parenting

father-daughter1

A daughter’s pain
exposed & confronted

Wishing I could take away
all that hurts
all the lies that are told to her
all the broken relationships

Wishing I could cradle my baby
wrap her in a blanket where she feels safe

But I can’t
She will be hurt
She will bleed
She will be disappointed and let down

So I wait
I listen
I wipe her tears and hold her hand
I give her hugs and

My heart breaks because I love her

parenting is tough and kids don’t come with a manual

Advertisements

He Used to Be a Crazy Naked Guy – Part 2

Ever since that day Tom had two passions in his life. The first passion was the one he had received from Jesus, “Tell others what I have done.” The second was the way he chose to be reminded of his encounter and transformation with Jesus. Tom was a tailor. With every stitch that he sewed he was reminded of the days when he ran around naked. He would see the scars on his arms and legs where he took pottery shards and cut himself. He would remember the weight of the chains that dangled from his arms. But those days were now behind him. He had this job as a way to be daily reminded of what Jesus had done for him.

As Tom sat at his table making another tunic for one of the families in town he heard someone enter his shop. “Just a moment and I’ll be with you.” Tom continued to make uniform stitches in the hem of his garment. When he finished the stitching he looked up and saw something that had only hidden in the deep recesses of his heart. There was the man who had changed his life. “Isn’t he dead? Am I crazy? Did I just want this so much that I am imagining this? No, it was not his imagination. The rumors were true. Jesus was risen and was standing before him. Holes in his hands, wounds visible in his sandals, face bruised but healing and with all of these distractions he was certain it was Jesus. The final nail was struck when Jesus uttered his name. “Tom, how are you?” Was the savior really asking him how he was doing? Did he really care? Were these just words to start a conversation? Tom was pretty certain that there was sincerity in the question and positive of the fact when he looked into the dark eyes of this man who had changed his life.

“What are you doing here?” Tom asked. “I heard the rumors but I was afraid to believe and now you are here in my shop. Where are the people? Where are the crowds? Does everyone know you are alive? Have they all changed their minds?” Jesus just held up his hand and Tom stopped asking questions. He knew that Jesus was here for a reason and he needed to shut up and listen to the words of this man who was dead and now was alive.

He Used to Be a Crazy Naked Guy – Part 1

This is the first part of this chapter in The Next 40 Days.

chains

It was funny how that day started out. Tom had been doing what he was used to doing. His new job was to spread the word about Jesus. This had become a passion for him. Anyone and everyone had to hear his story. Most people already knew it but he could not help but share it anyway. You see, most people had known Tom when he was known around town as “the crazy naked guy.” For years Tom and been totally out of control. They had tried chaining him up so that he would no longer hurt himself or anyone else and yet he broke out of those chains repeatedly. It was horrible to watch him whip himself with those chains until he bled. People would cover their children’s eyes and ears when they saw him anywhere near, which was rare since he tended to spend most of his time roaming among the tombs. He would wander along the cliffs and howl and shriek at the top of his lungs. The sound coming out of his mouth would make the hair on the back of your neck stand up and cause you body to be covered with goose bumps. The only thing that people knew was to give Tom his distance and to keep away. Then again, people only had to encounter him when there was a funeral and someone had to be placed in the burial caves since that’s where Tom chose to live. And this made people feel at ease most of the time.

Then, one day, his life was completely changed. Jesus showed up along the shore with his disciples and Tom had charged at him. Then a totally unnatural voice started to beg with Jesus and the next thing anyone knew 2000 pigs were drowning themselves in the sea. The pig farmers were just a little upset and so was the whole town since the pigs had been a very big part of the economy. When the town showed up to see 2000 bobbing pigs for themselves they were all stunned by the sight of Tom. He no longer looked crazy and he was definitely no longer naked, much to everyone’s relief. The people were so upset over the death of the pigs that they pleaded with Jesus to leave and some even threatened him with bodily harm. Jesus just shrugged and told his disciples to get back in the boat and they would go somewhere else. That’s when Tom approached the boat and asked if he could come. Jesus very kindly told him that he needed to stay where he was and share what had happened to him. Tom was disappointed but knew what Jesus wanted him to do so he said good-bye and waved to Jesus as he and his disciples rowed out of sight.

