Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I can't even Imagine

Those are houses, under 6, 8, 10 feet of water. Inside them are millions of dollars worth of possessions from electronics to jewlery, clothing to personal memorabilia. All damaged, most lost. And then there are the hundreds if not thousands of people dead, some under the water, many more to come from disease. In the midst of this, there is grief, fear and looting for those that have 'survived' this horrific event.

I sit here, in relative comfort with electricity, running water, a refrigirator filled with food and beverages, a myriad of things to do with myself and I cannot even comprehend the magnitude of losing everything, of being displaced for days, weeks and maybe even months. It's easy to say it would never happen to me, 'cause I just wouldn't choose to live in a place like that (fill in the blank - flood plane, tornado area, hurricane area, etc.) But that means nothing, because millions of people right now in the Gulf Coast are dealing with this themselves. For them, it is real. It is not television news, not internet reports. This is their life, whatever they can make of it. This is their 9/11, only this time, no terrorists are to blame. There is no enemy to go after, no war to wage, only devestation to deal with and to somehow overcome. And yes, it will happen, I'm sure.

I think right now, it would do us (and I mean ALL of us, being us here and "us" in New Orleans and everywhere else affected) to pray. And also to prayerfully consider how we could help. I bet if every church in America donated this Sunday's offering to relief efforts, every church in America would still open it's doors the following Sunday, still be there at Christmas, Easter and still have enough money to run all its fun events. But since I doubt that every church will hear God's call to do that, I entreat you to prayerfully consider what you will do with your money this week. I know Red Cross is accepting donations, and you can call 1-800-HELP-NOW and donate by phone.

Also, something else that I can't even imagine has happened in Baghdad. Where 1000 or more people have died because of a bomb SCARE!! Yes, the above picture is just one example of what people ended up doing when a stampede ensued during a rally - they jumped into the Tigris River. Somed drowned, some died on impact, others were trampled to death by the weight of the crowd. But can you imagine... dying because of a bomb SCARE! Not a real bomb. Now, not to disrespect anyone or anything, but here we have a death toll in the neighbourhood of 1/7 of what happened on 9/11 in NYC... but here it's just a scare, it's just a fear, it's not even a real danger, just panic. That's amazing. That's NOT the world that we live in here in the West, it's just not.

Think of it this way, it's like if when the Pistons & Pacers first game after the brawl in Auburn Hills, when there was the bomb scare... it's like instead of the game only being delayed 90 minutes, it's like all 19 thousand people rushed the doors, and 1000 died on the way out, hundreds injured. It's like that. But that kinda stuff just doesn't happen here. I mean, until just recently (post-Oklahoma City, post-9/11) bomb threats were nothing. Growing up I'd hear about bomb threats in rival high schools, and usually they were just called in by disgruntled students who wanted to get out of class for the afternoon. No one was scared, but you evacuated the building in an orderly manner, whatever. You see, OUR world (and again, I mean us people in the West) just don't live in a world marked by that kind of fear. We just don't. We see stuff happen on the news, we see stuff happening to others, and we get teary eyed, we get sad, but we move on, 'cause our daily lives don't involve the kind of stuff like that on a regular basis. We're so far removed, so BLESSED that we can't even imagine what it's like to live life in constant fear of that kind of stuff.

Well, I just know one thing, it's time we started truly giving back to those that do not share in our blessings. It is time we stopped believing it our God-given right to be blessed, and started believing it our God-given TASK to bless others, both near AND far...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

In the Wilderness

So things have been pretty dry for awhile, spiritually speaking. It's funny 'cause it seems to mirror my health in other areas of my life, if not my health then at least my general feelings. I seem to be running really, running from nearly everything. I'm running from my Hebrew class (not learning what I should) and running FROM spending time with God instead of running TO spend time with God. The most obvious example of this is in my prayer life, which is nearly non-existant. I mean, I thank God before I eat, and Bridgette & I pray each night before we go to sleep (especially for our little unborn child)... but most of the rest of my prayers aren't happening. And I feel like I either can't come to God or that when I do, it's not real anyway, no, not that God's not real, but the experience, what I'm bringing to it isn't real.

