Mediocrity (AKA the 200th Post)

"Birthdays? I love birthdays! Cake all around." {from a birthday card made by the beautiful Christina Reimer}



When did I turn, y'know, not 18 anymore?

I was just re-reading an old blog post from just under three years ago. I can hardly believe that much time has passed since I was at IMPACT. One seventh of my life separating me from such a pivotal point in my life. And oh, the passion. The expression. Other times, I can hardly believe that IMPACT ever happened. Too much has happened in the meantime. I caught real life, and the doctors say they can't do anything to help me recover.

Funny, how I have ceased to read Wolterstorff's book on suffering and have instead learned to live it.

How do we look at the world without losing heart? How do we love her fiercely in all her muck and long to transform her into something beautiful? Is it worth it?

I feel like the past year has been an experiment for me. Live with normal people leading normal lives and be fairly normal myself. When I visited campus over spring break this past March, I told Ed that I'm used to being different, the odd one out. Maybe I was lying to myself. After all, seeming is not the same as being.

How do we transcend the everyday?

Every attempt at an answer leading to another question.


Grief ii: Micah

Flattened, when the moment came.
You hurtled through the sky,
Like a fragile meteorite
Falling, falling, and landing:
Did you burn so brightly
Because you knew?
Because you felt the wind,
As it rushed against your face?
Or did you mean for it to last,
Better than memory,
Longer than eighteen years:
Boy to man to old age.
Our eyes see what they will,
Blurred though they are by tears,
And your answers do not satisfy:
Half-remembered lips that whisper,
"Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,"
Will never speak of love without suffering,
And we wonder, empty-handed, empty-hearted,



Fingertip to vein,
Tracing emptiness and drought,
I thought, eyes flared - momentary shock,
"Death feels familiar."
In the moment of widening,
She sees the world.
From fall to redemption
(And sometimes back again),
Love lost and grace gained
Tumble one atop the other
On the wheel of time.
But the gray mists conceal
-we know not what;
And so, waiting,
We turn our faces to search out the light:
And hope.


From This Valley

While I have not been very committed to it, at various points throughout the year, I have picked up Oswald Chamber's My Utmost for His Highest to read the daily selection. Today's was about what Chambers called the Valley of Humiliation. The text is from Matthew 17, when Jesus and the three ascend to the Mount of Transfiguration. Seeing Jesus transformed, Peter says, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."

A friend of mine recently completed a YWAM dts. He had wrestled for a while with the decision to go, and one of the reasons that he gave me was that he did not want to have the "coming down the mountain" experience. Having gone through that multiple times, I was very sympathetic to his concerns. It is a sad but all-too-frequently true story that people go away to dts or a similar faith-oriented program and come back fired up, only to find that their passion fades quickly before all of the real life minutiae.

And yet, in spite of my sympathy, I would have to answer such concerns with two thoughts.

First, if you focus on what you might lose, you will never receive all that you could gain. Jesus brought three of his disciples with him to witness the transfiguration, and they were instructed not to speak of it until a later time. They had a personal revelation of God which the other nine disciples did not experience. Jesus had twelve disciples, and of those twelve, all had productive ministries (save Judas, of course), but those three emerged as leaders: Peter, James, and John. It is noteworthy that Paul had a direct revelation on the road to Damascus as well.

What is the purpose of the mountaintop experience? The glory is the taste before the test. Which brings me to my second thought.

Chambers says that we cannot live in the glory on the mountaintop; it is only when we descend the mountain and enter gritty reality that we can live out the glory. In other words, what happens at the place of transfiguration is meaningless without what comes after. Peter was ready to camp out and build tents. He lost his vision for anything except what was right there in front of him because it was so achingly good. But the time is not yet for him to abide in that place, as evidenced by the passage that follows: Jesus healing an epileptic and chastising the disciples for their unbelief. Somehow, what they learned had not hit home yet, and it wouldn't until they had lived it out amongst the multitude.

While I'm not necessarily advocating going to a YWAM dts this very second (or possibly ever, for some people), I would say that fear of loss or failure should never prevent us from "entering the glory." Though we will certainly encounter difficulties thereafter as we realize the responsibilities that accompany knowledge, we are also given the strength to carry through to the end - or to the next mountaintop.