Friday, November 21, 2008

Confession XLXII

enough |iˈnəf|

adjective & pronoun

as much or as many as required

used to indicate that one is unwilling to tolerate any more of something undesirable


1 to the required degree or extent (used after an adjective, adverb, or verb); adequately : before he was old enough to shave | you're not big enough for basketball.

2 to a moderate degree; fairly : he can get there easily enough | he seems nice enough.

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.  (Acts 1:12)

My breath is caught in my chest.  High up in my chest, like I need to yell, scream, shout, rant, rage, run away till I’m out of breath and out of land and out of sight from everything that is me in this world.

I want to be alone.

The roads are wet.  Nighttime.  Lights on flashing, spinning going all crazy-like as cars speed through intersections at rush hour home.  The weekend, but nothing’s really ending at all; it’s merely all being put on hold for another day.  Monday.  Two days coming.  The weekend’s never enough.

I would have given anything to be back with my love.  To have her in my arms.  Hold her.  But life won’t allow that for me right now, it’s not like that right now. 

I know I’m not the only one.

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.  (Acts 1:12)

“Long distance relationships are tough,” she said.  “They wear on you emotionally. They get under your skin, you know.”

I said, “Yeah, I know,” and returned to my work.  I said it like some scientific expert on some way too tough to even pronounce disease.  Said it like there was no breath left in me.  I didn’t even want to be at work.  Said it semi-depressive, but I don’t even know who I can turn to, who I can tell.  Said it like I’ve had enough.

The phone calls aren’t good enough anymore.  For the first time, the letter writing made me sad.  The talking online, the emailing, the communication through waves and clouds, oceans and skies, and all that’s in between; it’s just not good enough anymore.  I need to be with her.  I need to see her.  I need her to know that whenever she’s having a “freak-out session” that I am right down the street and will come running to be beside her.  I need her to know that we’ll work out fine when it comes to daily life and sharing close quarters.  But I am miles away, and that’s not good enough.

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.  (Acts 1:12)

I am not the only one that feels this way.  I’m not the only one who’s lost a love to distance and time.  I’m not the only one that’s ever wanted to quit everything so I could go be with her.  I’m not the only one who’s felt depressed when I realize the reality of “I can’t.”

But then again, what’s holding me back?  Really, I could just drop everything and go be with her.  I could risk the flight over, risk the detention at Heathrow, risk the interrogation again, risk the 7 hours of sleeping on chairs, and risk the possibility of not being allowed into the country.  Because, when it comes to following love, what is enough?

Maybe the question should be phrased, “What isn’t enough?”  “What am I not giving?  Sacrificing?”  The question doesn’t include, “What am I called to give?”  Or, “What’s expected of me?”  Because love itself, for no other reason, simply loves; it does not expect and it does not have a quota to meet.

Well, you say to me, “No – I can’t get through this.  I can’t do this – no, no it’s not me; it’s? It’s way too big for me.  This whole situation I’m stuck in.  This whole life story down in the digs – this thing that is me and around me...I just can’t.”  And you say it after you’ve lost all breath like there’s no other way, like you’re actually not getting through it.  And for a moment you’ve convinced me that this one time God’s not going to pull through and give you just enough grace to make it. 

Because to God, what is enough?

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.  (Acts 1:12)

Even after Christ was taken from the disciples, their first love, their passion, their reason for living – even after all of that was taken, they still went on with life.  Because Christ himself was not enough, but Christ in this world – well, that’s it.  It’s like, now the disciples weren’t just meant to be with Christ, they were meant to live as Christ did.  They were meant to continue.

And the Sabbath was the beginning.  The washing themselves, the making themselves clean, the removing the evil of their deeds from before their eyes was the start.  The ceasing to do evil, but learning good; the seeking justice and correcting oppression; the bringing justice to the fatherless and pleading the widows’ cause – that, that was the very beginning of Christianity (Isaiah 1:16&17).

And today’s Christianity is still not enough.

My “Christian walk” is not enough.  I’m meant to continue even though I’ve seen my love off.  I’m meant to journey that Sabbath.  I’m meant to do right by those who’ve been wronged.  And I’m meant to love for no other reason than to love.

I told her, “I love you.”  Then hung up the phone.

Love itself doesn’t end even though your love’s gone.  So continue on.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Confession XLXI

I find myself always thinking of her.  Maybe all of this thinking could be coined obsession, but is an obsessive love truly a bad thing?  A love that says, “I will always be with you, no matter what, till the end.”  A love that says, “Even if you’re thousands of miles away from me, you’ll still be stepping close on my mind and on my heart; I will always be remembering you.”  A love that says, “ I don’t ever want to leave you.”

But then that day came.  The drive to the airport should have been never-ending, but it ended all too quickly.  And my love left me. 

And I drove away from her.

And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven?”  (Acts 1:10-11)

If only I could have run after that plane.  Stood on the other side of the fence at the end of the runway so maybe she could see me waving goodbye. And I’d stand there till the plane was out of sight so maybe she would be able to look down and see me fade with the distance.

But that only happens in the movies. 

For those of us who do not live in the movies we must bring our eyes down from our lost loves.  We must realize that life doesn’t end in that one moment.  That the music does not crescendo playing sweet lullabies leaving us lingering in tragic happiness.

“Why do you stand looking into heaven?” (Acts 1:11)

Even in the most unfortunate circumstances, we must move on.  I’m not saying we move on from our love.  That we forget our love.  That we leave it all behind and act like the past seven months never happened. 

