Archive for May, 2010

If someone were to photoshop the sands of Normandy with a few thousand dead soldiers over a Memorial Day beach-scene picture with all the pretty umbrellas, we’d probably think it in bad taste.

But I rather think that most of us have worst taste than that. Most holidays are like those fallen heroes.
We have traded honoring the dead for grilled hotdogs, passion for fireworks, thanksgiving for football, God’s birth for cheezy Santa images and the greatest feat in human history for gooey bunnies.
Our president even got Memorial Day mixed up and perhaps it’s telling of his generation and down.
Teens will sport their bikinis and boaters will drink their beers and stressed-out workers will breathe a sigh of relief and winter-haters will revel in summer’s arrival and swimmers will open their pools and there is a possibility that most Americans will not give a second thought that every step they take, as Lincoln may have said, would be on hallowed ground.
The greatest Veteran I know left heaven to fight for my life and every breadth I take was bought with his death and every day should be Memorial Day for those who understand spiritual freedom.
Here’s praying that the sacred doesn’t get beached. 

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I was awoken by a spectacular sunrise in an overcast city. Portland is not known as “Sun City.” The most optimistic resident here will tell you that he remembers seeing the sun once as a lad. No, it’s not that bad, but you’d better savor those sunrises. My hotel room overlooks the east and the horizon’s voice nudged me off my pillow.

Like most good sunrises, it unwrapped like a present and unfolded like a orchestral movement. 

Yesterday was rather intense and there was some sadness to it after an emotional altercation of sorts. The remainder of the day felt as heavy as the clouds and rain that dominated the day – as though I had lost my best friend or that some one I love moved far away for good.
As a youth, if the wiffle ball hit a branch, we’d all agree on a “do-over” (well, it wasn’t always that peaceful).
This sunrise is calling for a do-over. “Not a day goes by without His unfolding grace.”  2 Corinthians 4:16
It’s interesting that the Painter of The Skies God unfolded His best work of the week this morning – like alarm clock mercy. 

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The recent oil spill, in a lopsided way, is becoming a bit of a messy metaphor for grace in my life right now.

I feel like God is spilling grace over an increasing surface of my life and I cannot stop it. Like the Gulf tragedy, it’s spreading uncontrollably.
I’m really relating to the apostle Paul who had something in his life that pinched him so badly that he couldn’t get away from “grace being sufficient.” When you need something badly enough, it begins to dominate your thinking and your behavior.
I’m visiting Portland and I began to challenge myself to start getting around without a map… to memorize and know the turf. We say we know areas “like the back of our hand.”
I’m living in the City of Grace and I’m getting to know the palm of His hand.
You get to realize that grace is meant to “live in,” not just visit. You also begin to figure out that it may be God’s plan to use us as ambassadors of grace. Something like a tour guide?

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You can learn a lot from a grandchild. Especially when they cry.

We all whine like babies. Some of us just don’t verbalize it.
But two things about crying because of being tired:
1) When a baby is at the end of his rope from being shuffled around, staying up too late, or the nap time is simply approaching or overdue, he cries. It’s simply a reaction.
2) As his grandpa, I understand. In fact, inside I chuckle.
As adults, unsuspecting weariness is dangerous. It has killed many truckers and motorists. I have almost succumbed to driving off the road a few times. It just sneaks up on you.
What’s almost as dangerous is getting weary in the middle of a longer project. You start making bad decisions, get negative in general, bruise relationships and it’s all because we need a nap (vacation, a few days off, whatever). The world looks terrible when I’m tired and cranky. I finally identified a pattern: when I get tired at night and my mind is getting negative, I turn it all off like a light switch and sleep it off. The world looks better in the light.
I’m about fly out tomorrow and I’ve been upset about the timing. I want to keep going, just like a baby who wants to stay awake and really shouldn’t.
Maybe in the airplane, I’ll catch a nap… and from above those clouds, I’ll probably hear a chuckle.

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I am the “beloved blogger.” An older friend once told me that some may have
thought that John the Apostle was a bit presumptuous and prideful to refer to
himself as the disciple “whom Jesus loved.” But my wise spiritual father told
me that it wasn’t some exclusive claim, but rather the most secure statement
any child of God could, and should, declare.


I choose to be John’s humble contemporary. I hope you think it not so bold. But
even if you do, I still feel like the beloved blogger under the shelter and shadow of His
wings –  leaning on Jesus’ breast,
if you will.

As far as not seeing the bottom of my face- yesterday, I was moaning and groaning about life’s complexities and the resulting weariness. I saw my neighbor over the fence (who reminds me of Wilson on Tim Allen’s sitcom) and he asked me how it was going and I said “terrible.” He asked, “what are you up to?” I said, “I’m going to put my boat in the water.” He raised his eyebrows and with a stern but comforting admonishivoice declared, “It doesn’t get any better than that! Life is good!”

We all need a Wilson sometimes. So if I can be a Wilson in your life, feel free to look over my webfence. I’ll be here… the “Beloved Blogger.”

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I got to thinkin’…

Spring is getting too familiar. I walked by a daffodil the other day and it was still hanging in there. But I wasn’t. I wasn’t as impressed. Not because the bloom was off the rose. It was because the daffodil was becoming life’s backdrop – like in a play where you start forgetting about a well-done set by mid-act because your mind is on the plot.
And it’s a shame. Because a daffodil is a daffodil. The beauty had begun to fade in the eye of this beholder, but not in eye of its Maker.
The same thing happened this morning. I passed by a window and the forsythia was half green and half yellow. It made me a little sad; like I had missed Spring in its glory.
Later, a niece visited. She came over and gave me a peck on my cheek. But I remember when she was younger, the kisses were sweeter and the hugs a little more lengthy and swingy. 
I know we can’t live on all the highs of life. I know we’d appreciate flowers even less if they were out too long. 
But peril lurks when love grows common; a dangerous intimacy.
God forbid.

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