Monday, February 28, 2011

A Love Story - Part 2

(Part 1 is here.)

That faithful freshman class with a professor who liked assigned seating, busy work and facebook more than new students was where it began. Grayson, raised to be confident and strong, began wooing his table partner almost immediately.  MaryAnne was more hesitant, not wanting to fall victim to a first year hyped love, but throughout the semester, her walls fell.  They began a relationship that would carry to the halls of the courts.

MaryAnne was not the typical Pastor's kid, she had not had a wild streak and didn't hate the church or her family because she had seen the love that came from them and from her Lord.  She said yes to Grayson's dating requests because she saw a relationship within him that mirrored her own.  They would press towards Christ together.

After these years it was concluded they would be married when the time was right.  They spoke of times and dates, usually after finalizing the college years to avoid the difficulty of student marriages.  It saddened MaryAnne, but fell to the plan of Grayson, who, without her knowledge had already spoken with her father about uniting them in the upcoming winter, 8 months away.

As the second year ended they both stayed for an extra week of class.  The evening before they were to part for the summer he had a beautiful evening planned.  They had dinner, talked, laughed, enjoyed the company of each other, knowing it would be the last face to face for 8 painful weeks.  The flickering of the candles gleamed in her eyes as they ate the meal he had prepared for them.

He had been careful within their relationship to steer clear of moments of weakness, times when they would be alone.  Grayson knew where he could fall, where he could fail.  But this night different, it was special, and one night alone could be resisted.

They shared memories and stories of the year and what was to come in the summer.  Finally, Grayson stood and took her hand.  He brushed her hair back and said, "I love you."  He reached into his pocket, she gasped, taken back by the thought of a small box appearing.  Out comes his walkman!  A look of confusion and slight disappointment, grazed her face, hidden quickly by a giggly smile.

"Oh, you thought . . . wait!" Grayson smiled and said, showing he had set that scene intentionally.  He took his earbuds and placed one in her ear and one in his, shuffled through his songs and pressed play.  As soon as the music started, he removed his bud and placed it in her other ear.  She was surrounded by the soft music, watching Grayson tap his leg, trying to keep what he thought was time with the song.

The artist began to sing in her ear, but her eyes saw him, slightly behind, but singing the song to her, about love, and truth and trust.  She smiled and giggled as his timing was off, not being able to hear the music, but was overwhelmed with emotion.  As the song was closing, he dropped to a knee and revealed a round object, he slipped on her hand.  "Will you marry me?"

Shocked she squealed "Yes!" instantly a embarrassed by her girlish reaction.

"It will be this winter," Grayson said, "I've talked with your dad, it's all set if you are up for it."

Joy boiled up from her soul, no more waiting, it was time to be a family!  An impassioned embrace followed, faint tears welling in her eyes at the thought of being his wife so much sooner than expected.  His hand, softly grazed upward on her spine, interlacing his fingers with her silky straight hair.  His head lowered to her cheek and left arm squeezed tightly on her waist.  Her arms that had been wrapped on his neck released slightly, allowing her to fall back enough to probe into his eyes.

The glimmer from the candle had turned to a fire from deep within, and it burned in his eyes as well.  He stepped back, revealing a painful look from her.  "This has to stop," he groaned with every bit of discipline he could muster.  He walked to the table and began clearing it.  She followed and helped both hurt and happy for his leadership.  But shortly the fire lit again.

On this night the lust for physical love and intimacy would prevail.  Shortly afterward, the joyful tears turned to conviction and watery eyes of repentance.  Both to each other and the Lord they served.  It did not happen again, and it would not.

Five weeks and a pink line on a wet stick later the drama was about to unfold.

(Part 3 is here

Friday, February 25, 2011

Shot through the Heart - 55

In slow motion I watch the projectile pierce the air towards me.

Moments before the western whistle had silently blown as eyes met, prepared to draw.

Raising my weapon I begin to fall even before I'm inevitably hit

My trigger is pulled as I'm struck and hope for revenge.

Laughter erupts as Nerf darts collide.

