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Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

There is a Biblical verse for every moment in life, so it seems. Today, I wish a verse existed that began with “Here’s the scoop…”

Working at Oklahoma Christian University, we often quote Isaiah 40:31: But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.They will soar high on wings like eagles.They will run and not grow weary.They will walk and not faint.

Other translations begin this verse with “They that wait upon The Lord…”.

As a family who believes and trusts in Him, waiting seems to be the better fit in this moment.

In a world plagued by the babel we brought upon ourselves at Babel, the interchangeable nature of words in translating our languages provides a beautiful mixture of meaning and metaphor as we try to make sense of our lives on this broken creation called The Earth.

As I made the early morning drive today from our temporary sleeping abode at my sister’s to the medical suite that has emerged at our Mom and Dad’s, a song by Switchfoot was playing on the radio:

Fumbling his confidence
And wondering why the world has passed him by
Hoping that he’s bent for more than arguments
And failed attempts to fly, fly

We were meant to live for so much more
Have we lost ourselves?
Somewhere we live inside
Somewhere we live inside …

Dreaming about Providence
And whether mice or men have second tries
Maybe we’ve been livin with our eyes half open
Maybe we’re bent and broken, broken

We want more than this world’s got to offer
We want more than this world’s got to offer
We want more than the wars of our fathers
And everything inside screams for second life, yeah

We were meant to live for so much more
Have we lost ourselves?
We were meant to live for so much more…

We were meant to live …

The medical experts have told us, daily, there are less than 24 hours remaining, and they’ve proved it by the level of medical and comfort care resources provided. And 24 hours later, they have re-approved the same assessment for yet another 24, and we remain as both “those who trust”, and “they that wait”.

A night or two ago, in this ever rambling week, a conversation I had with one on a blanket on the floor became a conversation among many, and ultimately a prayer I found myself offering with and on behalf of us all. We asked God to allow us to let go of our agenda, our understanding, and to rely on His timing. I’ve never wished to be in a patriarchal place in life, and yet, here we are.

In his final lucid and not so lucid conscious moments almost a week ago, our Dad proclaimed to all present for me to be “Second in Command”, and I wonder now if there is not an analogy in even those late moment words.

God is in command. We are His children. We were meant to live for so much more.

We have not lost ourselves, or each other.

And so, we trust.

And we remain “they that wait”.

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Actually, I do. Maybe I go to extremes to avoid going to extremes. Once upon a time, in a land not so far far away, I might have said that in reverse. Comprende?

So, as I thought on this earlier today, the words of a Billy Joel tune rattled in my head:

Call me a joker, call me a fool
Right at this moment I’m totally cool
Clear as a crystal, sharp as a knife
I feel like I’m in the prime of my life
Sometimes it feels like I’m going too fast
I don’t know how long this feeling will last
Maybe it’s only tonight

Darling I don’t know why I got to extremes
Too high or too low there ain’t no in-betweens
And if I stand or I fall
It’s all or nothing at all
Darling I don’t know why I got to extremes

Sometimes I’m tired, sometimes I’m shot
Sometimes I don’t know how much more I’ve got
Maybe I’m headed over the hill
Maybe I’ve set myself up for the kill
Tell me how much do you think you can take
Until the heart in you is starting to break?
Sometimes it feels like it will

Darling I don’t know why I go to extremes
Too high or too low there ain’t no in-betweens
You can be sure when I’m gone
I won’t be out there too long
Darling I don’t know why I got to extremes

Out of the darkness, into the light
Leaving the scene of the crime
Either I’m wrong or I’m perfectly right every time
Sometimes I lie awake, night after night
Coming apart at the seams
Eager to please, ready to fight
Why do I go to extremes?

And if I stand or I fall
It’s all or nothing at all

Darling I don’t know why I go to extremes

I can relate, and not. I think I will keep going, especially for today. As the words to a Mandesa song related to me as I turned the key to the Jeep a few moments ago this morning Why am I waiting for tomorrow…?”“. I don’t think I am.

