Monday, October 24, 2011


Drew (our oldest) and I hiked about 12 or 14 miles on the Appalachian trail this summer.  I can't wait till we can hit the trail again!  Was it easy, no.  It was humbling.  I thought we could go 30 +  miles in three days & two nights.  Drew thought it though before we left for the trail-head & mentioned we should try out two days & one night our first go-around, he was right.

It's amazing how heavy your backpack gets when you pack for one overnight camping trip...  My pack felt like it was about 70 pounds.  Still, as heavy as that pack was, it was a liberating experience knowing you could carry everything you needed for your survival.  

In our family's recent move across the subdivision, I joked that a house fire wouldn't have hurt my feelings.  Obviously not the kind of house fire where anyone was hurt; just the type of house fire that would've removed the responsibility of packing, loading, moving, unloading & unpacking... 

Before you misunderstand me, we aren't hoarders or pack-rats.  Nor are we people who have a lot-of-lot stuff.  Also, let me add, Tammy impressed me with what she was able to pare down &  pack away for an upcoming yardsale.   

I have a new philosophy on possessions.  My new view is that I'd like to pare my possessions down to what would fit into my backpack.  No joke.  

I recently shared my new stance with a longtime mentor of mine, a dear friend Ted Matthews.  Ted pointed out how that might seem nice, but with having a family comes the responsibility of caring for them, and that requires stuff/things.  I guess Ted is right, but I still would like to be able to only own what I can carry on my back.

This is not one of those emotional rants where you are challenged to "prioritize" your possessions and share what you'd put into your backpack, like at some Summer camp devo, or Youth retreat.  I've seen those talks, I'm not going down that path.  

This also is not a guilt trip, i.e., sermonizing post, where I tell you how the Bible is full of passages (which you could read them) which lay out the truth we brought nothing into the world & we'll take nothing out of it either.  You know the old cliche about how there are no U-hauls heading into the cemetery...  Keyword, cliche. 

Finally, this post isn't some "spiritual" superiority complex where I say I want to be more like Jesus than you are.  After all, He had nowhere "to lay His head..."  This is self-centered talk here!  This is what I really want for me, I'm not pushing this off on anyone.

No, this feeling I have about wishing I could pare my junk down to what I can fit into my backpack is something that I can't shake.  Since we spent a few weeks packing, then a solid week/week and a half, trudging our stuff to our new place, and then all the getting settled in..., I really think having a bunch of stuff is overrated.  

Tonight while I was reading a historical account about one of the most successful inter-generational families, I thought to myself -- what in my life would change if I were independently wealthy, or were a millionaire?  How would I live or act differently?  I may be naive, but I can't think of much changing.  I'd still want to be with and eat dinner with my family every single day.  I'd still want to read voraciously....  I'd still want to invest my life in helping people know God.  Sure having wealth would ease some stress, and maybe make it possible to do some traveling.  But I'm guessing 99% of my existence would be about the same.  

I don't sit around wishing I could accumulate more stuff. Instead, lately I think to myself daily, maybe hobos aren't as dumb as we think they are?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's been about 6 months since I've blogged.  A lot has gone on in our lives since I've transitioned out of the NE church.  The Lord blessed our family with a great summer together.  If you've followed any of our FB or Twitter posts, you know we hit the beach, went to D.C. for a couple of days, relaxed, Klay and I drove to AR and visited Drew & Laura once, and every week we've grilled a lot, a lot.  Want to hear something funny?  About two years ago I asked the church for a Sabbatical, at the time I didn't get it, so I'm thanking God for the sabbatical I did get this year...

Life has felt disoriented over the last several months, as you might expect.  Not working, moving, trying to find our way, wondering what God is teaching us in all of this, you name it.  Many good friends, from near & far, have come along side us in our pain and have offered much needed encouragement.  I've had a lot of heartfelt phone calls from friends out of state, and several meals with good friends in town.  I'm looking at life differently than I did one year ago, even six months ago.  Many blessings have given us glimmers of hope, and we've seen God's hand in weird ways we wouldn't have normally thought about, too.  Some people have distanced themselves, while other people have drawn closer.  I don't really expect anyone to understand how we feel, but it's true, you do find out who your real friends are.

I'm back to working concrete for the time being.  With the economy still limping along and the weather turning, well you can figure that one out.  I'm thankful for a job and hope for the best.  Nervous?  Somewhat.  It's a little bit surreal, working construction after about a 17 year break from it...

In many ways, after the experiences of the last few years, my adrenal glands and my sanity needed a breather.  So I'm thankful for the past few months.  Now, I'm looking around and I feel kind of like Mel Gibson's character in the Road Warrior after his wreak, mixed with Tom Hank's character in Cast Away.  I'm not sure where I am in the plot of Cast Away right now, I'm certainly past the plane crash, but I don't know if I'm past the scene where he knocks out his tooth with the ice-skate, or if he's back in civilization already?  I think I'm learning about myself, that's always a good thing.  I know my prayers have changed, and I appreciate the small things more.  I don't take a lot for granted these days.  I miss my old life, sometimes, but I don't want to go back, not one little bit.

Why haven't I blogged?  Honestly, my mind pretty much shut down over the last few months.  I lost a lot of creativity.  Well, let me rephrase that, I haven't felt creative.  My mind, emotionally & intellectually kind of went into hibernation.  This year, the rhythmic centering I usually experience preparing lessons, sermons, articles, etc. has all been shifted.   I'm just now lately feeling like I have a voice, or have something worthwhile to say, or an interest to write.    My mind has felt starved.  My spirit felt flat.  Now, I'm feeling the tingling sensation bears certainly must feel when it's time to wake up and feed themselves.  It's almost midnight here, my alarm clock is set for 5:55 a.m., and I probably should be in bed now.