Monday, May 21, 2007

After reading Danny's last post i felt compelled to write something. There have been numerous times over the past couple of weeks where i've sat down to write something and had to leave before i was finished with my entry. So needless to say my post bin (if thats what you call it) is full of unfinished drafts.
Last week i had the fortune of escaping from my normal life here in Delaware and head down to Florida. My family spent the week in Orlando and of course, Disney World. We had been once before when me and my sisters were quite a bit a younger and really enjoyed it. So we decided to go back again. We had a really great week, but I realized that Disney World is not a place to go if you're expecting stomach turning roller coasters or any such thing. Its very much geared towards younger kids. But thats ok, all of us (particularly me) are really kids at heart so we still had fun.
Many thoughts developed during my week at Disney, both from being there as well as other things that happened during that week. One of them was brought about by a combination of being in Disney World and two books that I had brought along on the trip. The books were "A Long way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier" and "Not on our Watch: the Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond." I am still finishing up the latter one but i would highly recommend both of them. The first book in particular impacted me greatly. As the title suggests it tells the story of a Sierre Leon boy who was forced to fight. When he was 12 his village was attacked by rebels and for a year (i think) he fled from village to village trying to find the rest of his family and safety. He eventually was trapped in a village that also had a number of the government soldiers. However, they were outnumbered by the rebels who surrounded the village. Because of this he was forced to fight for his government. He went from being a scared, innocent child to a killer. He eventually is taken in by a group that tries to rehabilitate these boys, and then he makes his way to America. I obviously skipped alot, but you get the main idea of the book. As I was in Disney World, surrounded by thousands of kids all i could think of was that this is what 12 year olds should be doing. As I saw their smiles, their innocence i thought of Ishmaels friend hiding in the attic of a barn while his mother and sisters were gang raped beneath him. And its not like this happened a long time ago. The author is telling his story, and he's 25 right now. So while Ishmael was 12 and running for his life, I was 10 and had pretty much no worries in life. How can these two things be going on at the same time? And for many of us living in America, not know anything about it?
I think about the life that I've been given and i have to ask myself "why?" Maybe the better question is "what am i going to do with it?" This morning I read the parable about the 3 men that were given different amounts of talents. I've been given so much, but if I simply bury it in the ground it does no good.
Well I must end this because its time to get back to work. Sorry for the somewhat abrupt ending, but i'm afraid if I wait to finish it later it will end up as just another draft in my box. Many more thoughts are still on my mind, but they'll have to wait for another time.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Psalm 23

Psalm 23 (The Complete Jewish Bible)

"Adonai is my shepherd; I lack nothing.
He has me lie down in grassy pastures, he leads me by quiet water,
He restores my inner person.
He guides me in right paths for the sake of his own name.
Even if I pass through death-dark ravines, I will fear no disaster; for you are with me;
Your rod and staff reassure me.

You prepare a table for me, even as my enemies watch;
You anoint my head with oil from an overflowing cup.

Goodness and grace will pursue me every day of my life;
And I will live in the house of Adonai for years and years to come."

This is a familiar Psalm, you've probably heard numerous sermons preached on it or perhaps heard it read at a funeral. Yesterday morning I decided to use this as an opening meditation to my personal prayer time. I had left one of my NIV bibles at church and the other was in my Jeep so i just grabbed the "Complete Jewish Bible" translation off my shelf. Sometimes when you read through a familiar passage in a different translation it sticks out to you in a new way, and that's what happened to me yesterday. For the first 5 minutes I couldn't get past the opening phrase "Adonai is my shepherd, I lack nothing." I just kept reading it over and over again, trying to wrap my mind around what i was really saying. Is that statement true? Do I truly lack nothing? All day i kept thinking through that phrase, whispering it underneath my breath "Adonai is my shepherd, I lack nothing." Imagine if we lived our lives in such a way that we realized that we lack nothing. Imagine if as we went through the rough spots we realized that we lack nothing. That all we really need we find in Christ. How would that look? Why do we not live with that truth in the forefront? Because so often we get distracted. We fix our eyes on the things of this world and allow them to bring us down.

I told Bruce the other day that I feel like I'm waking out of a deep fog. I allowed myself to get lazy spiritually and mentally. I started going through the motions of living from day to day. There is a lot of things that attributed to it: I stopped waking up early enough to eat breakfast and have my devotions, I wasn't exercising or riding bike like i had been. Another contributing factor, which may seem odd to some, was the fact that i wasn't eating healthy like i had been. Although those combined to put me in a serious funk. I discovered that when you just take the easy road and allow things to simply happen you end up in a dark cloud. You stop dreaming and striving and life becomes very mundane. It takes work to push yourself out of that trap, and its especially hard to get back on pace after being stuck in it for a month or so. But the fog is starting to clear and I'm starting to get excited about life once again. So hopefully there will not be another 2 month lull in posts (although i cant promise that).

Anyway, that's all for now. Me and Dave are going kayaking tonight, so more then likely there will be many funny stories from that venture. Hopefully you liked the Psalm 23 translation, for some reason the imagery and wording really stuck out to me in a new way as I read it yesterday so i thought I'd post it. til next time . . .