Darling, I think you know why.

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I took my love and I took it down
I climbed a mountain and I turned around

And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
‘Till the landslide brought me down

As mentioned yesterday, we had an adventure, and a story yet to tell. That will come, in time, but as #1 son and I hoofed our way home yesterday, a flood of tunes library memories were conjured up as the music kept me alert and winging our way back home. Mark Shultz reminded me of the Sherpa. Fleetwood Mac, courtesy of Stevie Nicks’ songwriting, reminded me of our mountain trek team.

Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail thru the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I’m getting older too

The Sherpa told us on the mountaintop Wednesday how nothing can live up that high. Jesus went to the mountaintop to be close to God, but came back down to minister and to serve.

As I have been home today and dealing with the return to daily life, a landslide of sorts is in motion. I suspect my younger trek companions are feeling the same as they awoke in their own beds earlier today. Laundry, cleaning out the car, or maybe mowing the lawn was in order? Or, was there even more? A loved one’s illness? News of a family in trouble? Knowing that you go into an office full of week old tasks come Monday?

As a child, camp was always an emotional time: good emotional. Coming down off that high was always tough. This week’s mountain experience has been much the same. As an adult, coming down from the Rocky Mountain high is bittersweet, but not all that hard. I’ve been down this road before, and there are potential rewards around every turn, even at 1,000 feet above sea level.

Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
‘Cause I, I built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I’m getting older too
I’m getting older too

So, take my love, take it down
Oh climb a mountain and turn around
If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide will bring you down, down

And If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well maybe the landslide will bring it down
Oh oh, the landslide will bring it down

Landslides can be good. Emotional landslides can bring us back to a level where the air is richer and the living is fuller. Take heart. Mountaintops are going nowhere fast. You will ascend once again. God promises just that. John 14:1-3: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

So, take my love, take it down
Oh climb a mountain and turn around….

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The final horn sounded, the streamers fell from the ceiling, and the crowd spilled out of the arena and onto the street. As my son and I surveyed the situation and saw the wind, rain, and lightening, he said exactly what I was thinking: “Dad, we’d better run”. As we sprinted down the middle of a closed to traffic Reno Avenue, the thought suddenly hit me: “Didn’t we run down this exact same path only yesterday?”. Such was the end of Day 2 in the arena.

Day 3 ended with the afore posted about concert in another arena, this one holding a different crowd and a different product than the basketball we witnessed on Day 2. I guess an overpaid superstar is an overpaid superstar, whether they hold a basketball or a guitar, but I digress. There is probably a future topic of Idols, Icons, and Role Models in there somewhere, but that will wait for another day, maybe.

Day 1 “in the arena” was totally different, and that’s my intended point to all this. As pictured above, my three kids and I gathered with 560 of our closest friends to take part in a race. Part challenge, part social norm, and part memorial, this annual event brings out fellowship, fun, and fear for yours truly all at the same time. It is a sort of metaphor for life, maybe?

I didn’t intend for things to shake out the way they did last week. Therein lies another metaphor for life. We planned on running the race, and eventually planned on the concert, but attending the basketball game just fell our way at the last minute. As Little Frau bemusedly stated to me the morning of Day 4 that week, “you guys have gotten to do a lot of cool, fun stuff in just a very few days. I’m jealous!”. We didn’t plan it that way, it just happened, and my fatigue factor showed it. What began Sunday morning at 4:00 AM concluded Wednesday morning at 1:00 AM, and it was an exhausting run.

While this week has to date been much less scripted up front, it too has had its share of “event moments”. Announcements. Decisions. Comments. Revelations. Regrets. Retreats.. Such have been a part of the last 3 days in our bigger arena called life. And so it goes. To quote Billy Joel, both with that last phrase and with the next: “We didn’t start the fire. Its been always burning since the world’s been turning”.

As I ponder all of this before the dawn of another day, I’m reminded of another three days inside analogy, this one by Jesus comparing himself and what was coming to Jonah and what was past.

