So it’s been quite a while since the last great ‘real’ blog entry. There’s the unwritten pressure of having to come up with something either funny, significant or both and I don’t want to be that guy.
So I got back from Africa almost 3 weeks ago and am just now getting to my ‘reentry’ letter. I apologize to those who will be getting it just now. Seems when I write something I consider significant, I’m like a crock-pot of sorts, wanting all of my ideas to sort of begin to bubble and curdle until I feel secure enough in my writing style to begin to scoop them out of my brain and put them on paper. Alas, it tends to take longer to do this, but I would rather sacrifice a bit more time to write something worth reading than to send you guys a, “Hey it was neat. We ate this. We didn’t see any Tigers and no, I did not see Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt.” So be prepared for the post to deliver something in a few days. I’ll also post it in my ‘updates’ section at http://shoelesspatch.visualofferings.com
I’ve started reading the Harry Potter books. Yes I know, it’s a bit late for that, but after watching the latest film and talking with my sis-in-law who is kind of a nut about ‘the boy who lived,’ I’ve decided to give it a go. Finished up the first one last night and have the rest on order from Barnes so I should begin my second HP fix in the next week or so. Incidentally, is there not something really gratifying when you turn that last page of a book knowing that a) you have finished it and b) there’s more to the story to look forward to?
Spent this last weekend in Ft. Worth with some friends and came up with a few great observations:
1). Road trips are excellent, but I am a firm believer that they are even better with both a nice rental car and a good road trip mix. I had both of these. There’s something about having good music and a car that you can have a little fun with that feels REALLY good.
2). I’m 28 years old, and I really believe that no matter how old I get, the excitement from walking up to a major theme park like Six Flags anticipating the rides, the food and the general experience from being there always makes me as excited as a 10 year old boy. I totally experienced that this weekend, if for only a few hours.
3). There are times when I think about the small things in life that make me happy. One is a bookstore in a downtown area. A few years ago it was the Borders in downtown Chicago. This weekend it was the Barnes and Noble in downtown Ft. Worth. I love being able to walk into a building where I can find out on paper virtually anything I want to know about anyone or anything, and plop down on the floor to do so without any weird looks from anyone. The other is my love for specific places to look forward to when I visit certain cities. Again, Chicago has the Art Institute, Michigan has Noodles and Company (a really fun pasta dive near the UofM campus) and in Ft. Worth it’s the Marble Slab Creamery in downtown. Of course my tastebuds race when I anticipate eating the cold soft goodness, but it’s the idea of knowing that this is the place where I get it. Sure I could get Marble Slab from anywhere almost, but that’s where I first had it, and its sort of a flashbulb memory for me, one that I look forward to revisiting any chance I am down there.
Sunday I went to the church service of the friends I had stayed with and the pastor talked about three questions God asks of us (not to be confused with the 10 questions that God won’t ask when we die as many of you probably have flooding across your email inbox in the past 10 years). He took his sermon from Mark 10:46-52 where Bartimaeus, a blind beggar wants to have his sight restored as Jesus says “What do you want me to do for you?” The pastor also mentioned two other questions that were crucial in this text, one being “What are you willing to do to get it?” and “What will you do after you receive it.” I got several things from this text, but one thing that stood out actually came near the end when he mentioned the story of a guy named William Borden, the heir to the Borden Milk company, who felt God’s calling to become a missionary to Muslin China. He is most famous for these words:
No reservations, No Retreats, No Regrets
Powerful words from a guy who could have played it safe and lived off of mom and dad’s wealth for the rest of his life. Instead he chose to follow Christ and, while dying of a fatal disease in his mid 20’s, Borden could boldly answer the questions that Christ asked of him. I wonder sometimes if I can live that way, with no reservations for Christ, no retreats into my old life, and no regrets in looking at my past. Would I be more than who I am right now? I don’t know. But I think it begins with these kinds of questions, the ones that Jesus asked Bartimaeus. What do I want Christ to do for me? What am I willing to do to get it? And what will I do once I do have it? Tough questions. I tend to get stuck on the first one, the direct one from scripture. I’m glad that I have a body of believers who struggle with these same things. It’s nice to have a ‘me too’ reaction when asking these questions. I guess we all do.