Sunday, March 20, 2011

Something's missing...and I don't know what it is...

Tonight I'm sitting in a forgotten chair, pushed off in the corner of my small living room. Before tonight it was covered in magazines and papers...lost publications from month's before. After cleaning my living room thoroughly this weekend I found this chair that I hadn't sat in...well probably once since moving in.

The chair is pushed into a corner beside the TV, making sure that no one sitting in it could pay attention to the screen. Tonight, however, the TV is dark. We got rid of cable a few months ago...we decided we wanted to live our own lives instead of spending time watching other people live theirs. The only view is that of the couch, and my wife as she reads a magazine. She's wearing my t-shirt. I love her.

John Mayer comes on the radio singing about how his life is missing something:

I'm not alone, I wish I was.
Cause then I'd know, I was down because
I couldn't find, a friend around
To love me like, they do right now.
They do right now.

I'm dizzy from the shopping malls
I searched for joy, but I bought it all
It doesn't help the hunger pains
and a thirst I'd have to drown first to ever satiate

Something's missing
And I don't know how to fix it
something's missing
And I don't know what it is
At all

When autumn comes, it doesnt ask.
It just walks in, where it left you last.
And you never know, when it starts
Until there's fog inside the glass around your summer heart:

Something's missing
And I don't know how to fix it
something's missing
And I don't know what it is
At all

I can't be sure that this state of mind, is not of my own design
I wish there was an over the counter test, for loneliness.
For loneliness like this.

Something's missing
And I don't know how to fix it...

I understand him tonight. I have the love of my life, a job, money for rent and food, and a family that loves me...but something is missing. Something that used to drive me and make me long after life and it's abundance. Now I feel that each week passes just like the one before it...

What does it all mean?

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Road Too Often Traveled...



So here I am again, trying to find Adam. I am now almost 18 months, 862 miles, one beard, and about 30 pounds removed from my last real post to this blog and I don't recognize the guy in the mirror.

He is timid...discouraged. He worries about the future and does nothing to prevent his demise. He is not the man who started this blog...or the one who was searching for truth. He is one who has decided that (like a friend once said) he has already been as good as he was ever going to be.

My one saving grace is that I've decided to write again. They aren't going to be great, simply because I'm out of practice.

It's been 5 years since I set out to find myself...and I found a man I loved. He was strong, friendly, giving, and loving. He did good and walked with God.

Now I set out to find him again...on the road too often traveled.

Oh God, Father in Heaven and Earth
I call to You like
Deep calls to deep over water
Show me Your endless measure of grace
Let tender mercies
shine once again from Your holy face

Deep in my soul there's a craving
To please the One who has saved me

Oh God, though I have fallen so far
You know that I'm still

A man after Your own heart...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pain vs. Suffering...

"Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional." ~ M. Kathleen Casey

Monday, January 18, 2010

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Pruning...

I've recently hit a spot in my life where I actually slipped in a "Why God?" in a prayer. I'm going through a rough patch financially, vocationally, and really just in general. I sat down tonight after a quick prayer and opened my Bible. What follows are the verses I read and my thoughts to myself so forgive the personal pronouns. I just thought it was good enough to share.

Adam

___________

John 15:1-17

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.”

What a way to start a metaphor. To state that everything in life springs from you…and that your Father controls what happens not only to you, but to Him as well. This should remind you that everyone is subject to God the Father...even Jesus.

“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

Seemed simple to me the first 1000 times I read it. If you bear fruit, you stay; if not, you go. But this time I found more. If you don’t bear fruit, you’re still gone. However, this time I saw that even if you bear fruit, you still go under God’s knife. I’ve watched my mom prune her roses and it’s not an easy process for the plant. You hack away the dead buds, leaves, and debris. What seems even worse is sometimes you remove living parts of the plant because they would impede the overall growth of the plant as a whole. So as a person in this metaphor, even though we bear fruit for God…He’s going to cut away the dead…and sometimes the living parts of our life…for the purpose of bearing more fruit for Him. That’s hard for me to understand. Going through the situation I find myself in, I sometimes sneak in a “why God” question in my prayers. Why is this so hard? Why do I suffer this way? Why are you pruning so much of me away? So you can bear more fruit for Me.

“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me,he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”

He took everything from a metaphor to the harsh reality of it. He said, “Hey…if you didn’t catch it the first time, I’m talking about you and me here. You are nothing without me.” I can’t do anything on my own except take one more step towards my destruction. But there is a promise in here too. If I stay with Him…He’s going to stick with me. Companionship. I’ll never have to face life alone. That’s a promise.

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”

So the first part of the section above says what happens when I don’t choose to abide in Jesus. This part reinforces the promise of what can happen when I choose to abide in Him. I will bear much fruit, bring glory to God, and He will grant me the desires of my heart.

