Monday, August 25, 2008

Seven Things

Seven Things About Me:

1) I’ve always been wanted to be tagged in one of these things but never had been. I think that this ties into my wanting to be significant.

2) I really like ABBA and it was my idea for me and Diane to go see “Mamma Mia” this summer. I also like Stryper, Keith Green, and musicals.

3) I used to pretend to be the UNC Tar Heels playing against Duke and NC State in my driveway (back when it was still fun to play imaginary against State, since they were competitive then). I would run out from the garage as though I were running out of the tunnel at the Dean Dome, and the “radio commentator” in my head would tell how we were at the outdoor arena for the game. UNC would always win.

4) I used to pretend to be Dale Earnhardt while mowing the grass on the riding mower, and when I could put it into neutral and coast downhill, picking up speed, is when I would pass everyone for the win.

5) I like to collect music. Not in terms of “vintage stuff” but I just like to have lots of music and lots of different kinds. There are over 3900 songs on my iPod but I only listen to maybe a third of them with any regularity. The others I just like to know that I have them.

6) I am addicted to being liked. This is an addiction I am trying to break, and sometimes God gives me “detox” by letting me make decisions that make others angry. I really desire to be free from this addiction, because I want to be led by the Spirit, not by what a person thinks about me.

7) While I now shave my head because my hairline is going backwards, I originally did it because I just like having a shaved head. The first time I did it was in 1997, after Urban ‘96. I don’t know why I like it. It’s fun to cut all my hair off, and I just prefer it most of the time. This May at Rockbridge I tried to shave my head with a disposable Bic and I cut a half-inch gash in my head that was really deep. Blood was dripping down in the shower and I looked like a total dork (especially when I had to explain to people how I hurt my head). Always, ALWAYS use a Mach 3.

I am tagging:
Shawn Morrison , one of my best good friends, because he needs to get back to blogging.

Miles Travis because who knows what he will let us in on that we don’t already know, and because he’s about to be a daddy again.

Cory Cavin for the same reason as Miles (except for the daddy part)

Justin because he is way cooler than me (and he has to suffer through life as a State fan).

Meredith because her blog is the funniest one that I read (along with Cory’s), and because she probably will think that being tagged in something like this is lame.

Michele , because she is crazy.

And Chris because his blogs always are poignant and point me to grace.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Expecting to be Forgotten

A few weeks ago, a group of guys were hanging out in the parking lot of our church, and I had driven up to make sure that they would be moving along by nightfall. One of them needed a ride home, and so I said that I would be glad to help him, once I got my family home and got my kids to bed. When I came back a half hour later, he was gone, and his buddies said that he just thought I wasn’t going to come back. Around the same time, a man had approached me after church asking for money to buy food, and I told him that I’d be glad to drive home and get him some food and bring it back. Ten minutes later I was back, but he was gone. I bet he thought I wasn’t coming back.

I’m finding that this fear of being forgotten and let down is a pretty common theme with many that I work with. When we have an event for the neighborhood kids, they will call 5-10 times in the hour preceding it to make sure that they are being picked up, asking where their ride is, are we coming. Over and over and over. Many times if I make a promise to help someone financially through our church, they will call back multiple times to make sure that it is being taken care of.

We all have this desire to know that we matter, that we are important. And it makes me sad that there are many in this world who have it communicated to them over and over that they are not important, that they don’t matter, that they are an afterthought.

Last week at our Wednesday Community Fellowship, one of the guests who is homeless told me that there had been a newspaper article that day about a homeless man found dead in a building on High Point Road. He wondered if I would mention that to the group. And so I got up during our announcement time and just spoke about this death, a man that most of us did not know. As I spoke, the Lord reminded me that He said that God knows when even a sparrow falls to the ground, and that the very hairs on our head are numbered. Even when no one else knows, God knows. He reminded me to tell the group that He was with that man as he died, not abandoning him.

I have never been homeless, but if I were, long-term, I can imagine that one thing I might wonder is, “Would anyone notice if I wasn’t here?” Not in the sense of just giving up, but just wondering if I matter, if my life has purpose because many treat the homeless and the poor as a faceless nuisance.

But the more I am in relationship with folks who happen to not have as much as me, the more I know that they have stories and longings, and they want to know the same thing that I do – "Do I matter? Am I significant?" And God says to all of us, “Yes!” Those of us who know Jesus are to be the living embodiment of that “Yes,” that those who think they are forgotten might know that they are remembered by a God who loves them.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Not Forgotten

Recently I was loading our car and a woman who works the streets walked past. I had seen her out for weeks now and had sometimes felt angry at her presence and other times burdened for her. A few weeks ago I had stopped to talk with her outside, and when I spoke to her, she looked at me with smile that could only be described as hungry. When I told her that my wife and I lived here and that we didn’t know if there was anything she needed, her smile faded from hungry to warm, and she said she was just trying to get some food, which we gave her. I learned her name that day, and then didn’t see her much again for a while.

So back to our recent meeting – when I saw her, I told her hello and used her name. She smiled, surprised, and said, “You remembered my name?” and walked on. As she left, I felt like the Lord had something more to say to her, and so, when she passed by again, I called her name and said, “You know that God knows your name, don’t you? He does. And He loves you.” She mumbled something and walked on.

As I drove off a few minutes later, I passed her again, and as I waved, I could see her wiping tears from her eyes. The Lord’s heart for her, simply being reminded that no matter what she was doing, God still knew her name, still loved her, had broken through.

On Monday of this week, I saw her again, walking the streets, and I tried to talk with her, to tell her that there was another way than the life she was living right now. But a wall was up. She wasn’t going to let the Lord touch her heart again, at least not right then. It’s dangerous on the streets to show weakness or need, to face the pain and darkness for what they are. But hopefully Diane and I are reminders to her that there is a God who remembers her name, who loves her, and who offers another way.

Saturday, August 09, 2008