Caught in the Middle

“Reckless abandon wrapped in common sense. Deep water faith in the shallow end, and we are caught in the middle” ~Casting Crowns

I stood on the edge of a future fraught with possible landmines, I had no idea if I even wanted to jump, and who would have blamed me for standing still? Believe me, I was the last person to know what I wanted in that moment, in the pause that seemed to stretch into forever with how long I waited it out.

Looking back, I was hoping a decision would be made for me, that things would be packaged up and all I would have to do is put the bow on it. But that’s not how life happens, not often enough anyway. What life does is it waits until we’ve finally made the decision, then it changes our plans, whether we like it or not.

So what was I waiting for?

You could say I was always the one to look before leaping anyway, that I would generally weigh all possible options before wading in, or I wouldn’t wade in at all. I can’t tell you how many opportunities passed me by while I was sitting there waiting to make a decision (or 20).

I’m not sure if it was being careful, meticulous, or just indecisive, but it seemed to work relatively well for me. Continue reading “Caught in the Middle”

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Gotta Have Faith

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” ~Hebrews 11:1

When I was 10 I remember wondering what faith was, other than this nebulous thing no one could really quite explain when I asked about it. Either that or I got…

“Faith just is.” or “You either got it or you don’t.”

And I wasn’t sure if I had it, which is why I asked in the first place. I wasn’t stupid. I understood a lot about how the world worked. The problem was that the world doesn’t value faith. It values the solid, the concrete, what can be seen with our eyes.

I simply had no precedent for believing in the unseen.

And don’t tell my mom I was on the fence about god then too. Which is, of course, where it all came from in the first place. Belief in god presupposed you had faith, that even if you couldn’t see the divine being, he was indeed still up there sitting high and judging low. Dispensing judgement or grace, or some haunting combination of the two.

But that was so far removed from what I knew in my everyday life. That was so fanciful it seemed far-fetched. It seemed like the absolute antithesis of everything I saw and learned of in school. Continue reading “Gotta Have Faith”

Chatting with Lexi: On Getting Up

It wasn’t my fault. I swear. It didn’t matter what it was, or if anyone had even scolded me about it by that point, I was in defensive mode. Because, sooner or later, everything would come back to me in some way, shape, or form, and I had to be ready. Not that being ready did me any good. My mom was still always at least 3 steps ahead of me when it came to everything I ever did, or was going to do.

I still have no clue how she did it.

The life of a 13-year-old is tough. They go through so many changes, both physically and emotionally. Their brains are processing information at a frantic rate, so no wonder we see them as paranoid bundles of energy. I never quite understood this until Lexi turned 13 this year, and boy, am I understanding it now! Funny how things do come full circle. My mom told me this about 3 steps ago, and I am just catching up now.

I hate when she’s right.

A few days ago I tried to wake Lexi up, to get the day going. It was the weekend, which is prime sleep time for any self-respecting 13-year-old (“Like, seriously, Dad!”), but after 10 am all bets are off. In my book anyway. Apparently, not in the Book of Lexi. Continue reading “Chatting with Lexi: On Getting Up”

Labeled

I often think about all the labels I wear, or have worn, over the years. First there was “son,” a dubious one indeed because I had no control over it. Indeed, I didn’t even really know it existed on a conscious level until I had been one for quite some time. I remember my mother leaning over me to tuck me into bed one time, and thinking: I’m her son.

Then there was “brother,” which has been with me just as long as son. I don’t know my life in any kind of context when I wasn’t a brother, when I didn’t have someone else who shared my experience growing up in that house. And we were close at times, while not at others. We battled for space, for time, for pretty much whatever spoils could have existed. That was the life of being a brother.

Next I guess you could add “neighbor” to the list, though I was a poor one. We lived a pretty sheltered existence, but there were others on the block who I connected with from time to time (large expanses of time between the connections). These boys and girls always seemed alien to me, like some kind of extra-terrestrials who lived completely different lives even though we lived right next door. Continue reading “Labeled”

What Brown Can’t Do

The slogan for UPS used to be “What can Brown do for you?” and I think of it every time I sit here trying to be a zen master, trying not to use every swear word I know to describe the brown truck and the clueless driver who can’t find my house.

Warning: Rant coming.

We live rural. And with that comes a lot of adjustments that have to be made. We have to drive half an hour to get to some semblance of civilization (i.e. the nearest Walmart). We have to commute half an hour to get to our respective jobs. And we live on a road that claims to be in Poland but is actually in Newport.

Hence lies our troubles with UPS (apparently FedEx can find us, no problem).

They just can’t seem to find our house. Time and again we’ve ordered things online and they just haven’t been able to make their way to us. Just before Christmas I had an amazing present for my wife coming through UPS, and the truck drove down our road but didn’t stop at our house. I saw it. It passed right by, slowly, but our driveway is very long, and it was impossible to get him to notice me shouting from the garage doorway. Continue reading “What Brown Can’t Do”

Unfinished

When you run a part of the relay and pass on the baton, there is no sense of unfinished business in your mind. There is just the sense of having done your part to the best of your ability. ~ N.R. Narayana Murthy

I’m not a runner. I really never have been, though I did run from bullies when I was in elementary school. For a while I ran around my neighborhood, too, until loose dogs made me stop. Or at least that was my excuse for stopping. That’s pretty much it.

But I’m a big fan of the Olympics. I watch the runners go around the track, and I envy them. I love the relay because each runner goes all out for only a quarter of the race, but that’s it. That’s their job. It will forever be unfinished for them.

The baton is the only part of the relay that completes the entire cycle.

It’s something I think about a lot, the idea of trusting in others to get something finished that I’ve started. Continue reading “Unfinished”

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