Friday, December 2, 2016

On getting older

It's hard getting older once we are older.  When we're kids, getting older means a new stage of life opens up - a celebration of first steps, first day of school, first time driving, first dates, graduations.  When we're older, getting older means losing stages of life - no longer as fast, as strong, as smart, losing hair, losing health, losing time.  There is something that I know is calling us forward - wisdom, grace, comfort in our own skin, legacies we can leave - but i would be lying if I said that those things didn't come with a feeling of loss.  It actually feels like the cost of admission into the next stage of life.

In many ways,  I think middle age is like middle adolescence in that I'm not young and I'm not old - I'm stuck right in between and don't know which way to look.  It's exactly like being in a sailboat by myself in the middle of the lake as my friends are on both shores calling me forward and calling me backward at the same time.  I'm scared to go forward and as much as I want to go backward, it's impossible.  So on some days - like today - maybe it's okay to just sit here in the middle feeling alone - and honestly somewhat sad - not because I'm not back where I was (because I honestly wouldn't want to be there) but because I'm not where I want to be - and today, I don't have the strength to get any closer there.  

Friday, November 11, 2016

One step at a time

For the past several weeks, I've hiked up Mt. Doug.  It's a short hike - about 15 minutes up the steep road.  It's nice because I can walk up and back in about 30-40 minutes and even in the rain, I know I can handle that.  On a good day, I'll walk it twice.  Feels good and the views are excellent.

As I looked out from the top today, I noticed that the view looked different.  Obviously, the city looked the same, the mountains, ocean and trees looked the same but somehow, it was just different.  It might have been the way the clouds fell over everything today - or maybe just that the leaves are continuing to change colour...

It occurred to me that every single time I've walked up Mt. Doug (including the times that I walk back to back), it is always slightly different.  It's never the same.  Everything that God makes changes - sometimes on a macro level (the only time that I tend to notice) but always on a micro level.  The clouds are always shifting, making different patterns in the sky - subtly changing the way that the light hits a particular branch, making a different shadow with each moment.  Leaves are continually falling, some plants are growing, some are dying.  What God makes continually changes.  It's only what humanity makes that tends to stay the same.  It's ironic to think that humanity strives to make things stay the same. 

To add another layer of complexity, I'm always changing.  My perception of what I see is shaped by how I'm feeling at a particular moment.  If I'm in a good mood, I'm thankful - joyful - looking around and wanting to engage everyone and everything around me.  If I'm in a bad mood, I'm pensive - frantic - locked in introspection and concerned only about myself.  Even if Mt. Doug WAS the same today, but it would be different because I am different.  Obviously, the truth is both.

That's my lesson about faithfulness today.  Even though every day that I wake up, the larger circumstances of my life may be the same (job, family, friends, possessions etc.), there is another beauty in the day that is often missed.  People wonder how I can do the same walks every day without music or technology and not get bored.  The truth is that I do get bored sometimes.  Just as I get restless with life sometimes.  The beauty that I appreciated today was found in the little, the subtle, the microscopic, mundane.  It came from remembering that the things that God makes that are truly special change very slowly and are often only noticed after long periods of time or with intention.  If I were to take a picture of a tree every day, the pictures would never look the same - but to the casual daily observer, nothing changes.

Faithfulness is that way I think.  We appreciate the beauty of our lives when we're separated from the things we have and love.  But we can also appreciate the beauty of our lives by living slow enough and intentionally enough to notice the microscopic changes that are constantly happening around us - and within us. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

I'm really proud of #6.  I admire the man that he's growing into.

We aren't Christians sometimes.  We don't worship sometimes.  It's all or it's not at all.

A couple pictures of health. 

This was an image of burnout for me.  Usually winds will strengthen a tree by forcing it to make deeper roots - but occasionally, the winds blow a tree over and pull the roots right out.  Burnout never makes us stronger.  It rips out our identity and makes us question everything. 

People glared at me when I failed to pick up for Cherry for a minute while I went to the car to get a bag.  She'd pooped under a tree in the corner of the park.  While I'm walking around the lake, this massive pile of horse crap just about covered the whole path - yet no one seems to care about that.  Sometimes I wonder why I spend my life worrying about relatively minor things - while other people fail to deal with major things - and they don't seem to care at all.