So, I go check out my friend over at thoughts as I go and he writes this nice little ditty in Matthew 4, Jesus' wilderness experience, and he's relating it to Israel's 40 years vs. Jesus' 40 days and he says: "Moses' disobedience and the grumbling of the hungry, thirsty, and tired Israelites kept them in the desert 40 years. Jesus was done in 40 days."

Now, this isn't really the point of his comments, but it strikes me in this way: Is it that we spend time in the wilderness to accomplish a certain task, or to learn a certain thing, and then when we have done so, we will exit the wildnerness? I mean, maybe that's just elementary to people, maybe it's something that I already knew, but I'm not sure.

You see, it makes so much sense with what I'm going through right now. Here I am, 2 years away from royally screwing up faithful believers lives by being installed as a pastor in their church (I can't wait until Pastoral Search Committees find this blog...) and I'm experiencing a huge time in the wilderness... and if there's one thing I can almost guarantee that I need to learn during this time, it's this: 1) I need to be disciplined. and 2) I need to draw near to God. (Ok, so I can't keep to just 1 thing)

Anyway, I'm TRYING to be more disciplined, I'm TRYING to finish what I start and be there from beginning to end, not fizzle out, etc. But, I'm not trying hard enough, and I'm trying on my own strength, not on God's. It seems that the more I try, the less I rely on God. Instead of spending more time with God, I'm spending more time worrying about the things that I should be doing but am not, and lest time resting in God.

I guess when I think about the wilderness experiences of the Israelites and of Jesus... they DIDN'T get out by doing something of their own, they got out by being obedient, by fighting through something on God's strength. Israel learned to trust in God, Jesus overcame temptation through his knowledge of God's Word. So, it's not that I need to DO anything to get out, but I need to BECOME more reliant on God. I need to press in to God, amp up my time with Him, and trust Him. I think the key now is not to just leave this as some blog entry, but to go...

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Forget this...

With 1 week left of summer hebrew, and only 1/3 of the vocab learned (to my calculation) I've decided to drop the whole thing and become A TRUCKER!

That's right folks, from here on out, I'll be posting from a big rig, traveling across the country, bringing all kinds of goods to the nice people in this big land. Keep a look out for me while you're traveling down the interstate/thruway/parkway/highway/tollway or whatever you call it in your neck of the woods, maybe you'll see me.


It turns out that Bridgette won't let me become a trucker after all. She says I need to finish what I started, that I need to go to school, that I need to get a real job so that she doesn't have to work 2 jobs when the baby comes... darn it. I guess that means I should go to sleep, so I can spend some time tomorrow learning my Hebrew vocab, so that when I take this Final on Friday, even if I don't pass it, I might be able to garner enough points to pass the course... I only need 70% overall, and only like 45% on the final... shoot, if I keep talking like this, I may not pick up my vocab cards all week! I'm so ready to hit the road...

Thursday, August 25, 2005

So I walk into the chapel...

This morning, I'm really feeling like I need to take some time out, and spend it with God. I've put in so much time blogging and e-mailing lately with people I disagree with theologically, people that I do believe are trying to follow God, but people that I also believe to be somewhat ignorant of Christian history, and very ethnocentric. And it's been killing me. Not just killing me what they're saying, not being open-minded and labeling other people who I ALSO believe are trying to follow Jesus, they just happen to be doing some different things... and by different, I don't mean THAT different.

But anyway, I go into our chapel, I take some time to pray, and I reach for a Bible, to read some... but they're only hymnals, and by "they're" I mean the 3 different books in the pews. Disappointed, I put them back, but reach down a few minutes later, why not, right? I mean, not the Bible, but still some good stuff, God can still speak through...

