Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Quote of the Month-Blue Like Jazz

"We would eat chocolates and smoke cigarettes and read the Bible, which is the only way to do it, if you ask me. Don, the Bible is so good with chocolate. I always thought the Bible was more of a salad thing, you know, but it isn't. It's a chocolate thing."

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dillo’s World Gets Rocked: In Which Dillo Faces a Severe Personal Battle and God Gets An Earful

"Everytime you take a sip in this smoky atmosphere,
You press that bottle to your lip and I wish I was your beer,
and in the small there of your back ,
your jeans are playing peek-a- boo,
Id like to see the other half of your butterfly tattoo..."

"Surrender don't come natural to me, I'd rather fight You for something I don't really want then to take what You give that I need and I've beat my head against so many walls

Silver, full, doe eyes. Butt length brown hair. A love for black coffee, red wine, pink steak and black humour. 127 lbs. Single-sort of. Like I’m single-sort of.

I had no idea that such a simple encounter could evoke such incredible depth of longing and significant pain. Pain and anxiety, really. I don’t know how to explain this except by drawing other pictures. The kind of anxiety and hole-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach feeling that I’ve faced before in the face of; or fear of, significant loss.

So God allows (places?) this gorgeous woman at my work place. So, not only is she working with me; but the current work situation allows for a couple afternoons with nothing to do but talk. And the more we talk this little voice in my head is saying….Just kill me now. Got to have this woman!

But there are some major issues. She is not a Christian. She has children (5). She’s not quite divorced. She’s much younger. And, at the logical level, I can see that she is not dealing with all of her pain and personal issues in healthy and holistic ways. When you’ve spent two years dealing with your own issues; and considerable time in groups settings with people; helping them deal with their issues….you’ve seen plenty of what not to do.

But emotion is not a logical animal. So I’ve spent a good portion of the week wrestling with my own heart. Screaming at God. Talking to God. Talking to myself. Taking deep breaths. Thinking about calling friends….but knowing that this battle was to fierce, to personal, to internal, to difficult to explain.

It’s not over yet. I’ve still got some wrestling to do. I work with her one more day before moving onto my new store. Overall, I’m not sure why God allowed this encounter. I can think of some possibilities. Doesn’t really matter, I guess. The one thing it does point out to me is that when I pray re my singleness…..Let’s just say that there is one level where I’ll be content to remain single if that is the Master plan. But, obviously, now I know, there are some desires for relationship that run much deeper than I’d realized. Much, much deeper.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sydney Makes An Appearance

Sydney, Roscoe and Veronica have been with me since high school. He's a superhero. His mansion is fronted by a convenience store which is where he goes to get urgent messages from the town's mayor. The 80's type video game emits screeches, whistles and clanging noises in rapid succession which indicate that the Mayor is on the video screen. The series was originally titled, "Sydney of Australia." Far as I remember, Sydney has been single. At least that's the way he appears from the outside. He may have had some ongoing relationships that I'm not currently aware of. Mostly, he lives in my head. I'm not certain exactly where Veronica and Roscoe live.
He reached for the shot glass. Remembered the last time he risked it for a woman. Granted, it was Veronica, which made for unique circumstances. Still, it had nearly cost all of them their lives………

Veronica walked into The Spotted Cow, her leopard skin dress calling attention to all of her assets. There the man sat, as promised. The seat across the table obviously only for her.
“What are you wearing tonight?”
“It’s called Evening Jasmine,” she said.
“Ah, the flowers that bloom in the daytime have their own unique features, but that which blooms at night is sweet beyond comparison.”
That was the last thing she remembered from that night.

The Doctor placed a poker chip on the table. “Sydney, I’ll raise you one. I have Veronica….and the price for her return is significantly steep.”

