Thursday, August 23, 2012

Not Goodbye

I hate goodbyes. Parting ways with friends is one of the hardest things in life.  Even though I know I will see them again someday, my heart knows it will miss them while we are distanced. There really are no words to describe what happens to one’s heart when part of it leaves. When you send off part of your family, there is no way to convey the words that need to be said. I guess the only ones that matter are just these: I will miss you, Don’t forget me, and Have a good time. They just don’t suffice for the emotions welling from my heart.

This is not goodbye to two of my favorite people in the world. Never will I say those two words to you. In the two years we’ve been friends, the only parting phrase we’ve said is, “See you [Wednesday],” or whatever day we have plans for next. You befriended me when I was new to the land. You put up with me when all I was was wasted space. You made me feel appreciated and like you enjoyed my company. Thank you.

I’m sure if you’re reading this, you know who you are.

I am not sending you off, because for that I would have to let go of you. I am not letting go, because you are a part of me. As you cross the border, know that part of my heart goes with you. This summer we have bonded in ways I never thought possible. My guarded composure was loosened little by little until I felt you knew me better than any other souls in this world. You know my quirks, my shortcomings and most of my blonde moments. You have shared in my successes and helped me in my failures. You have stood by me while we marched through a sea of troubles, and we’ve been through much together. Whether it be eating a cow’s tongue, playing Halo or Just Dance, swimming or Truth or Dare—or just hanging out and talking, our lives have become intertwined.

I know you will gain experiences in this next step in your life that will grow you and teach you much. I pray that you will enjoy this season. Know that I will miss you, but learn as much as you can. I hope to join you next year—then you can show me the ropes.

See you in November.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Hunger Games {A Different Response}

The secular sensation series The Hunger Games caught my curiosity when almost all my friends, including many Christians, sang its praises. It made the New York Times’ Best Seller list. I read almost all of the trilogy, and the impressive effects Suzanne Collins has on her readers through these books was not lost on me. But I am about to give it much less than the five-star rating I’ve seen from others. In fact, I deleted the trilogy from my Kindle app because I couldn’t stand it anymore.

Slow down, here, and I’ll explain that bold statement. It was awesome, indeed, if awesome truly means “worthy of awe.” I truly felt that I was the main character, that I did all the things Katniss did, and that I was the object of love for the “Romeo” of the story. It’s an accomplished writer that can attain such effects. The plot was well-developed until the sharp cutoff ending, and the suspense was enough to keep me hooked, but predictable to keep me yelling at the characters. Well done, Collins.

But now I’m about to hone in on the problem. It was too good. Collins did too good a job pulling me into a new world. When I put down the book (or iPod, as the case may be), I still was waiting for Peeta (the “Romeo” I mentioned earlier) to come home. I still wondered how Prim (the main character’s little sister) was doing. Everything around me I related to my life in my new-found country of Panem. The subtle horrors of the book, the murderous Games, the lying heroes and the giant and growing character flaws of the main people all worked into me without me noticing. Because I read all three books (excluding about 15 chapters from the third one) in three days, I had little time to process my experiences or think about what I was doing. What’s wrong with that? It’s a sign of good modern writing, is it not? Well, “good,” isn’t the word I’d use for it.

In my Lit class, my teacher calls it “Escape Literature.” You know, the kind that’s not meant to teach anything, but merely as entertainment? There is no such thing. You cannot write without sending a message. I know this, and I hope everyone who has read my blog knows it from my communications. The Hunger Games teaches people beyond the surface of the words on the page. It teaches to lie, because both the main characters, Katniss and Peeta, protected those they loved successfully by doing so. It teaches to take desperate measures to stay alive, because that’s what everybody did and only those who were desperate enough to really do it lived. It teaches that having “spirit” is good and a hot temper can save your life, if you have a good liar at your side to cover up your mistakes. The trilogy was meant to entertain, yes, but it does so much more.

