Tuesday, October 31, 2006

power

It’s been a long time since I’ve been here, more than two weeks I’m thinking. I know that the tree outside the window of this caffeine based establishment is now bare. The last time I sat here watching life go by it was a deep burgundy color with just a hint of green left at the tips of the upper most branches. Now its bare, sort of a Tim Burton film kind of look. Actually it looks now how I felt then the last time I sat here….a sort of thin, haggard, spindly feeling. As I’ve been sitting here this morning looking at a blank screen, I can’t help notice the little battery icon in the lower left corner that keeps warning me of a depleting energy level. It’s a reminder like the witch gave to Dorothy about her impending demise when the sand runs out. I’m not plugged in, and if nothing were to change in this computing relationship then I will eventually run to the point of hibernation. It doesn’t stop unless I plug in.
As I sit here this morning I’m thankful that I’m feeling a bit more plugged in. A vacation will do that for you. We just got back from two weeks of being plugged in. It’s not the vacation that I’d have planned if I had the choice. In fact it wasn’t the original vacation at all. But it was a vacation all the same and we got away from the source of draining and plugged into some continued inspiration. It was energizing. There was no icon for us to watch anymore. It wasn’t the weather because it was cold and rainy most of the time. It wasn’t the location because for the most part we were surrounded by structures blocking out any view whatsoever. It wasn’t non-stop activity or recreation because we had a bunch of downtime when we had this “I don’t know, what do you want to do” type of look on our faces.
I’ve decided that it wasn’t as much being plugged in to something specific as is was being away from things that drained us. The list is long I suppose. No phone ringing incessantly, no people asking, demanding, expecting, no mail, no unfinished home projects looking accusingly at me and basically no responsibility to anyone but ourselves is what inadvertently created a power source. I guess when there’s a lack of issues, it creates a vacuum which draws back in life and creativity and inspiration and all the things that get pushed aside from day after day living. Of course I was also able to put some good time in with faith issues and some quiet for the still small voice to penetrate my soul again.
Two weeks seemed like a long time to be away as our plane lifted off from here back then. I thought of so many things that just couldn’t carry on without me. I thought of the house and the cat and the desk and the lawn and as I settled back in two days ago, I realized that it was all just right. The two weeks had also been just right. A day shorter and I’d not have been fully charged. A day longer and I’d have probably overcharged. I thought I knew what would be good for me, as I always think that I do. However, one more time, He knew and His plan was better. He knew because He knows me. He knew because its His power anyway.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Good