This is a normal dual at my house lately with my 3 year old, usually standing on the arm of the couch with his weapon!  He always takes the first shot, but I get the last!

Tell a story in 55 words and post the link here with G-man for Flash Friday 55!  Come and play.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ordinary Warrior

I look at guys in the Bible and think, "Wow, what they did and who they were is extraordinary!"  Think about it, Abraham.  First, just pack up and go.  Where God?  Just go.  Ok.  Then later, hey that son I gave you, go sacrifice him as mine.  Uhh, what?  Trust Me.  Ok.  We call this extraordinary faith.

Well what about the guys tossed into the fire so hot it killed the men that threw them in!  King says bow to me, worship me!  They say, Ahh crap, we only worship the True God.  King says, are you sure?  yup, we will not bow, we will not break.  We call this extraordinary faith.

Daniel, praying and tossed in with the lions.  Stephen, one sermon then stoned.  Pick a disciple and see how that went for them.  David, stuff happening to him all the time, bears, lions, giants, oh my!  Jesus, truth proclaimed through love = crucify Him.  We call this extraordinary faith.

Pick your modern day example, missionaries, healings, miracles in people who believe, those who step out and do things we would call crazy!  But when I say we, who do I mean?  The world?  The church?  Because we call this extraordinary faith.

To the world this should be crazy and foolish, to the church it should be normal so who is calling these things extraordinary?  This is what we are called to as people who believe in and follow the true and living God!  He calls us, even simply in His Word to every day action that produces results only He can take credit for.  This is not extraordinary, this is obedience!  And this obedience only happens through love.

We have to fight for these things because they are not the normal, they are not the everyday, and they are not easy, but this life is not about us, it is about Him and His Glory that we get to bask in and be satisfied from.  We have to fight to make these things that we have come to call extraordinary seem normal. Or, like I would say, we have to become an Ordinary Warrior.

-Ordinary Warrior

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Love Story

He slowly wiped the leaves away from the name engraved in stone revealing splatters of mud where someone had carelessly walked by.  Frantically, he tore off his outer shirt to wipe them away, but his action seemed in vain as he only smeared the watered dirt into the cracks.  His tears began to fall again as he searched for a puddle, or a leaf with leftover dew from the morning to clear her name.  The collection of salty water at the base of his chin would have sufficed, but he collapsed, leaving one hand on the epitaph that read, "I love you, but He loves you more.  I'll hold you soon."

4 years had past since the day, the day that changed him, that broke him, that tore his soul from his chest.  The day that she went in for what they had called surgery, a minor procedure  After the battle they had fought, the choices they had made to rage against the problems, the issues, this is how it ended, 4 years ago, on this day.

It had taken the first year for Grayson to be able to understand life at all.  Barely eating, hardly any social interaction.  Every walk to any room brought memories they could have had together.  Brokenness surrounded him, bouts of anger grasped for his very life at times and yet somehow he loosely held to his sanity though to some it had been long gone.

The second year got better, he was able to forgive, everyone involved, including himself.  Future memories still haunted his dreams at night but he was journaling them, and it was peaceful for him.  A good counselor was walking him through grieving and giving him hope for the future, both here and in the afterlife.  He was beginning to live, through grace, again.

It was in this year he was able to sense his love returning for the savior he had adored before that faithful day.  A sense that His grace and glory was more, that His plan was better.  It gave him comfort but did not ease the pain of loss.  Pressing into sovereignty was how he survived.

Though time had begun to heal and theology had taken hold, recently there had arisen a different conflict.  A woman had entered his life, beautiful and in pursuit of Christ.  She was caring of him, gentle and firm, exactly what he needed.  The thought of a deep relationship brought fear and anxiety, but the draw to her was undeniable.  She knew his story, and loved him none-the-less.

Her name was Kaley, meaning brave warrior, which was exactly what she was to him.  This complicated everything for him, too close, too painful, what happened could be prevented, but could he prevent it?  His soul had warred against these things that were now constant in his mind, bringing him to this grave on the 4th year anniversary of his precious Belle's death.

