30 July 2012

Make it Count

Among the many other people yet to show, Clara Tribeck was one. She had said she would be at the party by nine at the latest. She was not always one to keep her word, but hopefulness had led one particular heart to conclude she would be there early if anything. For months now, he had been noticing her. She was the type of person that he could not just get over. She was a personality that grabbed his attention from across a room, in a reflection off a window, or through a thin office wall that could not contain her laughter. She was the type of person that drew him in faster and faster the more he learned of her. She was richly complex and intricate, yet perfectly honest and tangible. She was not so perfect that she was out of reach, but she was neither a simple everyday run-of-the-mill type of girl. She was predictably spontaneous and lively, wide smiles and lively eyes that scanned with cunning cheerfulness an entire room.
She was perfect except for the single reason that she seemed uninterested in him. It was not that they had never talked, it was that she seemed distant and refrained from him while with others her typical warmth surfaced. Like any man interested in a women, each time he saw her his heart reminded him that he needed to know more about her. One several occasions he had tried to start conversations that apparently never happened without some effort, and none of them ever got beyond awkwardly forced discussion of meteorological discrepancies for the season that ended abruptly and thankfully when interrupted by another colleague.
Hundreds of thoughts churned in his mental stomach, but he could never digest. It was so tempting to give up, but she was simply too much not to think about. So, standing to the side of the room thinking the same thoughts over and over but always arriving at the beginning of the process, he waited.
A glance at his watch revealed that she was indeed absent when the time for her to be present had arrived. An uneasy anxious disappointment grew. Suddenly, the voice, her voice, and saying his name! She was there and she was speaking to him.
*              *              *
Turning around quickly but not too quickly she was standing there stunning.
“Are you looking for someone?” she asked coolly.
“Well, not anymore” came the words perfectly and unexpectedly. I let my eyes rest on hers gently. After a moment’s pause, I again added, “Not anymore…”
She had already had a first and several other impressions of me, all of them very similar and awkward. But, in reality this was the first time we had met. I had finally given up on the idea of making the perfect impression and was milling to make my impression.
A few seconds moved out of the way as her eyes reevaluated me in the new light. Still not sure that she had read what I was implying she decided to play it safe. “Is there something that I missed at work today? Is there something that you want to ask me?” she said moving the words along with a tone and pace that allowed room to be read into them.
I had an opportunity to abandon my honesty once more and pretend. But, I wanted to be bold. There are many times in life where being bold is right. This was a time where being bold was the only way to know the answer to the question we all ask: “what if”.
“No, nothing about work. I was waiting for you. I’ve been hoping to talk to you, actually since the first time I saw you.”
Her expression changed from the casual one of uncertainty to one of “go on,” so I did.
“I’ve been trying to meet you, but every time I seem to get in the way. Can you pretend like you have never met me before?”
She was not entirely caught off-guard by my attention, after all she was beautiful and more, and this was not the first time that someone had been interested in her.
Pausing briefly and then answering my question while grinning she said, “I don’t believe we’ve met before, I’m Clara.”
Finally, the smile I’d been hoping for.
“No, I don’t believe we have,” then I added, “I’m sure I would have remembered. I am Chris.”
“It’s nice to finally meet you. I think you’re the Chris that I’ve heard so much about”
“Do you dance?”
“I’d love to.”
“I wasn’t asking if you want to. I was asking if you can.”
“Oh, well, yes I can then, in that case. Too bad no one is around to dance with”
“I can’t dance well, but I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than dance poorly with you”
So we danced, danced for an hour in silence. Perhaps I didn’t dance well, but our eyes were so caught up in each other’s that I doubt either of us would have noticed if had we been standing there, and maybe we were.
They called the final dance. Taking her hands once more step by step we moved together. There was something her eyes were saying something that I don’t think she herself knew they were saying, and my eyes must have been saying it too. As the song played its final few measures we found ourselves in a kiss, and then another small kiss, a smile, and then a look of surprise.
Surprisingly often, the things we need the most are the things that scare us the most, hurt us the most, heal us the most. Not every tear is one of joy, but not every tear is one of sorrow either. Life made as we make it, so make it count.

28 July 2012

Stop God's Lights from Dimming

The statement is a favorite Christian obsession, “To be saved is a simple confession”
But the goal of life never really was salvation, or a form of soul consolation
The end-goal of life is not just one decision that sidesteps the ultimate collision
It’s great to confess and to have believed, but being a Christian is more than having received
God’s gift is meant to share, for us to be giving; it’s a gift that should change the way we’ve been living
The love that’s been poured into our hearts puts us in a place of responsibility to do our parts
Yes we have God’s mercy, love, and grace, but that should not blind us to the pain on a stranger’s face
We’ll fight and argue ‘cause we have the truth to prove, but how often does God's love make us move?
All of our words say we love our Father, but when it comes time to show it, we don’t bother
Jesus paid our debt with one final sacrifice, we accept his gift but then reject his advice
It sounds like I’m pointing fingers and condemning, but we are God’s lights—and we're dimming
Where is the fight, the fervor, the fire to push back, we’re in a war to win the world that’s under attack
Jesus was not a pacifist sitting in standby, he set the example for us to both live and die by
He was willing to stand up for those who were lost, push-back and clear away the cold religious frost
How do we serve when we don't want to make a truth stand? Why don't we do more than take from God's hand?