And I come to this one hymn, and I read it through, and I go, YES! This is what I needed to be reminded of, and this is what I need to write on, to share, if nothing else, here goes:

Stewart Cross, George Henry Day

verse 3

Holy Spirit, rushing, burning
Wind and Flame of Pentecost
Fire our hearts afresh with yearning
To regain what we have lost
May your love unite our action
Never more to speak alone
God, in us abolish faction
God, through us Your love make known

This is my prayer, for me, for us. May we be united through the Holy Spirit...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Over the last 24 hours I've been through a lot of emotions, and have centered on one: brokeness.

No, I'm ok. My marriage is great. Our expectant child, by all our knowledge, is safe in Bridgette's belly. But it seems to me that in many ways, the state of our faith, the state of Christianity... well it's hurting me.

Now, I'm not a pessimistic type, and in general, I'm not scared about the future. I believe God is Lord of the future, it'll be ok. But I've been perusing through blogland, reading a number of Christian blogs and posts which seem to me to be so hurtful and devisive, that I cannot stomach them. A couple of times, I have replied or e-mailed the persons, hoping to open their eyes to what they are denying. In some cases, they are denying elements of historical Christianity without even realizing it. Some people claim certain things "pagan" or "new age" but are ignorant that these same things were practiced for hundreds of years by many faithful Christians.

Some people seem to forget that Jesus came 2000 years ago, that there is 2000 years of God working through the Church, before we ever got to today. Faithful Christians throughout those ages sought to know God and Jesus, often witout the aid of the Bible in their native tongue, and yet today so many of us protestants claim that the Bible is our very own personal answer key, easy to understand, simple enough that a child could come to the right truth simply by reading it, like a cookbook. We almost worship the Bible and forget about the Holy Spirit!

But that's not exactly what I'm broken about. I'm frustrated by the fact that we are known more for our exclusion, our backbiting, fingerpointing, hurtful and devisiveness than for our love and our unity. Is that what we were called to? Is that what Jesus died for? I think not! I think we sell ourselves short everytime we try and paint other Christians as evil.

I wrote in an e-mail recently, reminding someone of Jesus words to His disciples concerning stuff like this. They asked him, essentially if they should weed out the false prophets who were preaching in His name. Jesus said no, if they are not preaching AGAINST me, then they're FOR me. Even more, he claimed that by uprooting these weeds, you would end up hurting the wheat that God would eventually harvest. Instead, they were told to wait for the day of judgment, where God (who alone can judge rightly) would discern the true from the false.

See, it's not up to us. We are not called to judge our fellow fallen friends. We are called to live in love and community, seeking God as best we can. But so often, we instead try to point out everyone else's sin, explaining why they're so wrong, and therefore, why we're so right. But that's not our job!!!

Also as an aside, I NEVER want this blog or any other I ever write to be a hotbed of angry dissenting and complaining about people or whatever. It's so easy to do that on the internet. Those blogs are EVERYWHERE. And Christian blogs like that are EXTREMELY prevalent. But we can do better than that.

I am broken, I want us to love one another, I want us to leave the judging up to God. Please, help me to walk humbly before my God, to do justice and love mercy... and above all else, to love... because love covers a multitude of sins, and without love, I am nothing but a crashing cymbal...

Monday, August 22, 2005

So nice to get away!

So, Bridgette and I went away for the weekend. We celebrated our 5th Anniversary (the last before our first baby arrives) at a Bed & Breakfast in Westbrook, CT called Angel's Watch Bed & Breakfast which was awesome. The food was delicious and in very large portions. We had a two person soaking tub in our room, which allowed us to enjoy a nice, relaxing time each evening. It was so nice to get away from everything at home, especially Hebrew. Even though I took a bunch of vocab cards, I actually FORGOT about them, never even opening them until we arrived at home.

Not only did we have great accomodations, we enjoyed a couple lovely dinners at Cafe Routier on the actual night of our anniversary and Alforno Trattoria where we ate Saturday night. We also enjoyed tremendously our visit to Chamard Wineries where we were able to do a little wine tasting (well, I was able) and tour this quaint little winery. The wines available for tasting were very enjoyable... and beyond that, I would just sound silly if I tried to explain them. I am no wine expert. But we bought a couple bottles... so who knows!

