Friday, March 30, 2012

Good Things

Dear Diary,

Good things are happening.

By that I mean, I am getting to know myself a little better. It's odd to say that. How could I not possibly know myself? After all, I am me. A long time ago I referred to parapraxis in a previous entry. Some of those things have been popping up again and I know that they are truly reflective of where I am at right now. I have started making decisions that reflect who I am and where I want to be in life.

The first is work related. With the job I do, I have so many options available to me for the type of work and lifestyle I want. I could be jet setting around Europe or living in a large city center or working month long rotations in the Middle East. However I don't want those things. It is tough for me to decide not to pursue those options simply because I know I have the ability to achieve them. Many of the people I have worked with are now off doing those things. For the longest time I felt like I was limiting myself by not going out and conquering the world. However that type of lifestyle does not reflect who I am. I would be miserable. The things I cherish in life would be sacrificed to the job and to the schedule. And so, last week, I applied for a different position at work. It is less glamorous. It would not add to my resume if the whole goal of my resume was to become a big wig international guy. However, this new job would give me the flexibility to be involved with church, youth, Sunday School, worship, small groups, family, children, pets, plants, and something as close to a boring 9-5, Monday to Friday shift as possible in this industry. It would mean earning $1 million to $2 million less over the course of my career than if I pursued the big league career option. If it's between making a lot of money or having a schedule that allows me to have a family, be there for my kids, and contribute to the well being of those in my community, my choice is made. And it's not the money. Now, it's unlikely that I will get this position, but simply the fact that I applied for it is a big step for me. I am actively pursuing a path that will lead me to my goals, and not passively following the path others have traveled before me. It is exhilarating and just a tiny bit scary.

As for other things, they are more spiritual in nature. I have talked about God's will in previous entries and my thoughts on that have not changed much. I believe God's will is wide and we have many options available to us that are all a part of God's will. Obviously God has given us free will (my apologies to all the Calvinists out there) and so we have the gift of freedom of choice. That is something I wrestled with a lot growing up. It wasn't just the spiritual aspect of free choice, but even day to day choices. I wish someone would have just told me in high school to go and do this and this and become that and then I would have arrived at my destination. Instead, I was told I could do and be anything I wanted. The availability of so many options overwhelmed me and I think much of what I did after graduating was not based on assertive decision making but on passively following the path set before me by circumstance. In some ways that's how my spiritual life progressed as well. It was just set in the default position. However, over the last year I have been actively searching for something more than default and I know that things are going to change. Honestly, I made some decisions as long as 8 months ago, that I am finally going to act on. Maybe. I'm on the verge anyway. And that is good, because whether things change or stay the same, it will be because I have actively made a decision for things to be the way they are, not passively accepted what is. I think it's amazing that God trusts us enough to allow us to make decisions.

This morning I had another Spiritual Direction meeting with DA. It' been a long time since we've met. It was good. Things seemed to be confirmed. I like when that happens. I'm in the process of seeking out more experienced people for their insight. In the multitude of counsellors there is much wisdom.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Making A Difference

I have worked with a lot of youth through my life. Sometimes as a youth myself and sometimes as a "mature" adult. Some of these kids have lived lives much more difficult than my own. Others have had it pretty good. I always wonder where these kids are now. I know many are now adults. I still keep in touch with some. I still pray for them. All of them. Often I wonder if I have really made a difference in their lives. I wonder if they are better off because I was in their lives briefly trying to be the best follower of Jesus I knew how to be. And sometimes there are pleasant little surprises that pop up in my life because of the work I've done in the past.

Several weeks ago at the coffee house, I ran into a former youth, now adult, from one of the youth groups I ran back in the day. Actually this person was too young to be in the youth group at the time. His older brother was involved but he tagged along when he could. I spent a lot of time with their family outside of my official duties. We talked and chatted a bit and things seemed to be good. I am happy that he is continuing to follow Jesus and seems to be on a good path.

Tonight I went out for supper with my old friends from the North, who I've mentioned several times in previous entries. Completely coincidentally, the entire family of this young man were sitting at the table across from ours. I haven't seen the rest of the family in almost 10 years. It was so good to see them, even if it was only briefly. We said our hellos and did the hand shake thing, but honestly, I wish I was a little more brave and went in for a hug. It was sooooooo good to see them again. The father told me something that almost made me cry. He said that the years I worked with their kids were some of their best years. He told me I made such an impact on his kids and his whole family and he thanked me for the role I played in their lives. Wow.

Like I said, sometimes I wonder if I have really made a difference at all in the lives of the people I have poured myself into. Tonight was an amazing confirmation for me. I know not everyone has had an easy path to follow but I pray that they are better off because of the brief time I had to love them and show them the way.

Thank you, Lord.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saying Good Bye

I don't like good-byes.

For several reasons.

The first is that I'm not a hugely over emotional guy and so I'm sure I come across as insincere or indifferent when I'm saying good-bye. I'm not hugging everybody or crying or all that other stuff. I don't know why but I am able to put parts of my life on pause, and then resume again when things pick up where they left off. For me good byes seem pointless. It's more of a see you later. And that's why it doesn't feel as emotional to me as I'm sure it does to other people.

Secondly, I take a long time to get to know people, and be known by people. I think part of that is because I like a lot of alone time. So, I could meet a new person the same time as someone else, and over the space of a month they could become best of friends while I'd still feel like a stranger. In the context of good-byes, rarely do I ever feel like I know the person as well as virtually everyone else saying good-bye. I feel almost like an impostor intruding on someone else's private moment.

