Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Not Fooling God

I keep forgetting that I cannot fool God.

Oh, I think I can.  I cloak things in the very best sort of language in my mind:  Love, Christian Service, Good Samaritan - you name it, I have probably come up with it in my mind at one time.  The problem is that none of this, if I get to the bottom of it, is really true.  It is just me, trying to find cover to cover actions I have already decided to take.

He continues to be gracious to me, more than I probably deserve.  The reprimands remain in private, exposed only to me but clearly and directly tied to the things I have done.  I know, and I know that He knows.

The probably not so funny part is that I usually know too, right around the time I am doing them.  You know the score:  in the midst of getting ready to complete an action (for me, usually something which is being done in a rush rather than with foresight) there is that stinging moment of guilt, that sense that what you are doing is not really what you should be doing.  Yes, maybe it is not out front sin that would definitively call one into to question but the questionable action that gently eases one across the line without the direct feeling of doing wrong - but it is there.  You look at it, think about it for a moment, come up with some sort of rationalization - "It is the right thing to do"  or "This is just a/an X. No-one would ever consider this to be over the top" - and away goes the act.

It never works out of course.  The act inevitably goes awry.  The thing is lost.  The words are misconstrued.  The action turns out to be pointless - or even worse, it turns out not to be the great moment that you imagine in your mind, the Turning Point or Great Sacrifice, but rather just a blip that happens and then is instantly swept into the torrent of time, seemingly gone without impact.

You stand there of course, holding the physical item or moment in your hand and head, wondering how such a thing could have happened.  How could an event have gone so wrong as to be completely ignored or the action become so irrelevant that it is if it never happened?  It is not the fault of the proposed recipient of course:  God has taken care of them as well, protected them from your well-meant but perhaps not so well intentioned act.  Their lives and their minds were headed other places seeking other things while all the time you were firmly planted in the dark, thinking you were a shining star.

Then the question becomes:  have I learned?  Have I finally learned that I cannot take events into my own hands, hearts and minds into my own possession, and try to mold them to my purposes in the absence of true noble actions and deeds?  Or will I continue to cling to the idea that I can arbitrate the true inner and outer meaning of my actions, without seeing them for what they are?

Because one day - perhaps sooner than we care to believe -  there will be an end to the benevolence, the quiet rebuke, the inner whisper of wrong.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Schedule On, Schedule Off

It is the off-work schedule that tells us more about our time than the work schedule.
I am off of work this week - time to burn and two "free" days have made this a recurring holiday over the years. With the advent of vacation, of course, my whole morning and evening timeline tends to fall apart - I am not getting up at a very early hour, not blogging as early (obviously), not having to drive to work and back and fit things in.

The question is, how am I using that time instead?

Not well, I am afraid.

I dither.  I find myself easily diverted by lesser things that I would perceive to be of lesser importance usually, I find myself without drive, without a task list.  Whenever I think about making a task list my immediate internal response is "I am on vacation".

My initial response is to say "This is not right.  I should have a list of everything I need to be working on when I am not at work.  I have things that need to be accomplished - why am I not doing them?" And I suppose to some extent that is true: there are projects that need doing, things that if they are not scheduled will never get done.

But is that response right?  Not completely,

If things are as tightly scheduled on my off days as my on days, then something is wrong.  If I leave no time for relaxation or simply "doing" things, can it be said that my life is any better than if I were just doing everything I had to do all the time.

Yes, I need to write some things in.  But also yes, I need to just take some time to just simply allow myself to do and be.  Because creativity and doing or being is not always found in the regimented moments of a life.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Shrinking the Relational Circle

My relational circle is probably getting ready to contract again.

Last week I wrote about our inability to communicate with each other on the Internet.  That was last week.  In the intervening period of 4-5 days, things have not gotten much better.  In fact, I have just had mounting evidence that the thing is much worse.

The thing that depresses me all the more about the whole thing is that I do not believe that people view the inconsistencies in their life as such.  Social media has accelerated the issue I suspect, but I am sure that the latent tendencies were always there.