Two things though, were very thought provoking on our little trip. The first, is a comment that Bridgette said while we were leaving on Sunday, and the second is something I'll talk about later, having to do with our little jaunt to Yale. Anyway, as we were driving away, Bridgette questioned whether we had been faithful witnesses or not. Now, normally (I say normally, but truth be told, I'm not sure I qualify as someone who knows what "normal" is in regard to B&B's) it seems that you may not have a lot of interaction with other guests, when you're staying somewhere. But here & Angel's Loft, they served breakfast PROMPTLY at 9:30am (which meant we never slept in) and encouraged us to introduce one another and really talk around the table. We did so, but never got too far. I mean, we didn't talk too much about ourselves beyond where we'd been, and our expectant child. We talked briefly about me attending seminary and answered the question "what are you planning to do after" with -"fulltime pastoral ministry." But, nothing really of the stuff that says - "what we live for is Jesus, and you need to know about Him."

Now some people might say, good, one less pushy preacher is awesome, but I'm not sure. It's something that I always struggle with. What is the line between being pushy and being timid? I want to be authentic, but I don't want to hide anything. I don't want to be a salesman, but I don't want to hold back on something that I believe is more precious than anything in this world.

And I must say, this website is that way too. I didn't put this out as some kind of proselytizing place, nor do I expect that there are enough people reading it for it to be effective. But I want to be honest. It's a fine line. I want to be forthright, but not obnoxious (of course, I probably couldn't help from being obnoxious no matter what I do). Suffice to say, I struggle daily with the question of how to spend my time and talents in a way that reflect eternal significance. I don't believe it to be something I'll probably ever feel like I've mastered, but I do hope that I'll be able to grow and listen for that quiet prompting... problem is, I think right now I do a very good job of shushing it up...

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Uh... should I be worried?

So, I'd been over at Rhett Smith's blog and he talked about doing these pseudo psychology tests that match your personality to a classic movie or a famous leader. So, I finally thought, why not? He and some others had got some surprising results (but not all that surprising... or so I thought). So, I do the movie one first, and here's the way it pegs me:

If you know me... well, this may not be THAT far off, but I think there are definitely aspects that are way out. But that wasn't the worst part. I do the famous leader's section, and it comes up with this:

Are you kidding me? I mean, he's a tyrrant who's killed tons of people for money and power. He's a genocidal maniac! How do you get that from questions like: "I like acclaim" ??? I'm a little disappointed that they would include this guy without any questions regarding anything like that. I can guarantee that I don't want to be "the toughest guy on the block." El pidro? Maybe. Saddam? No way.

Well, maybe I should rethink my calling. a megalomaniac-mobster/rogue-tyrant is not somebody who should be preaching in a pulpit and offering counseling to hurting people...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The future...

So why exactly are we so enamored with the future? I mean, there are countless movies and books (yes, books still exist) that tell us what it will be like in 2040 or whatever. But at the same time, everyone seems to be concerned with their "next big thing" or the next election, or "next year's team". There is something in humans that search out the future.

I have been particularly looking into the future these past few days, thinking about what life will be like with a child (see pictures of pregnant Bridgette on the Coleman Photos link or this one). But on top of that, I've also been contemplating life beyond school (yes, I've only been here 1 year and I'm already thinking of getting out), life with a summer off (hopefully taking care of our baby fulltime, whoa!) and even once fall semester starts and instead of learning Hebrew vocabulary, I'll be holed up in the library, or my couch, reading stuff that I actually WANT to read. (My complete school reading list will eventually find its way onto this blog, rest assured - so that the 3 people that frequent this site can read along with me!).