Many of my friends have tried to get me to read Harry Potter or Twilight. I have a feeling they are just as sensational as this trilogy was. But I’m not interested. People complain that my generation is lazy, that we are handicapped. But can’t you see why? It’s those desensitizing television shows, the sensational books without a point, the role-playing video games—they all pull you away from reality. Each one is an addiction in and of itself. When we have to put down the strong heroes we have become on the plasma screen thanks to our Xbox or close the book in which we have a passionate lover and see that we actually have to do something with our lives to become a person of influence, the obviously easier path is to pick that book back up or the controller.

This is not a book review. This is a rally cry. These books, and I’m sure many others, were wonderful, yes. But is it really worth our real lives to feel like heroes in a fake one? Is it really worth our character to watch a fictional person evolve on paper? There’s nothing wrong with reading books, but when they are written to take control of our minds—with moral or immoral motives—it’s dangerous to every aspect of our lives.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

To Be Continued…

The stories we tell often have a cut beginning and end. Our minds are finite, and we need to organize things with starts and finishes. It’s the way we are. But God’s above that. The stories He tells, He writes, He plays, run together meshing our lives with those around us.

The story He’s been telling me doesn’t have a clear beginning. It might have started in 1998. It might have started when I was born or when my father was born. Actually, it might have started way before that, I don’t know. But I’ve reached a climax, crisis or whatever one calls the high moments of suspense. We’ve reached a point in which nothing from here on out can be the same again. And a decision is made.

See, my daddy’s heart has always had a problem. One of his valves doesn’t work right and his thyroid is off, etc. He was born that way, but he didn’t discover it until he would keep my momma up at night because he was shaking the bed with only his heartbeat. In 1998, his heart stopped beating in rhythm for the first time. Momma rushed him to the ER and they shocked his heart back into pace, no problem. It just shook them up a bit and started daddy on yearly cardiologist visits. In 2009 it happened again with the same results. When we moved to Africa it was one of the concerns we had that we just trusted to God to take care of. And He has… in His own way.

On May 11, in the middle of the night, his heart went into arrhythmia for the third time. Daddy had spent the week on the island, where he doesn’t sleep well and the food is different as well as the less extravagant accommodations cause stress. The next morning I woke up to find my father up and sitting on the couch at 7 am on a Saturday morning, which basically never happens. When I asked what was wrong and learned, I sat down to give him a hug. But never have I given a more painful hug—as I leaned my head on his chest all I heard was “bum bump…bum bump bum! bump…bum….bump bum!” And that’s not a comforting beat to hear.

He and momma hired a driver to take them to Kampala, the big city, to see a trusted doctor there. The boys and I hung out with friends and expected a renewed father to return that evening. The instructions from the doctor (which we later confirmed with our American cardiologist) were to take blood thinner and wait three weeks before shocking. Those three weeks were very different from our normal life. If you take one member of a working family out of that family, there’s a gap that’s left to fill, chores left to be done and it affects the actions of the rest of the family. Momma was driving around town more, doing things, the boys were home more and I was out and talking to people more. And daddy? He was resting A LOT more.

Ever since that day he has not been able to walk more than across the house without a rest. He can’t stand more than 10 minutes or sit up straight more than an hour. Seeing him that way stressed all of us. But we all were counting the days until he would “get better.”

On this past Wednesday, daddy, momma, a friend of mine and her mom and I all were driven to Kampala for a couple different appointments. One was my dad’s for some blood tests. He got numbers low enough to go ahead with the operation and the doctor scheduled the procedure for the next day. Oh, daddy was so relieved. I started planning on being at church the Sunday after and the boys and I went to spend the night at some friends’ house.

But it wasn’t in the plot diagram, I guess. God didn’t write that in the story. Instead, He had the nurses shock my daddy twice, neither time being successful. Instead, He had us kids reeling with questions back home while our parents were gone and we heard snippets that daddy wasn’t “fixed.” Oh, the turmoil.

I think the next event in this story is our whole family going to Nairobi, Kenya for more advanced treatment. We’re gathering all our clothes, schoolwork and anything we might need for possibly the next two or three weeks to leave as soon as our money gets wired in to the country. We have no idea how long this will take. If Nairobi can’t fix it, the next logical step would be a cardiac aversion or pacemaker. But like I said, we’re not writing the story.

