Friday, March 22, 2013

What The World Needs Now

Lot's of sad things in the world right now. Yesterday a 13 year old kid shot himself dead in the school bathroom before classes began.When something like that happens we always picture our own kids in their shoes...picture ourselves in the shoes of their parents. I don't even know how to describe what would be in my head. A few months ago a guy robbed a pregnant woman and shot her in the belly, killing her baby...just because. Every week in Detroit a guy breaks into an elderly person's home and rapes her, robs her, and kills her...just because. Point being, you watch the news enough and you will learn to loathe the world we have to live in. You will become cold in your heart and forget about those that just want peace.

I have served as youth minister for 13 years. I've seen and heard a lot that I can never tell you. Things that make me sick. At this point and time, I cannot serve at the capacity I used to. So since yesterday and the suicide of that kid, I have been wondering what to do. What can I do? I have never been one to sit back and watch the world burn. I wanna get burned trying to save others. It occurred to me this morning that I am not doing much at all to help those in peril. I have been living my life and adjusting to a different career and craft. I sat down this evening with my wife and watched a doc about a guy who used Craigslist ads to keep him in shelter and food for a month. He didn't want to just mooch off others, so he spent most days volunteering to those that needed love. During the film, it occurred to me that this is the answer. Disconnect from the digital and reconnect to humanity. We are cold and self centered because we are conditioned to relate via internet or text. The issue is, you cannot look into the eyes of a person on the internet. You get what they choose to give you. Face to face, most cannot hide who they really are or what is really happening in them.

So here is my rough draft resolution. Take more time in every human interaction you experience in your day. Speak with the person serving your coffee, your lunch. Take every opportunity to get to know strangers everywhere. I am betting you will find that people share the very same feelings on many levels. I am betting that you will make a difference in more than one person's life. Say hi to the neighborhood kids. Give a 100% tip to your waitress. Adopt a child from Compassion International and actually write her. Start a relationship with a person whose life you are sustaining.  Sit down next to a person who is sitting alone and open a conversation. Step out from where you are comfortable. Look people in the eyes and say things that matter. Learn to keep your mouth shut when it is foolishness coming out. Leave behind your negative attitude. Ask God to break your jaded heart. Give in to the thoughts of that kid that still lives in you. Would you as a 9 year old drop your last nickle in that filthy guy's hand...probably yes. If you are shoveling snow, shovel your neighbors as well. Buy the lunch of a random person sitting across the restaurant. Do all of these things in secret.

I think this is what the world needs now. Love. Love is still a verb, not a feeling. Love is something you practice. Do so intensely. I will too.


Thanks for reading...Z

Friday, March 8, 2013

Beginning to Break

Life is really fast. When you're young it goes by so slow, always waiting to be old enough. Thirty years later, you have no idea where your life went and how it got here without you noticing. Things then spiral and speed up and your time is more, for the most part spent doing something that you would soon not notice your doing so much. Phone calls and text messages and emails and tournaments and soccer games and dance recitals and appointments and paperwork and insurance and 401 K and 403 B. When your 80, you know now you will wonder how you got these wrinkles so were just 7 years old playing in the sand and picking the bark off branches at the top of your backyard tree. Without knowing it, the world spins around and around, reproducing the same 24 hours it produced the day before. Days vary, but in all, they are the same and it is all going too fast.

Until that moment your world is shaken. When everything that has inhabited your turn of the earth is changed. Suddenly things slow down so you can really experience them. Sometimes this is a blessing when it is time to celebrate, others it is a cruel joke and everyone is laughing but you. having nothing but time.

When you've been rocked the lights above you as you drive move slower above your head and you notice when a streetlamp is out. You look at the details of your surroundings because all of the sudden you have time. You listen to the drip of melting ice trickle down your gutter. The turn off the radio to hear the sound of the cracks in the cement of the road pass beneath your tires. You wonder why that baby is crying in the shopping cart while it's mother shops quietly and oblivious it. You wonder what it will look like as an adult crying like that in front of the mirror trying to see what you look like crying. You watch the trees sway back and forth with the wind and the helicopter seeds sail down to the earth and realize that this very same moment in time produced the tree that produced them in the first place. All of these things are part of the shock and jarring of the changing of the pull of gravity of the earth in your life. This is what happens when rotation is end up on your head.

For a while, we stay on our heads and look at all of the beautiful things in the world and learn how to block out bad thoughts. But after a while the earth begins to make sense a little. Never as colorful again, but sensible enough to allow the earth to speed round and round again unnoticed by your days.

The question then becomes appallingly clear...Are we now healed or are we again beginning to break?


Thanks for reading...Z

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Excerpt From the Diary of the Great Grizzly Brown

If I stopped walking, my legs would fall off and I would bleed to death. If I stopped and stepped back, my eyes would be crushed and my tongue pulled out. I had been through that hell. I had seen all that the devil wanted me to see. I lived through it. Now I walk away from it with the back of my shirt still on fire. The smoke still smolders from my flannel button down.

I had stared into the eyes of everything that I feared and became who I never wanted to be. I became nothing at all. I just sat there. I stared at blank screens and lost track of time inside of myself. Any pride left inside was torched and left to mix with the ashes of what I had lost. There was no sun. There was no day. The night reigned both my dreams and lucid hours. I fought for my sanity, I begged for comfort. I got only emptiness for my cries.

Until the day I woke in the dirt, my face down on the concrete alley. Bottles surrounded my frail form. I lift my head in weakness and let it fall back to the ground that I so badly wanted to dwell in. I had heard a voice. I am sure it was in my head, but it was loud enough for me to understand. I heard a voice of One calling in the desert. I heard Him and I rose to my feet. I had been waiting for this voice for thirty years. Thirty long years of obedience. Thirty years of faith without one moment of proof. Now He speaks. Now...after my only family is perished and I have nothing left but my thoughts. He speaks, so I listen.

He says....."Move! Remove yourself and get up and keep moving."

So I did because I had nothing left to do. I could lay in this alley until I froze or starved to death, which may have been only hours away, or I could stand to my feet and start walking toward where the sun used to be.

What I found was a fire remained. It burned inside of me quietly. It was what kept me from fading into the asphalt. It was anger, but misplaced anger. It was anger at my childhood for what it produced. It was anger at God for where He lived compared to where I lived. Most of all, it was the anger that screams from the emptiness that comes from holding out your arms to hug a son that is gone and a wife that has joined him in paradise. It was directed and everything that had always kept me alive through all of this madness.

For the first time I was silent. I walked for days and weeks and months, not speaking a word to anyone. I sorted it out. I fought every demon that had infested my heart. I fought until I nearly bled out. But in the end, I walked forward, away from the madness and into more madness.

-The Great Grizzly Brown (Excerpts from his personal diary found during The Celebration- dated 3013)


Thanks for reading...Z