No, I’m saying we should constantly think on that love knowing that in the end we’ll be re-united.  Knowing that when tomorrow comes we will not be left staring forlornly into the heavens.  Because if we are caught with our eyes set to where we think we should be, or to who we think we should be with, or to how we think life should be lived then we will miss a God-given reality.

Seriously, the real tragedy is not losing your love, but it’s losing all that your love’s left for you.  Yeah, your love was amazing.  She left you wanting more.  She gave you the fondest of memories.  She aroused you to live life like tomorrow might never come.  She challenged you.  She loved you back.  She was your best friend.  She was more than you could have ever dreamed of.

But wait – wait, why are you still staring into the heavens even though her plane’s no longer over the eastern seaboard?  Why aren’t you doing something with life?  Why aren’t you preparing for the future?  Why aren’t you living out that hope to be back with one another?

See, we live in an obsessive culture.  We see what we want.  We go crazy saying things like, “I got to have that.” “Bro, doesn’t that blow your mind. I wonder how much it costs.”  When someone asks us if we want more or if we want a larger size then bring on the next round because the words “I’ll take it” slide off the tongue so gracefully and easily and so quickly.  And we get what we want.  But when we don’t get it, then that’s all we think about.  We obsess about.  We crave, craze, gaze, wish-for, need, must have like “must have” were the last words we knew to say because it comes at the moment when we think we’re completely dehydrated and water is the only thing that will save our life. 

But that’s only what we think.  And then that’s only what we do. 

We’re wrong.

We may think we know what we need, but there is something so much greater than we could have ever imagined out there for us.  We don’t need to be staring into the heavens, picking out all the constellations, squinting to see the farthest of regions the Universe has to hold.  No.  Our world is at our feet.  Our future is at eye level.  And tomorrow is just a reach away.

Tell me that the heavens hold the key to changing the world and I’ll tell you that our Savior God let that key drop, fall to the ground, find it’s way to your stoop, and hid itself under the door step claiming “WELCOME.” 

So please, go outside.  Look at that mat.  Lift it up.  Pick up the key.  And change the world.


To the reality Jesus left for us.




Thursday, November 6, 2008

Confession XLX

“I’ll see you sooner than you think.”

She was silent.  She barely even looked at me.  But I’m not sure if she could look at me.  It wasn’t because I upset her.  It wasn’t any malicious act against me.  She just stared out the window and I bet she knew the airport was approaching quickly.

The sunrise was beautiful.  I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it before.  As it aged the horizon kept dropping, but the clouds stayed on one level.  There was a clear divide between cloud and sky then sky and horizon.  And the sun shone with all the brilliance of thousands of years of practice.

“I have hope.  You’ll see me again in January.”

She looked over not even knowing what to say.  [Silence.]

I watched my love walk into Terminal E.  And I drove away.

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom of Israel?”  He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or season that the Father has fixed by his own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:6-8).

I don’t know when I’ll see her again.  I don’t know why it has to be this way.  I don’t know how to change our not being together.  I simply don’t know.  And I’ve asked the Lord.  I’ve sought him out for all of this.  Asked, “Why me God?  Why can’t we be together?  Why couldn’t I at least live in the same country so maybe I could just walk to her house?”

And it seems as though God’s been silent on the matter.  Or maybe he’s re-focusing my outlook on life.  Maybe he’s taking my eyes off my own plight and heartache so that I can see the famous “bigger” picture of life. 

All too often I get caught up in my own affairs.  It’s all about me: 

I don’t have enough money to go out tonight. 

I don’t have enough time to go to the gym.

I can’t take two hours out of my time to sit down and write or study the Bible.

Then I pass the homeless man in Boston.  He asks me for change. And I say, “Sorry, I have no change.”  Well, that’s true.  But there’s also probably an ATM right around the corner.  There’s probably a McDonald’s, a Tedeschi’s, or any sort of food-carrying store right behind where this homeless man stands.  And of course there are American Eagles, Macy’s, H&M’s, J C Penny’s, and plenty of places to buy him a pair of socks, or shoes or even a jacket.  But no.  I can’t. 

I can’t give to another human being when he asks me simply for a little change.

And in the end I am appalling.

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom of Israel?”  He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or season that the Father has fixed by his own authority.  But...” (Acts 1:6-7)

Don’t focus on yourself.  But don’t merely concern yourself with your own situations and your own walks in life and your own mistakes and failings and happiness, sadness, hurt, tears, joys, wonderful moments, lasting memories – don’t merely consume yourself with you.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

I couldn’t stop thinking about her as I drove away.  I kept wondering when I’d see her again.  Kept wondering if this is truly the way it’s meant to be for now.  Kept wanting to go back to the airport and stop her from getting on the plane.  Wanted to make our goodbye longer so it would never turn into a goodbye.  I wanted to be with my love.  That’s all.

But God immediately took me in another direction.  He didn’t have to tell me I’d be all right.  He didn’t have to tell me everything would work out.  Because he already did that in the three weeks he gave me to spend with her.  But he had to tell me to look elsewhere, to look to the ends of the earth.

Just like he took the disciples’ eyes off their passion, he took my eyes off my love.  And he placed them on greater things to come.  He showed me the world.  He told me I would go out and change the world.  He told me that I had the power to do so because he had given me the power.  And he reminded me of his promise to never leave me. 

Sometimes life is way too much to handle and too easily we get caught up in ourselves.  But God’s got something so far beyond the magnitude of our troubles and our self.  And it seems like the grand scheme of life is to go, and to serve and to simply do.

So may you set your eyes not on yourself, but on others.  And may you find that God’s given you the world.  All that’s required of you is to do something and to do it for the sole reason that you love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind and your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27).