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A long time ago, in a galaxy only a few hundred yards away, I heard a man say just that.   Then, I heard him say it again.

And, again.

And again.

The odd thing was, he was saying it in Portuguese.   The fact that it was being translated for all to understand, even in repetition?   Not odd, at all.

Today, I sit high up in a galaxy not so far away, a physical galaxy that existed a long time ago in only the mind’s eye of one or two, and I am looking down upon the place those words were repetitively spoken.

Life is like a fountain, indeed.   Experiences, insights, and aspirations bubble up, fly high into the air, and then fall heavy to the surface, where they may go down deep, only to be drawn back up later by an energy source not their own.

Such is this moment.  A physical transition moment in life has me pondering Luke 12, bigger barns, eyes of needles, and not going away from Jesus sad.   The transition moment, itself, has actually been more like weeks, and it has helped clear the waters feeding my fountain.

The place I temporarily reside was last occupied by goods folks: folks who routinely speak Portuguese, by the way.   Little Frau and I decided, upon moving in to this temporary abode, that we would adopt a Brazilian alter ego for any and all who might ask what we are currently up to.  OK, I decided amidst her objections, but I digress.

I was recently recalling the humor I found in this “Life is like a fountain” memory to the son of that translator from long ago.   As my story unfolded, he began to fidget a bit.   As I continued, he began to turn red.   When I uttered the historical names of our assumed alter egos, he began to cry.

Feeling about as low as the silt below a fountain, I stopped and asked what I had said to elicit such emotion.   He went on to share his memories of the same “Life is like a fountain” man, and his penchant for repetition.   He also shared how some of life’s more unfortunate characteristics had later turned that speaker of old sour and bitter, and how he had pulled back from God.

As I’ve grown older over the years, I’ve come to understand more the things that confused me as a child:

How Adam was compelled to take a bite,

How Cain let his disappointment and jealousy get the better of him,

How Sarai laughed,

How Moses reacted in anger,

How Gideon hid out in fear,

How the Children of Israel continued to cycle into bad choices as a collective people,

How Elijah got discouraged and ran away to hide,

How Jesus got physically tired…

And hungry,

And sad, on occasion.

I also have come to understand how Paul found joy, and why John concludes with “Amen”, and “LORD, come quickly”.

From the depths of our experiences comes an energy that allows us to rain down around others, if we will but allow it to be released.

Life is like a fountain, indeed.

And, you don’t have to speak Portuguese to understand it.


8!  27!  137!   Hut!   It is NFL playoff season, but I haven’t been watching many games this past weekend.    Moving on sometimes means you unplug the antenna and DVR of life for a day or two and push, pull, and lift a little cardboard.   OK, a lot of cardboard, and furniture, and, you get the idea.

The process of temporary relocation amidst a delayed more permanent moving process requires flexibility.  Flexibility, and a place to store your stuff.    8, 27, and 137 were not signals barked by an NFL quarterback this weekend, but the unit numbers of the incremental storage “barns” we kept renting to make room for what came out of our “hut”.

In what has admittedly felt like an all consuming process of selling a house and buying something for the next era of life, the past many weeks have sadly contained little time or energy for much else.   The quiet moments in between have left me thinking about Jesus’s words about moth and rust, bigger barns, idolatry (more basic than you might have thought), and selling all you have to follow him more freely.   While the process has felt tedious, the end result is a refreshed view of what really matters.


There is a current craze with “Tiny houses” in America and the choice to live more freely with less stuff.   In doing so, people are forced into difficult choices on what few things to take with them to places a fraction the size of a previous abode.

In moving into smaller temporary quarters for a few weeks, Little Frau and I were tasked to make just such choices, albeit with an “undo” button down the road.   We brought a few clothes, a pot and pan or two, and a couple of favorite coffee mugs.

And we brought a small box of old family notes and pictures.   I spent a quiet morning today perusing said box, including reading a letter from 1928, a postcard from 1948, and an old church bulletin from the 1970’s.

It made me grateful for all that we have, and I don’t mean the stuff currently residing in units 8, 27, and 137.   Out “hut” is with one another, and in our hearts.   Ultimately, a heavenly hut is the Devine destination.   You don’t have to spend time hanging out temporarily in a “tiny hut” to figure that out, or, do you?

“Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.”

‭‭1 John‬ ‭2:15-16‬

 

1984, and beyond

  
It’s New Years Day, if but for a few minutes more.   It was that year, as well.

New Years Day, 1984, found me spending most of the day alone in my upstairs room back in Shreveport.   I watched the parades.   I watched several bowl games.   Somewhere in between, the Rose Bowl halftime featured music from a new album titled the same: 1984.   And I remember.

I remember enjoying the time alone.   I remember looking forward to the year ahead, and going to college, and leaving home, and so many new uncharted adventures.

Today, I remember very few specific moments of years long since past, but I remember that one as the music played on.

I remember today the things that happened in the days that followed in 1984.   Things I never could have known before.   

The feeling of a sibling being married and gone.

The feeling of watching my parents drive away without me.

The (subsequent) feeling of realizing the Christmas that year was my last with my grandfather.

It’s New Years Day, or at least it still was when I began typing these words.   That day has now come and gone.

It is, however, a new year, still.   I remember, and I anticipate what 2016 may yet become.

And I am thankful.   God is on His throne, and I eagerly await His good calling.

http://youtu.be/c0mN7rvgb-4

Packing up the dreams

  
The boxes shown above don’t contain much, and yet they hold the physical representation of eras gone by.

