Tuesday, December 23, 2008

changing of a season

As we look outside it is easy to tell that something has changed since October. No more dried leaves no more trees of red or orange. The once green grass is now nicely tucked beneath its white glistening blanket. The naked branches now rustle not with leaves but with ice. My favorite shorts have been "neatly" shoved into a back drawer; their vacancy filled by wool socks. The bike has been paddle locked to the garage and this year's first set of sled plans are being drawn on napkins even as I type. However, this blog is not about the cold that has settled over Manhattan. Not another look into the wistful woes of winter, but a look into the author and the "weather" of his heart.

For those of you that do not know God has called me to "fulfill the desires of His heart" in southeast Asia. There is no way that I will have the patience to tell the WHOLE, AMAZING story of God pursuing me and setting me on my current path here. If you are reading this and curious ask me. Anyway the part that I think is important for you to know is that threeish years ago I received a prophecy. A word from the Lord that I have held in the deepest part of my heart. It is kept close to me always assuring, keeping me warm. Its hard for me to describe. Its not that I have never doubted it, if this were the case I would be concerned in the fact that satan has not felt a necessity to attack it, but this is not the case. There have been brief panic stricken moments where I thought that Mark could have been wrong, that I have been focusing my life around a lie and my world crumbles. But these feelings are short and then the peace returns. The words that I have formed hopefully the remainder of my life around: "For the next five years God will fulfill the desires of your heart, and after those five years you will start fulfilling the desires of His." So today I sit here with 793 days to go, and . . . well this is what the blog is about.

I am sure that all of you have in some way have become familiar with inevitability. I don't mean "knowing" what it means, but actually being in a situation that has an inevitable ending. An ending that is both unavoidable and unchangeable. Although the ending is good I can't help but feel trapped, even suffocated by this ever looming future. I know there are many turns in the road ahead of me, I can see a few of them already starting. Looking back I have also realized that God has changed my course several times to be where I am today. I am excited about where He is taking me, but at the same time TERRIFIED. Terrified of the fact that who I comfortably am today will not make it where God will be taking me, where "the desires of His heart" are. I am terrified of the fact that in the next 793 days I MUST finally become the man of God I have always wanted to be.

I am sure most of you are like, "that sounds great," and trust me I know yet, the fear persist. Its always been easier to play halfway, to leave a distance, not to get to involved; that way if things go badly you can say "well I really wasn't trying, I wasn't all the way into that." This mechanism protects me not just from failure in the eyes of others, but primarily failure in my own eyes. I don't know about you ladies, but I think this fear of failure mechanism, in some form, is hardwired into the heart of every man. I know that God's plan will call me to be everything he made me to be. Which in the past I have decided I could ever actually be so I have never tried out of fear of failure, and of this I am embarrassed . . . even ashamed. This fear that I have fallen victim to reminds me of my favorite quote:

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
--Theodore Roosevelt

Teddy could really turn a phrase, eh. What I get over and over from this is that if I try I will fail, but try I still must. "There is no effort without error," no victory without first a battle. The Lord has called me to achievement, to victory, so I know I must first error, and I must first fight.

As I type here in the cold of winter I look ahead to the summer, knowing God's will for my life and knowing things will change; that things must change. But that I must first find a new season. A season of change, I must find my spring. He is already thawing things around me, lining up the desires of my heart, and making ready the paths I will tread. I know the birds will be returning soon and the trees will begin to bud. I can either stay disconnected, in this winter, safe from failure, or I can accept this spring knowing it is the only way to embrace the summer God has planned for me. And although I know I will fail, trust in Dad and know He'll catch me. Now I smile and go get my shorts out.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Irrational(?) fears

Mad props to John "Wildcard" Creagar for this one. Irrational fears is an amazing subject matter. I think identifying them is the first step in a long complicated process that ends in us still being completely and hopelessly terrified of them. They are irrational after all aren't they.

Anyway I will be the first to admit that I am frightened of many things, however when I stop and really think about it I feel that none of them are completely "irrational." For instance although it may be improbable that (1) i would be stuck on a long road trip with nothing but a Nickleback CD, it is not irrational.
Other irrational(?) fears include:
(2) Zombie invasions. Improbable . . . maybe, unfounded definitely not. Do you have a plan of action? If you don't you might as well start eating tasty brains right now. I have a fireman's axe named "the hunter" right at the head of my bed for just such an occasion. Later blog topic "is decapitating a zombie a sin?"
(3) Clowns. What the HELL is wrong with those people?!
(4) Worms. Okay maybe this is a little irrational but they are so gross and I am not to proud to say it. Do you know that all of a worm's reproductive cycles take place on the outside. The last thing I want is a worm std. I will not touch a worm; ask anyone who has been fishing with me.
(5) Cabbage Patch Dolls. Alright Wildcard you win this round. [Irrational]
(6) Inhaling some poisonous gas and having to stab myself in the heart with one of those HUGE NEEDLES. I think I'll choose death's sweet release before I insert that turkey baster into my atrium.