So I’m wondering this morning….Is the state of marriage in our culture as bad as husbands would lead us to believe? To be sure, there are some wives who act like their husband is similar in nature to one of the great plagues of Egypt. More than likely though it’s the husbands that I’m hearing from. Usually what I hear from the wives are tales of men behaving badly in their relationship. By badly, I don’t even mean cheating. It’s more clueless, insensitive, self-centered, childish (am not, are so, am not….) and well, just generally men-like. I totally understand this, because I am one…a man I mean. All of those adjectives at one time or another can aptly describe me. My goal however is that it wouldn’t also be identified with my relationship to my wife.
I’m reading in Genesis this past week, the early parts with all of the cool creative stuff that God was doing with His creative ability, and I, one more time, read through the activity surrounding the creation of Adam. I’ve read this at least a gazillion (gazillion’s not a real word, is so, is not…) times and it finally hits me. God looks down at His created, walking and breathing lump of clay, He looks around at all of the animals that he’s whipped up, and for the first time, probably ever for Him, He saw something not really all that good. No, He didn’t see their selfishness. He didn’t see the insensitivity. He didn’t even see the childishness (am so, am not, am so….Stop it). What He saw was that it wasn’t good because His created living, breathing lump of clay, did not have a more beautiful, more refined, more cultured lump of clay to live and breathe along side of. All of the other animals did, but not him, and God saw that it was not good.
Now you might say, at this point, nice going, you being a pastor and all and just figuring that out after 20 years of studying the Book. You need to understand though. It became clear as anything, real heart knowledge instead of head knowledge, because I was living in the context of God’s story. Mine intersected with His and the lights really came on for me. I’m in the context because I’ve been alone this weekend…and it was not good. I’m beginning to understand some of the intricacies of His intent during the creation process.
One thing that I know about myself is that, whenever my wife leaves for awhile, I get really miserable. So much so, in fact, that my routine when this happens has become to just distance myself from people and preoccupy myself with work. It’s sometimes dangerous and frantic amounts of work that would not be healthy for anyone for more than a few days here or there. I wonder if that’s how God figured out that it was not good. Was Adam distancing himself from the rest of creation and just frantically gardening for all he was worth. Probably not likely, …whatever. I know that’s what I do and I know that I never understood it until just now. I’m miserable because its not how it was supposed to be. It’s not how I was created to be and I’m not with who I was created to be with. So it is not good. Now I know that this may sound borderline psychotic, stalker, controlling type mentality. Please any liberated female create types who may be reading this, don’t send me notes about oppression and control and all that. I know very well that I need to give her space. Because of the way she’s been created, she has opportunities to go and share with other women and to spend time with other friends that make her who she is. So, yes I can deal with miserable once in awhile. It doesn’t mean I have to like it though.
I have been asked if I think that God creates people to be with certain people. I don’t know why not, He did it once. He certainly has the ability. I’m not sure if it’s specific people in all cases. It is in mine. I am sure that it is specific types of people. It doesn’t mean that we’ll make the right choices. I know from being on one side of many marriage ceremonies and counseling opportunities that we make really bad choices. I didn’t, but many do. I know I didn’t, even after all these years, because I still feel what Adam felt and what God felt when she’s not there for me. Far be it from me to get my theology from Hollywood, but the phrase “You complete me” is as close to God’s intent as it gets.
I know this because I’m there.
That leads me to some conclusions. One of which is that the marriage relationship was designed to complete one another. As I talk with guys in casual conversation, I rarely get that desire from them,…to be completed I mean. Most of it is macho, independent crap about how “the wife” is making me do this or that, or not letting me do this or that. It’s a conversation of burden and woe. You can see the fear in their eyes as they describe the descending of the plague upon their household. It’s all crap, at least most of it I think. If you’re a women reading this and you even remotely share my worldview about how we’re made and all I want to try to explain it to you. I believe that guys like that are probably fighting with their created being. Guys were initially created alone, independent and task oriented. Adam was alone watching the garden and everything in it. He didn’t realize the shortsightedness of the plan. (no offense to the Creator). Some guys struggle with the pull for alone and independent. It’s shortsightedness on their part, but understandable considering their inner wiring. I said understandable, not excusable.
Add to that our culture which tells them constantly how their marital relationship should look to other men that are in their circle, all macho and independent. Add a touch of selfish and a pinch of childish (am not, are so, am not…) and there it is. It’s certainly more complicated than anything Rachel Ray could whip out in 30 minutes.
So here I am. I understand it a bit more. I still don’t like it one bit, but I can do it when I have to, just not for more than a few days at a time. She completes me and I’m tired after a few days of trying to make up for her absence with work and activity. She’s back in 14 hours and then, once again, it will be good.

Monday, October 02, 2006

spectators

Where does time go? Does anyone else want to know or is it just my bizarre way of thinking. I mean, is it recorded like some great eternal TiVo, to be played back for you when you die? Or is it just erased to make room for more episodes, kind of like some old VHS tape you might find last minute when you’re desperate to record a show you didn’t know would be on. Will it ever come back around in a déjà vu moment or will it drop into a black hole. I’ve read that sound waves travel indefinitely through space. I wonder about time moments.
The sound thing bothers me because there are many things I’ve said that I would never want to hear again. I have similar feelings, I guess, towards time that I’ve wasted and would be far too painful to have to live again. For sure there are moments that I’d love to experience one more time. That’s not what I’m referring to. I’m thinking more along the lines of an, Ebeneezer Scrooge type, replaying of my life where I would only be a spectator. To that end I wonder, are there spectators who now view my life and all it’s moments? My understanding of faith and God’s word would lead me to believe that there are. Great clouds of witnesses, I believe, made up of those faithful who have gone on before me, are watching. I wonder if they act like parents at their child’s soccer game, running up and down the sidelines yelling for me to make the play, kick the ball, run faster, while I race back and forth, totally oblivious to their well intentioned directions. I imagine them, at times, yelling at Satan dressed as the umpire, while he throws red cards all about the field. I hope that, at the end of the day, they’re proud, like those parents, no matter how well I played the game.
I hate to think of how much time and how many moments that I’ve wasted in just this past week. I have friends that are battling serious illness, and I can only imagine how precious each moment must be when you’re not really sure how many you have. It’s hard for me to dwell on the fact that at my age, I could be counting moments. At any age, moments should be counted. One very glaring message that I encounter, whenever I combine the truths of God’s word with the reality of the lives I intersect with everyday, is the message that time is a luxury that we can’t afford to waste or dismiss readily. Procrastination is the message of Satan. Don’t worry, he whispers, there will always be tomorrow, you’ll have that moment again. I do believe that we’ll get to see a replaying of our life’s moments one day. But on that day, we’ll only be spectators.