Friday, July 30, 2010

55 - Lapse in Judgement

Oh, to have the lapse in judgment back that broke the practice I have perfected since being a child. My teeth, coming quickly together.  My lip, knowing it should retreat, yet tempting fate, trying for one last kiss of touch from my tongue.
Chomp . . . Wince . . . Tears . . . Blood.

Now a sore whose irritant is beyond imagined.

What can you say in 55 words? Give it a try or just read more, go see g-man.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Theme Thursday - Light

An explosion of light into the new adventure brings fear and trepidation.  Surrounded by white gowns and coming to rest on the outside of the home for the first nine months.  This light is confusing, overwhelming but inviting and will reveal both beauty and disaster for days to come.

A magnificent light shown on her face as she walked in the room.  Blinding and attractive at the same time her mere reflection demanded attention.  Rays shot from her hair as she gently brushed it out of her face and the sparkle in her eyes put the sun to shame.  This light will not let go.

A consuming light blazes through the day, the only distraction from its red and orange colors are the hints of blue in the depths of the heat.  Scrambling for family and possessions, squinting from bright but struggling from darkness.  Narrowly escaping to see it consume parts of life that can't be given back.  This light has taken everything.

A dim light producing hums, buzzes, and pops captivates the gaze.  The soft dark of the evening shows its need while a cloud of flying insects attack a bulb as if their mere existence depended on it.  Two sit, quietly in a swing simply enjoying each others presence in the shadows from the light.

An increase of light in a time where not much is new.  Laying in a white bed, in a white room, savoring each moment as it may be the last.  The excitement that light has brought through the many years races in memories that collide, producing salty tears.  An unknown darkness has crept in and the light of the world fades.

A final explosion of light reveals "an awful big adventure."  Curiosity is peaked as the tunnel leads to a comfortable basking in glory.  Released from the binding cage of the days and now entering the new, this presence dwarfs the light of the past.  It is time to go to the light..

This week the topic for Theme Thursday is "Light."  Come and play!

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Better Man Than I

It was later in the evening, darkness had overtaken the battlefield of my backyard so the imagination moved indoors.  Enjoying the company of out-of-town guests while their children played with mine.  He is 2, rowdy, adventurous, and difficult to slow down, much like his father, except he is a better man than I.

A clear ball with liquid and sparkles inside that lights up with the brilliance of fireworks when bounced makes its appearance into the play field.  Linc bounces it, watches it, smiles, and wants other to enjoy seeing it as well.  He goes to the older of his new friends to show its magnificence.

I am standing there as this happens, my son holds it out saying, "Look at the awesomeness of this round object my father once gave me" right about the time the older tries to take it!  Linc pulls it quickly back to his chest with a look of confusion on his face and I speak up, "Lincoln's playing with that right now, you can have it later when he is done."

I keep an eye on what could be the action, Lincoln holds his ball, enjoying its sparkles, but it needs to bounce to illuminate the eyes, so he drops it, waiting for the return to his hand and the brilliance of the light.

It never returns.

The moment it leaves his hand the older boy attacks it like a hungry dog on a T-bone, looks up at me and walks away.  The color of red explodes inside my chest and my son looks at me again with a confused look on his face and says in a soft, hurt voice, "I want the ball."

I kneel down, take him firmly by the shoulders, look deeply into his eyes and respond . . . I need to clarify here, perhaps this wasn't the best fatherly advice but he needed to defend himself, my 2 year old.  My response to him,

"Go get it back"

Curiosity turns to what I hoped was determination but honestly was more hesitation as he looked at the boy, walked to him, and asked for it back but was denied.  Defeated he comes back to me and restates his plea, "I want the ball."  You would think I would have learned but no . . .

"Go get it back."

Linc returns to the boy, asks again, is rejected again and trots back over to me, slower this time.  I can see in his face thoughts and I wonder what they are, how will he respond?  Like me and pounce?  He stops in front of me, looks at me and with all the sincerity in his voice of a boy who cares more about others than himself responds to my adversity . . .

"We have to share."

I am fighting back emotion now perhaps even more than in the moment.  A pride in my son burst from me like lightning from a heat storm.  I grabbed him up, threw him (he loves that), and gave him a big hug.  I found some candy and gave it to him, being sure that the older child, holding a boring ball, watched us enjoy the delicacy

I know, I didn't get the lesson there, but that's why I say my son is a better man than I.  He makes the extraordinary seem normal.

My son is an Ordinary Warrior.

