Sunday, February 28, 2010

love language

The only way I am able to show love to my dad is by changing his brake pads for him.

[Sam:] "I wonder what sort of tale we've fallen into?"
"I wonder," replied Frodo. "But I don't know. And that's the way of a real tale. Take any one that you're fond of. You may know, or guess, what kind of tale it is, happy-ending or sad-ending, but the people in it don't know. And you don't want them to."
-J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Friday, February 26, 2010

psalm 39

"Show me, O LORD, my life's end
and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting is my life.

You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Each man's life is but a breath.

Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro:
He bustles about, but only in vain;
he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it.

"But now, Lord, what do I look for?
My hope is in you.

Save me from all my transgressions;
do not make me the scorn of fools.

I was silent; I would not open my mouth,
for you are the one who has done this.

Remove your scourge from me;
I am overcome by the blow of your hand.

You rebuke and discipline men for their sin;
you consume their wealth like a moth—
each man is but a breath.

"Hear my prayer, O LORD,
listen to my cry for help;
be not deaf to my weeping.
For I dwell with you as an alien,
a stranger, as all my fathers were.

Look away from me, that I may rejoice again
before I depart and am no more."
David's difficult psalms usually end on a hopeful note, but this one doesn't, as if to say that some days end without answers, even for God's anointed. When faith hinges on answered prayers and blessings received, God is reduced to the means to an end. Sometimes, His people pray in earnest and hope according to the Word but fail miserably. We must be prepared for when God does not act according to our expectations. It is easy for sincere faith to degenerate into demandingness.

I'm planning on visiting Samoshel tonight. PCC serves ice cream and hangs out with the residents once a month. I have no idea what to expect.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I miss these guys...too bad blogger is blocked in China.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

brain dump

Last night I dreamed I was in an airport in DC about to fly to Africa. One of my best friends, who is an optometrist in Maryland, showed up all of a sudden to give me an eye exam in the terminal for some reason. I was happy to see him. Most of the people I am closest to are far away.

I cannot watch Forrest Gump without crying like a baby. There is something about a simple person living in a complicated world that is heart wrenchingly beautiful. Same with I am Sam. Their pursuits are both innocent in motive and unwavering in intensity, qualities that are uncommon off the silver screen. Interesting how such people have to be written as characters with diminished capacity in order to be believable.

Lately I have been feeling with greater frequency a longing that I haven't felt since high school. A longing that delivers a physically painful hollow feeling in my chest cavity. Where before I recoiled from it as something to be avoided, I recognize it now as a desire for things which do not exist in their meant-to-be forms on Earth. I am not afraid of such longings anymore. It is not sadistic to embrace this type of pain. It makes it that much easier to place my treasures in vessels that will not erode with rust or decay.

On a lighter note, I did a more serious recording of Sail the Sea. Original video and lyrics from a previous post. Stream it below, or download the MP3 here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

balance and coffee

I frequently have deep conversations over gchat at work in the middle of the day. Coffee helps.

12:53 PM me: this is probabaly contributing to my weariness
its so easy to put weight into human relationships
even though they will always fail
12:54 PM the other side of that is that we created to be social creatures also
i guess its about finding the balance between vertical and horizontal relationships
where you are invested in people but all the more invested in God
12:55 PM but when the scale tips either way, you either become a monk or a basketcase
A: haha monk or basketcase
me: i find that almost universally, all things involve some kind of balance
even though as humans, we want things to be black and white, good is good and bad is bad
thats not how things work
12:56 PM its more like everything is good in moderation, everything is bad in excess
maybe thats how evil can exist in a world that was created to be wholly good
A: so philisophical :] in a good way
12:57 PM me: haha
i feel like i shoudl blog this

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Peace Corps medical forms finally finished. Looking to mail it in tomorrow.

Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry,
Nor could the scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky.
-Frederick Lehman, "The Love of God"

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

skid row

Dude, a couple of familiar faces in this one...

Keep your eyes open for the least of these. Sometimes just a simple smile can make a world of difference. No one is less than human.

This Hidden Los Angeles site has potential too. Bookmarked...


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

the long way home

Wrote this a while ago, couldn't really tell you what it's about, different things here and there. I wasn't sure if I wanted to post the video, but I'm too lazy to record it again, so here it is. I have gotten used to listening to my own voice, but watching myself sing is still pretty weird. My mouth doesn't move enough.

