Sméagol’s Dilemma

Remember Sméagol from The Lord of the Rings trilogy?

He had that special ring that gave him great power, but in return for that power he invited Gollum into his life, an evil presence reeking havoc upon Sméagol’s soul. *Spoiler alert* His addiction to the ring ended up destroying him.

It’s easy to look at this poor, sad creature and write him off a pure fantasy, but the truth of the matter is we all have our rings, things that made us feel empowered or important, helped us survive, but in the end will end up destroying us.

Be mindful of these things. Each person has a different one. Often you can find it when it is taken away, so be mindful and aware. We are called to live an abundant life in Christ. Beware the roadblocks and thrive!

Resurrection Stories

On Easter, we told resurrection stories

She stood up and told of how she was duped into sex trafficking,

escaped physically but was emotionally scarred

Then came the drugs and the depression

and the self-loathing

but God found her even as she hated Him

for not saving her sooner,

but He rescued her from the pit of despair

He brought her into hope and family and love

and now she is here,

safe and clean and rejoicing in all that God has done.

Praise Jesus! Hallelujah. The Lord God Almighty reigns.

Old, Rugged Cross

My church is a country song

Today there are people sleeping in the pews,

while detoxing from Meth,

souls on probation from prison,

people hiding out from a fight breaking outside.

It’s all so beautiful

This is a place where people can find healing

They don’t call it the old, rugged cross for nothing

We come to Him raw and Jesus, the master carpenter,

sands us down.

 

 

Just Jazz

He had always been a tall man. Walked tall, lived tall. People asked him if he played in the NBA, but he hated the sport. Pass the ball, run. Pass the ball, run. On and on. Always predictable. Jazz was never predictable. It was always raw and alive. So he chose jazz.

He played trumpet alongside the best of ‘em, moving from smoke-drenched dives to glitzy ball rooms, always wearing his favorite silver bowtie. A good luck charm of sorts. He was meant for this. It suited him well.

Then, death came, like a dark tide, sweeping away his favorite players. Overdose. Cocaine. Everyone riding A-train into the netherworlds. He got on board too, found himself in the emergency room, two shakes away from death.

But he didn’t die. It was the bow tie, he told himself. Or something.

He left the scene, stepped away. Started working on engines with his brother.

Then, he got the call. An old buddy was getting married, wanted him to play. He said he was out, but his friend was very insistent. He did miss the scene.

So he showed. He played the gig. The kids beside him idolized him. He didn’t care. He’d been here before. The music was all that mattered, and the music felt good.

Across the way was the bar. He wanted a drink. To calm his nerves, he told himself, but he wanted more, much more. He wanted back.

He walked up to the counter. The bartender greeted him.

“Can I get you anything?” she said.

He paused.

“I’m just taking a break,” he said.

She paused.

“Water?” she said. “It’s a hot day.”

He nodded.

She kneeled down, grabbed a bottle, and shot up again.

She wobbled.

“Oh wow, I stood up too fast,” she said.

“All for nothing,” he said, and took the bottle. “Thanks.”

He drank enough to wet his lips and returned to his horn.

He played and played until everything was gone, until it was just him and the music. No death, no drama, just jazz.

Addict

I love caffeine. I start every day with it. I get headaches if I don’t get it. That, my friends, is addiction.

We tend to think of addiction in terms of cigarettes and gambling, but it could be anything that seizes control of our bodies, thoughts, and emotions so that we can’t do anything in it. Whether it be checking our phones, working out, or having that after-work beer: no matter how seemingly benign or beneficial, it must always be kept in balance.

So, check yourself (before you wreck your self). Take a day, turn the phone off, detox, stop and smell the roses. It may be awkward, even painful at first, but such is the price of freedom. Remember: freedom is a precious thing, easily squandered and utterly irreplaceable.

Signature_2

Facing Regret

Hey everybody,

How we doing today?

Ever have a situation you wish you would have done better with? I’ve had lots. In fact, I envy anyone who boasts of having none. (I pray they are telling the truth on the matter, rather than trying to live up to a “no regrets” bumper sticker motto they saw once.) Here are two situations that come vividly to mind:

  1. There once was a young woman who used to come into my work dressed rather provocatively. A lot of men at work, customers and employees, used to get all hot and bothered by it. They had their own individual reasons. I personally wasn’t too worked up by it. Sure,  I understand that men are visual creatures, and society has its “modesty” standards. Still, at that time, I didn’t mind it. She wasn’t my daughter or sister or mother or anything other than my friend and customer. I was happy she was happy, and she did in fact seem happy. Some, I suppose, dress this way out of lack of self-confidence. She seemed to do it out of an abundance of confidence. More power to her! But people talk, and say all kinds of things. One day, somebody said something mean to her about what she was wearing. I personally never heard the comment, but she came to me and asked my opinion about her appearance nevertheless. I gave some blanket, nothing answer that tended toward the more conservative side. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever had the feeling where you wish you had a least one person on your side in an argument, especially when you have your back up against the wall. Well, in that situation, I didn’t have hers, and I never got the chance to have it. She never returned to my workplace, and I never saw her again. I hope wherever she is, she feels beautiful and valued. If we ever meet, I hope to get the chance to saw as much. Sometimes, we just gotta set our opinions aside to  just be human.
  2. In another situation, a friend of mine’s mother died suddenly (the anniversary of her passing is coming up soon, in fact). She was an awesome woman. Her death came as a shock to us all. The service was held within the week. My friend sent me a text at the last minute, asking to come. I was afraid that if I just bolted from work, I would lose my job. So, I didn’t go. This friend is one of the most accepting people I know, and she took my absence in stride. But, seriously, some friend I am. Sometimes in life you just gotta risk that plush job to do what needs to be done.

I’ve let other people down, often times by been too afraid to do what’s right. If you picked up from the last blog, I tend towards cowardice and conservatism. I acknowledge that fault, accept that mistake. I’ll work on correcting it in the future. In the meantime, I’ll take my lumps, own my failures, and use them as teaching lessons for next time.

If you are down on yourself for your past mistakes, I pray you do not let them get the better of you. As Rafiki from Lion King says…

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 11.57.49 PM

Do not lose hope! Tomorrow will be brighter. Just keep going.

Love,

Signature_2