Into the Blue

Ending an Era

June 24th, 2010

Next week today comes the end of an era in my life; one that likely should have ended sooner. I’ve been going to College Life, the college group at Life Center, for five years now. Though, I haven’t been in college for the last four years and I passed the upper age-limit of 24 nearly two years ago. For the past six months, the atmosphere has changed or else I have just reached an age where I have changed. Either way, I feel I’ve lost the connection I once had to the group. My closest friends have all moved away or moved on, and the newcomers all have little in common with me. It makes me feel old.

I was part of the leadership team for a year and a half of it — not that I did much of any leading — but I think that’s why I stayed as long as I have. I’m very much a behind-the-scenes person, so I didn’t mind that I was never really recognized as part of the leadership team outside of the team itself. It goes back to enjoying life as a man of no note. I can honestly say the best things I got from that experience are the thought-provoking questions Bobby would give us. While I don’t have answers to many of them still, I continue to work on finding those answers.

Around half a year ago, Bobby met with all the leaders before he took his sabaticle. By that point I’d already been mulling around the idea since I wasn’t feeling overly useful in the leadership team or particularly like I belonged at College Life anymore. I didn’t tell him that much, but that I was planning on “fading out”. Fading out is what I have been doing mostly for the past several months since then. When Bobby wanted to meet with me this week about making plans to move on, I was neither surprised nor miffed. It was a confirmation that I was already on the right path, though I accelerated my timetable. I had originally planned for the end of August when the new college freshman would start arriving and to give me more time to find other groups for fellowship. Tonight I realized I have no real connection to the group now as it is, so there is no further point in holding until the end of August. Eventually I will find new connections somewhere.

God’s Plan

April 8th, 2010

Tonight at College Life, Brad Williams spoke on the life of Nehemiah as it pertains to us. Nehemiah was grieved by the news from Jerusalem during the exile, and over time came to a position to do something about it. God laid a desire in his heart and then presented the opportunity to speak with King Ataraxeses, who bewilderingly granted him the ability to rebuild his homeland.

Brad challenged us to look at the things that tug at our hearts when we see or hear them and they make us say, “Something needs to be done!” I’ve had those moments and they always involved women in crisis — be it spousal abuse, sex slavery, deep depression, or victims of sexual crimes — yet I have always written it of heretofore. I know there might be a calling in it, but I’ve made my list of excuses.

I tell myself it’s something better suited to other women to handle or that being a guy I just wouldn’t have anything they could identify with. While there might be some truth to it, I also realize that many of these women have lost trust in men due to the men who violated them; having at least one godly man in their lives might help them heal that wound.

How does one enter into that sort of calling though? Who do I approach and talk with about it? For that matter, is it really a God-calling or just a strong reaction to a terrible injustice? As Brad said tonight, Nehemiah’s calling took a while from the initial desire to the point he was given the opportunity. I guess I just need to wait for that opportunity to present itself if it really is God’s desire.

The Ghosts and the Spirits

February 1st, 2010

Over the weekend, I read C. S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce. An interesting read, it forced me to examine my life in only the matter of a few hours. The subject matter of the book and the concepts evoked in the story further stirred things up in me that have been stirring in recent months. God is at work in it, though I do not pretend to know what the end results will be. As of now, I feel that I am one of the Ghosts rather than the Spirits. It is the latter I wish to be, rather than the retched creature of the former.

The Ghosts of Hell are marked predominately with a self-righteousness that clouds them from all reason and keeps them in a miserable prison of their own making. At first, I felt sorry for them in their state, then soon came to see that they were in their state by their own choice. They couldn’t see past themselves to see what lay beyond. It was soon that I realized I fell in with their company. My dreams, desires, and ambitions combined with the failure of all of them have left me rather cynical and starting down a path toward bitterness. I shudder at the though of what I will become if I follow it to it’s end. Now I see that I must back-track until I find the true path that God has created for me, a path that leads to Joy and to Him. Or else, I shall surely imprison myself in a cell of my own building.

However, I’m unsure where to even start. How does one let go of intangible things? While frail as pottery, I only wish they were as easily thrown out. I seem content to hold onto the shards and seek to somehow piece them back together, but I have only cut my hands on them. Tossing out physical pottery would be far easier. Perhaps it is because these figurative pots once contained happiness that I cling to their shards so. A vain hope that they can be made to hold happiness again. I struggle to let God be my joy, but I rebel far too often, again turning to my precious pottery. The desires are strong and surely of God, but as mentioned in The Great Divorce, they’ve been perverted from their real forms.

