. DO I have even the SLIGHTEST IDEA of what He's forming in me?

So ... I loved the West, but I love the people I've formed relationships here. I'm frustrated waiting and feeling pain.

But I love God. I love Jesus. I love my kids. We're gonna be ok.




Monday, September 12, 2005

Divorce vs Cancer...

"... But would you divorce your wife if she had incurable cancer? If she was horribly disfigured? Then how can you be divorcing her now?"

That's the question that absolutely stymied me for at least 2 years. I discovered my wife had an almost certainly untreatable (but for the grace of God) "mental disorder". (I put that in quotes because I'm still very uncomfortable with the line between will and disease.) Now that I knew this, how could I divorce her? Wouldn't the right thing be to stay? To put up with any discomfort?

Yet I am divorcing. So how can I *POSSIBLY* justify it?

I left for one single reason, although now I believe there are two reasons that come into play. The single reason was the safety and welfare of my children.

As she descended into illness, her "snaps" ("Watch her eyes, Dad, that's the clue," my eldest told me.) her breaks from reality became so much more common. The screaming. The yelling.

I was punching bag number one. My eldest was punching bag number two. My fourth of five was punching bag number three.

Initially "punching" was exclusively verbal. But don't for a minute think that's a little thing. "You're worthless. I know any children you ever bear will die. You'll never be a decent wife or mother. You have no value as a human being."

OK, bad enough. How about this? "I've been dreaming of killing you. Now I know exactly how I'd do it!"

I was in Tokyo on business. I was just starting for the day, in front of a room I was to address for the rest of the week. I got a frantic IM. "Dad, she keeps coming after me. She won't stop. I'm scared."

She went on to describe being pushed to the ground and sat on. A pillow being forced over her face and held down. Then the cold icy words, "This is just like I dreamed it would be."

My kiddo fought back and screamed enough to embarass her.

But here's what kills me. I wasn't sure I should believe the report. Wow is denial strong. I'd seen behaviors close to that.

It took two more years. It took a headlock and repeated blows to the head, me pulling on the other side to try to get her off the kid. It took all that and I still wasn't going to do anything. Then SHE went to the police and said *I* had been abusing her. That *I* had been beating HER. She didn't file a report, but called me, taunting that she had.

That did it. I was like a dead-man awakened.

The rest is history. Kinda. Long, tortured history.

It took two more years for me to give up hope... And realize that "If any man wishes to leave his wife he must give her a bill of divorcement."

I had to go back to the Old Testament and lean on that. I came to the point before God where to protect what He had given me, I had to take steps I wasn't sure He was in favor of (I am now, but that's another story).

The man with one talent buried it, knowing that his master (a picture of God) was exacting. A few "friends" have told me that I should have buried my head, ignored the beating, the murderous actions. That there was NO room for divorce.

I took a risk.


Saturday, September 10, 2005

We rest on thee...

Finlandia. I mentioned it before, and the hymn, "Be still my soul." Great hymn.

Funny though, as I spoke of it, and remembered it, I was actually thinking of another. Thank goodness for Google:

We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
We go not forth alone against the foe;
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.

Yes, in Thy Name, O Captain of salvation!
In Thy dear Name, all other names above;
Jesus our Righteousness, our sure Foundation,
Our Prince of glory and our King of love.
Jesus our Righteousness, our sure Foundation,
Our Prince of glory and our King of love.

We go in faith, our own great weakness feeling,
And needing more each day Thy grace to know:
Yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,
“We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.”
Yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,
“We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.”

We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
Thine is the battle, Thine shall be the praise;
When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.
When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.

"... Through gates of pearly splendor." No matter which of these two wonderful hymns (and they make great topical bookends), whenever I hear Finlandia I think of Jim Elliott.

Does anyone still remember or still talk of the Curaray River? Of Palm Beach? Of the five that died there?

"Through Gates of Splendor was nearly required reading in my Christian experience. But it wasn't a waste. It introduced me to Jim Elliott and to Elisabeth Elliott (whose writings I commend to the reader as one of the two best contemporary Christian authors in my opinion) and the other 4 members of "Operation: Auca".

I saturated myself for a time in the writing around this event, known in my day as the Auca Massacre. Their writings, especially those of Jim Elliott moved me, made me aware of a deep longing to be God's man:

He makes] His ministers a flame of fire. Am I ignitable? God deliver me from the dread asbestos of 'other things.' Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be aflame. But flame is transient, often short-lived. Canst thou bear this my soul—short life? In me there dwells the spirit of the Great Short-Lived, whose zeal for God's house consumed Him.

He is no fool who gives what he cannot kep to gain what he cannot lose.

