June 15, 2008

My Father's Day Memoir

I took my family to the airport this morning - said goodbye before the sun came up on Father's Day. It's painfully apparent to me now that every time I'm away from my family I feel more and more lost, like I can't totally find myself. So I'm sitting here at home, a fraction of me, asking God to ready me for what's ahead. So much ahead.

Every time I cross the border to build houses, God reveals Himself in a new way. More and more each time I see things in a new light. A great source of God's voice comes through the part of your soul where your children's faces & voices live. When I meet these families in Mexico, I look at their children...and i see my own. I wonder what it would be like to be them. For me, there's nothing like this experience to cause all self-centeredness to run for the hills. And isn't that where I'm supposed to be running? Constantly?

I miss them so much already. Who knows what I'll be feeling a week from now. And if you're with me, don't ask. You'll know. Maybe the concrete dust and the heat will make it all a little easier. 

Who am I kidding?

June 11, 2008

These Are Things That I Don't Understand

Often I find myself perplexed...driving down the road...wondering when I missed the casting call to be in the reality version of Dumb & Dumber. Was I sick that day? I don't get it sometimes. In the words of Chris Martin, these are things that I don't understand:

Are they making cars now without ashtrays? My grandma could turn the ashtray in her '79 Cadi into Mount Vesuvius before that thing needed to be emptied. Now, it seems like every single day I'm driving behind someone that feels the need to launch a cigarette butt out the window. AAAAHHHHHH! One more time and my head might blow off!

They post these signs everywhere that say "Right Lane Must Turn Right". Are there certain types of contacts & glasses that make these signs invisible? Do some people get a different license than me that allows them to ignore certain traffic signs? I guess I can ask when one of these nice folks finally plows through an intersection and T-bones me.

My wife went to buy the pizza last Saturday night. The "CHEESY" Bread (as it is named) looked like a dry pizza with a few strands of cheese on it. When Morgan asked for more cheese, they charged her a dollar. Is it me, or if you call it CHEESY shouldn't it be obligated to be just that? Cheesy?

I guess I was also absent the day they started saying it was a good thing for your pants to drop past your south side. I know - this is one that's been there for awhile now - but that's what's eatin me with it. Should it take ten years for someone to wake up and realize they didn't stop making belts? If you think people really want to see your underwear, go try out to be a Calvin Klein briefs model. Then you'll find out who really wants to see what you should be hiding.

And on a more permanent note of longevity, I still do not understand algebra. Never have, never will. And these are things that I don't understand.

June 9, 2008

Listen Up!

What do we know about James? He was one of Jesus' brothers. Can you imagine? The Creator of the universe, clothed in humanity, is your sibling? Chew on that for awhile. Another thing I've concluded about James is that he either understood firsthand the struggle of putting your foot in your mouth - not thinking before you speak - or he was around enough people who taught him this lesson that he learned by observation. Either way, his words are a constant beacon in my mind, bringing me back to center.

Let me explain. James 1:19 tells us to be "...quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry." This has become like a mantra for me - a recovering, short-tempered, harsh, black & white, foot-in-mouth addict. One thing I find convicting in this exhortation is the realization that our anger is often rooted in our unwillingness to truly listen and our never-ceasing ability to open our pie hole and blow hot air. Yes, if I talked less & listened more...I might find my blood pressure lower and the wake of destruction I leave behind diminishing rapidly.

I've been reminded of these truths several times lately, and sadly it has been through witnessing those older than me (who should be displaying a monumental amount of discretion and spiritual maturity) completely forgoing James' advice. It is painful to hear things that you know if perhaps just one more moment of consideration and prayer were aimed in their direction...would probably never even been uttered. WORDS are not just words - they are a revelation of the lava and venom that can be brewing within our flesh. WORDS are an enormous part of why we find ourselves like Paul in Romans 7 - screaming to the heavens about the struggle to finally find victory over the flesh. (For more read Romans 6 & 7)

I'm not sure if this hits home with you or not. If it doesn't, chances are you just don't realize that you're talking too much, listening too little, and have an invisible size 10 shoe sticking out of your yapper. If you're interested in finding out, my encouragement to you is this: wait 5 seconds before you respond to anything said to you. Give it one week. See if you don't find yourself disregarding much of what you were about to say into the Recycle Bin.

And to you, the spiritually mature: WAKE UP! There are people watching you, listening to you, looking to you to see how this life as a Christ-follower is supposed to be lived. And like it or not, your "Sunday worship" is only as valid as your everyday WORDS. Those words are the subconscious window into our soul that reveal WHO we are, WHAT we really believe, and how much we value those around us. 

For more of the real deal, check these out:
Philippians 4:5
Proverbs 10:19
Proverbs 15:1
Ecclesiastes 5:1-3
James 3:2