You look up and see
Pieces of me
Singing all your favorite songs
Beautiful lies
They're more beautiful
Through your eyes
The red of the roses
Loses its composure
Next to you

I won't stand
Cuz I probably won't live to get another chance
No I won't stand
Right here is where I remembered who I am
You can't make me, you can't make me
Forget about this
I'm gonna take the long way home

I don't think I'm crazy
But from what I hear lately
They can't say there's nothing wrong

I don't know you but I let you take the wheel
I don't love you but I love the way you make me feel
Every time it goes around
The ferris wheel goes faster now
I just like the ride
I'm not scared of heights
I'll just wait my turn I'll stand in line

Saturday, February 6, 2010

from griffith park

Only one decent pic from that night, but what a view.

Friday, February 5, 2010

peace corps update

I have been running around from doctor to doctor for the last couple months trying to get my medical paperwork completed. They require a full set of physicals and documentation from a regular physician, a dentist, and an optometrist. Other than waiting on appointments and jumping through hoops, the teeth and eye stuff went through without too many complications, but the everything else part is pretty frustrating.

Long story short, after multiple visits to offices all over LA for lab tests, shots, and a specialist consultation, I'm still waiting for the doctor to look over the paperwork. When they are finished, I can send all the forms to Washington DC and if everything is acceptable, the official invitation will come in. Other than that, things remain the same. September still feels like a long ways off, but I know that it is just over the horizon and will come quickly. Still, much can happen in 8 months. Open hands.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

haiti three weeks later

(FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Please don't forget so quickly or move on so readily.
Tomorrow will mark three weeks since the massive January 12th earthquake in Haiti, and tent cities remain full, even as some businesses and factories are beginning to reopen in Port-au-Prince. Now that massive amounts of aid have arrived, distribution problems have cropped up and are being addressed. The World Food Program has begun a new system of delivering rice to 10,000 Haitians per day at each of 16 women-only distribution points around the city - restricted to women, since young men often muscle their way to the front of distribution lines, and the women are viewed as more likely to fairly divide up the food. Aid chiefs and donor nations are warning that Haiti will need at least a decade of painstaking reconstruction.
-Boston Globe, Feb 1, 2010
More pictures.

Monday, February 1, 2010

unfeigned love

"Some folks manage quite well to resist temptation to obvious sin without ever becoming aware of their thirst. And that, of course, is commendable. Resisting sin is always the right thing to do. But for someone out of touch with his thirst, the source of the strength required to avoid obvious sin is usually some combination of self-discipline, time in Scripture and prayer, support and expectations from a community of Christian friends, a healthy concern for the consequences of moral lapse, and a sincere commitment to behave as God commands. The result of living in dependence upon the elements of this impressive list is (at best) a blameless life characterized by high standards, sacrificial commitment, tireless service, and rigidity. When Christians honor their lofty calling without passionately experiencing and embracing the deep ache in their souls, something important, even vital, is lost. Their approach to people is less human, less real, less "there." Often they instruct, motivate, and challenge others, but their lives fail to draw people to the Lord. They push more than entice.

Unfeigned love, something hard to define but unmistakable in its impact, can spring only from the deepest parts of our soul. That part of us that longs to be loved and keenly feels every disappointment is the only part of our being from which we can richly love others, including God. To look away from profound disappointment requires that we lose touch with the liveliest part of who we are. Protection against pain blunts our capacity to love."

The most honest look into my innermost core reveals little solid truth. What I find most is an unsatiated desire for meaning, for purpose, and for love. I have been most acutely aware of these longings during this time of transition, where many of the external things in which I found significance have been stripped away. Previously, this pain was suppressed by a flurry of activity and a compulsion to appear happy, but the buffers have been removed. All I know for sure is that these deepest longings cannot be fulfilled by any earthly channel.

I have journeyed further away than I ever wanted to go in order to rediscover a faith that was so easily demolished. A house of cards it was. Finally I can say that the reconstruction has begun. These new foundations feel more solid, but I have no idea what is being built. I feel like a maker of mud huts witnessing the early stages of a skyscraper being erected. Nothing in my experience can predict what will come next, knowing only that it just might be wonderful.
"Lonely people fill our churches. They attend Sunday school, chat socially at church dinners, and interact meaningfully in small group Bible studies. They often feel reasonably happy, enjoying whatever is pleasant and pressing on despite the rest. But there are moments, moments when a sense of emptiness pierces them like a sword. They may weep, then recover, and get on with life. When a Christian filled with passion speaks to them, they feel strangely stirred. A part of their soul that has lain dormant, sometimes for decades, is touched. A trickle of cool water runs down their throat, making them aware of how thirsty and parched they have been. Hope revives: Maybe life could be more than pleasant. Maybe it could mean something. Perhaps it's possible to feel deeply alive - struggling, sometimes severely - but alive!"
-Larry Crabb, Inside Out