But anyway, I find myself in general, being caught up, not in the moment, but in the moment to come. This is often a mechanism I use to procrastinate, and push off those things I should be doing. But at the same time, I feel that looking ahead helps you when you get there. What I do need to be careful of (in addition to procrastinating) is not being aware of the moment I'm in, not giving full attention to those who are in the moment with me, and to the God that is not ONLY in the future, but right here in this moment as well. My friend at Thoughts as I go has a great blog about this very topic here, so check it out.

Now, I must get back to the present, which still consists of Hebrew vocabulary. Of course, within a few short weeks, that will mostly be in the past, and the future, will be a present moment that I'll definitely need to take care of...

Monday, August 15, 2005

What are we building?... Part II

Yeah, it's been a few days... and it's mostly taken awhile to figure out what it is I really want to say. But to finish off that last idea, I think I've figured it out.

Again, I'd love to jump right into a rant concerned with what specifically the church thinks it is building. I'd love to critique the money being spent on buildings or "programs" geared to attract people to these magnificent buildings and these super-cool (be that true or not) worship services, etc. I mean, it wouldn't be that hard. But who am I to judge? I mean, I really need to remove the log from my own eye before I try and tell anyone about the toothpick in theirs, am I right?

So in that vein, I need to again ask myself, "what am I building". And the answer, well it's probably not what I'd like it to be. I can probably answer it best by quoting some lyrics from a song:

So I wish that I could say that at the close of every day
I was happy with the way that I'm behaving...
David he chased God's own heart
and all I ever seem to chase is me

The Chasing Song by Andrew Peterson

And really, that's the truth. I can chalk it up to lots of things, but when it gets down to it, I'm just chasing myself, day in and day out. Chasing after the things that I want, and not the best things. Now, it reminds me of the parable of the talents (I've just spent like 20 minutes trying to search out where I last read about it, on a blog or whatever, can't find the reference - sorry, but you know who you are). This businessman comes back from a long trip (after entrusting money to 3 servants) to find that 2 servants that he gave money (talents) gave him back more (brought a return on his investement) and the third, just gave him back the money, 'cause he buried it in the ground. So the businessman calls him wicked & lazy and has him taken out and beaten. What I remember of that blog or devotional or whatever I read awhile back was the surprise that he was called "wicked" for just giving the businessman back his money. And, it is somewhat of a surprise, right? I mean, wicked for returning what was leant to you? Wicked might have been using the money to go and front a terrorist cell. Wicked might have been using it to purchase drugs or a prostitute or a gun (then killing someone with it - guns aren't bad...but semi-automatic assault rifles are!)

So anyway, the point is, this guy is wicked for not doing THE RIGHT thing with his master's money. It's not about doing THE WRONG thing. In fact, he didn't even do anything wrong with the money, he just didn't do anything RIGHT. And that's where I'm at right now. I need to choose to do what is right. It's not like I'm out doing bad things. But I'm not doing the RIGHT things. I'm not doing the BEST things.

I'm also thinking of that picture above. I mean, there were a heck of a lot of possibilities to commemorate Washington... but a giant obelisk? Are you kidding me? I personally, and this is just a personal thought, believe that it's a rediculous way to commemorate the first president of the US. I mean, the reflecting pool is better than the obelisk. But I'm Canadian, what would I know about it, eh?

Suffice to say, the question I need to continue to ask myself, and I hope that more people ask themselves, is: "Am I using the time I have to acoomplish what is right? or am I simply doing things that aren't bad?" Am I doing the best?

Well, right now my best would probably be studying Hebrew vocabulary...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

What are we building? Part I

I took this photograph in NYC last year. And I've been reading and thinking some lately...

But what I should really ask, is what am I building? This day in particular has felt like the summer job from hell. No, I don't have a job right now other than school. Yes, compared to 99.999876% of the world, I have it great. My life is comparably a cake walk, and yet I'm struggling so much right now. I've never wanted to be anywhere else, doing anything else, so badly in my life. Today, I was about as productive as a three-toed sloth on pot. I struggled just to put in a couple hours of work (really like 70 minutes, interupted numerous times).

