Now I know in part...

Picking daisies

November 17th, 2014 at 4:13 pm | Posted in General blah, Things that make me me | No Comments

If I had my life to live over,
I’d try to make more mistakes next time.
I would relax. I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have on this trip.
I would be crazier. I would be less hygienic.
I would take more chances, I would take more trips.
I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers,
and watch more sunsets.
I would burn more gasoline. I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I am one of those people who lives
prophylactically and sensibly and sanely,
hour after hour, day after day.

Oh, I have had my moments
And if I had it to do over again, I’d have more of them.
In fact, I’d try to have nothing else.
Just moments,one after another.
Instead of living so many years ahead each day.
I have been one of those people who never go anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a gargle, a
raincoat, and a parachute.

If I had to do it over again, I would go places and do things.
I’d travel lighter than I have.
If I had my life to live over, I would start barefooted
earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall.
I would play hooky more. I wouldn’t make such good grades
except by accident.
I would ride on merry-go-rounds.
I’d pick more daisies.

Nadine Stair, age 85

Clouds – Zach Sobiech

October 31st, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Posted in Things that make me me | No Comments

I always liked this song but it’d been on my playlist for months before I stumbled across the back story.

Diagnosed with terminal bone cancer he recorded it a few months before he died. He was 18.

It changes how I listen to it.

Well I fell down, down, down
Into this dark and lonely hole
There was no one there to care about me anymore
And I needed a way to climb and grab a hold of the edge
You were sitting there holding a rope

And we’ll go up, up, up
But I’ll fly a little higher
We’ll go up in the clouds because the view is a little nicer
Up here my dear
It won’t be long now, it won’t be long now

When I get back on land
Well I’ll never get my chance
Be ready to live and it’ll be ripped right out of my hands
Maybe someday we’ll take a little ride
We’ll go up, up, up and everything will be just fine

And we’ll go up, up, up
But I’ll fly a little higher

We’ll go up in the clouds because the view is a little nicer
Up here my dear

It won’t be long now, it won’t be long now
If only I had a little bit more time
If only I had a little bit more time with you

We could go up, up, up
And take that little ride
And sit there holding hands
And everything would be just right
And maybe someday I’ll see you again
We’ll float up in the clouds and we’ll never see the end

And we’ll go up, up, up
But I’ll fly a little higher
We’ll go up in the clouds because the view is a little nicer
Up here my dear
It won’t be long now, it won’t be long now

Zach Sobiech – Clouds

Virginia Woolf apparently once said “someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more”.

Certainly true for me.

Fighting God

September 12th, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Posted in Things that make me me, Thinking biblical | No Comments

Evan Almighty’s a pretty forgettable film but there was a poignant moment at the end.

Without explanation God appears to Evan and is told to build an ark, in essence becoming Noah incarnate. He resists, runs away, denies it, fights the command and generally makes it incredibly hard for himself, but he’s eventually worn down and goes along with it.

It’s only right at the end, in hindsight that the explanation becomes clear, and had he known what he knew at the end, I can’t help but think he would have chosen to make the journey far smoother for himself.

Evan: You knew along, didn’t you? You knew the dam was unstable. If it hadn’t been for the ark, my family, my neighbours… [would have died]. I fought you every step of the way…
God: Yes, but you did it.
Evan: So, you had nothing to do with the flood? Like where the ark landed exactly?
God: I gave you a little shove at the end. Sue me…

I’m exactly the same. I fight God. I fight the circumstances he beckons me to walk through that I don’t understand. I throw regular tantrums along with the hand he’s dealt me back in his face. I tell Him he’s wrong; that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. I tell him I know best.

Deep down though I know I don’t. He knows best and I know it. He knows everything. The whole lot. Every detail. Nothing’s a mystery to God. He’s never surprised… and with hindsight, anything He calls us to do or asks of us will be justified and shown to be good, or at least to carry some sort of purpose or redemption.

Rarely does he oppress his will upon us harshly. Often he coaxes us gently. We kick and scream but He never loses patience. He knows how slow we are to learn and that our learning to trust him will be messy. I think we expect ourselves to cope far better than he ever does; when we struggle to accept what he’s doing in our lives he just loves us.

A game with a view

August 5th, 2014 at 9:55 am | Posted in Things that make me me, Thinking biblical | No Comments

Was clearing out a box of old games a while ago. Settlers 3 was a classic. You basically assume the role of God, create tiny people (called settlers), assign them various roles, and then watch them gather, mine, fish, grow, and carry a colony into existence.

It gave me a faint glimpse into how God might possibly see us within the context of creation.