We have come to view our lives as compartmentalized  I am this over here for these things but over there for something else.  In this part of my life I can find this hilariously amusing, but in this part of my life I need to be deadly serious about something.  We perhaps seldom consider how these two things which are seemingly so different look to those outside of use.

Our lives no longer reflect any sense of attempting to bring them into some kind of unified whole, that what we say and do and practice is consistent across all situations.

Consistency.  We do not value it.  There is a thought I had not considered before.

How does this relate to my relational circle?  There are two ways to relate to people.  The first, the one that possibly matters the most, is how we relate to others.  As a Christian, I get no slack here.  I must be able to engage with and speak to all people.  I am Christ in their lives, perhaps the only example of Him they will see.  My ability to live consistently and relationally matters.  That does not stop.

The second is how others relate to us.  Here, I think, we can engage in a little more selective practices.  The best example I can think of is something where everyone else around you is doing it but you do not have to do it - in fact, there may be prudent reasons for you not to be around it or to carry the thoughts of it around with you.  And so you start to taper off those times when such things occur or avoid situations that would put you in contact with them.

And so, I think, with me.

Life is short. My energy and time are limited.  Discordant thinking and negative thoughts increasingly have no place in what I am trying to accomplish.

Friday, November 20, 2015


You dance in my dreams;
I am buoyed by your courage.
You make my heart sing.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Failure to Communicate

We have lost the ability to speak to each other in words that others can hear.

Our debates have become Internet memes, background pictures with clever words meant to shame or embarrass our opponents without any thought beyond that of gaining the intellectual upper hand.

Our discussions have become short sentences - tweets or snapchats or short phrases on Facebook delivered without contact or context, then responded to in anger or righteous superiority of our position.

We have lost the ability to speak.  We have lost the ability to be kind.

Oh, we say that we are interested in communication.  We spend our days on our phones and computers, chatting and texting one another.  Our lives have become full of words - and yet empty of of communication.

We are rapidly losing that most basic of interactions that are supposed to differentiate us from all other species, the ability to communicate.

I spend my days wrapped in sadness, slowly withdrawing more and more from the communication and technological mediums available to me as all I see and read and hear is anger and fear and hatred - so little kindness, so little consideration of others and how our words impact them.

I weep for the future - not so much that I fear something particular happening, but rather that no matter what will happen, we will have lost our ability to communicate about it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Redbird Singing in the Dead of Night

So Redbird turned in her notice today.

It was not unexpected - she has been unhappy for more time that I can almost remember now, stressed to the point of creating physical issues and mental pain.  She has been to this precipice perhaps 50 times since I have known her.  And today was finally the day.

I talked with her in the afternoon after the thing was done.  There was a peace about her, a peace that I had not seen in months - but a peace I was all too familiar with from others that have gone before her on the same journey.  It was all the cares of the job simply melting away, leaving nothing but the future behind.  Maybe not knowing what was coming next, but knowing that whatever it was it was not what the past had been

As she was reminiscing over the things that had brought her to this point, she said something that hit me deeply:  "I realized that there were people here that I had worked with for 9 months, people who had not known me before things started to go bad - and all they know of me is that person:  angry, emotional, sad, bitter.  They do not know the real me, the fun happy me, the me that exists away from this before everything went so badly."

That thought struck me to the core.

Yes, I understand that happiness can be choice.  At the same time, like it or not, we are influenced by the environment around us.  And sometimes that environment can weigh on us heavily indeed.

What would it be like if we worked, lived, and loved in an environment where we enjoyed what we did, who we spent our time with, and cared about the things that deeply mattered to us.  What would we be like?  How would others perceive us?  Would they see us as we are now, or would they see us as we wish others to perceive us?

I wish I knew.  Others can see farther down that road than I can at this point.

Fly High Redbird.  Fly Free.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Achieve Greatness

I will simply say that I went out this weekend and achieved greatness, at least greatness larger than anything I thought possible.  It is completely possible - but I simply had to go do it.  And ask permission of no-one, not even myself.

The possibility exists.  We need only to lead ourselves to embrace it, not constantly check over our shoulder to see if others permit it.