Taking the advice of Chuck Swindoll in Intamacy with the Almighty, I believe the first step is simplicity. I need to clean my home, change my priorities, reevaluate how I spend my time, how I spend my money, and come to a point a fear nothing more than God and love nothing more than God. Nothing less, or else I will surely perish with the Ghosts.

Yet, still, I’m haunted by the dream I had years ago. I wish I knew of an interpreter of dreams, but the interpretation in my own heart is that it tells of a future fall from grace. Whether or not it is prophetic or cautionary, I wish I knew. I hope it is only a warning of where I could be headed and not of where I’m headed.

Thanksgiving

November 23rd, 2009

As I listened to Paster Joe’s sermon last night, I found myself a little struck — “soul punched” as Josh Schiel would say. Lately, I’ve been so frazzled and feeling worn down by events happening around me beyond my control, that I haven’t taken the time to thank God for all He’s given me. It’s easy to get wrapped up, and focused on what’s going wrong and forget everything that’s going right.

It also doesn’t help that I’ve been putting God on the back burner more and more. I have no excuse for it. I have plenty of time to give God, but seem to spend it on myself. Seems to always be the way, especially when I’m stressed. I tend to retreat into my video games. They seem to allow me vent out my frustrations, or give me a task to focus on and let me cool down. The trouble is that, when I turn them off, I’m back to thinking about everything that frustrates me and I’m no better off than when I started.

Pastor Joe had us do an exercise last night that I may try to do on a weekly basis — take a moment to sit and write down all the things I thank God for. There were quite a few. Despite being in the shop right now, I even thank God for my car. The exercise reminded me of something G.K. Chesterson said,

“When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?

Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.

You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”

How differrent my life would be if I were to live that way. I imagine in the least, it would go a long way towards delaying a heart attack from chronic high blood pressure.

Life Sucks Sometimes

November 11th, 2009

Today has just been one of those days when I wish I knew the future. I think everything came crashing down today. I’ve been feeling dry for the last few months, ever since my car’s engine cratered, leaving me with more debt. It seems every time I finally conquer debt, life throws me deeper into it. I had just payed my last payment to the card my tires went on when this happened. It took me a year and a half to pay off the 600 dollars. How long will 3000 take me? I need another job, but I don’t know where or what. I’m not really a people person, so that limits me.

I started the day without getting so much as a “Hello” from Kristen this morning, and nothing last night either. I think she and I are done, but she doesn’t want to face me and say it. I saved her the trouble and simply removed all contacts I had for her; phone, email, address, her mother’s phone, all of it. I suppose if she still wants to be my friend, she can contact me when she’s ready to talk. To be my girlfriend like she so badly wanted to be, she may have lost her opportunity. I don’t heal well and my urge to trust her with any of my heart again is almost nil right now. Though, she shouldn’t feel bad. My urge to trust anything that has breath with my heart right now is almost nil. So, it’s not just her. If she really wants it, she can fight to earn it back. I feel sorry for any girl that tries though. I’m not even sure where my heart is now. It may just be shattered into a million shards and scattered far and wide. I’ve never had someone draw me in so strongly. Like all the girls before, she played games with my heart and eventually broke it. Only this time the drop was from a long ways up.

Add the abnormally stressful day at work this morning and it just further set the tone. It culminated with me having an incident with a canister coming off a dolly and onto the ground. I’ve never been so close to breaking down in public. I did in the car on the way to work though. I almost thought I might need to pull off into a parking lot. Every song somehow fit my situation or somehow reminded me of Kristen. Today also marked four years since I last flew.

Then conversation this morning at work just served to further drag me down as I realized just what a worthless pile of crap I am right now. 26 and living at home with my dad, in a part time job, and paying nothing but gas and car insurance. This isn’t where I envisioned myself being right now. 10 years ago, I would have told you I’d be happily married with a family just starting, just moving into a decent house, and a few years into my career as a pilot. None of those dreams are close to coming true. I don’t think they ever will. I wish I could see the future, but then again, I may not like what I see.

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