22 July 2012

Independent of Mind

Motivating a change in someone is seemingly impossible. There is a nature to cling to whatever we have been doing regardless of the consequences. Why do criminals continue to do the very same thing over and over again even when they know it will only lead to the same conclusion? Why do some people fall in and out of relationships with people when they know that they have not yet had enough time with the person to know if he or she is worth committing anything more than the time it takes to walk away to? It is possible to build new good habits, to strengthen the default nature of your actions, but it requires work. The work is a work of the mind, a discipline to reach for a way that is foreign and unnatural, that seems wrong but is right beyond the appearance of the surface.

But it seems that very few people have the internal strength, the fortitude of mind to control their thoughts long enough to establish new habits. It seems that most people are crazy, their minds leap to and from thought and action without the conscience guidance of present thought. They very truly claim freedom and independence—independence from control—and so operate autonomously both of the input of others and also themselves. Everyone does this from time to time on certain things. I catch myself doing things that a moment after doing them reveals that it was just a ridiculous habit.

We often look at people who are OCD with a downward glance because they are compelled to do things irrationally because of a habit of mind. Yet, people who habitually gripe, complain, and condemn people in a busy-body gossip-behind-their-back sort of way are viewed as empathetic friends often enough. People who routinely lie, curse, are lazy, spend all day watching TV, thinking about themselves, and on and on the list goes—those people are just normal functioning people. But, if we clear our eyes of the socio-cultural bias that gums them up, it’s clear that there is really something terribly wrong.

And people know better. People know that there is a divide between where they are and where they ought to be. Being one way through ignorance and by being misled is one thing that is sorrowful enough, but when people are made aware of the fact that they are a way that they should not be and have the ability to change if that is what they truly want to do and choose not to, that is a tragedy. That is giving up on life and the possibilities that life has for every single person if they dare to be who they are supposed to be rather than who they find themselves to be.

If I found out that I was addicted to TV and it was eating up my life hour by hour, it would certainly be a little distressing, but not shameful. Blindly falling into a pit is not noble of course, but compared to finding oneself in a pit and choosing not to take the effort to climb out—that is shameful.  

More than likely, reading this will not cause you to take one single step to address your habitual errors. More than likely, life has already beat you. Not your life, that will never beat you, but the life that you have been taught. That life has probably already won. Most people don’t have the energy or passion to take charge of life. It’s easier but less rewarding to pull up a lawn-chair and watch as lies live, at least for most people.
I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to make the effort to change. I’m willing to take control of my life, and to take responsibility for life. Maybe you are OK with putting a mediocre effort into life, only partly in-charge. Not me. For me, I have a purpose in life. My life has a meaning and when I see that I am not accomplishing that meaning, it angers me and distresses me and I will fight until death. My life is worth the effort to live it. I hope your life is too—I know it is. Everyone has a purpose even if they don’t care to live it. If you try to get me to do the things that you are doing, and to think like you, I will walk away from you with a sadness that you are unwilling to live in your worth.

Even if you are motivated to take action now, in an hour, a day, a week, even a month, you will probably surrender to the pressures of ease and slip back under the warm familiar covers of an error habit. I hope it’s comforting for you. I don’t feel sorrow for you though, and don’t expect me to. You are responsible. Your life is for the most part the sum of your decision—and you are responsible for those. 

21 July 2012

A Life Hidden

Every painful hurt-filled memory,
Reminds me of a past I can’t bear to see

I want to stop running and escape
The life that I try to leave behind

The guilt has been too heavy to lift,
the darkness keeps on clouding my mind

I want to leave the past where it belongs
And let light sink in where it’s long been gone

I remember a distant few words
From so far away I’d forgotten that I’d heard

Faintly at first the words rush to mind,
Take hold of my heart and speak to me

“It was Christ who died to set you free
From yourself and guilty suffering”

“The record of wrong has been pardoned”
I have nailed your guilt to the cross”

 “Your life is hidden with Christ in God”
The Lord gives you your inheritance”

“The blood of redemption has been shed
Forgiveness is part of your past now”

05 July 2012

That's How You Will Know

I’ll keep looking for you always,
I don’t know where I’ll find you,
But I’ll find you I’m sure

I’ll know I’ve found you when I do,
I’ll know I found you because…
You will be realizing you found me too
We will be together a moment of realization

We’ll take each other’s hands,
And freely give each other our heart’s

We won’t be afraid to let love grow,
And love will thrive
We will be surprised at how quickly and how strongly love will grow

That’s how I’ll know I’ve found you,
I’ll quit thinking about I and think about us
Wherever there was a thought of me,
There will be a singular word—we

You won’t have to wonder if I do,
But I won’t ever grow tired of telling you

That’s how you will know you found me

I won’t be flawless, but I’ll be yours,
I will be sorry when I say I am

And, I’ll tell you you’re wrong if you are,
I won’t pretend either of us is perfect,
And I won’t pretend that you need to be for me to love you

I’ll hold you when you cry,
But it will hurt me inside to see

I’ll be jealous for you,
Think about you until it’s time to dream about you

I’ll fight for you, be on your side even if you’re not

I’ll love you for who you are,
See beauty where people see flaws

That’s how you will know that you have found me
That’s why you need to keep looking

They will know that we found each other when they see us together

It will be as clear as the ringing of church bells

The was me make each other smile,
And the way we talk together

When I ask you the question,
When you tell me yes,

That’s how they will know that we have found each other
Wherever you are, I’ll be searching for you

One day I’ll tell you in person,
I love you
On that day you will know it’s me

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