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My comandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s comandments and abide in His love.”

So He tells me, “I love you as much as My Father loves me. Here’s what to do...follow my lead.” Jesus loved God, followed the leading that God gave Him, and God was pleased with Him. Jesus is telling you to simply follow Him and abide in Him, Adam.

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”

So why is He telling me this? Because HE KNOWS!!! HE KNOWS you’ve asked the “why”s and He knows you’ve spent nights agonizing. He is telling you, “Hey! Relax! I’m pruning you so that one day you’ll stand as a better man, a better husband, and a better father. I don’t settle for mediocre. You’re abiding in Me, so let Me do my good work in you. Keep your joy. I am in control and I am committed to you. Take My joy in you.”

“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”

So here’s the meat of His message. For this entire passage He’s referenced “following His commandments”. So what does He command? Love. This isn’t about lying or stealing or idolatry or murder…if you can follow this one commandment everything else will fall in place, Adam. Just love. And not just any love. Love, as I have loved you. WHEW!!!! Selfless and sacrificial. Lay your life down for those around you. And not just your life, but your time, and your talents, and your funds, and your heart. But why me, God? When did I sign up for a lifetime of painful pruning and self-sacrifice?

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.”

…He chose me. Out of all the people in the world, He chose me. Not just to pick on, but to make stronger because my fruit isn’t just going to be borne and picked and eaten…my fruit is going to last…it will remain when others do not. And because my fruit will remain, I have the privilege of going to the Father and asking Him anything in Jesus’ name and He will grant it. These are the words of Jesus. His promise to me. And, just in case you forget, Adam, my commandment is to love. NEVER forget to love. It’s so important that He put it in here twice less than 5 verses apart. Love.

“When I get where I’m going, there’ll be only happy tears. I will shed the sins and struggles I have carried all these years. And I’ll leave my heart wide open. I will love and have no fear.”

“Where I’m Going” – Rivers Rutherford

I will love without fear of the consequences.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Forgotten Peppermint and the Encouraging Post-It Note...

Sounds like a really bad kid's book doesn't it? "The Forgotten Peppermint"...sheesh.

I was running late for church, leaving work late, running home to take care of the dog who was (no doubt) dancing cross-legged in his cage by now. I didn't have time to eat.

I stopped in a Sonic right near my church and ordered a drink. Something caffeinated that would hold me over the few hours until I could race home to fix myself another Ramen noodle delight or a PB&J delicacy. The Sonic carhop was at my door in a flash with my "Route 44 Coke, Very Light Ice", 2 standard Sonic napkins...and a complementary peppermint.

"What?" I thought.

"Why do I need a peppermint with my coke?"

I threw the useless candy into the console of my truck and laughed again at the absurdity of them handing me a breath freshener with my beverage.

* * *

This morning I entered a room I hadn't been in for years now. My therapist's office sat pretty much the same. The walls lined with many leather-bound books, smelling of a rich mahogany. ;-) It really is a peaceful place though.

I sat down and accepted her cup of coffee and we spent the entire session in deep discussion over life and how I could better myself as a man. I finally rose to leave and walked out into the rain lost in thought and realizing my breath hung heavy and nasty with the black de-caf I had just ingested.

I jumped into my truck, barely stopping to open the door, trying to avoid the Biblical downpour that Nashville was under. I looked down at my console and saw the little Sonic peppermint.

No peppermint had ever tasted so sweet...

Sometimes we're given things in the present that we won't understand until the future.
_____________________________________________

My company is moving offices after 6 years. Condensing down and tightening the belt in the midst of hard times.

One of my many duties has now become "mover" and I gladly accept the work that breaks up my normal day behind a desk.

The last 24 hours have been pure hell and the past 2 months have been more than trying on my heart, soul, and body. I found myself moving with the motions and physically working while my mind worked feverishly turning over my problems in my head, looking for comfort and solutions.

I opened a desk that was supposed to be empty and found a few odds and ends rammed to the back of one drawer. Picking them out I pulled the long, skinny drawer out as far as it could stand to retrieve the useless items...and found an old post-it note taped to the bottom of the drawer, near the back.

It's edges were torn and beat up. The owner had taped all four sides of the post-it note down so it would not be lost. The words had been written and retraced again and again...sometimes in different colored ink.

It read:

"The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know Your name will trust in You for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. - Psalms 9:9-10"



I felt a lump grow in my throat in the middle of this empty office.

No matter what you're facing...God is as close as the next random occurrence. Be watching for Him.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Adversity...

We must get beyond the immature notion that God is interested only in making us healthy, wealthy and happy. More than anything, He wants us to be like Christ. And the road to becoming like Christ often leads through the wilderness of adversity. - Os Hillman