The House of Mo(u)rning

People die. Everyone. But there is something beautiful about death when it is timely, when it is the peaceful completion of a long life well lived. Yes. It is the punishment for sin. But it is also entrance into a new life. And newness is beautiful.

Death is night, but in a way, it is morning.

Brandon

Brandon didn't want to wake up this morning. He was dreaming about chocolate pudding, great gray vats of it. His wife Jane always told him his dreams were strange. When his alarm sliced the silence, he groaned and turned over. Pushing snooze was only temporary relief, so eventually he slapped the clock and swung his feet to the floor. The rug was crumpled up, and he vaguely remembered tripping over it the night before. Jane needed to come home—she was visiting her parents in Tennessee and wouldn’t be back until Tuesday. Just four more days of living like a bachelor. Brandon had tired of it on the second day. A week ago. He stumbled into the bathroom and groaned at the mirror.Showering washed some of the drowsiness out of his bones, and after a hasty breakfast Brandon threw his briefcase together and grabbed his umbrella. Last week he’d been caught in the rain. He clutzed his way down the steps, and locked the door. Every morning, Brandon was on his way to work by 6:15. The forty-five minute commute to the heart of the city was not for the faint of heart, but Brandon didn’t mind it. He walked 7 blocks to the el stop, rode for 25 minutes, then walked several more blocks to his building. This morning, the sky was overcast, and three blocks into his walk it started to rain. As he whipped out his umbrella, the wind picked up and blew his tweed cap off his head. He bent over to get it, and his umbrella turned inside out. It shivered around a bit, then a spindle snapped in the wind. Brandon groaned. By the time he reached the el-stop, it was pouring and Brandon was drenched. His shoes had filled with water, and his tweed hat was soaked, and his useless umbrella was flopping forlornly. The train was empty when it finally came. Good. I won’t have to touch anyone. By the time he got into the loop, it had stopped raining. Brandon was still wet, but no longer dripping. When he got off at his stop and it was empty, he began to wonder why. Usually the platforms were crawling with activity on Friday mornings, businessmen and students coming and going. Maybe other companies had days off. Mid September, this didn’t seem likely, but anything to explain the queer silence. He walked down the steps, and slowly towards his building. There was a strange lack of traffic, and the homeless people weren’t out yet. Odd. When he got to his building, Jennifer the desk girl wasn’t there yet. He went up to his cubicle on the 38th floor. No one was there. He sat and looked at his computer screen. His to-do list. His emails. His calendar. Ah.

It was saturday.

Wisdom. Faith. Action.

Wisdom. Wisdom is insight into the true nature of things. It is discernment in situations that are unclear. Faith. Faith is the blind belief that it's worth it. It is complete confidence in a God who is good.

Action. Wisdom is proved right by her actions. Faith without works is dead. See any sort of connection? I thought you would.

That's all.

Writing... It's an—

Listen closely, and I'll let you in on a secret. Scoot your chair in close, and focus on this. Eliminate all distractions, and pay attention. When you're prepared, read on. Writing is an addiction. It's true. Gasp in surprise, raise your eyebrows in skepticism, but know that I tell you the truth. It's a thrill, limited to the select few who know the feeling of successfully putting brilliance into words. Exhilarating. The satisfaction of seeing sentences formed and perfect, and knowing they came from your fingertips.

Now, I don't make the colossal claim of being an excellent writer. I don't even make the high claim of being a good one. But I would like to think that I am one of the privileged few who have discovered the prize that writing can become.

Sure, it's an addiction. Sure, my eyes have funny little black things under them. Sure, sometimes life passes by while I'm mulling over prodigious versus monumental. Sure, there's homework and friends and responsibilities that I'll have to tend to later. But hey. I've been writing. So who cares.

Do It.

People have potential. All of us. Age doesn't matter. Or current station in life. Or what other people think. The truth is, YOU are amazing. That's right. YOU are Amazing. Because you (Yes. You. We've already been over this) are packed with God-given talents and abilities. So, here's your opportunity. Get out and do something about it.

Maybe you're the best voice on the block. Go join a choir and become a soloist. Perhaps you are the most talented bricklayer the world has ever seen. Now get in contact with some great architects, and join in a partnership to build the next Taj Mahal. Possibly you write so well that people applaud for your most nonsensical scribblings. So write!

It doesn't matter where you are. But it matters what you're doing. So get out there. And do your gifts. Because you have them. I know you do.

Snapshot

What if we weren't ourselves? What if we were looking at our lives through a window?

What if we saw every decision we ever made, but saw the consequences and rewards making it would have after 5 weeks? 5 months... 5 years?

Better yet, what if we lived life as if this weren't the end? As if we were simply passing through, headed for another place? Wouldn't that make a difference in how we lived?

Think on it. And when you're done thinking, do something about it. Because I believe that it's true, that we only live here for a single snapshot in a movie that never ends. And how we live in this 3 second screen decides how we spend our eternity.

And that's too valuable to ignore.

The Satisfaction of a Brain Well Used

Today was one of those days that makes me feel like I'm really making something of myself. I spent most of my waking hours tending to my education. This involved writing papers, reading textbooks, solving problems, and the like. It was tiring. I worked hard. And now, at the tail end, it feels great. God made us with brains for a reason, so we can use them.

Use your brain. It's really rather satisfying, actually.

Pleasure or Responsibility... Or Both?

I used to be in the habit of writing a blog every night. Then life got busy and other things demanded my attention. Responsibilities and the like. And, as it often happens when we have responsibilities, the pleasures get forgotten. That's what happened. I had things to do, classes to take, papers to write, all the usuals of a busy life.

I'm still busy. But, in all my busyness, I realized that I like writing too much not to do it. Writing has slipped into my category of responsibility. I'm responsible to write to honor God, and I can't let that fall off the back of the wagon. It should be first and foremost.

It doesn't feel like a responsibility for me, though. 'Cause I love to write.

(Which makes me wonder... How much of what we find pleasure in, should we be doing for a bigger reason? Maybe honoring the Creator of the Universe. If that seems big enough?)

Renovated

I just completely renovated my blog. Renovation doesn't really seem like the appropriate word for a blog. When I think of renovation, I think of basements and big buildings, and construction equipment. But, I worked hard on my blog. So, I'm going to use the word renovation, and try not to cheat it of any of its  meaning.

Anyways, back on topic. Whenever I make something new, it's like the most exciting thing ever for me. Like my new background and banner. Exciting, right? I think so. And I'd like to try to share some of that exuberance with you. Imagine laughter. Starting as a quiet crease at the corners of the mouth. Then starting to bubble up out of a well of complete joy, untainted and unaffected. It bubbles for a short time, then begins to build. Now it's a full out peal, like the ringing of all the church bells in England on a Sunday morning. Tears are rolling down the face, and you can't help but start to smile, because true joy is stinking infectious.

Well. That's sorta how excited I am about this. I'm also smiling. And I hope you are too.

The Thrill of the Story

There is thrill in story. Someone famous (I don't quite remember who... But they were famous) said the words, "Only begin, and the mind grows heated." It's true. Start a story, and suddenly, the floodgates open. All it takes is the courage to write down a name. And then there's a sentence connected to the name. Suddenly, a paragraph pops up. Pretty soon, you've got a book.

Start a story. It's thrilling.