Thursday, September 27, 2007

Grass Mowing and More

Good day to you and yours friends. Thank you for stopping by and reading this blog. If you find any value in it at all, please pass it along to someone you know. As always, this forum exists for conversation. While I really appreciate all of you who read this, I’m really looking for comments, dialogue….I want to know what your experience is. Life is, or should be – a shared journey. Look around, it’s no accident we’re surrounded by billions of other people. We weren’t intended to go through life alone, and when we take time to listen to others, the potential exists for us to learn and grow, to become better people because of time and thoughts shared with others. So, here’s what’s on my mind….

Earlier this week, I mowed my yard for the first time since my medical procedure, that would be some 3 ½ weeks ago now. Fortunately, I was blessed to have a friend send over a yard crew a couple weeks back so I wasn’t facing a complete jungle. But with edging, the hedges needing attention and the front and back yard to mow, I knew it would be quite a task – especially since I hadn’t been “released” by my doctor to resume such activity until just a couple days earlier. I am happy to report things went well, no problems. It took a little longer because I intentionally took my time so I didn’t “over do” it, but all is good – I felt fine every step of the way.

Now here’s where I might lose you, but I enjoy mowing my yard. Yes it’s work, but unlike other things in my life, I enjoy immediate results when I do it. The payoff for the effort is very clear, it’s the same reason I don’t mind ironing my own clothes, but that’s another story I guess. I suppose I’m merely a product of the society I live in – instant coffee, microwave cooking, convenience stores, etc. The western culture really caters to such a mentality. You want it…you got it.

However, I’ve found that the really important things in my life don’t exist in the parameters of this mindset. I’m talking about the relationships in my life, which I consider the most valuable things I have. There’s not one of them that I can put forth an effort into and see immediate results. Yes, my wife and children respond to kind words and acts of love and affection, and don’t forget gifts…they like gifts too! But those things don’t make a relationship, time does. And it’s over the course of time that my friends and family really come to know me. And the relationships in my life that last are the ones that after we know each other, I mean really know each other warts and all, we still care about each other. And the only way to do that is over time.

Which brings me to my most important relationship, the one above all the rest, my relationship with God. It’s been my longest and most consistent, not on my part mind you, but on His. I’ve left Him, I’ve comeback, I’ve ignored Him, I’ve acted like I never knew Him and he still loves me, period. I don’t have to jump through hoops, I don’t have to act a certain way, I don’t have to do anything, and He loves me. I wish I was as consistent.

He’s done incredible, miraculous things in my life – saving me from a drug addiction and allowing doctors to find a huge problem with my heart before it was damaged or killed me, just to name a couple. And yet, often times I find myself viewing our relationship like I do my lawn - I want to put forth the effort and see immediate results. Our relationship doesn’t work that way, and really I’m glad it doesn’t.

I don’t want a Santa Claus who I hand my wish list to, or a slot machine that I take my chances with. I want to know the heart of my Creator. I want to know who He believes I am and what I’m capable of. And I want to be able to see others around me the way He sees them as well. And that only happens over time.

Yes, I’ve known His power when my drug addiction was gone in an instant. Yes, I’ve seen His mercy when doctors said, “You are a very lucky man, most people don’t go home from this.” But it’s only over time that I discover His faithfulness to provide for me, His love that doesn’t stop when I’m an absolute jerk, and His Spirit that gives me strength and guides me when I seek Him.

I’m not here to try to convince you to believe in God, not my job. I just want to share with you my experience. More than anything, I hope you have relationships in your life that are meaningful. Because after all, the satisfaction I get from mowing grass doesn’t last that long. In fact….I think I hear it growing now!

What’s your experience?


Friday, September 21, 2007

Dream On

Greetings blog friends! News of my demise has been greatly exaggerated – to quote someone famous, but I am feeling much better. And as of yesterday all my doctors have given me the “all clear” to resume some activities I’ve had to restrict while recovering such as taking walks, playing tennis, mowing the grass, etc. Some of those activities I’ve looked forward to more than others, but regardless, it’s good to get back to “normal”.

