Posts Tagged '07/05to07/06'

i just knocked the scab off my elbow

…and it reminds me that i’m alive. in THIS MOMENT and THIS MOMENT alone, i’m alive. i bleed. i feel pain. i erupt with joy.

i’m not typically “emotional”. but this week i’ve cried six out of seven days. it’s that battlefield in my mind between safety and freefall. (i suppose not much is really a freefall. we’re american after all.)

one part is looking forward to the freedom, adventure, excitement. i’m LONGING for freshness…new countries, new people, new experiences. i’ll live from a bag and have no posessions weighing me down. turtles really have it figured out, guys. 🙂 i’m looking forward to the disasters almost as much as the good days. after all, they typically make the best stories. i need to be re-ignited. when i’m safe i feel aimless, but when i’m up in the air i have direction. all else falls away and i have one goal: love. this conventional life drains me and saps my joy. i think i was created as a nomad…destined to have no earthly home because it will distract me from the hope of my future home. i’m filled with purpose when i have no schedule…when i can be led by whatever comes my way. that’s when i find god’s face in everything. i lose myself in the depth of the love with which he created this earth. i am small and he is infinite.

but then the other side whispers: you’ll be alone. you’ll miss a chance…a chance at solidity, at companionship, at sucess, at safety. you’ll “fail”.

i’m packing. i’m giving away and throwing away half of my belongings and storing the other half at a friend’s house for four months. i’m leaving this place and i’ll come back changed. but right now – in this moment – my elbow is bleeding and i’m scared.


the gypsy

The Gypsy
(by S.M. Maggioni)

Who my father was, what country I’m from,
In vain people ask me.
The first never existed and my home…
The earth that gives me fruits and flowers.

Wherever my destiny leads me,
I find a smile, I find a love.
Why should I worry about thoughts of the past
When the hours of the present are glad to my heart?

It’s true that tomorrow could cast a turbid veil over
The serene breezes waiting for me.
But if today, my skies are all blue,
Why should I worry about things that may not happen?

I am a plant, never frozen or bare,
That defies even the harshest winter.
If a leaf falls here, another will grow in it’s place.
In every season I am full of flowers!

not my words

These are not my words – they are the words of Donald Miller…the forward from his book, Through Painted Deserts. But they’re incredible. I’ve mulled over it long enough and decided that if anyone had the time, they’re at least here waiting for you to read.
Be brave….

Donald Miller : Through Painted Deserts
It is fall here now, my favorite of the four seasons. We get all four here, and they come at us under the doors, in through the windows. One morning you wake and need blankets; you take the fan out of the window to see clouds that mist out by midmorning, only to reveal a naked blue coolness like God yawning.
September is perfect Oregon. The blocks line up like postcards and the rosebuds bloom into themselves like children at bedtime. And in Portland we are proud of our roses; year after year, we are proud of them. When they are done, we sit in the parks and read stories into the air, whispering the gardens to sleep.
I come here, to Palio Coffee, for the big windows. If I sit outside, the sun gets on my computer screen, so I come inside, to this same table, and sit alongside the giant panes of glass. And it is like a movie out there, like a big screen of green, and today there is a man in shepherd’s clothes, a hippie, all dirty, with a downed bike in the circle lawn across the street. He is eating bread from the bakery and drinking from a metal camp cup. He is tapping the cup against his leg, sitting like a monk, all striped in fabric. I wonder if he is happy, his blanket strapped to the rack on his bike, his no home, his no job. I wonder if he has left it all because he hated it or because it hated him. It is true some do not do well with conventional life. They think outside things and can’t make sense of following a line. They see no walls, only doors from open space to open space, and from open space, supposedly, to the mind of God, or at least this is what we hope for them, and what they hope for themselves.
I remember the sweet sensation of leaving, years ago, some ten now, leaving Texas for who knows where. I could not have known about this beautiful place, the Oregon I have come to love, this city of great people, this smell of coffee and these evergreens reaching up into a mist of sky, these sunsets spilling over the west hills to slide a red glow down the streets of my town.
And I could not have known then that if I had been born here, I would have left here, gone someplace south to deal with horses, to get on some open land where you can see tomorrow’s storm brewing over a high desert. I could not have known then that everybody, every person, has to leave, has to change like seasons’ they have to or they die. The seasons remind me that I must keep changing, and I want to change because it is God’s way. All my life I have been changing. I changed from a baby to a child, from soft toys to play daggers. I changed into a teenager to drive a car, into a worker to spend money. I will change into a husband to love a woman, into a father to love a child, change houses so we are near water, and again so we are near mountains, and again so we are near friends, keep changing with my wife, getting our love so it dies and gets born again and again, like a garden, fed by four seasons, a cycle of change. Everybody has to change, or they expire. Everybody has to leave their home and come back so they can love it again for all new reasons.
I want to keep my soul fertile for the changes, so things keep getting born inme, so things keep dying when it is time for things to die. I want to keep walking away from the person I was a moment ago, beacuase a mind was made to figure things out, not to read the same page recurrently.
Only the good stories have the characters different at the end than they were at the beginning. And the closest thing I can liken life to is a book, the way it stretches out on paper, page after page, as if to trick the mind into thinking it isn’t all happening at once.
Time has pressed you and me into a book, too, this tiny chapter we share together, this vapor of a scene, pulling our seconds into minutes and minutes into hours. Everything we were is no more, and what we will become, will become what was. This is from where story stems, the stuff of its construction lying at our feet like cut strips of philosophy. I sometimes look into the endless heavens, the cosmos of which we cant’ find the edge, and ask God what it means. Did you really do all of this to dazzle us? Do you really keep it shifting, rolling round the pinions to stave off boredom? God forbid you glory would be our distraction. And God forbid we would ignore your glory.