Despite my settlers being nothing but combinations of coloured pixels, I found myself getting weirdly attached to these little guys. I wanted their good and to see them flourish. Pathetic I know, but, if that’s how I can feel about pixels, imagine how much more God must delight in me. My settlers have no life. They don’t feel. They’ve no personalities. No ability to chose or reason or think for themselves. They can’t speak or relate to me personally, they simply follow a set of pre-determined behaviours developed by a programmer.

We can do all those things though and are infinitely more complex, so how much more must God think of and feel for us?

Matthew 10:29-31

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

I still draw occasionally

October 21st, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Posted in Things that make me me | No Comments

Found this lying around from Simon and Joy’s wedding invites.

The courage to suffer

July 18th, 2013 at 11:55 am | Posted in Books, Things that make me me | No Comments

Viktor Frankl was an Austrian psychiatrist who survived Auschwitz during World War II and chronicled his experiences afterwards. I read this bit yesterday:

There was plenty of suffering for us to get through. Therefore, it was necessary to face up to the full amount of suffering, trying to keep moments of weakness and furtive tears to a minimum. But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer. Only very few realised that.

Viktor Emil Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning

The concept of it requiring courage to suffer’s an interesting one. Guess without fear there can be no courage; with courage being found in the face of fear as opposed to the denial of it, demanding an engagement with weakness as opposed to running from it.

To live is to suffer, and suffering hurts. Pain and discomfort are guaranteed to make life messy, but through the embrace and expression of them it seems we claim a greater dignity and strength; that of being human and knowing ourselves to be alive.

Real men (and women) suffer and cry it seems (or at least aren’t afraid to).

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Preach it Theo.

The term is ending

March 26th, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Posted in Books, Things that make me me, Thinking biblical | No Comments

There was a real railway accident,” said Aslan softly. “Your father and mother and all of you are – as you used to call it in the Shadowlands – dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”

And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

C.S. Lewis – The Last Battle

What might I really believe?

March 17th, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Posted in Things that make me me, Thinking biblical | No Comments

As a Jesus fan, I know what I should believe, but in the context of day-to-day life belief is messier, less clear cut and inevitably more mysterious. We all adopt philosophies for life that shape how we live and form the basis for many of the decisions and choices we make. A friend was having some doubts about the whole God thing a few weeks ago so I quickly scribbled down a few random completely incomplete thoughts to see what it is I really believe in day to day…

At the most basic level I believe I exist. I believe that there’s something greater than me, that made me, and created a vague sense of order and creativity  in all I see around me. I believe he is good and I call him God. I believe he is incomprehensible.

In me are desires. Wants. A seeking of pleasure and security. Comfort. Connection and relationship with others.

I believe I feel more complete when I live a life of generosity; when I live for the good of others. Sacrificially. In pursuit of their joy. I believe that seeking my own ends will make me miserable and ultimately prove meaningless.

My belief is stubbornly “to whom else can I go” [in respect to Jesus]. I see no alternative. I feel no alternative. I want no alternative. Even if I decided God to be mere imagination, I would still choose sacrifice. It brings joy. And joy lasts. Pleasures don’t. They come and go, rise and fall, but always fade. They don’t last. They always have a low-hanging ceiling, that seeking to break through will either kill you or at least dehumanise you. If I get to the end of my life and it turns out God doesn’t exist, that Heaven was an illusion of my mind, what have I lost? Has the world not been a better place for my living as if he did?

I believe in goodness. And love. In beauty. In gentleness, kindness and mercy. In respect, honour, dignity, light. I believe in work and development. In growing, in cultivation of all things good. I believe in rest, in relaxation, in appreciation. I believe in solitude and crowds. Retreat and participation  I believe in spending myself for the sake of others, that the greatest beauty is displayed in the most costly sacrifices.

I believe I will live forever, but don’t know where for sure until I get there. I’m not afraid of death, i’m curious, i’d just rather not have to die. It doesn’t look nice, even if it’s passing is natural. I believe that one day i’ll understand everything, that i’ll see Jesus’ face as he welcomes me Home.

I’ll probably add to them at some point.

Impossible? Yes. But no less worth it.

October 5th, 2011 at 10:16 am | Posted in Cover posts, Dreams, Things that make me me, Thinking biblical | No Comments

Keep going. Never stop. Dream. Always. Travel light. Take nothing.

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go.

To right the unrightable wrong
To be better far than you are
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest, to follow that star,
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far
To be willing to give when there’s no more to give
To be willing to die so that honor and justice may live

And I know if I’ll only be true to this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm when I’m laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star.

(Andy Williams – The Impossible Dream)

One day… we’ll reach it. Heaven waits for us.

But for now we pursue the impossible… unto the glory of God.

Getting cultured

August 6th, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Posted in Things that make me me | No Comments

Went to the national galleries again today. The portraits are a bit lost on me, but some of the stuffs fairly epic. I especially love this one. The light, the clouds, the shadows, the colours. Very cool.