Friday, November 18, 2011

space

Starbucks again on a rainy morning, although I do have my sights on another space in the near future….stay tuned. I’m only really here for the view anymore. Everything else has faded for me here like the last credits of a late night movie. The coffee is not a catch. My chair is gone…and there’s only so many cheese Danish that I can consume before someone will need to break out the paddles. The community feel is gone for the most part.
Take this morning for example. I stopped for gas and ended up just minutes off my intended schedule. That’s all it took for the curious space phenomenon to shift into high gear. It has always been interesting to me that while Starbucks and others like it have built an empire on creating community, when you actually come into a place, unless it’s a prearranged group, people have a specific method of insuring that they aren’t seated next to someone until absolutely necessary. Individual tables tend to be occupied, every other one, not next to each other. Seating with multiple chairs at one table have people at every other seat, even if it appears that they might be together.
Like I said, take this morning or example. Every other seat at every section of seats was occupied. As I, and nearly every follower behind me walked through the doors you could instantly sense the dilemma. Who was going to break the cycle first…and next to whom would they break it? I was the first this morning, and once I did, the pattern was off and every seat began to fill. It was still a reluctant filling, but you could sense that everyone now felt permission. The only one oblivious to this social experiment was a curious toddler of about 18 months who doesn’t yet understand social boundaries. I envy him. I found myself jealous that he could just bop around the room exchanging toddler greetings and staring like someone who suddenly found himself in a land of giants.
It makes me wonder at what age do we develop space issues? Now, to be sure, some adults have never acquired space issues. We all know these people and we tend not to invite them along on outings with us. They also never really developed the inside voice either. I’m not sure though when this felt need to separate by at least one degree came about. I just find it ironic that this morning, in this place at least, I was the one to break the pattern.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Leaves

In the Fall I tend to be in a sort of self evaluation mode for one reason or another. It has come naturally for me over the years. Perhaps it is watching the leaves Fall to the ground and being swept off that helps me to wonder which leaves of my past year have fallen and been blown away to insignificance, which have taken seed, and which have been taken home to a place of prominence by an eager wondering preschooler.
I wonder what will last and what will will disappear, what will be remembered and will matter and what was wasted. It's important to know such things when you are in the realm of the pastoral arts. It can be a good measure of worth, whether or not your influence is lasting.
Interestingly....or not, in my profession, I find it is likely the "other" things that have the greatest longevity. By other things, I mean things that are not seen as "spiritual"by the pious saints. The evidence I have for this is simply the difficulty that I have investing in the "other". I can find plenty to occupy my time in the expectations of a community o' faith on it's leader. I can program myself and my community into a virtual spiritual death. As I understand the workings of the deceptive one, I understand that his goal for my life is to keep me from what matters and immerse me in what doesn't. If this has an ounce of truth, then what really matters and what really lasts are things like time spent with my wife and a community friend wandering last night during the Art Walk. It is coffee with
friends. It might be stopping in on a local business owner to shop. It is holding the hand of a 2 year old princess. Those things may not seem spiritual, but I have a sense that they hold tremendous value because they are so hard to come by.
I spend so much time figuring out what to say. I justify it by the thought that it is what God would have me say. This makes it alright...this time I spend with my head down and Pandora on. I get paid to have my head down and the door closed. It's a bizarre place that we put ourselves in... We meaning pastoral types like me. Don't get me wrong...I am not negating the value of the art of dissecting and communicating the sacred words in the Book of Books. I just think that we've gone about it in a closed system that misses the value of time spent in the lives that are valued by the Book.
So the leaves come down and are blown down the block. They come and they go and it's not for me to determine. I just need to be with them.

Friday, November 04, 2011

fast

So even though everything was seemingly wrong for it this morning, I’m back here on my blog for a visit. It’s a bit like sitting down with an old friend. Which is probably just code for I need a real life. It’s been more than a month since my last post here. I’ve spent a bit more time with the main focus of my life @ my other blog. I was getting a bit stale so I felt a need to spend some time with this venue that has proven to be a friend and a support in times of transition over the years.
The return of Fall has ushered in some fantastic views of the snow covered peaks across the water. This place is full of people seeming to be going nowhere fast. It’s an all stages of life day. Dad’s proudly clutching their infant daughters, old guys discussing local politics, self absorbed individuals tethered to cell phones, and the rest of us plodding along on keyboards, are assembled for one cosmic period in time. It’s a bit amazing to consider that this exact combination of people in this exact place, or any place for that matter, will never happen again. This thought reminds me to enjoy the moment. Once it’s over, everyone here, created in the image of God, will be out the doors into their own journeys facing endless combinations of gatherings of other individuals, all created in the image of God. This thought reminds me to marvel at the creativity.
I’m beginning to realize just how comfortable I have become with what has become of my life. I’ve fallen, nearly imperceptibly, into the familiar. As the Fall breezes are stirring the leaves, something stirs in me again to remind me that no matter how comfortable I may be, this endless dance of interpersonal relationships with others created in His image continues on. What I was sure of last year, last week, yesterday, becomes a look ahead in anticipation of what might be different tomorrow. Some things I want desperately to hold on to; things like time spent with a 2 year old. Last year she was being carried around in a carrier, and next year she’ll outrun me…but now she holds my hand. And at the same time she has grown beyond memories, I have a renewed experience with a newborn grandson. I get to see his first smiles and satisfy his insatiable appetite simply with a steady hand on a bottle. Too soon he’ll be holding my hand while his cousin will be learning to ride a bike. On it will march.
So I sit here, with a seasonal red cup filled with Thanksgiving blend, and I wonder “what’s next?”. Each and every time I roll, literally, out of bed, paths are set before me. I get to choose. Actually, my soul mate and I get to choose. The one thing that has never changed is how excited I am for every adventure that we get to experience together and we have had many. Sometimes it consists merely of watching the leaves change and enjoying the familiar. Sometimes it is developing and appreciating what is and what has been. And sometimes it is following the whispers that there is more in store. The thing about this time on earth that we’ve all been granted is that it shouldn’t be wasted, because it never returns. In the words of Ferris Bueller “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”