No post today. Stay tuned for Wordless Wednesday!
Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote, in his poem “In Memoriam”:
I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
I sometimes wonder what Tennyson was smoking when he wrote that. I guess I’ve never known what it felt like to have never loved at all, so I’ll never know if it’s true. I have, however, loved and lost. So maybe anything is better than that, including never having loved at all.
I’ve gone through phases during the past six and a half years of my life. The phases have grown fewer and last a shorter amount of time than they did long ago, but they’re still there. Maybe because not many people see this blog, I feel ok writing about it. And I know I’m not the only one who’s been dealt this blow, so that helps, too.
I don’t believe in the concept of “The One” in regards to finding a spouse. I believe there are different people one is compatible with during certain phases of their life, and when you’re both in the right phase at the right time, then Yay! But if not, all is not lost. Like the summer rain in Florida, just wait a few minutes. The sun will be out again. But if there really is only “the one”, then I’ve already found and lost him. That’s why I’m hoping it’s just a silly concept.
I’ve been what I thought was “in love” several times in my life. Who hasn’t, right? But true love…real love…the kind that seems to define your very existence. The love that makes you physically sick when you’re apart. The love that makes you wonder if you could survive without them in your life. The love real love songs about swimming oceans and climbing mountains and walking thousands of miles are written for. That love I’ve only found once. And I sometimes wonder if I ever will again.
It’s not a pretty tale. It’s actually a fairly devestating one, full of sadness and wrong choices and betrayal and rejection (from both sides) that I will not delve into. It has marked my life in many ways during the past twelve (yes, I said twelve) years. And even though he’s halfway across the world now, and I haven’t seen him in six years, I still don’t think I’m completely over it. He was selfish and I was stupid. He was (and crazily enough, still is) my closest friend in this world. But I am forever changed.
I still mourn what could have been. I’ve moved on, but never really all the way through. Sometimes I think I am permenantly damaged. I guess there’s no way to go through what we did and not be. And I still go through times when the sorrow is overwhelming and the pain is deep and the loss feels so fresh. Silly, I know, given the years and miles that have separated us. But the periods of sorrow, like I said, are getting fewer. Maybe one day I’ll be over it completely. But I’m just in one of those periods now.
I miss my best friend. I miss my soulmate. For that’s what we are. We have both acknowledged it. And when you are separated from your soulmate, it makes a profound impact on you. I am forever scarred. Most days the scar is pale and shallow. But there are a few days, a few times, like now, were the scar is deep and painful with no cause for reinjury. Just part of the damage I bear, I guess.
I will love again, I am sure. But for now,
These wounds won’t seem to heal
This pain is just too real
There’s just too much that time cannot erase
When you cried I’d wipe away all of your tears
When you’d scream I’d fight away all of your fears
And I held your hand through all of these years
But you still have
All of me
**Post is under construction! Please check back later!**
**This is a repost of an earlier blog. I’m not in a place to write a new post right now, and this one has a lot of good to say, especially in light of our nation today. Please read and share, if you would like.**
You really have to feel for the guy. The only known survivor of Pharaoh’s murderous tirade against the Hebrew children. Enduring the identity crisis of being raised a prince of Egypt while knowing his true heritage was out in the plains of slavery. Watching his people being battered and abused. Secretly killing on of the abusers, only to find out that EVERYONE knew about it, and that a death sentence was on his head. Fleeing the only home he’s ever known into a desert world. Stumbling to a well only to have to be the hero in the epic battle of the Midianite girls versus the ruffian shepherds. Doesn’t he deserve a break?
Finally, he gets one. He’s taken into the home of the priest of Midian. He settles down. He gets married. Has children. Becomes a shepherd. Yeah, his life was pretty good.
Then he just HAD to see it.
The bush was on fire, yet not burning. Curiosity being a human curse, he couldn’t just ignore it. I mean, how often do you see a bush on fire but NOT being consumed? He went to check it out. And we all know what happened from there. God spoke to Moses. Told Moses it was time to leave the comfortable life he had and to do the work of the Lord. It meant going back to the one place Moses never wanted to see again.
Can we really blame Moses for making excuses? Moses gave every excuse he could think of, from his social position (or lack thereof) to his previous reputation to even his stutter! And each time, God had an answer ready. Like Moses could sway God’s decision in this – A God who knew Moses’ excuses before Moses even did, yet still was calling him.
Hindsight being what it is, we can sit here and chide Moses for his actions. We think, “Now, really, Moses. God has an awesome plan for you! You’re going to save lives! He’s got this awesome opportunity for you to minister to those in need. Don’t be silly and complacent. Go!”
Oh, the hypocrisy!
