Wednesday, April 4, 2007

oh for the new creation

(note: I started writing this on an airplane somewhere between San Antonio and Chicago, and finished two days later in the comfort of my office)

Why can't it end? There's so much pain, so much suffering. So much hell. I find myself on a plane from San Antonio to Chicago, then I have to drive three hours back to Grand Rapids. My wife will be waiting at home for me. I can't wait to see her. This weekend was good. We celebrated marriage with Rick and Melissa. It was a beautiful wedding. Heidi and I had scheduled a photo-shoot on Sunday afternoon with the wedding photographer, who happens to be one of the best photographer's I've ever seen. It was so much fun to walk around 6th Street in Austin with two photographers and an assistant. It was truly a good time. And the few pictures that I saw were tremendous.

And so now I look down on lights beneath me as the sun has just set. And I sense the voice of God saying come. Yes, there is pain and suffering and sickness, but I'm inviting you into life as you've never known it before. It is difficult, you know. To see all of the heartache going on around me...and even to be a part of heartache. To have my heart broken. To have life not work out easily and smoothly. It's difficult. Within the last two weeks I've dealt with mother's of friends dying unexpectedly and fathers/husbands ready to leave and start over...both of which I've blogged about previously. Within the last few months some very close friends miscarried their child. It's sad and overwhelming and exhausting. So I went down to Texas for the weekend, hoping to get close myself off from my world for just a few days. To rejuvenate, to refuel. And I get there to find that a couple of our friends in Texas had just miscarried their child. Heartbreak is impossible to escape...even for a few days. And then I go home and I'm faced with a friend of a friend who's sister attempted suicide and is in intensive care at the hospital. I went to meet the family and visit with them and pray with them.

As I stood in the hospital room, just ready to go home and sleep because of all the hell that is breaking loose around me, I mustered up the strength to pray. This family doesn't have a church...I don't even know if they are Christ-followers. But as we stood around the bed and we bowed our heads and closed our eyes, I prayed. I prayed for healing. I prayed that this situation would bring the family together. I prayed that God would use this situation to reveal himself in some way. And as I said amen and we all opened our eyes, the woman who had attempted suicide...unable to speak, barely able to move, hooked up to i.v.'s and breathing tubes...lifted her hands and clapped.

I walked away no longer wanting to escape the realities of life and the hell that we all are experiencing here. It's time to do whatever it takes to bring the grace and mercy and love of God to people who are experiencing the hell of this fallen creation. Maybe it's time for me to realize that even I cannot escape the difficulty of life...and maybe it's time for me to pour myself embrace even the hell that I have to go through (because it is true that my life is not always easy and smooth and more often than not everything doesn't fall into place) so that I can better help those around me who are experiencing pain and suffering and sickness and difficult marriages and miscarriages and lost jobs and attempts at suicide. In the words of some good friends of mine, Jon and Angela... “oh for the new creation!”

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Don't Mess With Texas

Yeah. Here I am in Austin, TX. Went to Heidi's best friend Melissa's wedding yesterday. It was a fun time. They had the ceremony at this was beautiful. And now today, we're going to go hang out downtown for the afternoon. It's been good to get away and relax a bit. Austin is such a cool city. Good food, good places to hang out, and lots of good friends (some new and some old).

The only downside to this trip is that Thrifty Rental Car decided it was necessary to give me a PT Cruiser for my rental car. Now, I mean no offense if you enjoy the PT Cruiser. I'm sure there are some out there who enjoy driving a car that looks like a new rendition of something that would have been driven in the 1930's. However, I do not like them, and I feel rather stupid driving it. When I took the airport shuttle to the Thrifty office, the salesman at the desk said, "You reserved an economy car, is the silver PT Cruiser sitting right there ok?" I looked at it. I looked at him. I looked back at the car. I looked at him again. And I said, "Actually, do you have anything else economy?" He looked back and me and said in his thick southern accent, "No, we just have the PT Cruiser." I replied, "Well that will have to do." So here I am driving the streets of one of the coolest city in the US in a freaking PT Cruiser.