We are moving our place of residence, physically.   Perhaps spiritually, ecumenically, and grammatically, as well, if Captain Jack were telling this story, but I digress.

Back to the boxes.   The hearts have said “time for a new adventure”.  The contracts have all been signed.  The inspections have all been cleared.   It is now time for packing, and reliving moments of the dreams: dreams God planted.

It was 30 odd years ago that I first heard the tune Michael W. Smith made famous.

“Packing up the dreams God planted

In the fertile soil of you

I can’t believe the hopes He’s granted

Means a chapter of your life is through

But we’ll keep you close as always…
Since that time, years have come and years have gone.   I returned home to the far country, and came back to the windswept plains a score later with Frau and kinder in tow.

Over these aforementioned 30 odd years, events have come and gone, along with hairstyles, bad fashion choices, and a small array of vehicles of various shapes and sizes.   Each serves as a visual guidepost to the time reflected in scores of pictures.   Pictures contain memories, and memories take us back to old friends.  A few of the pictures, postcards, and momentos took my breath away.   The hope is for no memory to be lost.   And so, we pack.

And friends are friends forever

If the Lord’s the Lord of them

And a friend will not say never

‘Cause the welcome will not end

Though it’s hard to let you go

In the Father’s hands we know

That a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends”
  
The cabinet left behind may now be empty, but the relationships and memories live to reflect another day.

We’ll keep you close as always

It won’t even seem you’ve gone

‘Cause our hearts in big and small ways

Will keep the love that keeps us strong…”

  
Are you a “Whovian”?   I’ve never considered myself one of such ilk, but the storyline of tonight’s season finale may have made a convert out of me.

Tonight’s yarn was well spun, indeed.   It dealt with endless love, timelines, missing heartbeats, failed memories, and journeys to the end of the universe.   In the end, the message was clear: we are who we are, and we all have a job to do.

Returning to reality for a moment, a picture really does paint a thousand words.   Researchers have recently suggested that our DNA may carry more than just physical traits; it may carry personality, and the effects of predecessors’ experiences, as well.

I’ve seen it at work.   A member of my personal progeny once mimicked without fault a mannerism of a great grandfather who predeceased her birthdate by over seven years.   All I could do was look on in wonder.

Then, there are the signatures.   I keep a small inherited library of books in my office.   Each of the three signatures shown above came from one of the volumes contained therin.

I never really knew the man who penned the first much less ever studied his penmanship until recently, and yet I see his hand in my own, his smile in my mirror, and his eyes in my son.

The DNA helix is an amazing creation, indeed.   Aside from an array of chemicals, I believe it may be made up of traces of endless love, timelines, missing heartbeats, failed memories, and journeys toward the end of the universe.   There may be an extended cursive “m” trailing off somewhere in there, as well…

  
I love a good ice storm. Not really, but indulge me for a moment.
Last night was bedlam, in more ways than one. A highly anticipated football game kicked off shortly after 7:00 PM.   
The score was nil at 0-0.  
The boys in orange had the ball, and it was 3rd and something to go.
Then, everything went dark. That’s when the real light began to shine.
Little Frau and I were sitting in an ages old farmhouse nestled on the Golden Spread, watching the game with her parents, when the power grid went down.
A phone call or two confirmed that everyone in the 806 was in the same boat. Ice on the lines has a way of doing that. A pair of flashlights were retrieved, the gas heater was turned up a bit, and out came the old old stories.

  
Within the hour, an unwatched game was already out of reach, but a nice visit continued for another hour or two. Finally, a warm bed in a pitch black room beckoned loudly.

The power was back on shortly thereafter, but I contend it never really left the house.
“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made the two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also…and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.” ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭1:14-16, 18‬ ‭
Last night, it was good, indeed. The lesser lights were greater this night.
I love a good ice storm…

Where the heart is

  
I crossed the river last night.   Headed south, some might say, in my behavior.

As these words are being written, I’m wearing one of the shirts shown above.  Which of the two, I shall not disclose.   Let’s just say I slept on it, and it holds a place over, and in, my heart.  Rumor has it I may not be its original owner.

 This is not my first time to cross this river.   It happened before many moons ago.   Headed north, at the time, some would say, but my allegiances bled an earthy orange tone.

  
“The eyes of Texas are upon you”, or so the song says.  I believe it.   For years I sang it.   The day “superman flew” I cried out in frustration at the friends who called to rub it in.

Then things began to go south.   Or did they?   We met good friends for lunch the next year, and one of them may have told me I could either root for the boys in Crimson or I could leave her house.   I think she was serious.

Then my son began acting strange, using phrases like “Boomer” and crying at the end of championship games gone awry.   It’s happened more than once.   The “Boomer” thing has, as well.  😏

It has been said by some “if you can’t beat’em, join ’em”.   I’d like to say it’s much more than just an allegiance.   It’s a heart thing, and having it move north doesn’t mean one is heading south, I hope and pray.

The shirt I slept in last night once belonged to a friend.   As I slept over Texas soil, he did as well, in a spiritual manner of speaking.   I believe the burnt orange lied close to his heart.

  As I rise this morning, in a physical manner of speaking, I will don another color.   My son will, as well. We won’t be cheering for the home team, or will we?

They say home is where the heart is, and heart and home have a way of convincing us to do seemingly odd things, like yell “Boomer”.   Go figure.

Today may not be a championship, per se, but one of us may cry just a little from under his sunglasses.   You will have to forgive him.   His heart may be covered by one, but it contains the blood of another.   

If it “crosses the river” from time to time, I hope you’ll understand…

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