We knew each other. Not like now.
We fought for worlds beyond our reach. We knew what lay ahead, and we were hopeful. Never before had there been a company of people quite like us, a ragtag group of all sorts…full of fire.
Fire was what marked us. It was in our songs, in our decisions, in our actions, our arguments. We knew nothing else but intensity. There was no such thing as cynicism back then. It was all or nothing, and nothing never entered our minds.
Our entire lives lay ahead of us. And everyone believed in us. We had crazy ideas, and they said yes. We were young, wild, and carefree. We had a home.
“What if everyone could belong?” we pondered. It was an idea that always fell right smack dab in the center of every conversation and every plan.
And we actually believed we could change the world.
Creativity came easy. Time was no sacrifice. We were bold. We were safe. Moments of wild dancing in the night would turn to spaces of breathtaking intimacy we were not prepared for. We heard angels. We sang with abandon in our secret language. These songs have marked me forever.
I do remember pain. Years later that pain seems diminished when compared to the wonders. Selective memory.
It was the perfect time to be alive.
I am tired of the way things look and the way they sound and I am tired of my own voice echoing in my head as I stumble upon rut after rut in culture.
Days long past are the common goal of so many. They cling to yesterday like it’s a prize they won, a once in a lifetime reward to be admired and attained by all generations to come. They live there on the shelf with their prize from the 1990’s.
Only it’s 2015.
Yesterday is already old.
Don’t stay behind.
The sounds, the thoughts, the space in which to roam; we press on to explore them. Divergent thinking is a wind that will carry us to promising places.
Everything we thought was great about the good old days was great and amazing… for the good old days. Please don’t stay there in those days. We have more good days to come.
When you talk about the past and all its glory, as if it’s some heroic giant, we get stuck in its shadow.
But our dreams are too big for the shadows.
Divergent thinking conflicts with yesterday’s standards.
Our present and our future, they call to us with their possibilities.
We can not sit here and try to revive all of our precious moments. We must loose ourselves from their grip. We simply can not afford to miss out on exploring what we do not yet know.
Oh cheap expectations, why do you plague humanity?
Oh humanity, why are you infatuated with form and substance and things you can see and fully figure out?
There is depth beyond what we see, hear, feel, touch, and there is wave after wave after wave of unveiling.
“I wonder…”. My happy place.
Die to the satisfaction of having the Great King all figured out and wrapped up in a tidy box. Roam free in the mystery.
Oh, how boring are the boxes of those who’ve been pierced by the sword of safety.
Our days on earth are but a shadow. Job 8:9. A shadow, a hint, a profile, a glimmer of what is beyond. These days may be inferior to those days ahead… but if they are any reflection at all of what lies beyond, if there is any connection at all, then there must be some fun to be had here in exploring that which stretches our understanding.
Comfort zones. Glass walls, separating us from the more. We can feel in our gut there is more on the other side, we can see with our spirit man what lies past.
We shatter the glass with our “Yes.”
And then, just like that, it’s over.
A world of intellectual stimulation, discovery, free thinking, stretching, a world that gave me a sense of direction & purpose, was here for seven months and then… just gone.
Who was I before this, and who am I now?
What exactly was this all about, and could I do it all again? Or, rather, should I do it again. Is it mine to embrace and explore. Is it a destiny to fulfill.
I don’t know.
Seems like I have more options now.
And more insecurities? Maybe.
But I have come so far.
Still, the idea in my head, the me that I see, has yet to be fully realized. I’m still scared. And still unsure of myself. Yet not as much as before, that’s for sure. And that’s incredible.
So what’s going on here? What is this, what has this been about… and what am I to do with all my likes and dislikes now?
I still want you more than ever, God.
Real life, mystical, felt touches and encounters with you. My heart craves your words.
“Talk to me.
Cause I know You lots of ways. Sometimes when the wind blows a certain strength and decibel, I could swear it’s Your breath… like You’re actually taking the time to really touch us here… Your breath (the wind) on our skin, Your voice (the wind) in our spirits.