After what seemed an eternity, but not close to the time he would like to have spent, Grayson forced himself to stand.  Wobbly, underneath his shaking knees, face drenched in salty tears, he reached into his pocket.  He had searched for what would be a perfect gift to leave.  Both satisfied and comfortable with the unmistakable fact that these would be gone before weeks end he revealed the gifts for his love.

Gently he placed a small red locket and chain on the cold stone, opening it so the world could see his picture on one side and a heart on the other.  He stood again, admiring the placement, hoping she understood his love.  Tears began to stream as he caressed the second gift.  Stroking the head of a small, pink, stuffed pig, and having a difficult time parting with what could have been a memory they shared, he put it down, a gift perfect for his 4 year old daughter, Belle.

With the sun shining, Grayson whispered his "I love you's" and "I miss you's" and turned, intentional with every step towards the car where Kaley had waited so patiently.  When he sat down in the passenger seat she placed her hand on his knee and looked compassionately into his tear stained eyes.  "I would love to have met her," she said to him, with the beginnings of her own tears.

Grayson grabbed her hand but could not look in her eyes.  The response was all he could muster, "I would have too."  And they drove on the winding road away from the cemetery.

(Part 2 is here)
 (Part 3 is here

Friday, February 18, 2011

Salty - 55

Having tasted life and death I would choose the former with a pinch of salt.  Give me the taste, enhanced by a mineral designed to preserve.  A little over the shoulder, but then I'll sweep up.  A little in the batter, a little in the mix, but don't mistake it for sugar in the coffee!

Tell a story in 55 words and post the link here with G-man for Flash Friday 55!  Come and play.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Without Words - 55

Weeks slaughtered with action but tell-able stories don't prevail.

Feeling strange as words are forced, begging for some semblance of sense.

No lack of desire keeps thoughts from being pasted on pages only lack of coordination between garbled brain sections.

But I type, only asdf jkl; until electrodes begin to fire in time again.

Tell a story in 55 words and post the link here with G-man for Flash Friday 55!  Come and play.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What's So Great about Valentines Day?

Just breathe for a minute, I'm a happily married man for almost 10 years and yes . . . I do expect to stay that way.  My wife will have read this before it gets posted, so if you are seeing it, I am not in danger!  Calm down.

Now listen:  There is no birthday, anniversary of anything, holiday, special occasion, or whatever associated with this day.  I love the idea of celebrating love!  I think it is great to focus on why you are with the person you are (or at least were and should be) enamored with.  It holds that beauty of deep relationship, of passion, of intimacy, and of love to a higher plain.  Celebrating your love helps it to grow.

And if, only on Valentines Day, you need to show your love in a special way, you have failed.  

And I know this because in the past, I have failed.

There are many ways that I drop the ball all the time with my attitude and actions to make my wife feel unloved and insecure in our relationship, but I strive to love her like Christ loves the church.  I feel fairly confident that she would say she feels loved and appreciated outside of one day a year.  It is my goal to serve her in love perfectly.

This in turn makes February 14th just another day on the Calendar.  My expressions to her are year-round. 

They are flowers on a Tuesday, French Onion Dip on a rainy afternoon, cleaning the kitchen instead of a nap, and taking her on romantic dates as often as possible . . . all year long.

One great day and one great date does not make you a great husband and a great man.  

What did you do on January 14th or Feb 27th?

So take her out, or stay home.  Buy her something great, or a simple pack of chalky conversation hearts.  Make the day special, but only if the other 364 are as well.  She is your standard of beauty and she is perfect for you!  Oh, (and I'm terrible at this) don't expect anything at the end.  These moments are about her, not you.  Let her decide how the story plays out!

Brilliant thoughts from my wife:

Valentine's Day is a great time to celebrate your love and I'll take a gift any time.  However, it is more special to me to get a small gift, like you said, on a random Tuesday b/c you thought about me and my "likes" on your own, not b/c the calendar (and every commercial on TV) told/reminded you to.

It's true, you're VERY consistent about making me feel this way EVERY day.  THAT is why V-day isn't a big deal to me.  My love bank stays full year-round.

-Ordinary Warrior
Fight to make the extraordinary seem normal