Friday, December 31, 2004

What will I be when I grow up

Turn 05 around and it reminds me that I will be 50 in 05. It is unlikely I will double my days on earth, so the biggest part of my life is behind me. It's time to settle into a groove that will consume my remaining days.



Wrong -- on both accounts!



The biggest part of my life is definitely not behind me. What do I mean? God's design is for me to grow into a greater glory day after day. The time behind me was lived smaller -- because I was smaller! I am larger now (referring to my soul -- not my weight). Don't get me wrong -- what I have done and what I am doing right now is big! But there will be more to my days ahead because there will be more to me. I continually wrestle with a blessed thought -- "What will I be when I grow up?"



I don't feel the least bit settled.



I have no intention of settling into a groove. Someone has said "A groove is a casket with both ends kicked out." I agree. I am finding more contentment, but I am feeling less in a groove.

Sandy shares this blessed conflict, too. God has reoriented her entire life to open up broader horizons. After all these years of marriage, Sandy reflects a glory I have never seen before.



What will I be when I grow up? I will be more than I am right now -- and right now is really good. In 05 God will push and stretch me. The lesser part of my life will always be behind me.



What will I be when I grow up?

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Godisnowhere

Someone wrote "Godisnowhere" on a piece of paper and asked me what it said. What do you think it says? For now, I will give you some hints. It makes two statements that are complete opposites. At times I have wondered "Which one is true?" One statement fills us with hope -- the other statement reveals hope is gone. One statement reveals eyes that see the invisible -- the other statement says "you are seeing things!" One statement says "God's heart is good" -- the other reveals a deep disappointment with God. One suggests God has abandoned us -- the other tells us He has not.



Earthquakes and tsunamis have killed at least eighty thousand in South Asia. The death toll is expected to rise due to the spread of disease. Amid all that destruction many will look and say "God is no where." Others will look and say, "God is now here."



Tragedies, calamities, and chaos have a loud voice. Can we ignore them? Which voice are you hearing from the statement Godisnowhere?





Wednesday, December 29, 2004

I am a dreamer

"The task is not so much to see what no one has yet seen, but to think what nobody has yet thought about that which everybody sees." Erwin Schrodinger



Erwin Schrodinger is some Quantum Physics and Wave Mechanics guy. I am not! A great gulf exists between the way Erwin and I are wired. Quantum Physics? Wave Mechanics? Huh?



I am a dreamer. Dreamers think a lot. I often think and dream about what it would be like to see what "no one has yet seen." The chance of that happening is highly unlikely. What was it that the biblical sage Solomon kept babbling? "There is nothing new under the sun." Erwin reminds me that finding something new is not the task. What is the task? "The task is...To think what nobody has yet thought about that which everybody sees." This guy has opened up a whole new adventure! One I have signed on to.



I am a dreamer. I used to apologize or try to hide that fact. Dreamers are...well, you know... Dreamers can't face reality... Dreams can become nightmares... Dreaming gets you nowhere, etc. I understand Erwin! Dreaming (thinking) is hard work -- a task! Dreaming requires much thought. Dreaming requires me to stop and think differently about what everyone else sees.



Quite often people will say, "Now, the way I see it..." When I hear that, I want to stop them and ask, "Is that the way you see it or is that the way you were told it looks?"



I am a dreamer. Now, I often find myself looking at things I have seen time and time again and saying, "I never thought about that. I think I will!"

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Broken Tree

Yesterday was a near perfect day. Sandy and I packed some food, got into some comfortable clothes and headed to Pine Mountain. The temperature was in the fifties and the skies nearly cloudless. Walking on the south side of the mountain knocked the winds down. Our hike was short in length (three and a half miles) but long in satisfaction. We met one hiker per mile.



At this time of year the winding trail that travels up and down ridges is covered with a blanket of leaves. It's officially winter now and there is little color, mostly browns and grays. A few evergreens break up the monotony of endless earth tones. A woodpecker flitted from tree to tree, screeched a couple of times, and provided us with a woodland drum roll. A couple of squirrels and other birds protested our presence.



It took us less than an hour to get to Broken Tree campsite. You exit off the trail to the right and walk down a brief path with stepping stones under your feet. At the bottom of the hollow is the primitive site. A seasonal brook runs through it. This day there was just enough water to soothe us with a soft murmer. We uncovered a crude fire ring -- and found rocks circling a black spot amid the grays and browns. Benches -- nothing more than logs raised a few inches from the ground -- surrounded half of the fire place. From behind the mountain watched over us.



For me, the most enjoyment came in seeing Sandy grab a broken branch with several sprigs on one end to use as a makeshift broom. She brushed away the leaves that were too close to the fire pit and generally made our spot a little homier. We gathered enough kindling to start our fire and then scavenged a few bigger pieces. Sandy gathered more kindling, stacking it into a neat pile for the next guests who would venture to Broken Tree.



Together we got out the new camping stove I got for Christmas and fired it up. The menu was simple: coffee and prepackaged rice with chicken. There must have been some lingering magic remaining in the air from Christmas -- the food tasted like it had been prepared in a five star restaurant.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Ledges In Me

We have a cabin in Maine on a river. Up-river, to the north, the Penobscot splits and slides around an island. The lesser water flows around the back side and is shallow; at times you can wade from the mainland to the island. The bigger water flows between our cabin and the island. Millions of gallons of water swing around the head of the island and are forced into a bottle-neck. Sometimes the water comes through violently, but always in a hurry. The year-round rushing water and the ice that leaves every spring are indiscriminate. All that can be moved is. Every year the banks and shore line change. Some trees are viciously scarred; others are whisked away or left leaning into the water. Sand bars come and go. Rocks are tumbled downstream for hundreds of feet. New fishing holes emerge and others disappear. Every summer we cannot wait to see how the view from our cabin will change. Every year it does -- except for one thing: The ledges remain.



For hundreds of years Indians sorted their catch from gill nets on those ledges. Log drivers stopped to catch their breath, have a smoke, or share a tale. Countless families and romantics have dragged their canoes over the hydro-polished stone to stop and fish, have a picnic, or bask in the sun as the water rumbled by. The Indian's and log driver's way of life is but a memory, captured in old diaries and faded pictures. Generations have come and gone. The ledges remain.





Life around us changes and so must we, but I want to have some ledges in me. I want to have some sturdy places inside that remain constant when all else is changing: I want to click off many, many more anniversaries with the woman I fell in love with and married. I want to continue to dream with her about far away places and adventures together. I want to take time to listen to my kids (two of them are adults) share their lives -- the good and the painful. I want to affirm my belief in them, always! I want to remain committed to the way of life God has provided for me through a simple act of faith. I want that life to be attractive to others who are searching for the purpose for which they are created. I want to be authentic -- there are enough posers.



So much that surrounds the ledges is more beautiful for a time: soaring pines, the Indian Paintbrush that grows on the banks, the eagles that screech and glide over the water. The beauty of the ledges is not their color -- a drab grey. The beauty of the ledges is not their symmetry -- they are mostly flat and smooth. What is their beauty? The ledges remain.