Have you spotted it yet? Here we sit and criticize Moses for making excuses, but think about it; are we really any better? Daily we are surrounded – inundated, really – with countless crises for help, and yet we make excuses for why we can’t help. “I don’t have time.” “I don’t have the money.” “My family has too much going on right now.” “I’ve never had that experience; how can I possibly help?” Do any of those sound familiar? I know they do to me, because I’ve heard myself say them. Just like Moses, we fear leaving the comfortable complacency of our lives and diving right in.
One of the biggest underlying factors of our hesitancy, and the root cause for most of the excuses we give, is the fear of being uncomfortable. We do not handle awkwardness well. We think if we haven’t experienced it ourselves, that we will be invaluable to the situation. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Most people who need help are not looking for someone to have had a shared experience. They’re just desperate to know someone – anyone – cares. You don’t have to have been homeless to minister to the homeless. You don’t need to have had a crisis pregnancy to help a woman who does. You don’t have to have an addiction to help someone in the grips of one. You just need to care. It’s that simple.
We sometimes think we have to be at a perfect place in our lives before we can help others. If that’s what you’re waiting for, I have bad news for you: by the time that happens, you’re going to be in a place where no longer do people need help. Don’t let opportunities to minister go by while you’re waiting for the perfect time. In his book Primal Christianity, Mark Batterson states, “You’ll never have enough. You’ll never be enough. You’ll never do enough. But don’t let that keep you from giving what you have, being who you are, and doing what you can.”
We live in a world ripe with need. So many helpless, and all they’re asking is for us to just be us; just as we are, ready to love. If you feel God tugging your heart towards a ministry, fight the urge to make excuses. Know that God wouldn’t be leading you there just to watch you make a fantastic flop of yourself. He’s going to give you the heart to love, grace to cope, and words to say. You just have to be willing and ready. He has hurting children, and it’s up to us to be willing to make ourselves uncomfortable for their sake. Leadership mentor John Maxwell said, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” My challenge to you is this: Are you ready for your life to begin?
“This was written a year ago. I’m so thankful God’s truth never changes.”
Having just passed my fourth anniversary (some of you will know what for, and NO, it’s not Alcoholics Anonymous), I got to thinking. It never ceases to amaze me how much the simple truth of Salvation is something that we simply forget. Being a seminary student, the stuff that I study tends to (well, will really when I move to Massachusetts next Fall) go deeply into things that the average person–heck, even the average Christian–wouldn’t give a passing thought about. But at the center of all that I study, discuss, and debate is the Gospel.
Within Christianity, there seems to be a battle going on between the intellectuals and the anti-intellectuals. Unfortunately, neither of those usually further the Kingdom and spread the Good News. They tend to create division, conflict, and sometimes hurt. Some within the intellectual movement are moving the faith away from what it has been historically, and what it should be, into something that doesn’t resemble knowing Christ, let alone Christianity. The anti-intellectuals simply tell you that you shouldn’t question anything, you need to just believe it–whether you want to or not.
How do either of those stances further the Kingdom of God?! Christianity isn’t about how much faith you have, it’s about WHO your faith is in. Simple, right? Even when that is our intent–having a relationship with God through the atoning sacrifice of Christ Jesus on the cross–we sometimes mess that up. I sometimes (okay, a lot) mess that up. Thankfully, we’re loved all the same. Humans are inherently impulsive creatures. We want to survive. With eternity staring us in the face, we should be reaching out to the One who can save us.
You want to know the best part about that Salvation? It’s given freely to those who ask it in Jesus.
It’s so simple. We shouldn’t be reaching out in fear, because “it’s the thing to do to look good,” or anything that’s motivated by greed or selfishness. Christ gave everything so that the gap between man and God could be bridged–all out of love. To be loved is to be known, and still loved in spite of ourselves. That love doesn’t create fear. That love doesn’t say “only if.” That Love says “come to me, and I’ll show you life.” Money can’t do that. Popularity can’t do that. RELIGION can’t do that. To the children who know the Father, I simply want to remind you that your salvation is in Christ alone, and that your rest will be found only in Him. We don’t need to look to anything else to save us.
To those who may be reading this, and don’t know Him, or maybe just don’t know what to think…I’m praying for you. I was that man once. Had it not been for Christ, there is no way that I would stand living, proclaiming what His love can do. Maybe you’ve heard about salvation before, but it confuses you. I’m here to tell you that Christ’s gift of redemption is something that is SO simple, but SO powerful. There is no person too lost, too far gone, too much of a screw-up to not experience what forgiveness is. I’m not a liar–you’re in my prayers, whoever you may be.
Jesus wasn’t simply a man who did a lot of good things, and then hung on a cross to die. He is the son of God. He took on human form, lived as a man, and was crucified–the worst death imaginable–so that we could know peace. How do I know this? For the Gospel says so in ten words.
Christ died for our sins and rose from the grave. Death has lost.