Friday, July 23, 2010

55 - Hi Doug

So I'll . . . Cherish the Old Rugged Cross

The first part sung, the last spoken with a deep, passionate vigor, almost holding back tears from the truth he speaks.  I listened through college to an old man sing old songs with a new heart, half spoken, half harmonic.

Shatner's got nothing on you Doug.

This is a tribute to Doug Oldham, a man who was passionate with his voice, singing and talking through every song I ever heard from him.  Through college he was a consistent guest at every large event.  Fun to imitate, he will be missed.

Tell a story in 55 words. Give it a try or just read more, go see g-man.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Theme Thursday - At The Park

The wind gusts through the trails, the smell of joy and laughter fade as the sun did hours ago.  The metal bench that had burned legs earlier now searches for body heat to drain from its victims.  A light flickers over it, as if only to ensure that any passerby will be uneasy.

But not this man.  He appears as if from nowhere, tattered, betrayed by the day that seemed to promise direction.  But the day had disappeared into night again, the dark of the evening always overcame.  Downcast eyes with adventures and true love buried deep and screaming to escape from them are covered by the hair draped through his face, the portable hiding place he has created.

And here he finds the light, as if a blinking neon sign pointing to his nightly resting place.

There will be no time travel or adventure as portrayed in the movies for this man, only a cold bench, an empty stomach, and the longing for the days that he meant something.  The only way to get through is the fight that this is the last night at the park.

Theme Thursday is at the park this week.  This is my first Theme Thursday.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Evening Before

A dust cloud of emotion hung deeply in the air throughout the evening as memories exploded from those seated around the tables.  Almost as if scripted, each participant was able to place another piece of the puzzle in it's correct position. 

One man would break as he described the vivid imagery in his head recounting a time, or a season, or simply a thought that glimpsed into worlds of back story.  Another would be firm, yet no less passionate in his recount of events.  Make no mistake that all their hearts beat as one in the joyful pride of a moment they would both cherish from here forward and long to see manifested in new ways in the future.

The truth is, this should be normal.  The unfortunate reality declares this moment extraordinary.

Far exceeding the sentiment that resonated deep within the room was a comforting weight that had brought this night to fruition long before even the dreams had been initiated.  Men that had carefully walked through each detail, each spec that could make this thing fall now stood with a blazing assuredness in the decision that had been made for them before time . . . and they followed.  Amidst structural doubt and strategic confusion these men followed a Spirit that gave them a confidence beyond human measure.

And where He worked in one, He had already begun working in the body.

With far more than a year invested in this vision which culminated the next morn, this group of men and women celebrated. They celebrated three specific men, a group of elders, a body of believers, and a Holy Spirit whose decision to accomplish His goals in His timing all for His glory were beyond anything they could have asked or imagined.

The evening broke with an anticipation that this same Spirit would move on the morning that followed, that He who began a good work, 30 plus years before, would continue it in ways that had been made for them before time.

There was no doubt the glory was God's.

This is my account that began an incredible weekend of Christ working through men to accomplish His plan.  To have been a part of this was an amazing honor that I will cherish for long to come and look back on as an example of men following the Spirits leadings.

Friday, July 16, 2010

55 - So Many Adventures

Dancing through the artificially produced rain we litter the neighborhood with laughter and "ha ha's" to rival the French. 

Suddenly, amidst wildly shot arrows of water we dip and dodge attempting to avoid and be hit at the same time.

The mood changes, the moon is spotted, the adventure is now moon rocks for Mama.

Tell a story in 55 words. Give it a try or just read more, go see g-man.

My first attempt at 55 details a quick changing summer adventure around a sprinkler with my son.  Hopefully a decent account.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Stomp . . . Drag

Stomp . . . Drag
Stomp . . . Drag

Each time his black leather boot jingles as it falls hard to the ground, crashing from what his matching jacket bears.  Up and down the sidewalk which parallels a busy road in this city.  Maybe it's unclear but he has a message.

I ride by and comment to my friend that I'm not sure what I think about him.  My friend is sure and he doesn't like it, as if it gives his belief a bad name.  At the time, I am remain unclear.

Stomp . . . Drag
Stomp . . . Drag

He continues to walk, knowing there are detractors, surely thinking about each person in each vehicle whizzing by in the business of life wondering if he's crazy, like one who sits on a corner.  Certainly he believes his stance will be seen and his message accepted, I am less confident than he.

