My Future Present


One of the disciplines that had been told me by a writing professor back in the day of collegiate craziness was to just begin by writing a page a day.  The content of it wasn’t important per se, but the style of writing was and the way in which words formed on paper needed to make sense to the common mind.  Cryptic words and useless phrases with enigmatic meanings were simple and easily done, but forming a cohesive thought, regardless of the thought itself, was important.  Or, very simply, I could have just made it up and assumed that somewhere along the lines my own presuppositions and insecurities needed to have more of a solid foundation for that statement rather than my own bizarre thoughts so I pushed it upon higher learning as the source.  Either way, it still holds true to me and from as far back as I can remember, I have told others to do the same; write a page a day.  Write about your favorite hat, the smell of leaves after it rains, the way your dog itches itself; anything and everything.  If you can make it seem interesting to someone, then perhaps you have a gift in writing.

Nine times out of ten, however, the person who found my writing most inspirational and most normal was the blinded love of my mother who read my heart on paper rather than the words themselves.  I cannot fault her; she is my mother.  But how unbiased can my mother be when at one time in my life she took joy changing my poopie diapers?  Let’s be honest here.

And now I’m faced with a dilemma.  I am no longer a pastor at Rolling Hills Covenant Church.  All I have left from that blessing of a profession is a bunch of relationships where I was their pastor, a few friends, and a host of memories made out of words.  Were you to ask me, I couldn’t write a page a day about my experiences there; I could write hundreds a day.  But again, let’s be honest.  Who really wants to read those words; who will think them important or inspirational?  Sure, there might be a handful who would continue to read, but the reality is, they are the people who loved me despite my weaknesses and transparency; they heard me preach and attempt shenanigans that made them laugh and cry.

So I moved my office to my garage.  I have set up a nook of a reality that is entirely and utterly new to me.  I sit on my desk chair that once had a home at RHCC, now on a cheap piece of carpet on my cold cement floor smelling a bit like old car oil.  My plethora of books all boxed up with a handful displayed on my desk for easy reference.  Two lamps light the inside of this dusky home, illuminating something, giving off a sense of homeliness, yet only discoloring the coldness of old useless junk.  What am I doing?

I am not preparing any sermons right now; I don’t have any planned that I will be giving and this is extremely bizarre for me as I’ve been doing weekly sermons, with an occasional break due to my third transplant, for almost twelve years now.  I have four children, one in heaven, and I am extremely blessed because of this but I have no known future besides pouring into these precious souls.  And this I will do gladly.  But I have been so entirely used to pouring myself out into hundreds of lives, that a part of me is taken aback by the stark reality that this is not my role right now.  It will be again, but it is not right now.  Now, I am to write with words.

My audience is a God who has not only changed my poopie diapers, but has cleansed the darkness of my heart.  My audience is not a bunch of college students or an adult ministry at Life on the Hill, those whom have heard me and have laughed and cried, but to a God whose heart breaks for me with compassion and goodness.  And so Father I will write for the sake of interacting with You, with Your Word, and with Your truth that You show me.  I have no idea what is in store, but I pray I will be faithful in writing.  You must be with me in this coldness that is the new office to me, and You must, I beg You, speak to me and validate me as only You can.  I am a bit at a loss right now, for I have no idea what writing will do; but I trust you.

You are my Moby Dick, and though I do not seek to kill you, I am obsessed with You.  You are my black knight, my champion king who returns.  You are my Ivanhoe, wounded, yet victorious for me.  You are my audience, and with these words that will be from my heart, I pray You use them for Your glory.

Never Saw Him Cry But…

There’s a video of Samuel on his fourth day, December 10th, 2010, in which we see his eyes open that breaks my heart.  I’m so glad that we took pictures and videos of him so I can always see how precious he was, not just from memory, but from actuality.  It’s a three minute video of heartbreak and joy; it begins with me huddled over him, and ends with Kelly and I talking to him and encouraging him.  During the course of the video, the sights and sounds are breathtaking; the nurse is actually changing his diaper and he is thoroughly not enjoying it.  One can see the wrinkles on his forehead that remind me so much of my children as well as the silent cry that most children exert when their own diapers are changed.  The silence is what’s so difficult.  We never heard him cry.

What is it about crying that seems so sweet to a baby boy, yet seems so foreign to a grown man?  Or perhaps foreign is not the right word, perhaps its just not accepted as acceptable.  Why is it important for a man to be strong; or for a Christian to act stoically?  A question plagues me that I see manifested from other’s words; must we always mask our suffering?  As I pursue the grief that I do not quickly desire to leave, does this make others uncomfortable or does it allow others the freedom and courage to grieve as well?  Truly, we have been given through the Holy Spirit the grace and strength to endure in this life; we have been given everything in the heavenly realms for life and for godliness (2 Peter 1.3).  We have been given everything for life!  Not just some things, but everything.

In this everything, in the life that we are living, we have been given strength to endure.  We have not been given strength to act without emotion; do to so with be to act outside of the actions of Christ himself.  But truly, we have been given the hope and strength to go through things; and if we overcome we overcome.  If we grieve, we grieve.  If we have joy, we have been given strength in that joy.  In the case with Samuel, I was assaulted from the very depths of heart ache.  My anxious heart was and is frail; I will not pretend otherwise.  I will not pretend that I was not wounded to the very core of my being.  I will not mask suffering; I will only bring this suffering the feet and arms of my Savior and see the greatness of our God meet me in this time of need as He so faithfully does time and time again.

Oh to hear him cry.  I know I will never hear Samuel cry now; I will, however, hear him sing praises with me.  Oh to see that day!