Here is something I found to be true: You don’t start processing death until you turn thirty. I live in visions, for instance, and they are cast out some fifty years, and just now, just last year I realized my visions were cast too far, they were out beyond my life span. It frightened me to think of it, that I passed up an early marriage or children to write these silly books, that I bought the lie that the academic life had to be separate from relational experience, as though God only wanted us to learn cognitive ideas, as if the heart of a man were only created to resonate with moves. No, life cannot be understood flat on a page. It has to be lived; a person has to get out of his head, has to fall in love, has to memorize poems, has to jump off bridges into rivers, has to stand in an empty desert and whisper sonnets under his breath:

I’ll tell you how the sun rose
A ribbon at a time…

“It’s a living book, this life; it folds out in a million settings, cast with a billion beautiful characters, and it is almost over for you. It doesn’t matter how old you are’ it is coming to a close quickly, and soon the credits will roll and all your friends will fold out of your funeral and drive back to their homes in a cold and still and silence. And they will make a fire and pour some wine and think about how you once were…and feel a kind of sickness at the idea you never again will be.
” So soon you will be in that part of the book where you are holding the bulk of the pages in your left hand, and only a thin wisp of the story in your right. you will know by the page count, not by the narrative, that the Author is wrapping things up. You begin to mourn its ending, and want to pace yourself slowly toward its closure, knowing the last lines will speak of something beautiful, of the end of something long and earned and you hope the thing closes out like the last breaths, like whispers about how much and who the characters have come to love, and how authentic the sentiments feel when they have earned a hundred pages of qualification.
” And so my prager is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside you, about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn’t it?
“It might be time for you to go. It might be time to change, to shine out.
“I want to repeat one word for you”
“Roll the word around on your tongue for a bit. It is a beautiful word, isn’ it? So strong and forceful, the way you have always wanted to be. And you will not be alone. you have never been alone. Don’t worry. Everything will still be here when you get back. It is you who will have changed.”

f*** the dealer

tonight i rode down to my friend nate’s house – he’s in town for the weekend from chicago where he’s living for the summer. admittedly, when i walked in to see him and two girls playing drinking games in the basement i wondered why i had bothered to come. while i love beer and wine, i’m never been one much for drinking simply to drink. nevertheless i sat down in the empty chair and participated…altering the game slightly by having cake instead of alcohol :).

it was nate’s dad, dave’s, 50th birthday party and the adults had been drinking and talking on the back patio. dave and carol came in to go to bed, but dave’s best friend from college ,bill, stopped to ask the “kids” what they were playing. one of the girls (already drunk at this point) doesn’t even hesitate: “fuck the dealer” she says, and then begins to explain exactly how the game is played and wrapping up with the idea that it’s actually competely mindless and simply used to get trashed. my prudeness had the alarms sounding in my head. “fuck the dealer?! getting trashed?? shut your mouth!!” much to my amazement, bill thinks it’s hillarious and sits down, asks for a beer, and begins to play with us. it’s at this point that i realize that HE is drunk. it’s also at this point, sadly, that i begin to lose respect for him.

anyway, the game continues and bill is an active and enthusiastic participant. conversation loosens and we somehow begin talking about nate’s family…his father’s character, his mother who passed away when nate was 14, nate’s stepmother. bill was around when nate’s father and biological mother met in college. he was there when they found out she had ovarian cancer, when she passed away, and when dave re-married. in his explanations and stories i began to realize this man believed in god. spurred on by the way-too-drunk 19 year old girl and the pretty-darn-drunk 50 year old man, our talk turned to christianity, catholicism, heaven and hell.

and i kid you not, tonight “fuck the dealer” and too much beer brought about one of the most impactful, loving, transparent, christ-like conversations i’ve had in my life. there was no judgement in the room…only love and genuine care for every other person at the table. there was wisdom spoken and truth preached in the most unassuming way possible. bonds were created, people were encouraged and god was glorified. it seemed natural at the time, but then as i was leaving i stopped to realize what had just happened and how it would sound to tell the story to the typical good, upstanding, church-goer. why has western culture fabricated a jesus who is more worried that people were getting drunk and swearing than that people’s hearts are being wounded by the cavern we’ve dug between the church and “all those heathens…”?

i wasn’t even getting drunk, but i was the most sinful of the bunch. my pride almost got in the way of recieving the blessings and lessons god had prepared. i was so loved and so encouraged tonight by a drunk man who loves jesus from the bottom of his heart. i was so challenged by a drunk girl who hasn’t the slightest clue what she believes. i praise god that he cares about me enough to soften my heart enable me to receive any of it.

it’s just another time god’s grace, love, and sovereignty are so good and so big that i can’t help but smile or even laugh aloud (and i guess write it down for other people to read…!). what a god – he loves me despite my greedy, prideful, sinful heart. it really does still amaze me.



Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.
-Kahlil Gibran

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