O God, save me from a life of barrenness, following a formal pattern of ethics, and give instead that vital contact of soul with Thy divine life that fruit may be produced, and Life-abundant living-may be known again as the final proof for Christ’s message and work.

I often wonder what became of the man that I wanted to be or thought I would become. I think there is something that happens, though, to those of us who live longer lives. We look for inspiriation to these men of God who burned out quickly. We look at ourselves, who struggle and feel we have no testimony, no punch to our lives as God's men. It seems we aren't doing the job.

But that is, I believe, just the romanticism of what happened to those 4 men. It wasn't romantic to them as spears were shoved into them. They were thrust violently into Jesus' presence. Did it seem for a moment, did they in that moment share the sense of fruitlessness that I sometimes (often..) feel?

Or were they that qualitatively different from me?

In a way yes. They rooted out before God the things that held them back. I still falter on the airplane seat simply saying, "Jesus loves you." Not always, but sometimes.

God, spare ME from a life of uselessness. But just as much, spare me from a life wasted wishing I were someone else, in someone elses' discipleship walk.


Friday, September 09, 2005

Anatomy of a Divorce

No ellipsises (how the heck DO you pluralize that? :)) this time. No sighs at the end. Just a wealth of different emotions.

My attorney's para-legal called today. Said my estranged wife's attorney had called. Reported I'd refused to pay the interim weekly money that the court ordered, and that I'd said I'd no longer pay it.

All untrue.

The court DID order me to pay last summer, when I got the kids back after nearly 4 months of difficulty for me and hell for them.

I want to whine here and talk about how unfair it is. How I pay all expenses for house and kids and STILL must pony up 650 a month ... OK, I DID just whine. But enough.

Still, I don't have it. I'm in collections on every debt I have because of that money and attorney fees. I'm out. Tapped dry. The pressure is immense.

So I said I couldn't pay today because I can't. And it gets reported as "He says he'll never pay again."

I'm tired of lies.


Thursday, September 08, 2005

... Be still my soul ...

Here at Panera and feeling none too well... I've got a sinus infection (whine whine), had it for 2 weeks. The first antibiotic didn't do the trick. The second has some question about allergic reaction, so it's just been getting worse while I wait for pharmacy and doc to figure it out.

That background is so you will understand that I'm emotional. Being sickie always makes me kinda maudlin. But it also is a time I can cue in to those places I need to on the sadder side of things.

Been flipping through orchestral music this afternoon. Turned to Sibelius. Loved playing his stuff in high school and college. I was listening to the Second Symphony (titled "Tempest"). You can hear the storm over the fjords. Was thinking of it as a soundtrack to the destruction in NOLA.

Then I turned to Finlandia. It's hit me so hard.

There's a hymn associated with the chorale in Finlandia. While the melody plays, I'm reading these words:

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.

Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, be leaving, to Thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.

Guys in the CCNH worship band, I urge you to do something with this one... and I promise you, it will take me to the ground in tears.

Seems I do a lot of that lately. Dissolve into tears.

Sitting here in Panera, I feel it well up. They know me here as the smiling cheerful face. What are they going to do when they see me dissolve into sobs?

.... Next post from the 6th Floor at SNHMC ...


On the Border...

Ask my kids where I want to go out to eat, they'll tell you in a flash ... It's not Panera (though I'm there now, LOVE the wireless!). It's On the Border.

Ok, yes I love Mexican food. The best in a healthy (um, yeah) diet.

But the irony is that I've spent the better part of my life "on the border".

Have you ever had a friend that hurt themselves with cutting or half-hearted suicide attempts? Who seemed to delight in taking THEIR fault and somehow transferring it to you... so all was YOUR fault? Who flew into blistering rages, their eyes glazing over and seeming to lose touch with reality? Seemingly willing to do ANYTHING when in a rage to lash out and hurt? Nursing and cherishing perceived wrongs almost as though they were trophies?

If you have ever had a friend (most generally a woman) who was like that, you've lived as I have for almost all of my life.

The syndrome has a name. To those who have lived it it's name is horror, confusion. Some call it living in Oz.

But to therapists it's called Borderline Personality Disorder. BPD for short.

Where's the border and what's the disorder? All that in due time.

I first became aware of BPD when my now-estranged wife decided I had it. It was the perfect explanation at that time for the wrongs she "perceived" in me.

Anxious to somehow "fix" the mess our marriage and family had become, I attempted to own the latest diagnosis made over me.

As an aside, I must relay what my oldest kiddo and I used to call "The Oprah Syndrome". Oprah was on at 4pm I believe. I'd call home and talk to my daughter and ask what was on Oprah. It was self-defense. Because if some deviant male was on, I was in for a rough time when I got home... a new diagnosis of my deficient character.