For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. Matthew 12:40

The difference here is that He did plan it that way. It didn’t just happen, even though He had a temporary fatigue factor to show for it. What all began likely on a Thursday morning concluded before the dawn on the following Sunday morning, and it started an exhilarating and rewarding run for us all, greater than 560 strong. Part challenge, part social norm, and part memorial. My son was right: we’d better run. The race is growing shorter by the minute.

One day, the final horn will sound, the streamers will fall from the sky, and the crowd will spill out of the arena. I’m ready.

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Coffee as an analogy for life? Some would suggest that coffee is life, and I would concur at times. For certain, life often begins each day after a first cup, but today I wish to ponder it before I drink it.

As I prepared the first “nectar of life” carafe of the day yesterday, I considered the description: “House Blend. Lively. Balanced. Intensity: Medium”.

What better way to describe my desired persona in the Bing Dynasty? Having lived at times like some other less desirable coffees, strong, bitter, heavy after taste, I prefer to be the “House Blend”.

Another desirable analogy is fruit: nourishing, refreshing, appealing, “juicy”, and at it’s heart, a seed ready for planting.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23.

Certainly, if not coffee, I’d rather be compared to fruit vs. a fruitcake, but I digress.

If you will excuse me now, I need to go brew up a pot of the magic elixir. It’s about time for life to begin on a hot Saturday in Oklahoma…

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Guess who just got back today? That wild eyed boy, who’d been away.

The song is from the late seventies, early eighties, and the performing group was called Thin Lizzie.

I have a friend who once went by the nickname Lizzie, and she’s kinda thin. She’s smallish, like a frog, like a play frog, only with colors. Pink boots and purple bandanas, anyone?

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Yes, the Beau is back in town. I knew this day was coming, and that she’d drive off upon his entrance into the area code. But, she left before I could say anything. I told myself last year I would not do this, but I’ve got at least one more sentimental journey left in me.

Accordingly, this lyric vault moment is not from Thin Lizzie, but from
George Strait “sung” for my own thin Lizzie.

…that’s why I’m sittin’ on the front porch, starin’ down the road; wonderin’ if she’ll come back? This time, I don’t know…..that’s got me worried, thinkin’ maybe my baby’s gotten good at goodbye…

Take heart, dear reader. Don’t cry for me, Argentina. (sorry, wrong musical genre). You see, I have good friends remaining with me.

Three amigos? Tres Hombres is more like it. A ha ha ha ha….

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This summer has been hot; almost as hot as it has been busy. The family soared together for a quick vacation immediately after the school term ended, and then it seems as though the “Baby Bing Eagles” all took flight and fled the nest. Church camp, work camp, “Cage” camp, jobs, trips to friend’s, midnight outings with the Green Lantern, Harry Potter, Captain America, and the like, and various and sundry other sorties have populated the skies around the Aerie on our street. Even Papa Eagle has soared away a time or two this summer, although he did return with talons full of trout after the most recent expedition. All the while, Mama Eagle has faithfully guarded the nest, waiting for her fledglings to return.

Last night was just such a moment. When I realized that “Say Yes to the Dress, Bridesmaid’s Edition” would command the brood’s flatscreen for an hour or more, I fled into the sanctity of an unfinished audit report spreadsheet. You probably did not know that a “bird of pray” could do accounting work on a Friday evening, but I digress. But as I looked up from my work near the midnight hour and saw everyone in the family asleep and scattered together about the family room, it dawned on me just how rare such future occasions might be.

Fall 2011 will be the first time all three eaglets will be in a different school from a sibling. One will even be across the left coast pond we call the Pacific for a few cycles of the moon. I wonder if little eagles like sushi? Another will have “been to London to look at the Queen” before 2012 is official. I wonder if little eagles like tea and crumpets? As time goes on, band, basketball, books, boys, babes, bonsai trees, and British monarchs may separate us from our young, but they know they can always return to the nest to rest their weary wings.

Only, next time we are all together, maybe something better than “Say Yes…” will be on the tele. I hear there’s a good NCIS marathon due out some time soon.

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