So the question, "what am I building?" can only be answered: NOTHING. And I'm not sure exactly why. Is it that I'm just not good at languages, or is it that I'm totally undisciplined? Or is it somewhere in between. I look around and see a bunch of other people who don't look the way I feel. (Of course, I try not to look the way I feel either). But it seems that others are not exactly in this same place. And maybe that's because languages come easier to them. Maybe it's because they're actually disciplined enough to do the work they need to do to stay on top.

All I know is this: I don't want to come away from Princeton with a piece of paper and nothing else. I also don't want to be dwarfed by other who actually did the hard work (a la the church in the pic). I want to come away in 2 years with a firm foundation, ready to tackle new heights, to grow deeper roots, to be effective. I know I can't do that without being disciplined. And yet, I know I can't do it if I'm not working in my areas of strength. Hebrew... for that matter, foreign languages are just not strengths of mine (not since grade 8 French).

I just hope God is building something despite what I see and feel. I hope and pray God is building something in me, refining something in me, and preparing me to do good for Him. Now, if I could just get my butt into gear and get on board...

Monday, August 08, 2005

Why can't I learn the first time?

So, I'm reading Ordering Your Private World and I get to a section entitled "Recapturing Lost Time" and the final heading in the chapter reads as follows: 3. I Manage Time and Command It Best When I Budget It Far in Advance and I'm thinking - this is great, this is exactly what I need to do. Problem is, this isn't the first time I've read this, this concept is not new to me.

When I was in college, I read Steven Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and it was then that I saw that I was not the type of person that planned ahead (most of the time) but instead, did most of the stuff at the last minute, when it had become most urgent and I had the leas amount of time to do it. Now, this isn't true of everything. I love to plan ahead when it comes to spending money, vacations and events. But most everything else, most REAL work for me gets done just in the nick of time. Which isn't always good, and most often not effective.

But here I am, nearly 10 years later, hearing this same stuff and having not implemented it. Why? I love to learn from other people's mistakes, why can't I learn from my own? It's not like I learn "the hard way" it's more like, I don't learn at all! Well, here's hoping I can finally learn this lesson. I've set a goal to plan out my week's work on Sunday afternoon. Try to do it pretty thoroughly, so that I have set goals throughout the day of things that I need to accomplish. Hopefully I can keep the tyranny of the urgent to a minimum. Hopefully...

Goodbye Mr. Jennings...

I just want to take a minute to say goodbye to someone I never really knew, but to someone who I looked up to and admired. Not only was he one of the best news anchors in US history, but he was Canadian. I think it's pretty neat to see someone from Canada, the little country up north, come down to the States and make it. It was always a source of pride when I told people that yes indeed, Peter Jennings was Canadian.

Whatever you think politically, whether you liked his particular "slant" or not, I honestly believe he was great. And I will miss him...

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Talking is good...

We just had a wonderful time with friends this evening. And interestingly enough, we didn't watch a movie. In fact, we almost spent the ENTIRE time with them sitting around and talking. And afterwards, Bridgette commented, "I really like talking with them. They're easy and fun to talk with."

Now this comment seems quite innocuous, but I also think it cuts deep into a social... "problem" (that may be too strong a word, but whatever). We don't talk enough. We spend a lot of time watching things, being specators, but I think we spend less and less time anymore actually talking.

So, I'm going to help facilitate this, I'm going to stop writing. Please, feel free to talk amongst yourselves...

Friday, August 05, 2005

Captain my Captain...

I just want to take a moment to commemorate the best captain of all time. No, I'm not talking about sailing. And I'm not quoting from any poem or movie. I'm talking about Steve Yzerman, who is the epitome of a leader. Here's a guy (a hockey player, for those that might not recognize him) who goes from being a pure scorer - and when I say pure scorer, you need to think of Gretzky & Lemieux - to being a defensive stalwart. Here's a guy that did the ultimate in sacrificing his own goals and ambitions (personal statistics) for the betterment of the team (and winning 3 Stanley Cups). This is a guy who is quiet, yet willing to speak up when necessary. A guy who was willing to fight through the pain (back problems, eye problems and more knee surgeries than you can imagine) to stick around long enough to be the longest serving captain (I believe) in any sport, all time.