So this diagnosis was not a new thing, just a new "wrapper" for that accusation that I was an unfit human being. If I could somehow muster a "fix" to this horrible wrong that I was, we would be living in harmony.

I spent a lot of time on the site www.bpdcentral.com . There were small pieces here and there that kinda sorta sounded like me, but it just didn't fit. I had an ability at that time to be able to spend 3 or 4 weeks wrestling with a "diagnosis" and eventually owning it. It almost made me crazy.

The worst part was that because I didn't REALLY fit the diagnosis, I couldn't STAY in the diagnosis. That "convinced repentant" state was required for our marriage to function. But I'd slip up and act normally and not like a sick person trying to get well.

(If you've stuck with me, this may be getting confusing. I'll keep posting these for a while to further explain all this, so it may get clear eventually. I hope.)

At the same time I was in therapy. I'd gone in for therapy because of my wife. She was continually "harming" herself in front of the kids. There was plenty I DID need to work on, and I knew it, but primarily I needed to know how to cope with this. With kids who themselves (at 3 and 4 years old) were saying they "wanted to kill themselves like Mommy".

The day in 2001 that she played like she was going to jump out of a moving car on the F E Everett Turnpike was the day I started looking for a therapist in earnest.

Thank God I found a good one. He not only dealt with me over the long term, but he convinced her to come in and begin a course of treatment for depression (the only diagnosis we had at that time).

My therapist continually sanity checked (for the first time in my life) the outrageous behavior I was living with (more on that later). I'd lived with stuff like this since I can remember, in my own family, and now in my marriage. This hardly seemed outrageous.

But he told me again and again that her behavior was as extreme as it gets. He used the word "psychotic".

As I described her behavior, he started thinking perhaps Bi-polar characteristics were in play. She responded to anti-depressants by becoming far more violent. He suggested Narcissistic Personality Disorder, but as I studied, it just didn't quite fit (close though).

When I suggested the Borderline diagnosis she had made of me, he started chuckling, then apologized and said, "Of course!". Turns out a key trait of the "disorder" is "splitting". Transferring the blackness in their own souls to others so they don't have to own it. She actually found her own diagnosis, then pushed it onto me.

It's a horror to live with. It's impossible to live with if it's full blown. I am the cause of any ill she feels. She is the cause of any good I have or feel. It's like living with a constant ego-suck. If I'm ok, I won't be for long, because she feeds on that. If she's cruddy, she won't be for long, because she vomits that out onto me and our kids (a couple in particular).

I'll stop this overlong post for now, but ask the reader to reflect on this passage from the book of Hebrews in the New Testament. Chapter 12:

4 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; 16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.
On the Border. Not a nice place to live. No love there, no matter what promises were given. A lousy place to be a kid.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Sometimes it's better not to try so hard...

I've been scanning through some of these blogs, just randomly.

... I see the tendency I find I'm struggling with. A desire to be relevant. Meaningful. And in my case, spiritually incisive.

I just erased 2/3 of a blog because... Because it's just SO easy to try to sound SO profound, and wind up flailing.

Seems to me that sometimes a funny story or a joke, or a single word may be better than a strained attempt to be spiritual... so...

  • How do we know there'll be Presbyterians (insert your favorite-to-pick-on-denomination here) in heaven? Because the Bible says "The dead in Christ shall rise first!"
  • So... it must be remembered, we came to CCNH because somebody measured their home windows wrong and my boiler broke and my kids were throwing a fit that day and I needed to get out! Don't tell ME God doesn't have a sense of humor!
  • Who were the smallest men in the Bible? The disciples that slept on their watch.
  • Did you know that God invented baseball? We saw it Sunday in Genesis 1... "In the big inning."
  • Yup, there was tennis too... "Moses served in Pharaoh's court."
  • Uh huh, and motorcycles! "The roar of Joshua's triumph was heard throughout the land!"
Shall I stop now?


Ideas that seemed good at the time...

I came up with what I thought was a very clever rule for my girls (one college, one early high school). They could go out with anybody as long as the boy came with me on Wednesday nights.

Wednesday nights... in another blog I'll relate how different all this is for me, what's happened in the last 5 years. But suffice to say that these days on Wednesday nights I meet a group of friends. At a karate dojo.

We put on full gear, head hands and feet, mouth and (ahem) other stuff.... and we deliberately aim at each other. It's all in good fun, kicking and punching, but it gets pretty heated.

So I figured having any boy come down and see me spar (not terribly impressive) but see my FRIENDS spar (QUITE impressive)... well, I figured it would begin to put a proper fear and respect in them.