And sometimes You have sent messages to me so unexpected that You had to keep sending them over and over for me to actually get it. Like the dragonfly that wouldn’t leave me alone. The flowers that wouldn’t stop growing. The movies and TV shows with story lines that were more prophetic in nature than any futurist could ever discern about me.
You always talk to me. At times it’s in ways I don’t think anyone else would ever understand. And I like it that way. I like our language. I like how You get me. I like Your nearness, I like how You reach for me, and I like how You keep communication interesting.
I wish everyone knew You like that.”
Their feelings were musical. Their emotions were a beautiful design. They did not know it. So they rarely sang. They rarely felt. They just toiled. But when they sang, we listened, and this is what we heard…
“Up in the morning with the sun,
Driven by the earth to find our place,
The promise of fulfillment
Is preceded by pain.
We prove our strength by how we strive,
Our axes bring us safety
We work hard because we’re told
There’s no way to fulfillment
But by being number one.”
Stand outside, study the trees, and you will learn the same lesson as me…
Structure is beneficial.
I’ve been studying the trees lately. Their structure gives shelter, a home, a place to nest, safety, and provision.
This is what good structure does. It gives a platform to take off and fly, and a place to come home and nest.
It’s not loud and obnoxious. It just gives space and protection. I like that. I admire trees.
“Hacking away at the undergrowth of a massive forest had taken its toll on her. Yes, she was strong. She could carry the axe, and she could wield it fiercely. But strength is not only in the toiling, it is also in the resting.
The strongest warriors are the ones who realize that a temporary ceasing of activity infuses more strength into the soul than the addition of ten new pieces of artillery.
So she showed her strength by how she rested…”
I suppose if we view God as the cruel cop in the sky, we will interpret world events through that lens, and everything becomes a traumatic punishment for not measuring up. We’ll see ourselves as pee-ons, who work for a taskmaster that keeps a record of all our wrongs. We’ll become a workforce, seeing to it that everyone performs their mission because we are primarily doers and we must fill our lives with activity or the Commander will yell at us for being lazy. We’ll call ourselves unworthy sinners and hopeless hypocrites, even though Jesus won for us a new identity of saints and dreamers, kings and miracle-workers. We’ll continually think nothing of ourselves even though God thinks everything of us. The cross becomes a religion, not a display of love that opened up the door to a new bloodline – rest, worth, freedom, fun, adventure, heaven’s very own culture entering into our veins. Doctrine becomes a boring display of rules, a heartless dissertation trying to prove we are right.
The lens with which you view everything – about yourself, about the world, about eternity, about the past – is colored by how you view God. If you think He is like Spock – emotionless, know-it-all, untouchable – you will read the book of Jeremiah and conclude that He is not a people person, is mostly disappointed in everyone’s lives, is waiting for us to just get it right for once, and is ready to smite us for one tiny mistake. If you view Him as strict Bible School teacher you will read the book of Job and conclude that He never wants to be questioned or interacted with, and doesn’t care one bit about how hard our life is. If you view Him as a controlling, angry army general you will read about the Cross and conclude that it happened because God was so sick of us that He had to do something to make it so that He could look at us without wanting to throw up. And you will subsequently portray Him as such.
It is sad but true, how common it is for our circumstances, upbringing, hurts and disappointments to become the deciding factor on how we view God. Our authority figures hurt us, leave us, say mean things to us, control us, and as a consequence we start to view God as a scary, angry, strict, controlling, life-sucking, feeling sorry for us kind of Being, off in the distance somewhere.
We must make room for the Holy Spirit. It will take courage on our part. We must let go of our boxes, though perhaps formed with good intentions, and let His Spirit take us where our natural understanding never will. He will show us the Father. He will show us the TRUE God. Do not depend on any pastor or president or Greenpeace protestor or family member or expert theologian to be your definition of God. We can learn from each other, but we can also harm each other. If you are not letting God Himself reveal to You His very own Self, you are settling for a completely wasted existence. He desires to show you who He really is, in your living room, in your bathroom, in your car, at your dinner table and on your walks. Every moment is a chance to let go of your pain and find out who He really is. Be brave, take a deep breath, leave your theology box outside, and ask Him to come in.