Too many years later, this man is brought to mind as I read about the "greatest man born of woman."  A man who lived in the desert but was so compelling people came to him.  I wonder if he would be accepted by my community, I hope so but I am not as confident as I would like to be.

I leave from this thought knowing it's a fight to be in and not of . . . afraid that I tread this line to closely in attempts to be accepted.  So I am careful to hold truth more closely than cool, battle to be called strange in the world, not accepted, and stand with the confidence that this man did, walking with his cross up and down the road.

Stomp . . . Drag

To be a man is to put truth over cool.

Ordinary Warrior

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Picturesque Plant & an Ordinary Warrior

A brilliant drive on a two lane journey into the unknown of the country, just to visit a small piece of grass and battle some ants for a sandwich. Along the way we crest a hill to find, in the distance, a picturesque view of a home with a chimney billowing smoke. Thomas Kincade would be envious of this creation as the mountains shadow attempted to overtake the abode but somehow seemed unable.

Slowly, as we approached through the hillside roads the home grew, revealing additions and a pool. I was amazed at the way so much of this had been hidden. Closer & closer exposed more and more of what was turning out to be a massive estate. The road dipped and curved, taking it out of view completely for a moment.

As it brought me back around my anticipation was heightened, a large smoking stack appeared first, followed by a shallow, cement . . . pool? An aroma hit me like that forced me to second guess my reason for breathing, I had stumbled upon a sewage and water treatment plant.

Yes, I was disappointed, but it helps me to see how Christ should see me sometimes. The pride and indifference that finds its way in too easily if I am not completely engulfed in His Word & His character.  The beautiful thing is that He sees me as the painting because He painted it, and washed it clean.

Men, we cannot sit around, going to church, praying for meals and both hoping and pretending that this is leading our families spiritually to Christ. This is trash, this is us showing as a painting but actually just treating our sewage. Unfortunately this is normal.

We are warriors, fighters, and this is ingrained in us, this is ordinary.  We change from this mentality because it is difficult, because our nature is to fight but it is also to be lazy.  Without discipline and training, ease will defeat action every time.

We have to struggle to fight for His glory in our lives and our families.

Not pretending, not perfection, simply the fight that everything, everything is for His glory. This is what we need to make the new normal. We are warriors, and within the body this needs to be ordinary.

Ordinary Warriors.

I speak to myself here more than any other but I am currently being driven to fight for the Glory of Christ for men and their families

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I almost quit

This morning I felt like the child from Seinfeld who renounced his religion.  I wanted to stand up, fist raised to the air and scream, "I Quit!!!"  The funny thing is, overall I am comfortable at my job, a good place to work with good people. 

No, it is completely different.

Last night my almost 3 year old ended up in bed with us around 2:00 because I am a softy.  He takes up lots of room to be so small, moving and shifting as I try to keep him closer to me so not to disturb his ma'a's slumber.  (everything Linc does is fast, including talking so he leaves letters out - m in this case.)

Apparently he had fiddled with my alarm clock the night before so the 4:15 that was supposed to awake me to some soft, soothing music (usually classic rock of some sort) did not appear.  At 5:30 I awake and arise, not in a hurry, but later than I would like to be.  Get dressed in the dark, grab the phone & lean over to kiss my beautiful wife goodbye when I hear:

"Daddy can I come?" followed immediately by, "Want daddy to come" in a much whinier voice.  I laid back down until he fell asleep, sad that when he awoke I would be fighting the paper mountains instead of making paper airplanes.

I have a good schedule too, I am off around 2 or 3 everyday so I get lots of time with him for us to play punches, light-sabers, soccer, football, running, swimming, cars, spaceships, bobcats .  .  . the list could go on for miles. 

Yet somehow I feel its not right, its seems broken that I have to leave.  I have realized that I schedule my time around his naps - if you want me it is a fight to get me when he is awake.  But when he gets older I can't bring him to work, or teach him a trade.  This is how it was, and how it is no more.

What this does is make it harder for men to be men, real men that are after Christ and their family.  Sorry guys, but there is nothing, NOTHING that should be about YOU!  I know you need a vacation, or some time alone or to unwind or whatever, so do I, but when it comes right down to it how does Christ love the church? 

Unconditionally with no regards for Himself.  No matter how great or easy to love your wife is (mine makes this incredibly easy) this is difficult and eye opening when you start to think this way.  Start to think with everything you do, how does Christ love His church, then act that way.  Be careful though, it could make you less selfish and more like Him.

Start to make the extraordinary seem normal.