That's all I can think of now. Hasta pasta

Monday, December 15, 2008

50 degrees

In this blog I would like to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of keeping the interior of your house at, you guessed it, 50 degrees. For the sake of my terrible typing skills advantages is now abbreviated as ad. and disadvantages is now dis.

ad. Lower heating costs
dis. Higher long john and wool sock costs
ad. Not actually having to put anything in the refrigerator.
dis. Having to put honey and syrup in the microwave.
ad. Your bed being so amazing at night.
dis. Not being able to get out of your bed in the morning.
ad. Creation of a common bond between roommates.
dis. Creation of a common illness between roommates.
ad. Sitting on the drier is really warm.
dis. Sitting on the toilet is REALLY cold.
ad. When you go elsewhere that is "heated" you are always comfortable even if the host believes it's cold.
dis. When others come to your house they are NEVER comfortable even if you believe it is a "dry cold."
ad. Your roommates beagle may cuddle with you.
dis. Your roommates beagle may catch a cold.
ad. Water left in cups overnight actually taste better in the morning.
dis. Water left in rags overnight actually renders the rags useless in the morning.
ad. Showers are amazing.
dis. Ending showers are almost impossible.
ad. You remember how much you really like hot tea.
dis. You remember how much you dislike frostbite.
ad. The stereo works better when its cold.
dis. Toothpaste doesn't work better when its cold.
ad. Having to sleep in a sleeping bag.
dis. Having to sleep with the clothes your planning to wear in the morning.
ad. The cold helps some people focus.
dis. Mostly focus on how cold they are.
ad. It gives me something to blog about instead of studying for finals.
dis. It gives me something to blog about instead of studying for finals.

I hope this list has helped you decided if 50 is for you or not.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

a few of "my favorite things"

After revisiting one of my favorite things this morning I thought it was appropriate to compile a list of them; and since i have a blog I'm going to put them here whether you care or not (i want to put one of those sideways happy faces here, but I'm far to manly).

* Waking up early in my tent to a bitter cold morning. Frost, caused by the moisture in my breathe, has lined the inside walls and ceiling of my nylon house. I put on my cloths which have been hardened by the night. After using my headlamp to find and "adjust" all my layers I tie my boots and step out into the cold. Only then do I realize how warm it really was in my tent. The air, which i can now clearly see as I exhale, stings my lungs. And as the world sleeps i wander off into the dark.
* Praying for someone I love.
* The sound of pine needles under my boots.
* A really good stretch.
* The sound and finesse of an axe splitting logs.
* The moment you know the fire you started is going to catch.
* A really greasy burger and fries with buddies at a truckstop.
* Baptisms.
* The feeling of a rope in my hands.
* Music that's so loud its hard to breathe.
* The sound of a church bell on a cold morning.
* Jogging with a ponytail.
* "Being there" for someone.
* Picking up things that are far to heavy.
* Spending time with my brother.
* Going for really long walks.
* The satisfaction of playing catch with a baseball.
* Singing LOUD in the cars with friends.
* Not knowing what I'm doing with my life.
* Driving.
* Going to "lunch" with my graveyard shift buddies.
* Finishing a book.
* Hugs.
* Putting on clothes that just came off the line.
* Knowing I "like" someone before they do.
* The smell of "deep woods off".
* Cooking breakfast over a campfire.
* Doing what people who know you don't expect.
* Finding something I thought was lost.
* Cold duck.
* Screaming "ALLIGATOR" while looking for Thaddeus in a group of people.
* Doing something God has been asking you to do for awhile.
* Building something from wood.
* Finding out something about myself.
* Turkey legs.
* Going to Big Meadow.
* Manual labor with friends.
* Sledding.
* Laughing until I cackle. (yes i do cackle)
* Giving someone a verse when its really needed.

This is my list for now. I encourage all of you to make a similar list and see if you're not in a really good mood by the end. I look forward to reading all of your lists. :-) ok maybe just one smile

Sunday, December 7, 2008

10 ways to let go (in order of effectiveness)

10: get drunk. I would actually like to list this as 15. You are not really dealing with any of the emotions you have in fact you are ignoring them. Then the following day you still can’t deal with your emotions because you have to deal with a hangover. Special thanks to my boss for not firing me when I called in hung over. And finally if the loved one, as in my case, was a deeply religious man when you stop and think about it really doesn’t honor them (later blog topic).
9: Ignore it. Pretend it never happened a little classier than 10 but just as ineffective.
8: Become apathetic. Things are starting to move in the right direction. Acknowledging the death, but hardening yourself. Sure he/she died but you know you don’t care . . . insert strange reasoning here.
7: Bottle it up. Acknowledge the death and your pain, but refuse to share it or even discuss it with those who care.
6: Joke about it. Later this can be a good sign, but early on it’s just another way of ignoring it. The griever is just trying to cover pain with humor. You are just lying to yourself.
5: Speak to friends. Its best to speak to those who also knew the departed, but any friend will do. Accept the loss, don’t side step pain. Hugs are great.
4: Go for a drive. I don’t know what it is about driving that helps you think, but it does. I recommend driving at night to no particular destination.
3: Spend time with the Lord. Tell him exactly how you feel, even if you are bitter about the death. I promise he already knows how you feel. Telling Him often helps YOU realize how YOU feel.
2: CRY. It’s okay! Just stop and let things settle and don’t fight it.
1: Go to the funeral. There is nothing quite as healing as celebrating the life of a loved one with other people who feel the same way you do. If you are really lucky you’ll have the opportunity to road trip 700 miles with a buddy who also knew and loved the deceased; telling stories about him/her and singing as loud as you can. Cry with and hug the family. Look at you loved one one last time and smile if you can.