Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Mondays Beverly and I usually go to the movies; at least we try to. More often than not, we give it up because we cannot find anything that meets our criteria as worth watching.
But yesterday we agreed to see "Fireproof", a move about marriage. We knew the people who produced it as also produced "Facing the Giants", which we loved even though the acting was mediocre. We were not disappointed; in fact, I spent most of the time wiping tears from my eyes (I cry more the older I get) as I relived some of the pain of divorce and thought about couples I know that are in the throes of walking away from their marriages.
Actually, I was so impressed by the movie that I drove to the place where a young man works who is in the process of divorce to encourage him to see the movie.
The movie is unapologetically "Christian" and has as its basic premise that reconciliaiton is only possible through God's divine help and discovering what it means to truly love Him, so we can love our mates as we should.
It is not corny, it is not poorly-acted or produced. It has a high degree of proefessionalism and a moving message about what can happen when two people--bent on divorce--decide to "dare to love" each other.
Sadly, this movie will die a quick death. It will not be shown in many theaters and, unless the word gets out, will die for lack of support.
I am telling you "Go see the movie!", and if you know someone struggling in their marriage, take them along!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
My friend, John, and I just completed a 45 minute brisk walk along the Mokelumne River, which winds its way through Amador County. I can access a walking road about one mile from our church. It always amazes me that no one is ever walking along its beautiful paths...and then I remember I only walked there a couple of times this summer myself.
Last night I returned home after a long twelve hour day and following dinner, I took an hour walk through the meandering hills of my beautiful neighborhood.. I did not encounter one other person walking and enjoying the cool evening air of a late summer evening.
I love my walks, whether with a friend like John who listens to me mumble and grumble about politics, movies we have seen and wish we hadn't and the occasional adventures of our children.
I love my walks by myself, as well, sometimes with music blaring in my ears to drown out my thoughts, and other times, quietly mulling over issues that in the frenetic pace of a much too busy life often get ignored.
Francis Chan suggests that "on the average day we live caught up in ourselves. On the average day we don't consider God very much. On the average day we forget that our life is a vapor."
A walk helps me separate the mundane and trivial from the things that really matter. Sometimes politics, movies and adventurous stories of our children are never rehearsed in an arena where they can be processed and evaluated with a caring friend. They are simply swallowed up by time and space and subconsciously comparmentalized as worth rememebering or not.
A wlak helps me focus on things I might otherwise skip over, and when alone I am forced to listen to my own breath (if I leave the MP3 player behind),a nd I am reminded then that life is but a vapor.
Here today, gone tomorrow.
I think I'll take another walk.
Friday, September 12, 2008
At dinner this week my nephew had a seizure. He was not aware of what was happening, could not remember it when it was over, Glazed eyes and drastically-reduced awareness punctuated his brush with a small seizure but this was followed by a dramatic event at his home the next day, resulting in him being rushed to the emergency room at the local hospital. At 33 he probably has epilepsy. There have been five confirming events in the last week.
I have reflected on that "dead" face, with no emotion and reaction, and the effective verdict that during those thirty seconds my nephew essentially was not there. Though physically present, he was mentally and socially absent. He was totally untouched by everything happening around him. Seized by the moment--and whatever was happening to him physiologically--he was "absent though present".
I have wondered how many moments of life I am "absent thought present". I get so cuaght up in what i am doing that I am impervious to the world around me. Though not physically impacted, I am "seized" by the self-indulgent pursuit of what I think needs to get done in the moment.
And in those moments I miss things. More importantly, I miss people. I miss my famiy. I miss what really matters.
Thankfully, my nephew is on a regimen of medication to control his seizures to insure he has no more of those "absent though present" moments.
For me, I am determined to not be "seized by the moment" and blinded to the things that really matter around me. Seeing my nephew staring with glazed eyes into space is medicine enough for me take stock of my sometimes frenetic activity.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
I have been overwhelmed by a deep sadness this week. A friend of mine who had been ill for awhile died, another acquaintance tragically drownded, a personal firend in ministry is struggling with a huge loss, a young couple with young children is separating, a young lady left for jail though a victim of heinous abuse, and the list goes on.
It is not as if weeks are ever without dealing with other's pain and sorrow and suffering. But this week just seemed especially hard.
What do we do when we are sad? Where do we turn? I turned to Psalm 27 and I
have reflected upon these words to replace my sadness with the confident hope I have in the Lord.
"The Lord is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear.
The lord us the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid?
When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh,
When my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear;
Though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.
One thing I ask of the Lord, this what I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.
Fopr in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling;
He will hide me in the shelter of the tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.
Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me;
At His tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the Lord.
Hear my voice when I call, O Lord; be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, 'Seek His face!' Your face will I seek.
Do not hide your face from me; so not turn your servant away in anger;
You have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior.
Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.
Teach me your way, O Lord, lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.
Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes. for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence.
I am still confident of this:
I will see the land of the good enss of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."