I just know the current status of it is “To Be Continued…”

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Step Back

One day a man woke up in a strange world. He first believed himself to still be dreaming, but as the day wore on he found this really to be the real world. It just didn’t look right.

The problem was he couldn’t see with his full view. He always felt as if he was looking through a camera that was zoomed in all the way. When he took a step into the kitchen from the hallway, he failed to see the chair right under his nose until his face was on the ground. He began feeling around to protect his step, but he found all his senses but sight were useless.

Grappling to touch the chair he had just tripped on, he couldn’t feel what it was. He knew it to be a chair, but only from his memory of the house. As his fingers skimmed the surface of the wood, he hardly could distinguish it from the walls he hit earlier. The normally small leg of the chair was too big to fit in his hand by some fluke of nature.

Standing, he began to ponder his fate. Maybe if he focused more closely on the small scope of his sight, he could figure out where he was and feel his way around. This worked while he had a guide—his memory—but upon entering his car to drive to work he found his newfound eagle eyes would not be of use. Even just looking out his windshield, he found his eyes only could focus on the bugs smeared across the glass—which seemed to be the size of his outstretched hand. If he could stretch his view beyond that, it only saw the rocks on the ground directly in front of the car.

“Well, this is no use!” declared the unfortunate man. He went back in the house, because he saw that he would only be a hazard if he were to drive anywhere. But he had to get to work. Thankfully, he lived just half a mile from his work, so he determined to walk. First he must warn his boss that he’d be late.

Finding the phone proved just as difficult as driving out the driveway. But dialing was the worst!  He managed to call his boss and even to walk the half a mile to the building, only to fall on the steps. When his coworker came out to help him up, he couldn’t tell who she was. Every time he blinked, he only saw a few strands of her hair as she pulled him up, or the texture of her leather shoes as they walked to the door.

By the lunch hour, he was too worn out to hear the reports his coworkers brought to their supervisor. By a mere miracle, he reached home again to hear his wife calling out to him. But try as he might, he could not find where she was in this whole wide world. He heard her say hello and even felt her quick embrace. He answered her concerned questions as to his early work leave with, “I don’t feel well,'” but he never could tell what angle he should focus at. Finally he shouted as loud as he could, “Where are you?” when she had stopped speaking.

“Why, dear, I’m right here. Can’t you see me?” she asked, now genuinely concerned. He then explained why the chair was overturned and the phone mangled. He couldn’t see at all! She led him by the hand back to his room and laid him down. He closed his eyes as he heard her say words that only confused him.

“Step out, step back, look out and look back. Step out, step back, look out and look back.”

Suddenly, he awoke once again. But he was unwilling to open his eye for fear of what he might see—or not see, as the case may be. He heard his wife murmuring to herself in their shared bathroom. She was repeating those words she had said as he had fallen asleep last afternoon. It was the words to the poem she was memorizing. He gathered his courage and opened his eyes, to see his hand was completely normal and he could even see the numbers on his clock.

He realized it was all a dream when the date was the same as it was when he woke up the first time. But he never picked up a magnifying glass again.

That day, after work, he said only one thing to his wife. “Honey, I think we ought to go take a vacation next week. I think we need to take a step back from everything and get the bigger picture of our lives.”

Focusing on ourselves leaves us confused and angry. To step out and look out and help others gives us a better picture of our lives and where we fit in to this world.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Imagine {An MK on a Mission Trip}

Anyone can create a comfort zone outside of their old comfort zone. All it takes is time. I did it. Uganda—AFRICA, which was NOT in my American comfort zone—is in my comfort zone, when I’m in my home in my town. But, just like all it takes for an American to get outside of his comfort zone is to drive a few miles to downtown big city and help the homeless, all it takes for me is to drive a few miles out of town to the slums and see why we came here to begin with.

I just… haven’t done that in a while. But this week, I did. And I thank God He gave me the opportunity to do so.

With Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale’s youth missions team, Good Shepard’s Fold orphanage's teens and Calvary Chapel Jinja’s youth group, I squished into the coaster (bus) and headed out to the village on Monday.

