Far better than any other high
That churning in your stomach and the quickening of your heartbeat and even the flushing of your cheeks when the Scriptures oh so gently convict you with a fresh wind of His breath.
Nothing makes me feel more alive.
Some things are taught
He doesn’t know how to be a father because he’s never been taught how. He is confused and frustrated by the pain in his son’s eyes.He doesn’t understand that there is so much more to being a father than working 8-5 to provide food for the table and clothes for their backs. He doesn’t know that he is still expected to be a husband who loves, shelters, and adores his wife, long after the passion has died and the wedding pictures have started to fade. He is afraid that he is failing everyday, but fails to see what he is doing that is so wrong.
Since when was being alive so complicated? No one told him that being a father and husband was going to be so difficult. This thanksgiving, I see it in my father’s eyes— I see the little boy that never got to cling on tight and cry on his dad’s shoulders when he was hurting, never got to play a casual game of soccer or even hear the words, “Im proud of you, son” no matter how hard he tried. Years have passed and now he is donning wrinkles around his eyes, specks of gray in his hair, and four kids who call him “Dad”— but he is still a little boy who never had a father.
But why do things change so quickly?
Why are futures hard to predict?
Why does growing up take pain?
And why can’t some things just stay the same?
I don’t know why things still shock us
As if the world is something nice
Why do we think He had to suffer
Beaten, bled, to pay the price?
If people were all innocent, we would need no Savior, need no grace
And yes we Christians mess up too
Yet why do we try to save our face?
If church is really a sanctuary,
The place where no one can be denied
Then why is it we are so afraid
Of the very people for whom Jesus died?
I think this is not an easy matter
No one has a perfect answer
But sometimes I wish we’d all just chill
Take a moment to rest, be still
And search in deep to figure out
What this Love is all about.
The Chief End of Man
I saw You today in the kindness of a stranger who paid for my cappuccino after a long, draining day of work.
I heard You today in the words that you allowed Mike to preach at the large group You gave me the strength to go to.
I felt You today in the car when I allowed Jimmy to pray for me and witness the tears I helplessly shed in front of him.
I tasted Your goodness today when I enjoyed the best freaking burrito I had ever made at work and realized it was the first lunch break I was actually able to enjoy in a while.
I touched You today as I sat there, slumped in broken worship before You, unable to sing a word, but somehow certain that You heard me still.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, and for His wonders to the sons of men! Psalms 107:8
How Giraffe & Monkey Became Friends
Giraffe and Monkey were very different from each other. Giraffe liked tree leaves and Monkey liked bananas. Giraffe and Monkey were very good at very different things. Giraffe could see above all the tree tops, while Monkey could swing through any tree in the blink of an eye.
Giraffe and Monkey tried to be friends, but it was very difficult. It seemed all they did was disagree on everything and anything. “Everyone knows zebras are black with white stripes” Giraffe would say to Monkey.”Why, that’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard, Giraffe. I have a very good friend who just so happens to be a zebra, and she most certainly is white with black stripes!” retaliated Monkey.
They hardly ever agreed on anything unimportant. Monkey was always so sure of her opinions on everything, and Giraffe was one of the most stubborn animals around. They could not understand each other, and so it seemed they would never be true friends.
Until one day, Giraffe found Monkey stuck in her own tail, which had gotten so very tangled up in a tree branch.
Giraffe asked Monkey, “Monkey, how did you end up there?”
Monkey had a hard time answering. She did not want to admit that she had made a mistake while swinging so freely in the trees she thought she knew so well. But Monkey was in so much pain, that she could no longer contain herself.
Monkey looked at Giraffe with nothing but pain and sorrow in her deep, dark brown eyes and cried, “Giraffe! HELP ME!!! I’m nothing but a mess! I’ve been stuck here for the past two days and I can’t get myself out. I’ve tried everything, but I can’t do it on my own. I am about to give up. I’m so hungry and my tail hurts and I am so very scared as to what will happen if I stay stuck. Will you help me??”