Now, you can say that this is just sports. You can say that this is just hockey (but if you do, I might be tempted to hunt you down...). But I honestly believe that Steve Yzerman - who will be in the Hall of Fame the minute the door shuts on his final shift with the Red Wings - embodies all of the characteristics that make a captain a captain, that make a leader a true leader.

Of course, I don't know him personally. I could come to find out that he's an alcoholic, abusive, womanizer, who's been embezziling little old ladies out of their pension money. I could, but I doubt it. In this world of sports, things like that have a way of finding the light of day sooner than you'd think. And after 22 years in the NHL (yes, it still exists) to have the kind of reputation that Yzerman has, means that stuff like that just isn't true.

I'm not saying he's an angel. We've all got our faults. But if I'm to have a "hero"... if I'm to have someone to look up to in this world (besides someone who's been influential in my faith) I can tell you flat out, Steve Yzerman is the man! Even now, I'm almost getting misty eyed thinking that this will probably be his last season. Unlike Gretzky though, unlike other superstars in sports or music or whatever, there will be no "final tour". He'll quietly go about his business, and when the season is over (win, lose or whatever) he'll just let everyone know that was his las hurrah. He's not out for the accolades. He's a true leader.

So to everyone in this world, lamenting the fall of heroes from the American consciousness, lamenting the cheating, lying & genreral thugishness that so many athletes display nowadays. Let me just say that there are a few left. There are a few good guys left, who embody the right things, that you can truly learn from. And for at least one more year, you'll have the opportunity to see the best, be the best...

It's all over but the crying...

So, 60 minutes ago I walked out of my Hebrew midterm with two very distinct feelings. 1 - "It's over. I'm so glad it's over." 2 - "What the?!?"

I went into this midterm with the knowledge that there were a number of words that I just flat out would not be able to translate, if they showed up. I was aware of this, and although I wasn't exactly ok with it, I was at peace. Unfortunately, it seemed like ALL of these words showed up on the exam. I didn't know what had hit me.

What's even more amazing is that I was THE FIRST person to pick up my exam and finish. Now, you could think that I just knew what I didn't know and finished early. You would be wrong. Well, not entirely. I did know what I didn't know... but I still took all the time given (90 min) and a couple after. But everyone else in my precept (save for one - who left when I did) was still working! Can you imagine? I think from the looks around the classroom and talking with people afterward, that was one tough test.

Now, I'm not complaining. I understand that I wasn't necessarily as prepared as I could have been, nor should have been. I understand that I don't have as firm a grasp of the material as others do, or as I should have. But, whoa!

Ok, I'm done. I will expend no more breath, nor type expounding on this subject. What's done is done, and I'm definitely done...

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

I am lazy...

Many of us appear to be all right in general, but there are still some areas in which we are careless and lazy
These are the opening words of Oswald Chambers in the July 31 devotional of My Utmost for His Highest. I think this is so true of me. If you looked at me, you might think I'm alright. You also might think that I'm a big arrogant SOB that needs to be drop-kicked in the head by the biggest wrestler you could find. But, you just might think I'm alright. Either way, the truth is that I'm not. I'm not ok, I'm not alright. I've got my faults... I've got many. And right up there, smack dab at the top is this total, utter, fascination with being selfish. If I were an artist, I'd probably be painting self portraits. I mean, I have hours upon hours of time during the day and I choose to spend it on me.
Now, there are things in my life that I want to change, that I want to become better at. But instead of spending time on those things, I spend time on myself. I do things that I want to do.
There happens to be this book I absolutely hate. I read it in English class in High School. It's called A Picture of Dorian Grey. I think it's the worst book I've ever read. But I probably think so because I'm more like that painter than character than I ever want to admit. I'm selfish, and I'm lazy about my selfishness.
So if I'm a betting man, and if Chambers is right, I can probably count on being bombarded with this fact until I've either become so utterly beaten down by this aspect of my life that I can do nothing but submit... or I decide to change, no, I let God change me (and at the same time am active in this - kinda like a Hiphail verb in Hebrew?). Anyway, it's grist for the mill. And hopefully the bread that gets churned out, I'll eventually be able to share with others...