And finally, there are rare cases where I do know the person well. And that person knows me well. And there is no chance of a good-bye / see you later. It really is good bye. That is the worst case scenario for me because there are so few of those people in my life and they are very valuable to me. Those times are very pivotal to me, and they do affect me, and I do get emotional. I don't like the hurt those moments bring.

And that's why I don't like good-byes.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


I'm going through something I can't explain right now. Usually these entries are already composed in my head before I put them online. However, some of the entries I just throw out there on the fly. This will be one of those.

I've been feeling homesick lately. I can't really say why. The last year and a half has been all about me finding out where or what my home actually is. Before that I spent the previous 5 years floating around with work at no fixed address. My goal was to work my way back "home". I thought I had arrived. And yet I'm not feeling settled. Not really. The last year or so I have been trying to find out where I fit. I'm closer than when I started but I haven't arrived yet.

And today that feeling of homesickness seemed to overwhelm me. I don't know why. I felt like I was saying bye to familiar things. I don't place a lot of value in "feelings" (some but not a lot). It could just as easily be a lack of sunlight or eating donuts after midnight. So I'm trying to figure out if this is the donuts or something else.

There are a lot of options in front of me right now. I don't know if I should choose any of them or just keep things the same. I don't like changes but one thing the last 18 months has taught me is that though transitions may be difficult the final result can be worth the discomfort.

I'm just trying to figure out which one of these paths will take me home. I haven't felt "home" for a long time. Maybe I never will. I don't like to think about that. What I do know is that I don't feel home right now, and so maybe I'm not where I'm supposed to be, yet. Arg.

I know that a year ago I was going through a similar search. Looking for where I belong and searching for deeper meaning. The desire for more began out of nowhere and seemed to end where it began. Somehow things appeared to be resolved. But now it seems to be starting all over again.

And I'm scared I'll make a bad decision. A decision that can't be undone easily, or at all. And unfortunately when I have decisions to be made with those types of consequences I tend to freeze up and make no decision at all (which is a decision to let things remain the same). I've been saying for a while now that there were going to be some major changes coming in my life. Well, those changes, or not, will be happening over the next month or two.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Super Sneak Preview

This Saturday C&C is doing a coffee house. The organizers have asked that anyone interested in doing some sort of performance art or presentation sign up and do their thing on that night. Normally I shy away from taking the spotlight, however this last year and a half has been all about me stepping out of the shadows, breaking the mold, getting out of my rut and experiencing a little more of life than before. So I signed up. I never do anything in half steps either. I have decided to perform 3 songs from 3 of the biggest acts in Rock and Roll history. This will either be completely awesome or devastatingly mediocre.

I will use this blog post to offer clues for any readers from C&C who want an advance idea of what to expect. I will update it daily.

1. Each band is from a different continent.
2. Each band rose to fame in the 70's.
3. Each of the 3 (or 4) songs was recorded in the 70's.
4. Female monarchy, electrical current, romantic exchange.

Time to praise the Lord, make some big noise
Praying in the street, see what Psalm 150 says
You've got cymbals and a beat
Guitars and dancing feet
Rock and Roll worship belong in this place

(Singing) We will, We will rock you

Time to praise the Lord, make some big noise
Using Rock and Roll to sing my saviour's praise
If we stay silent
The rocks will praise riot
So turn it to 11 and share God's grace

(Singing) We will, We will rock you

Living easy, living free
Since I learned to give away my pride
Asked Jesus, forgive me
Forgive every sin that's in my life

Not by works, not this time
Ain't nothing that I could do
Saved by grace, simple faith
My friends I want to share with you

(Well, Jesus) Saved me from Hell

Well Jesus paid my dues
At the cross He died for me and you
So Satan, get behind me
I'm done playing by all your rules

Starting now, I belong
To the one who holds the world in His hands
Hey momma, look at me
I'm on the way to the promised land

(Cuz Jesus) Saved me from Hell

I'm not going down

Jesus Saved me from Hell

They knew Moses and the things of God
The 10 commandments and the Jewish law
Pharisees asked Christ which one's the greatest

Jesus said you wanna know where it is?
Try Deuteronomy, chapter 6
Look at verse 5, you'l find it Pharisee

You read about, You need to shout it

I love the Lord with all my might, my heart and everything

The people came to Jesus Christ all the while
They looked for answers and they liked his style
Please tell us Lord which law's the next best

Love the Lord with everything you've got
Jesus said well that's my first law
The second is to love your neighbour

Don't even doubt it, you need to shout it

I love the Lord with all my might, my heart and everything

Wearing shirts must have been difficult back then.

Update (The day after): I did it. I was so nervous. My fingers were tingling and I couldn't control my voice.  Wow, I really don't like being in the spotlight. I blanked half way through a solo and had to improvise the rest and by the end I'm pretty sure I sung the last song completely off key. But I survived. And, although I was definitely the least polished act, I had way more fun. If I could have hid off stage and just been miked I would have performed better but there's something electric about the interaction between the audience and the performer, and although I wasn't in top form, I think we had some chemistry going. It was fun, and I never want to do that again. :)

Oh, ya. I thought there would be about 40-50 people there. It was closer to 150.

Up next: Dance Lessons... (What have I done?)

Saturday, March 3, 2012


I'm tired.

Physically tired.
Emotionally tired.
Spiritually tired.

Some of it is my own doing. Some of it is out of my control.

I think the parts I can control are about to change. I've spread myself too thin. Too much of a good thing is not necessarily a good thing. I think this year will be a year of big changes for me. Good changes. Less tired.

I have so much to share, but I'm just too tired to share at the moment.

Stay tuned...