listening: the elizabthtown soundtrack
reading: the historian, walking on water

(for some reason i've been thinking about my grandmother a lot this week. even though i've lived a decade without her, i still hear her voice in my head, and the lessons i learned through her death are still those i am most thankful for in life. )

death, while hard and awful, can be a beautiful gift. it forces you out of whatever box you’ve been sitting in, and moves you to look at life, your life, the life of the dead one, and life in the grander sense of humanity and eternity, from a completely different angle.

death is the ultimate catalyst. the biggest event obviously is the passing from life through death to the next phase of eternity. but there is also the smaller, yet no less important, briefly open curtain in the lives around the one who has moved on. for before these lies the ultimate challenge: go on with life as you’ve always known it, or use the momentary clarity illuminating what is truly important as a roadmap for where God is calling you next.

the unfortunate reality is that we need great, terrible things like death and tragedy to remind us that we are still alive, move us beyond the comfortable armchair where we are so content to live the majority of our lives.

in his book everyday apocalypse david dark writes,
"given our tendancy to see and hear what we want to see and hear while disregarding the rest, we need whatever we can get in the way of an awakening."

no one enjoys being awakened from perfect, beautiful sleep. but if the alarm never sounded, how many of us would never wake up?



my mom just called and told me that there's trouble.

it seems that my three year old, more than slightly angelic nephew has picked up on one of my more notable phrases ("suck it up, princess") . it also seems that nicky, when annoyed with his sister, has taken to using this phrase in dealing with her. the bad news comes in with the fact that nicky's mom, my sister-in-law, is--shall we say--LESS than impressed with nicky's newly expanded vocabulary.

hence the trouble.

honestly, i'm having trouble feeling repentant. i love these kids, and (don't tell the rest of the family) when i visit calgary, it's really them i'm going to see. and if some of my twisted sense of humor and outlook on life can get passed down to their little lives, then no one would be happier than me. this is, after all, the nephew who played with a little 'Finding Nemo' toy that laughed to the distraction of everyone in the family, because the toy's laugh reminded him of mine.

he remembers me because of the laughter we share. what an amazing life i have. doghouse or not.



(it's funny how sometimes things in life collide with beautiful and random unpredictability.)

i talked with a friend today about the devotions we're doing ultimately as a church, but more immediately as a small group. my friend made the comment that we'll need to make sure we do them, so that we're not looked at as slackers by the others in the group.

while i laughed, it made me wonder how often in life we do the right things with the wrong motives...or more accurately how often i have done this. i will admit, more often than not, even to myself, i am a paradox.

then i remembered something i had read in richard foster's book entitled 'prayer'. while this is primarily about prayer, it encompasses most, if not all of life.

"The truth of the matter is, we all come to prayer with a tangled mass of motives--altruistic and selfish, merciful and hateful, loving and bitter. Frankly, this side of eternity we will never unravel the good from the bad, the pure from the impure. But what i have come to see is that God is big enough to receive us with all our mixture. We do not have to be bright, or pure, or filled with faith, or anything. That is what grace means, and not only are we saved by grace, we live by it as well."

the perfectionist streak in me makes me want to get it all together before i set about to accomplish. 'it would make it all better,' i spend too much time rationalizing, 'if i did it in my own power'. but all these years have proven that this will never happen on its own.


so, God, in his great mercy, as richard so eloquently points out, has made a way even in the midst of my motive/perfectionist quandry. my only responsibility is to let go of how it "should" be, and surrender myself to those unconstrained rhythms of grace.


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