A Brief Exchange

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The Lady in Black
peers out at me
as I peer in at her.
But does one see the other?

Is she watching me
as I watch her?
A mirror of herself
hanging in a silent world?

Two framed captives held
by space and time.
We meet between our worlds.
A silent moment exchanged.

Invited to tea
‘midst frozen chords.
Piano’s serenade –
sounds imagined but unheard.

Time has stopped.

Eternal moment,
a brief exchange
beyond the reach of time?
But future to present must turn.
I rise.

To Stay Together

If someone said when I was young how much it cost to be in love, I would’ve run.

– Johnnyswim, Back to You

Honest lyrics can be a glimpse of truth. Life lived gives them depth. Love is hard. A few days ago, I learned of another divorce. I’d known them for years. It took me completely by surprise. Sadly, it’s not the first time, and I know it won’t be the last.

I usually ask the same questions. What happened? Why? When did it start? All useful questions, but only if they can be answered. That said, this happened in the midst of a week surrounded by little drops of wisdom. So I’d like to share those in hopes that they may touch you and encourage you as they have me.

Earlier this week I listened to a podcast featuring Drew and Ellie Holcomb. As they talked openly about counseling, they said something powerful. Drew’s parents, from the get go, encouraged not only premarital counseling, but ongoing counseling. So, for them, counseling was not stigmatized. Put these two together, and maybe we have something to ebb the flow of broken homes.

It’s hard. It’s going to be hard. Find people to help you work your way through it!

On that same podcast, this time featuring Johnnyswim, Abner said something that struck me. He started by saying he felt we didn’t emphasize “til death to us part” enough. He’d just been in a couple weddings. He’d ended one with, “to toe tags and body bags”. Maybe a little morbid, but a strong statement. It’s the commitment he and his wife made to one another. A commitment they fight for. They’ll be together until one is sitting beside the other and they breathe their last.

I believe in the value of commitment. Ultimately, we do some of our best work when we don’t give ourselves an out. It’s a cheesy example, but it’s a pretty strong statement in the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Their relationship went deep enough to matter because they couldn’t easily back out.

The last instance came following a lecture at Christ City on the heart of contemplation. In sharing her history, the speaker expressed thankfulness that her awakening had not ended her marriage. Though she didn’t go into detail, the process of her becoming, her changing, her growing put a serious strain on their relationship. It reminded me of another story. One I shared with the pastor afterward and he confirmed as possibly being the most important part of getting through. It came from an old man who, when asked how his marriage had lasted so long said, “I never tried to control her. I was married to eight different women.” She changed. Pretty significantly. He didn’t stop her. He didn’t fight her. He didn’t fear who she would become. Instead, he accepted her and continued to love her.

In light of that, I’ll close with these lyrics from Penny and Sparrow’s “Duet” which I believe capture much of what I’ve expressed here.

Because I’ve seen you and I know you, and I’m not going anywhere.

The Value of Commitment

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Commitment is powerful. This coming from someone who struggles with commitment. Nearly a year ago, I dove into a body building and strengthening program. I was all in. I committed. And that commitment taught me several valuable lessons.

  1. Commitment simplifies things. I remember my first trip to the grocery store after I had established my diet. In and out in fifteen minutes with a week’s worth of groceries.
  2. Commitment makes it easier to say ‘no’. We all struggle to say no. Usually because our priorities are not clear. Commitment aligns us with our priorities.
  3. Commitment goes deeper. I think we all intuitively know that committing to one thing means saying no to another, even when we’re trying to do everything. It is true. My understanding of diet, nutrition and the body has grown to a level I never anticipated. A necessary outworking of dedicated work toward a goal.
  4. Commitment frees you. Odd, right? That something that sets a restriction would bring freedom, but it does. I no longer have to waste time wondering what I should do, or worrying whether it’s going to work out or not. I just have to do.
  5. Commitment leads to results. Stick to anything long enough an we’ll see the benefits. For me, my commitment led to me gaining a healthy new equilibrium at 185, and a stronger, leaner body I’m proud of. My journey is not over, though I’m focusing on conditioning right now before I bulk again. I know that holding to my commitment will bring the results I’m looking for.

So, tell me, what is it you want to accomplish? Are you committed? I guarantee it will make a difference.

Unexpected Gift

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A short few months ago I met a girl. From the moment she entered my life I experienced an awakening. Now if you’re expecting a tale of romance, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed.  But it is the beginning of a happy story and one I am thankful for.

That said, let me begin with a bit of someone else’s story.

 

I recently watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty again. He and I share more in common than I would like to admit. I zone out less, but we both have vivid imaginations and neither of us are living the life we imagine. At one point in the film, he turns down a free ride that will further the quest. Not that I blame him, riding a helicopter into a storm with a drunk pilot is not generally a recipe for wisdom. It is then that an imagined Cheryl Melhoff, his love interest, takes the stage singing David Bowie’s Space Oddity. A song she herself said is about bravery and going into the unknown. It moves him to action and moments later he leaps into a rising helicopter, a look of shock on his face at what he’s just done.

That’s a bit how I feel.

There are things I deeply admire about this woman. Some of them are hopes I have for my own life that I see her living as a world traveler and an artist. Others are the simple joy of easy conversation and good company. Not to mention she’s also a fighter. She’s the kind of woman  you’d want at your side for a grand adventure.

Her life became a catalyst for me, accelerating the changes already in progress in my life and, in some places, inspiring new ones. At first, I questioned the motivation. After all, shouldn’t these things be motivated by God. In the midst of that line of questioning, I chose to accept a word of advice from Darren Hardy. Whatever motivates you, use it. In so doing, I came to recognize that her presence in my life was a gift from God. A gift that, among other things, has drawn me closer to Him. She happens to be what I needed at the moment I needed it.

So where does that leave me now? I suppose it leaves me still staring down the corridor of the unknown. A future I prefer to call a mystery. It’s undiscovered territory. There is no telling where it will lead, who it will lead to or what it holds for my future. And thanks to her presence, God’s gift of this friend I deeply value, I am further on down the line than I was before. And I’m thankful, because the simple fact that someone like her exists has given me hope for the future.

I’ll close with a quote from The Four Loves. It touched me the moment I read it, and it captures how I feel.

“Appreciative love gazes and holds its breath and is silent, rejoices that such a wonder should exist even if not for him, will not be wholly dejected by losing her, would rather have it so than never to have seen her at all.”  – C.S. Lewis