Friday, February 25, 2011

Another Poetic Interlude*

The world is crazy, and I know it well
The tales that our battered hearts could tell
In heaven's gates we see a wild hope
That someday we will do much more than cope

Run free, run wild, and then run home to Me
To all your secrets I still hold the key
Do not forget the debt of love you owe
Or cease to treasure all the love you know.

Take care of them, my God, this is my plea
And help me to accept, You value me
You know the truth, You know the cost
You know the falling of the lost

The mysteries I ponder in my heart
Oh well You know that this is just the start!
Take me for a quiet walk in love
And tell me that my soul belongs above

*written a little more than two years ago

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Love, in suffering

Jesus was spat upon, scourged, abandoned by His closest friends, thought of as crazy by His immediate family members, laughed at by the authority figures of His day, disbelieved in His own hometown. He watched every day sins being committed that in His pure holiness must have been more acute a pain than to the most righteous man that ever lived. He lived with knowing that He was doubted when He knew that He carried in His person the very Truth of Life. He lived with knowing that even His followers who believed in Him misunderstood His plan for their redemption. He ate with sinners, wept at His friend's tomb even knowing that momentarily that friend was going to be resurrected, and accepted gratefully the repentant tears of an immoral woman as they fell upon His feet. He washed His disciples' feet. He sat at a preposterous excuse for a court trial to frame Him for some crime, any crime, and He did not say a word in His own defense, even though He knew that at that assembly, He and only He had never sinned. Even though He had the power to call down a legion of angels to take His place, He allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross, and stayed there of His own volition while His blood dripped down and His body gave out.

Even knowing all this, having known it all my life, and loving Him for it, I fail at being half as grateful as He deserves. Naturally, infinite goodness demands infinite gratitude, and infinite gratitude is more than a finite being can give, but I even fail at giving Him all of my gratitude that I could give. I say that because, even knowing all this, knowing how much He suffered for me on the cross and in His life, I sometimes have the gall to come to Him with some specific hurt or incompleteness in my life and say, "But Jesus, You've never known what it was to feel *this*." When I say it, what I mean is not that it is *more* than anything He has felt, but that that certain specific type of thing is something that He has not experienced and could not understand.

When I do that, He looks at me. He doesn't have to say anything, because I know what His answer is. I know that there is not an inch, not an ounce, not a prick of pain that I will ever feel that He has not felt, because He has already carried mine, because He is walking through it with me even at that moment when in childish ingratitude I complain to Him that He does not know how it feels. He already bore all those things, every single one of them, for every soul that ever was.

It is when I look into His eyes that I realize that truth, and it is when I realize that truth that I can fall at His feet and cry out to Him with all my soul.

He will always understand. He lives in me.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


In Joshua Harris' book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye (which I highly recommend, even though I am not even mentioning the main ideas in the book in this post), one of the things he talks about is the difference between thinking of something as a line not to cross versus thinking of that same concept more as a direction. Specifically in avoidance of sin (or, more aptly put, pursuance of holiness), this speaks of the difference between trying to not put a toe across that line (not fall into some certain specific act of sin), while actually trying to get as close to the line as possible, and trying to stay as far away as possible from sin and the appearance of sin and, yes, even the temptation to sin.

Applying the idea more broadly than simply thinking about things that are definitively bad for us to do, this can be about our lifestyle, our everyday choices, our overall directional choices that determine our future. I've been thinking a lot lately about the direction of my life. I'm wondering where it's leading me, or, more accurately, where my choices are leading it. Am I going where I want to be going? Are the things that I am engaged in now leading me towards the skills, the knowledge, the character, the lifestyle that I want to have?

Years ago, I was sure what I wanted to do--maybe not for all my life, but for the next few years at least. I had a starting plan, but I wasn't sure what the long-term plan was. With a few small unexpected things that have happened along the way, I am still pretty much on the path that I set myself on then. But somewhere, somehow, something went wrong, and I'm thinking about changing direction.

Why? I can't explain why very well, although I've been trying--to myself, to other people. I have been struggling with a sense of dissatisfaction and discontentment with where I am and what I am doing. Not only because it's hard, even though it is. Not only because I am afraid of certain things that I see coming up down the path, even though I am. Not for these reasons alone, but because I cannot justify to myself why I am on this path. I couldn't justify it very well when I started on it either, but I thought I should pursue it anyway, and I am not sorry that I did, because I have learned a lot and pursued a lot of worthwhile things. Thing is, I'm losing my conviction that it is what I should still be pursuing. I would have thought I would have a justification by now, but I would be OK with going on without that, if I still felt certain it was the path that God wanted me to keep following.

Lacking in peace, lacking in a sense of wisdom about the priorities of my life, lacking contentment in who I am and what I am doing with my life right now, I have been praying and asking my friends to pray for me for the peaceable and gentle wisdom that comes from above that James writes about under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I am surprised and a little frightened at the changes to which I think that peace may well be leading me, but I am going to keep seeking that wisdom and trusting that God will lead me where He wants me to go.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Sometimes I like to say that I maintain balance by being unbalanced in different ways from day to day. What I mean by that is if A, B, C, and D are various projects or things I am working on (or sometimes, sleeping and eating are items also treated in this manner), then one day I neglect A and B to focus on C and D, then the next few days maybe do the opposite, and just keeping juggling everything around so that nothing gets completely dropped, but I get to maintain a certain level of sanity by not committing 100% to every item every day (what my sizable super-responsible side would prefer, but my reasonably realistic side realizes is not actually quite possible). I don't know how truly accurate a description this is of the way a live my life, but there is definitely an element of truth to it and, truth be told, I like it that way. I would rather be balanced by being unbalanced in a creative way than by, well, actually being balanced.

"Balanced" and "stable" for me are words that actually have connotations of "boring." Perhaps that means I'm a little bit crazy, but it also means I'd rather be a little bit crazy. Only a little bit, though, because I would also like to maintain partial sanity. I don't want to be the same person in the same mood with the same behavior every day. I don't want to be completely unemotional in my reactions to life. But I also want to be responsible and trustworthy, and I want to be able to maintain a certain level of composure before other people (not that I never let myself lose composure in front of my friends).

Oddly, these aren't the meanings of the word "balance" that I really meant to write about. You see, there is one sense of the word in which I very much want it, rather than wanting to achieve balance by not having it or only achieve it to a certain point. This sense might be a little harder for me to explain. I want to have balance in "input" versus "output". I don't mean give and take in relationships (not that that's a bad thing), and I don't mean working on productive things versus taking refreshing leisure time (also not a bad thing, and somewhat related to what I mean). I mean the difference between reading a book and writing it. The difference between studying and writing in my diary. The difference between listening to music and playing it. Consumption versus creativity.

I have to have balance between these two, or I'm not right on the inside. If my life goes too heavily on the "input" side, it isn't good for my ability to keep going with it. I feel like there isn't any room left in my brain for more. I feel stifled. I feel out of touch with what's going on in my own mind and heart. So I have to go write in my diary, or write a poem, or write a blog post, or play music in a creative and expressive way (something that doesn't always happen if I'm playing music because I have to), before I can go back to the other things.

Of course, I can go far enough in the other direction that I need a break from that, too. If I've written or played myself out, I can feel exhausted, depleted, not have enough in me for one more line or phrase. And then I want to go read, or have a long conversation with someone about something completely unrelated.

And that, my friends, is my explanation for why I am posting on this blog today, even though it would be very easy to make the argument that I do not have time.