Without another word, Giraffe swung his very long neck through the tree and shook Monkey out of her tangled mess.
And that was all it took for Giraffe and Monkey to finally realize that they could be friends after all— that it was not their differences nor their gifting that brought them together, but rather, those scary and otherwise lonely moments in life that they were able to share and help each other get through.
It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
-making an actual dinner rather than settling for chocolate covered raisins and more carbs
-finding a decent novel to read at the library
-admitting that today was hard, but noticeably better than yesterday
-working up the courage to finally open up my hands and receive from other people again (a rare moment in which I find myself incredibly grateful for Jimmy’s stubbornness…seriously, thanks bro)
-choosing to believe that all of the above victories are the fruit of other people’s prayers on my behalf— yes, I am actually starting to believe the “I’ve been praying for you”s and maybe even the “I will pray for you”s
-and then, at the end of the day, recognizing His all too familiar hand behind all of this:
The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the LORD. Proverbs 21:31
Or is this a good place?
You know you’re not in a good place when the homeless guy standing in line behind you for the bathroom at Starbucks interrupts your thoughts to ask, “excuse me, are you ok? You just look…sad” and all you can do is fight back tears and manage to look him in the eyes and just pause—“I’m tired, thats all.” And you can tell he doesn’t believe you.
I couldn’t even thank him for his concern.
Eddie the Ex-Hippie
Edward, a Cafe Med regular, got to meet me today. He heard me and Conchita conversing in Spanish in the kitchen and came over, wide-eyed, asking me where I learned to speak Spanish. I told him I was from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and his eyes got even wider.
”So let me get this straight. You’re ethnically Korean, born in Argentina, but American?”
"Yes sir" I am used to this, sort of.
He tells me that i am blowing his mind. And he asks me if “there are more of you?” I think of people like Johnny and Daeyun and Silvia and the entire Korean community in South America, and nod, “oh yes, there’s plenty more where I come from. Asians are everywhere. The world’s getting smaller.”
I can’t tell whether he is over exaggerating when he says that I am radically shifting his paradigm. He tells me that he graduated from Cal in 1968, free speech movement, mario savio, hippie, those descriptive words. But he says he has never met someone like me. He says he feels old now. He says he was a hippie, and that “once that gets on you its hard to get rid of.” I imagine him with long hair and flowy clothes, probably high on something, hanging out on Sproul and Telegraph, maybe sipping on espressos at Cafe Med then too.
He makes me feel cooler than I am. I wonder if I too will end up like him someday, 45 years after I graduated from Cal, still hanging out in Berkeley Cafes, drinking coffee and chatting with the local Berkeley kids, holding onto an expiring world view of how things used to be a long time ago…
t: are you a senior?
me: no, i graduated a couple years ago.
t: what are you doing now?
me: im working part time at cafe med. the one on telegraph.
t: oh...what do you want to do?
me: im doing what i want to do. i want to be in berkeley. i want to know berkeley. i want berkeley to know me. i want to meet and get to know the people of berkeley.
When your disciple becomes your friend
It might look like sharing a beer and chuckling (nervously?) over how terrified you both are about how life is looking kinda fragile right now and you’re not sure what to make of it…and then realizing that you have both been growing, albeit in some odd and unforseen ways, but growing nonetheless because neither of you have been in this place before: a place of raw yet sincere honesty with yourselves and with each other.
It might feel like letting go of yourself because for the first time, you find that you do not have any quick answers for her issues— not because you’ve grown dumber, but perhaps because you’re growing wiser and have experienced first hand that the “right answer” given haphazardly is never actually the right answer anyway.
It might mean you’ve finally learned to get over yourself after letting go of almost everything you used to hold onto with such pride and certainty, and you find yourself so free to tell her what’s actually going on in your life, not just ask her questions about hers—plus you’ve forgotten how to filter your words to sound spiritual and abstract anyway.
It might mean your relationship will never be the same again because you both have broken through that invisible curtain of religion and formality that was torn a long time ago anyway, you just had to go there and see it for yourself.