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Monday, May 31, 2010

i got a rock.

This is the story of a rock. Maybe two, if you count the one in my head. It begins with a prayer meeting. A prayer meeting with visual aids. There were stations around the room and one station was a bowl of assorted rocks. The rocks, a 3x5 card told us, represented God's faithfulness. God's faithfulness is rock solid, his promises secure. We were invited to pick a rock and meditate upon these thoughts. As i did the rock in my hand became warm. i liked the imagery. i liked the physical token.

Some time later. i came across a smooth little rock at a time when the reminder of God's faithfulness to His promises, His trust-worth was a welcome and much needed thought. i took the little stone, smooth and black, nothing spectacular in itself, and put it in my pocket.

There it stayed. One of the four things i always carry in that pocket. A lighter- one must always have the ability to make fire. See Cast Away. Chapstick- if you work outside you go through a lot of these or you have bloody lips. A multi-tool- the swiss army knife of my generation. And a rock, smooth and black. Possibly the most worthless weight i could carry but in some ways, my greatest treasure. Whenever things get tough or the pointlessness of life becomes crushing i put my hands in my pockets and there is a warm, solid little prompt. A prompt to see things differently. To rest on something, Somebody else. To remember the promises and the Promiser and that i have a faith in something beyond my own skills, devices and preparation. Which is a darn good thing. Cause i'm a'lacking. That little rock is getting smoother.

The Memorial day party at the Coop. Darkness falls and somebody starts giving all the kids glowsticks. My nieces run around "selling" them. One of the blonde haired, blue eyed Sirens comes up to me, "we'ah sellin' gyowsticks, want wun?"

"Sorry, honey, i don't have any money." i fish around in my pockets to prove the point since she's not old enough to know that married men don't carry cash. "All i have is a rock." i show her my rock. The rock which has reminded me of my Lord's faithfulness since before Christmas. She inspects it, approves it as currency and peels off a glowstick for me. Then she skips away. i'm left holding a glowing piece of man's cleverness which will fade before the night is over, longing for the lump of earth i gave up. Oh well, i think. It was only a symbol. i probably should have taken the opportunity to explain the significance of it to her. Maybe she even would have gotten it.

Today. A day of rest. i decide that the best way to recover and relax is too spend hours working on the idea of going fishing. We haven't used any of our tackle since Canada, two years ago. i go outside to collect, repair and refit, a task more suited to a team up of Indiana Jones and MacGuyver than a grumpy little fricken. After the perils of the Temple of the Tastykake toolshed/truck, the excavation through two years of rodent scat, i finally have all the gear. The broken down, next to useless gear. Perseverance being an angler's only virtue i press on. As i finish stringing the last rod in the driveway. The rough, gray, stone driveway. i happen to look down. Naw. i bend down and pick up a rock. It's warm in my hand from the sun. Smooth and black. i had to laugh. i think somebody is trying to explain something to me. i hope i get it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A gravedigger's thoughts.

We all deal with grief in our own way. Some care for the dying. Some weep. Some get angry and then try to figure out why they are angry. Others feel nothing but a need to do something. Something necessary for those who died and for those who grieve.

So we dig the grave. And realize that our sin caused this. And that it didn't just bring death to us; it brought it to the whole world. All of life was cursed because of us. Plants die. Animals die. The Gulf is dying. A pet dies. Because we rebelled, innocents now die too. And the guilty dig the graves.

But not forever. One innocent willingly died to pay for that curse. All life will someday be free of death. In fact, is free of the real penalties now if they are willing to accept that gift of a death in our place. i don't know how to understand death, how to deal with it, but i do know it's helpful to do it in the shadow of a cross.

RIP Tobasco.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Leader or loner?

How does one lead?

Sometimes i know what i want to do, but i don't have any compelling need to compel others to do it too. If you want to come, fine. If not. More for me. Sure, some experiences are better shared but only if those with whom it is shared want to be there. They come of their own free will. i also realize that in certain circumstances, certain folk need to be coerced into doing something good. i personally agonize over this. i don't like forcing people to do anything. i'd rather not have ye if ye don't wanna help. i've noticed a lot of other people don't seem to struggle with this. Many seem to have no problem telling me what to do or at least think they know better what i ought to be doing.

Looking at the big picture, i see there are some responsibilities i have to God, to my family and to my neighbor, but there really seems to be a lot of free ground in which to explore how best to do this. And what might work for me might not work for you or my neighbor. In fact, the discovery may just be part of the process. But i wouldn't throw a lot of what i do into the category of "redeeming creation for God." No. Most of it would have to go into the "keeping busy" file. i think that's what i'll print on the side of my trash can, "busy file." So how does one lead? How does one know that what one is heading for is so noble or true that others need to feel compelled to follow?

How does God lead? God took two perfect people. Put them in a perfect garden. Loved them perfectly and then .... gave them the choice to follow Him or follow their own path. Why? He could have left out the temptation. He could have locked out Lucifer. He chose not to. He chose to give us choices. God doesn't destroy the evil in the world until all we have to choose from are salad and bran muffins, Pat Boone and Sandy Patty, church and children's playgrounds with none of the really fun, injurious machines on them. He allows, tolerates all the wrong paths and just inserts one little, winding, slightly overgrown path and calls it good. Why?

Because that's the path that leads to Him... and He really want's us to choose it ourselves.

Dunno if i answered my question, but i know where i want to go now.