And that’s how the last adventure had begun. Now he sat at his bar, wondering if he was too old for this super-hero business. Refilled the glass. Perhaps it was time to settle down. Last night really had him spinning. Her silver eyes, the long auburn hair. It had been a great evening. They’d shared some good food and some great laughs. Finished the night on her doorstep.
To be continued…..maybe……

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Building Things

It looked perfect in the store. Now I’ve got it home and fully realized that there a million pieces of this thing that I have to put together. First step; get out the instructions. I know I’m unique in this, but I don’t think I’m capable enough to do it sans pictures and information. Layout stuff on floor. Follow step one, step two…..Take a break to stretch the knees and back. Pop an Ibuprofen. More steps. Small frustrations. Done. Granted, the door needs to be adjusted---but still, it’s a thing of beauty, don’tcha think? (But what do I do with all of these extra parts?)

Towards the middle of the project, and especially once I finished putting it together…..This little voice in me sang; no, yelled, “I am a man.” You’ve felt it, right? After finishing a building project, or riding the bike, coaching the kids, killing the bug in the bathroom….I am a man! Its hard-wired into us.
I’ve been thinking some on this topic through leadership issues at work, challenges at home, and teaching I’m doing at church. Most authors that deal with the issue of manhood seem to agree on this one key principle: A man embraces challenge. Alan Medinger says that ‘we grow into the fullness of our manhood by doing the things that men do.’ John Eldredge writes, “ We need to know who we are and if we have what it takes.” Putting together furniture is part of that. But a small part. Dealing face on with relational issues in my life; when I really want to cut-and-run, that’s part of it. Being honest about my weaknesses—and my strengths---that’s part of it. And I’m finding that as I do these things---deal openly and honestly with my wife in the divorce process, admit my struggles with pornography and relationships, admit my intensity, quirkiness and unique personality style---a voice inside of me proudly says, “I am a man.”

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

And Now For Something Completely Different

I came across this fun tidbit while procrast-, I mean, blogging this afternoon.

Who Is John Galt?

Today, October 10, 2007, is the 50th anniversary of the publication of the novel Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I've read the book twice. The book was recommended to me during my college days by my girlfriend's mom. For the next week or two I spent all my waking hours reading the book and few waking hours with her daughter. I read it again a few years ago; and again put life on hold as I ravenously read through all 1,084 pages. Of all the books that I've read in my life, Atlas Shrugged is one of the most gripping, well-written, thought provoking, memorable books to grace my library. John Piper has a well-balanced review and perspective on the book here.

Monday, October 08, 2007

An Anchor for the Soul

In the arms of Your mercy I find rest ‘Cause You know just how far the east is from the west,
From one scarred hand to the other….
Casting Crowns

As I tried to synthesize the key events of this week for this post, what I realized was that many of them were events that either, significantly stretched me; or were so outside of my control that there was nowhere to go but God. In each case, I found the strength to persevere through prayer, and the occasional singing of worship music.

At work there are the new management opportunities. Dealing with the manager at the training store. I work in a kosher environment; and this manager has told me and her staff that we are not to eat while on the premises. The other day she was behind the counter eating some shrimp. “You may as well have dragged a pig back here,” I advised her. She takes long lunches, long breaks, and leaves early. Than she complains about how her staff doesn’t want to work. It’s frustrating for me; more frustrating for her usual employees. So I pray for strength, wisdom, and patience in abundance.

Friends of mine are missionaries in Asia. Their latest two newsletters report that seven of their co-workers have been expelled from the country. Additionally, many of the local believers are under house arrest and others are being threatened by police who say that what the foreigners are experiencing is nothing compared with what they have in store for them. Where else does one go except to Him who:
Changes the times and the epochs;
He removes kings and establishes kings,
He gives wisdom to wise men,
And knowledge to men of understanding.”

This weekend was Hailey’s 11th birthday. A good time, a great celebration. But all of Hailey’s mom’s family were there. And then her pastor stopped by. A thousand things I wanted to say; but didn’t. Prayer, the lyrics from Casting Crown songs, and more prayer kept my soul at peace.

Finally, there are my own personal demons. Besides the normal everyday battles, events have transpired this week that brought together strong feelings having to do with the divorce, loneliness, and the desire for female companionship. And sometimes, even though I am blessed with a rich circle of friendships, the depth of feeling and complexity of issues necessitate crying out to God.

“No one can possibly move forward in the strength of the Lord until he has stood still in the midst of his own helplessness.”