Imagine this: You arrive at a soccer field, only its not grass on the ground, its hard, reddish dirt and a few weeds. As you step off the coaster with other American and Uganda teens, you hear yelling, shouting. “Mzungu! How are you? I am fine!” You hear them chatting among themselves, “[something you can’t understand] mzungu!” and you know they’re talking about you, because the missionaries tell you ‘mzungu’ means ‘white person.’ Before the minute’s up, you have five or ten kids fighting to hold your hand. Glancing around, you smile at the kids and continue towards the site where a tarp is already set up. It’s a soccer field, but the kids are kicking around their ‘football,’ a wad of plastic bags and grass.

playing football with 400 kidsThere’s no way I can tell you all that happened that day. But while you were busy playing ‘football’ (soccer), I was playing an epic form of ring around the rosies with some other kids. One of the troublesome kids ran out right in front of a galloping duo, was thrown down to the ground and began screaming. As I tried to comfort him, his bleeding nose frightened the kids around and caused the little boy to scream all the more. You came with the kids and other teens to see what happened, but left again, distracting the others by playing more football.

After singing worship songs, you may have helped with either telling a story and then handing out silly bands or face painting or telling a different story. I helped with the silly bands, and man, I can tell you that was stressful. After the story, no one wanted to answer the questions, but only for you to hand them their silly band, and perhaps somebody else’s if they could sneak it. Hands in your face, yells ringing in your ears, none of them make for a peaceful morning. Even though you went back for the afternoon, we did the same thing as in the morning.

A few days later, we went out again, but this time to one man’s hut. This time as we step off the coaster, we see a rugged, dirt road beside a flat red dirt yard. The house, or rather, hut, is a cracked mud and sticks building with a grass roof. Or, what used to be a roof. The grass has caved in, and the inside of the hut is worse than the outside. You help sweep out the old, empty bottles and the sticks, twigs, dirt and old plastic bags from his living room while I remove the clothes, shoes and “bedding” from his room. The bed he slept on was only a couple sugar sacks on top of some old, ratty clothes that have grown into the ground. I washed his clothes, amazed at how, in a matter of 3 seconds, I could turn clean washing water and soap into mud, darker and thicker than a chocolate mocha by just dropping his clothes in. Despite the man’s ingratitude (he graciously received the mattress we brought him and then said, “I have no [cooking oil] in my house,” meaning he was asking for some), we still helped him and felt the gratitude of our Father as we handed him his clean, mended clothes.

After some door-to-door evangelism, a community Bible study and dinner, we walked to the orphanage’s chapel for youth group. Auntie Amanda started the discussion with, “I have been praying for a broken heart to see the world around me.” Basically, the whole group shared their experiences that day and their concerns for the people they met. One person wanted to pray for a Muslim boy he met that was stubborn. Another wanted to pray for a jaja (grandma) that was taking care of 5 sick kids that were just dropped off at her house. A little boy had a horrible ear infection that was literally eating away his ear so that it looked like it would fall off if you touched it. The list went on and on. We talked, we thought, we prayed. And then we worshipped.

The Lord was with us all the day, but we felt His presence when we stopped to worship and praise Him for who He is and how He loves us. Then in song, in unison, we offered Him our all once again. Together, we thanked Him for His love and mercy and devoted ourselves to His calling. Together, we felt His love because we had been showing His love to the world.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dear God

To: Abba Yahweh
From: Your daughter, janae

It has taken me a long time to figure out what I’m missing: You, Lord. And it doesn’t matter where on earth I am, I will continue to miss my Father, even though I’ve never even seen You.

I’ve never really known You. There’s no way I could possibly completely know You and who You are, but yet there’s this void in me that the more I grasp of You, however miniscule it may be compared to who You really are, that void, that pain, that aching, that longing, whatever it is, is somehow balmed with Your amazing prescience. I was made to know You—or, at least, to try to.