That’s when Tom went to work, not for money, but for God. He told everyone who would listen, and many who wouldn’t, about how he had been tormented by demons until Jesus showed up. He told the people how he used to cut himself with rocks and pottery and how he used to sleep in the tombs along side of corpses. Word began to spread about Jesus and when he returned to the region a few months later Jesus could hardly move form place to place for all of the people brought to him to heal. Tom took his job seriously and the news of the messiah being present was welcomed throughout the region.

All was going well until that day during Passover. Jesus had insisted on going back to Jerusalem and ended up dead. This devastated Tom. What would he do know? He had told all of the people that Jesus was the messiah and yet he was dead. People had seen him breath his last breathe. People had seen him laid in the tomb and the stone rolled across the mouth of the tomb. Tom wept along with many of the people who had looked to Jesus to be the promised messiah. Then, the rumors started to circulate that people had seen Jesus alive. Somehow, a miracle had happened and it seemed as if Jesus was really alive. Tom even made a trip to Jerusalem to see the empty tomb and his heart leapt with joy. But now what? What was he going to do? What should he tell people? These were the thoughts that swam circles around the inside of his head as he turned back to his mending.

SUCH IS LIFE

walking the vanilla landscape

feeling like a technicolor person in a black & white world
am i larger than life or is everyone else just a Lilliputian?

passion seen, sensed, touched – like a homeless person outside a buffet

where is a match?
can only opposites complement?

a life full of expectations: some fulfilled, some unfulfilled

SUCH IS LIFE

Looking Over the Fence

There was a man who decided that he wanted to get the most out of life. As a child he had been raised in a family where both of his parents loved him very much, but they were very busy people. Because of this they often bought him things distract him.. They bought 5000 piece puzzles and tinker toys. They bought Lincoln Logs, Legos, books, models kits, and computer programs. Anything they could think of that would occupy their child’s time they bought. While the boy was always busy he was also always looking for the next thing to make him happy.

As the boy grew he made many friends. Some of the other children became his friend because of what he had. Other children became his friend because their lives were very similar. They too knew what it was like to have parents who loved them dearly but were too busy to spend much time with them. These children all played well together and the boy was happy to have some people who liked him, who knew how he felt, and to spend time with him. They spent days playing with each other making things and dreaming about what the world would be like when they grew up and had families of their own.

As the days passed into years the boy grew into a young man. The amount of friends he had dwindled and he started to make plans for the rest of his life. He knew that he was not truly happy but he was not sure why. So the young man decided that he needed to do everything bigger and better than his parents had. Since his parents had very successful careers he too needed a successful career so he enrolled in the best business college that money could buy.

While at college he committed himself to his studies. The young man thought that if he just worked hard enough he would find fulfillment. While the A’s that always appeared on his papers and report cards brought temporary joy to his life, there was always another paper to be written or project to be turned in. There was little time to celebrate his victories and even less people to share them with as he became more and more committed to his schooling. As the young man looked around he realized that there were very few other students who put forth the effort that he did and they had no more time for him than he did for them. At the end of his schooling he graduated with a perfect 4.0 and enrolled in graduate school where the cycle was repeated again, but this time to a greater degree. At the end of graduate school he was hired by a very prominent company where he quickly moved up the corporate ladder as his work ethic was noticed by those higher up.

As the young man moved up the corporate ladder he continued to acquire items which he thought would bring happiness. He spent nights at the opera and symphony listening to the best music and musicians that the world had to offer. There were weeks that he went out to four-star restaurants every night and sampled the best cuisine that money had could buy. He began to collect art since his parents had instilled a love for the high arts. As his collections grew, the man needed a place hold everything so he built himself a large house overlooking the ocean.

This house had everything that a person could possibly need. And when the man realized that he needed or wanted something that was not part of the house he had a person come in and add whatever was lacking to his house. As time went on the house began to look less like a house and more like a castle. The castle then transformed into a small village where the man could get everything that he needed. He even bought the company that he had worked for and worked his home. Since he had everything he needed on his property he rarely went out and only those who worked for him came in.

The man thought he had everything he ever wanted. He had a stable of cars, personal cooks, trainers, house help, doctors, lawyers, and every kind of professional help that a person could possibly need. He began to buy the property of those around him, sometimes paying ten times more than the property was worth. Yet, even though he had all of these things he still felt an emptiness inside. And worst of all there was one neighbor who would not sell. The man tried unsuccessful lawsuits, pressure, even rudeness but this person would not sell.