I’ve started reading a book by one of my favorite authors, Erwin McManus. He ranks as one of my favorites because his books always speak to our humanity and it’s connectedness to God, which pretty much sums up my belief system. Anyway, the book is called “Soul Cravings” and it’s written in a journal entry style that allows the reader to take it in small bites (a good thing). I won’t give you the whole synopsis of the book, you’ll just have to trust me that it’s good or click the link and check it out.

A particular entry got me going the other day that I wanted to share with you. It’s about the part of our nature that enables, or perhaps causes us to dream beyond our present reality. It’s that “something” that cause an infant to pull itself up on its feet to walk and dare to take a step when all it’s ever known is crawling. Or what is that makes children believe they can become Olympic athletes, firemen, astronauts, or anything beyond what they experience as reality? Listen to McManus:

“All of us long to be something more than we are. We are driven to achieve, moved to accomplish, fueled by ambition. It burns hotter in some than in others, but it is within all of us. We’re all searching for our unique purpose, our divine destiny, or simply a sense of significance or some measure of success. When we are optimistic about the future, we find the energy to create it”.
“We may disagree violently about what success is; we may even change our own minds about what makes our lives actually significant. But all of us are united in our desperate attempt to make a future for ourselves. We all desperately want to achieve something, to accomplish something; we just don’t know what. Worse than that, we don’t even understand why. Yet that doesn’t stop us from searching.”
“All of us have dreams. More than that, all of us need dreams. Some of us sadly are just sleeping through them.”

Every one of us held a dream that was beyond our reality at some point in our lives, I believe our Creator – God, places them in us. Some of us are fortunate enough to still be pursuing those dreams but far too many of us are asleep. We begin living in “reality” and are lulled into merely existing instead of living. I believe with all my heart (new and improved, by the way) that real living – the kind God intended for us involves moving towards those dreams.

I close with this encouragement…

wake up.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

This Moment

Greetings. It’s been quite some time since my last post in which I stated that I was taking a break to focus on some neglected areas of my life. Since then, quite a bit has happened; life is really funny that way. But today I share the most recent turn in my personal journey. Some of you may have heard, others will read this with surprise, and for that I’m sorry but this is the easiest form of mass communication I have. But since part of my mission here is to have us share our journey of life with one another, please indulge me.

Many of you know that I lead worship at a large church in West Texas, which I did last Sunday as usual. However, it turned out to be anything but a usual Sunday. I woke up experiencing some chest pain that morning, but nothing so extreme to keep me from doing what I love to do most; so off to church I went. The pain never really left during the morning, and at the urging of some dear friends, and a loving wife, I went to the medical clinic after services. Long story short – I was released from the hospital Wednesday after having 4 stints placed in 3 arteries of my heart. The main artery was 100% blocked, the secondary 80%, and a “diagonal” artery was blocked as well. The doctors say that most people don’t go home from something like that, in fact, they refer to the blockage of the main artery as “The Widow Maker”.

Have I told you about the God I serve before? He loves showing off His power, which I believe He did in me this past week. I’m so thankful for a loving family, caring friends and doctors who are skilled, but according to what I was told, something (Someone) else was at work in this. I’m feeling better each day and recovery is in sight.

If I’ve gleaned anything from this experience it is this: this moment is all I have. I am not guaranteed tomorrow or even later today. I’m sure you’ve heard that before, probably to the point of nauseousness, but take it from someone who has lived it quite vividly this week. I chose this moment to share with you my journey in hopes that it might cause you to engage your life fully, no longer waiting for the “what ifs” and “if onlys” to happen or letting the fear of failure to stop you. Failing is merely a reflection of an effort put forth, and if I die today…I’ll die trying. What about you?

Let me close by saying that I’m glad to be back, figuratively and literally! Enjoy the moment.