The more I am given the grace to understand You, the more I long for more. The more I think about You, the more I’m disgusted with how this world, this race, has fallen short of everything You had hoped for in the beginning. The more I feel the stark contrast, the more I marvel that You would even make a creation that You knew would turn itself fallen and disgraceful, hiding its face from Your glory. The more I see how wretched I am, the more I mourn and rejoice in Your Son and His Sacrifice. But, alas, the praise I offer must be jaded, as I am a part, a cause, of this mockery and shame. I’m so sorry for that…

I long to be in the place I was made for—Your prescience. I long to be rid of this soiled and filthily ruined makeshift earthly flesh. I want to run on the greener pastures You promise to lead me to. I want to dance on Your holy hills, to make You smile. I want to drink of Your Living Water—the sweet water You spoke of. But most of all, I want to see the Perfect One that this imperfect being cannot even dare to imagine.

I can hardly wait to sing with Your angels of Your praiseworthy glory. There is no one else that deserves the praise I was created to give. The only thing I know is that the glorious wonders I see here on earth and fail to comprehend are only horrible reflections in a fogged mirror of who You are.

I find myself daydreaming about Your Face being the Sun of my world when I should be answering questions about magnetism in physics. I find myself pondering the completeness I will feel when You speak, instead of computing algebraic problems. You’re getting in the way of my life! But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’d much rather see the glory of the miraculous oxygen in our atmosphere than miss the beauty of the love You paint in the sunsets. As the rain falls, I would rather dance in the dispersing of Your joy than melt in the cold snowfall that blesses the countryside. As I gaze at the stars—well, there are no words for that.

Thank you for all this. I cannot believe Someone as huge, as important, as needed, as indescribable as You—the Creator of the universe—would even stop to call my name and call me, “friend.” I thank you that someday soon, I will no longer have to see the fractured perfection of the world my race has destroyed but will be where I belong: with the One to whom I belong.

I miss You. I only want to be with You. Please, help me to remember to work out the things You left for me to do well, so that I can all the quicker be with You, hearing You say, “Well done, my child. Come and share my joy for the rest of eternity.”

Forever Yours. See You soon! 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Reasons Preston Wants to Live

I once had a friend who was thinking and talking suicidal. He was an awesome person, in my mind, and I knew nothing of why he would want to stop being so. Something he said one time scared me, so I spent the night praying for him and writing down reasons he should want to live. I wanted to send them to him, but something kept me from sending this list in my messages to him. That was almost a year ago. I found the little blue sheet of paper today as I was cleaning out my closet and here is what I wrote that night. (I almost always change names of real people in my blog, fyi.)

1. No one can write your story for you; you have to live it to finish it!
2. What would Alena [girlfriend] do without you?
3. Your high school band needs your trumpeting skills.
4. Two words—driver’s license.
5. It’s hard to play a PS3 lying down.
6. Your mom would ground you for life.
7. They don’t play music in cemeteries.
8. Braces aren’t biodegradable.
9. Six feet of earth is pretty heavy.
10. What if they don’t serve breakfast?
11. Your grades would plummet.
12. God loves you.
13. Your family loves you.
14. You sure you’re ready for Judgment Day? Satan’s not exactly the kind of guy you want to
          spend eternity with.
15. I kind of doubt birds sing, crickets hum or stars shine in coffins.
16. You don’t want to make girls cry, do ya?
17. There are no “Dier’s Ed” classes to take.
18. Not very many hot girls live through death.
19. It’s hard to smell bacon cooking or bread baking over stenches like that.
20. Flashlights are hard to take with you.
21. The people in your life would miss you.
22. I’d miss you.
23. No Facebook access is a pretty tough blow.
24. It’s difficult to learn something new every day when all you do is lie there. Very boring.
25. Glasses and contacts aren’t allowed.
26. No one cooks like momma.
27. How many angels know how to bake chocolate chip cookies?
28. Rocks don’t make very good pillows.
29. How could you live without maple bar doughnuts!?
30. Not very many pop bands perform for funerals.
31. You should never regret who you are—that’s to regret God’s image and work.

He’s still alive today. If you’re reading this—I think you know who you are—know that I hope you stay alive for a long time to come.