Monday, August 01, 2005

I love my wife

[the fact that it has taken me a few days to rewrite this lost post shows both my rededication to studying my Hebrew and to my hatred of rewriting anything...]

So, for a second time, here goes:

I love being married... I love my wife. Now, it is possible that this post is being affected by the fact that [when I originally wrote this] my wife has been away for the past five days. It is more than likely that missing my lovely wife has intensified my feelings towards her... what do they say? "absence makes the heart grow fonder". True, but that doesn't explain away the fact that I truly and honestly love being married, and I love my wife - wholeheartedly.

Now, I should also say that when I say I love my wife, that doesn't mean that I don't ever act selfishly and treat her poorly. It surely doesn't mean that we don't ever raise our voices and disagree quite spiritedly (just ask anyone of our neighbours or friends over the past 5 years!) When I say that I love my wife it doesn't even mean that there haven't been times during our marriage that I haven't questioned things... but it does mean, that every one of these times I have come back to the very real fact that I am STILL in love with my wife. It's not JUST that without her I'd be far less of a man, much less successful (of course, if you look at my life now, you might wonder how much less successful I could be... ) and WAY less mature. I definitely love her for making me better. But it's more than that. I LOVE MY WIFE!!! I love HER.

Not only do I love her, I also love being married. Now, I personally believe that marriage is a bit maligned in our culture. No, I'm not talking about the issue of same-gender marriages or the divorce rate or anything like that. What I'm talking about is the general feeling amongst men that when they finally tie on the old ball and chain, or settle down, life is significantly more dull, less exciting and less their own. Now this last bit may be true (life being less their own), but the talk of men, the jokes about their old maid, and what not, gives the impression that this is true... when I wholeheartedly believe it is not. And when you get down to it and ask men, quietly maybe, to say whether they are better of or worse off, I believe that a great majority would say they're better off.

It's funny, because as I type this [originally mind you... how funny if it would happen again, right now!] I'm looking out my window to see my neighbours (Chris & Miriam), kissing over the railing. Nothing obscene, just one cute kiss from two people who are in love.

Before I dive into the grand finally, I must interject with one further comment. The DUMBEST, and I mean absolutely stupidest, most assinine comment I HAVE EVER HEARD about marriage is one made by Donald Trump some years ago, when his marriage to Marla Maples was ending (or had just ended, I can't remember). And I don't say this to malign the Donald, I don't want this blog to be about bagging on anyone or anything. But he said, when asked something about the turning point, or when he knew it was over or something that, 'it had become too much work. Marriage shouldn't be hard/work (something like that)'. Now, is this the same guy that worked his butt off to create one of the largest real estate empires in the world? Is this the same guy who when he was worth less than nothing, when his empire had tanked, rolled up his sleaves and worked harder to get back on top? How could he say something like this? Marriage is worth something ONLY when there's work involved! You NEVER appreciate the things that come easy. You never take care of a rental car the same way you do the one you paid your hard earned money for. Life doesn't work that way. And you'll never appreciate a marriage more than if you have to overcome some obstacles together, compromise together, tough it out for a little while and realize the real muster of the one you committed your life to.

So, I want to put out a call to all those married men out there. I think it's time that we started to let the world know how much we love being married, how absolutely blessed we are by our spouses. I think it's high time we stopped pretending that we'd rather be out playing poker and boozing it up every night, instead of on the couch, watching a sappy movie with our wives curled up in our arms. I think its high time we stood up for a pretty sweet deal that we got - marriage! And whether anyone else joins in or not, I want the world to know that not only do I love being married, I love my wife! And I really love the fact that she's home now...