One day as the man was out walking along his property he came to the fence that separated his property from his neighbor’s. As he looked over the fence he saw a house that needed repair, a rusty old station wagon in the driveway, trashcans that were overflowing, and a yard that was knee high in weeds. “How can anybody live like this?” the man thought to himself. No sooner had the words formed in his head than he heard a woman singing an old gospel song thanking God for all that he had given her. At this the man was truly amazed since he could see that God had given her very little. But there was something in the tone that kept the man there that day. Not only did he sit just outside the fence that day, but he found himself often returning to the fence, looking over, and then just listening to the women on the other side of the fence.

After weeks of looking over the fence the man finally saw the woman come out of the house. There she stood in a ragged bathrobe, pink bedroom slippers on her feet, easily 100 pounds overweight, singing a song of happiness and gratitude. The man couldn’t believe his eyes. How in the world could this person continue to pray and thank a God who would allow her to live like this? He was repulsed and at the same time could not force himself to leave. There was something about this woman that kept drawing him back day after day.

Weeks and months passed and the man found himself drawn to the woman’s fence so that he could look over, listen, and try and figure out what it was she had. If he could only figure out what it was, he was sure he could buy some of it too and he would finally be happy. One day as he sat in the rain looking over the fence the woman came out and much to his surprise she came right up to the fence. With a smile and look of contentment that confused the man she introduced herself and asked him if he would like some coffee. Embarrassed but intrigued the man accepted her offer and ventured onto her property. As he entered the house he was repulsed at the living conditions. There were old newspapers scattered around, an old black and white television with aluminum foil for antennas, and the only art that she had were velvet paintings of dogs playing pool and cards. The coffee that the woman poured was the worst coffee that he had ever tasted and the man was began to think of a way he could get out of the house quickly, but there was something that kept him there. Maybe he was there because of the contentment on the woman’s face. Maybe he stayed there because he wanted to get rid of the eyesore that he saw her property to be. Maybe he stayed because the God that she sang about had planned this all along. Whatever the reason, the man stayed. The two talked and talked about all sorts of things and the man realized that they had quite a bit in common. And best of all, this woman had showed hospitality, not because she had to but because she had wanted to.

This meeting was replicated time and time again over the next few months. The man would walk over to the fence and look over. He would listen to the songs sung by the woman and eventually she would come out and invite him in. He tried bringing her coffee and she refused. He offered to have her yard cleaned and she politely declined. He even tried to give her one of his cars and was resisted again. Over time the man came to love the woman and invited her to move on to his estate where she could enjoy all that was his. Again she politely turned down his offer.

One night the man had a dream. In his dream he saw his life coming to an end. At his memorial service there were lots of business people in their expensive suits paying their respect but nobody seemed to miss him very much. The only person who seemed to be crying was the woman from the other side of the fence. She was truly grieving the loss of her friend. It had been years since anyone had called him friend. As the man awoke everything became clear to him. He realized that all that he had accumulated meant very little. It was only as he gazed over the fence and looked into the life of someone else that he found happiness.

As morning came and the sun crested the horizon the man vowed to spend the rest of his life not on making his house bigger, but on living on the other side of the fence. He would go out and help others. He would give to charities and begin to give things away. All of a sudden the man found a great new freedom. As soon as it seemed an appropriate hour the man sprinted to the fence and looked over. There was his friend, dressed as usual, smiling at the man. She knew that he had changed. For the first time, her friend wore a smile which matched hers. That day they shared the best cup of coffee the man could ever remember drinking. From that day on he lived on the other side of the fence.

Another 40 Days

It seems appropriate for me to start my writing on the book that I have had in my mind for years; this week before Easter. The book is based on the premise that the Bible does not tell us a lot about what happened during the 40 days between the resurrection of Jesus and the time he ascended into heaven. It is the premise of my writings that Jesus went back to the people whose lives had been touched (Zaccheus, the leper who returned, the bleeding woman, Levi the tax collector, Lazarus, the crazy naked guy, the boy with the fish and loaves…) and gives them some last advice. Each of these people have had their lives altered and are now doing some profession that will remind them daily of what Jesus did for them. That’s what I will write about. Chapters and parts of chapters will detail the interaction between Jesus and these people. Critique and criticism is welcomed and encouraged. Proverbs 27:17 tells us that “iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Help hone what I write, please.