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you; to give you a hope and a future.’”  Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, February 6, 2012

MK Experiences

I am not normal; I am a missionary’s kid. MKs, as they’re called, have their own “normal” and are redefining youth. I get asked a lot "What experience was the most exciting?" That's as hard to answer as "Where is home?" So, I'll just go for it. These all happened to me within the last four years. If you got questions, just ask, I got stories :)
If I hadn’t moved to Uganda as an MK, I’d never have…
been to Africa,
handed out stuffed animals to dying African children on Christmas Eve,
worried about the threat of a terrorist attack on my church on Sunday,
been the only white person in a room of starving children,
flown over an ocean,
been excited to get “American food” for Christmas or a birthday,
sung “Jesus Loves Me” in a language other than English, Spanish or French,
felt my “home” lies over an ocean,
had to turn down MULIPLE marriage proposals in one day,
ridden on a wooden boat built to hold 30 people with 45+ other people, chickens, goats and luggage during a thunderstorm,
had a friend that was a mother at 13 because of slavery and racism,
had to explain to a perfect stranger why I wasn’t married and a mother yet,
dealt daily in a currency other than American dollars,
had a deep conversation with a stranger (also an MK),
had Christmas in February or a birthday a month late because that’s when the presents arrived,
cooked on a gas stove (and tried to light an electric stove with a match),
used a generator when the power goes out every night,
had a monitor lizard attack our guard dogs,
used, reused, and rereused Ziploc bags or plastic forks,
used inverters to convert 220 to 110 power,
travelled all over America so that my daddy could preach at churches around the country,
had to choose one desired possession over another to take to have for the next three years due to luggage limits,
rode in an airplane more than 12 hours straight,
broken out from being allergic to and eating green mangos,
killed a snake not native to America,
killed a poisonous snake in my church “sanctuary” during worship,
gone without a microwave for more than two years,
rafted the Nile river,
spelled color and favorite with a U in it and crossed their sevens,
held a Bible in a language other than English,
gotten invited to board at a boarding school in another country,
depended on solar electricity to do school,
not really wanted anything for Christmas because I haven’t seen things I wanted,
worried that the mosquito that just bit me might have given me malaria,
had a milkman and veterinarian that makes house calls,
listened to a sermon in three different languages at a time,
done school on a dirt floor in a cement “hut",
called my suitcases “home” without thinking,
been on the opposite side of the world from both my parents at the same time,
learned first-hand how inflation works before reaching high school,
referred to their grade as “P6” or “S2” instead of “7th grade” or “sophomore”,
purposefully not worn a specific color in public because it may cause a riot during elections,
been almost tear-gassed,
unconsciously thought in a language my parents don’t speak,
been told to my face that I was not allowed to pray for a dying child by that child’s mother,
perfected the art of wearing a self-created mask while on display Sunday after Sunday morning,
spent the night at their best friend’s house and talked about the possibility they might die from a terrorist attack the next day because the US Embassy warned of such things,
played an ultimate Frisbee game with my youth group where people are shouting in three different languages,
or got up at 2 in the morning to watch the Superbowl, even though the commercials weren’t shown.
Yup, the life of an MK is diverse, but… I wouldn’t give it up for anything yet. :) 

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Me: God, can I ask You a question?
God: Sure.
Me: Promise You won't get mad?
God: I promise.
Me: Why did You let so much stuff happen to me today? 
God: ...What do you mean?
Me: Well, I woke up late.
God: Yes...
Me: My car took forever to start.
God: Okay.
Me: At lunch they made my sandwich wrong & I had to wait.
God: Huummm
Me: On the way home, my phone went DEAD, just as I picked up a call
God: All right.
Me: And to top it all off, when I got home, I just want to soak my feet in my new foot massager & relax. BUT it wouldn't work!!! Nothing went right today! Why did You do that?
God: Let me see, the death angel was at your bed this morning & I had to send one of My Angels to battle him for your life. I let you sleep through that.
Me (humbled): OH...
GOD: I didn't let your car start because there was a drunk driver on your route that would have hit you if you were on the road.
Me: (ashamed)
God: The first person who made your sandwich today was sick & I didn't want you to catch what they have, I knew you couldn't afford to miss work.
Me (embarrassed):Okay...
God: Your phone went dead because the person that was calling was going to give false witness about what you said on that call, I didn't even let you talk to them so you would be covered.
Me (softly): I see God...
God: Oh and that foot massager, it had a shortage that was going to throw out all of the power in your house tonight. I didn't think you wanted to be in the dark.
Me: I'm Sorry God.
God: Don't be sorry, just learn to Trust Me.... in All things , the Good & the bad.
Me: I will trust You.
God: And don't doubt that My plan for your day is Always Better than your plan.
Me: I won't God. And let me just tell you God, Thank You for Everything today.
God: You're welcome child. It was just another day being your God and I Love looking after My Children... 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