So my eldest daughter, through quite a chain of coincidences, begins corresponding with one of my senseis. I'm late 40s, I'm one of the old guys, and pretty late to be starting out. He's 21. They started dating.

He is a master at kicking my ... butt, face, tummy, back of my head, you name it, he's kicked it.

I lose that little game :).


Monday, September 05, 2005

Kid Stuff...

Long day. Another long day on top of a long day.

I love these quiet night times. Of course it's too late. It's always too late!

At night I bring the laptop up to my two youngest's room. I sit there (loving wireless), surfing, thinking, answering questions, listening to music (loving streamed music).

Right now it's Chris Rice. Oooops, made a mistake tonight. Funky jazz isn't quite relaxing. "Daddy, I don't know why I can't go to sleep."

Ooops, made another mistake. Country isn't quite relaxing. Gotta love JoDee Messina though!

Daddy, we're poor.

How funny perspective is. They know how tight things are right now... That we're living without cable (GASP!). I keep telling them how MUCH we have. Lights. Heat and cool. We just had a killer veggy soup for dinner made almost entirely with veggies from our garden.

How blessed we are!

Our tummies are full. Our hearts are full. Our heads are cradled.

Sometimes I'm so grateful for this lean time. It shows more than the fat times just how wealthy we are.

Why I love the ellipsis...

What the heck is an ellipsis?

Wikipedia sez: (No, wikipedia is NOT a wiccan book of incantations! It's an online freeby encyclopedia just so there's NO question and I don't get banned by Christian schools around the country.)


Ellipsis Έλλειψις (plural: ellipses ελλείψεις, Greek for omission) in linguistics refers to any omitted part of speech that is understood, i.e. the omission is intentional. Analogously, in printing and writing, the term refers to the row of three dots (…) or asterisks (* * *) indicating such an intentional omission. This punctuation mark is also called a suspension point or simply dot-dot-dot.

An example is, “She went to … school.” In this sentence, “…” might represent the word “elementary,” or the word “no.” The use of ellipses can either mislead or clarify, and the reader must rely on the good intentions of the writer who uses it. Omission without indication by an ellipsis is always considered misleading.

An ellipsis can also be used to indicate a pause in speech or be used at the end of a sentence to indicate a trailing off into silence.

The biggest reason I love this quote is that it uses Greek characters! I KNEW there was a reason for a year's study of Greek! It's that feeling you get every 10 years or so when you actually USE the stuff you studied in college!

I use the ellipsis a lot... But not to omit... Rather in the latter sense... To indicate at the end of a sentece a trailing off into silence...

I guess I trail off into silence a lot. I don't think I trailed off into silence much when I was in my teens, or twenties. I'll bet I started using ellipses (hmmm, is that the plural?) in my 30s.

In your teens and twenties, you don't trail off into silence much... Leastways I didn't. You're too self-assured. You KNOW what you are saying. You KNOW you have an audience. You KNOW your audience is just waiting with bated breath to discover your every muttering. Why, as brilliant as your ideas are, it's a wonder you can pause to catch your breath!

Maybe that was just MY teens and twenties. Maybe the harsh realities of life hit others sooner than they hit me.

But I KNOW I trail off into silence more now by a quantum measure than I did in those days.

It seems so often that the thought starts light and becomes too heavy to carry any longer... That the certainty of the statement is more about confidence than surety... More a private matter than the trumpets and fanfares of a period.

It's a funny thing that I am more confident today of God's love than I ever was in my days of the period.

That when I say "His arms are upholding me", today I feel confidence where yesterday felt merely truth.

Truth occupies a place in the head. The steady stripping away of pride and hope in my OWN self and power has moved "truth" to a deep realization in the heart

Time and again I've seen Him work. Seen Him strip me naked of even what passed for belief. And then, lying in an utter heap of ... of shattered dreams, broken heart, tortured pride and pitiful self effort...

I see HIM. I see HIS WORK.

And all I can do at the end is look up in wonder with the sad, chastened, joyful, ecstatic ...



Thursday, September 01, 2005

Glimpses of a life in question -- He's not a tame lion

Well this isn't the life I planned.

I'm 47, divorcing, I'm a single dad.

I was the one who wrote the seminary position papers that divorce was never allowed for anything except terminal marital unfaithfulness. How different things look when life is lived.

I struggle at work, trying to survive in a confused and confusing realm, where position and prestige trump work and creativity. I work so far out of my realm of excellence I keep forgetting that once I was a contender.

Dazed and battered, I keep trying to follow Jesus. Sometimes He seems so far off.

I'm going to try to keep some record here of this time. I'll be as transparent as is prudent. Mostly this is for me, because I love to write and writing is like an exhausting workout. Something changes in the process.