What do I know of Holy?

by Addison Road

I didn’t write these words, but I can’t think of a better way to paraphrase this.

I’ve made you promises a thousand times.
I try to hear from heaven, but I talk the whole time.
I think I made you too small
I never feared you at all.
If you touched my face would I know you?
Look into my eyes could I behold you?

What do I know of you who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood but the shore along your ocean?
Are you fire, are you fury?
Are you sacred, are you beautiful?
So what do I know? What do I know of holy?

I guess I thought that I had figured you out.
Knew all the stories and I learned to talk about
how you were mighty to save.
Those were only empty words on a page.
Then I caught a glimpse of who you might be.
The slightest hint of you brought me down to my knees.

So what do I know of you who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood but the shore along your ocean?
Are you fire, are you fury?
Are you sacred, are you beautiful?
So what do I know? What do I know of holy?

What do I know of holy?
What do I know of wounds will heal my shame
and a God who gave life its name?
What do I know of holy?
Of the one who the angels praise?
All creation knows your Name.
On earth and heaven above,
what do I know of this love?

So what do I know of you who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood but the shore along your ocean?
Are you fire, are you fury?
Are you sacred, are you beautiful?
Oh what do I know, what do I know of holy?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Little Black Snake

I bet most of you have never killed a "poisonous" snake during church before, huh? That's what I thought. Yeah, I have, right after the pausing prayers, too. See, I was sitting next to Kenna and Mrs. Davis with my brother and family behind me. Pr. Terry's son Jonah was preaching.
"In Jesus' name, amen." As soon as Jonah finished praying Josh (my brother) leaned forward and asked Kenna, "Can I have your water bottle?" We both turned to him to inquire why he'd ask such an odd request in the middle of church, no less. "Well, there's a snake by your Bible." I jumped up with the rest of the congregation as the intro for the next song started, but Kenna stayed quite still. I can't blame her for being afraid of snakes, I very much dislike them myself. Josh grabbed her water bottle and sure, enough, out slithered a little black snake.
"Should I kill it?" I don't know why I asked, I definitely wasn't expecting any answer, let alone the one that came. "NO!" I don't know who said it, but no one came up to save the thing, so I commenced smashing. I picked up my plastic chair and placed the leg squarely on the head of the "beast." All six inches of it wiggled and writhed, while Josh waded through the isles to go find a stick. Mrs. Long from the row ahead of us parted the chairs and stepped in front of me with her sharp shoes. I don't know what she did, but the snake was still alive when she went back to her seat, so I continued smashing. Some guy I didn't recognise came up with his pocket knife and stood about three feet away pointing the blade at the thing. Big help, dude.
As soon as the murmuring rustled through the crowd that there was a snake among us, ladies began exclaiming, "Should we get up on the chairs now!?" and "Ohhh, I bet there's more where that came from!" Mrs. Davis reminded us that "It's the smaller ones that have the most poison. Watch out! Don't let it bite you" as she backed out of the isle. I didn't say anything, but kept moving the leg of the chair to puncture the squirming head and break the open jaw. By the time I could hear the strains of the song again, Josh had returned with a twig and told me to just sit down on it. Not an inch of it was moving, but I thought a little extra weight on the point wouldn't hurt. Kenna returned from wherever she had gone and we kept singing. I finally stood back up, but at any little bug on my ankle or breeze in the grass tickling my feet, I did look down, I'll admit.
It didn't bite anyone. It's dead. All six inches of quarter-inch thick muscle terror are defeated.

Moral of the story: Don't ever let your brother close his eyes while praying in an outdoor church. He might miss a snake by your feet.