Thursday, February 24, 2011

Unpacking Camino: Part 2

Because it is very late and I need to get some other stuff done, this will be a short one.  I just want to reflect for a moment on the impact of knowing you are being prayed for.  My heart is never so touched as when I know that someone has been praying for me--especially when I realize that there are numerous people, many of whom I've never even met, praying for me.  The warmth shown to me and my fellow viajeros this past weekend is unmeasurable.  So, if you have been praying for someone, be sure and let them know.  Their knowing may accelerate the effects of your prayer, and may inspire them to pray for you or someone else as well.

If you are reading this, I have said a prayer for you.  I pray that God touches you in just the way you need to be touched.  I also pray that you will be blessed by having friends and family who pray for you by name on a regular basis.

Des Colores!

Andy

Monday, February 21, 2011

Unpacking Camino: Part 1

I've just returned from a journey.  More accurately, I've just begun a journey.  This past weekend I attended Camino at my church and was bombarded day and night with many emotions.  Over the next few days I will be unpacking my experience publicly because apparently I'm a masochist.  As a side effect, I hope that you can look to my experience and maybe see a little of yourself.  Or, perhaps, you will gain from this in some way.  Or, you might get a little dark satisfaction at my spiritual "squirming."  Whatever the case may be, sit back and enjoy...

This weekend was truly the first weekend in which have had (read "taken") the time to do some serious soul searching and self reflection in at least a year.  I'm guessing, though, it's been more like five.  The thing that most likely keeps me from doing so on a regular basis is that I often do not like what I see.

If you are black, white, red, yellow, too skinny, too fat, too short, too tall, not religious enough, too religious, not good looking enough, too good looking, not intelligent enough, too intelligent, too quiet, too boisterous, too gay, too straight, too somewhere in between, too rich, too poor, too ambitious, too lazy, drink too much, or don't drink enough; chances are, I have said something hurtful to or about you at some time--all while feeling just wonderful about myself.

Problem is, those of us "churched" people sometimes get a little too good for our own good.  We say to ourselves, "I attend regularly, sing all the right songs, serve on the right committees, and give the right amount of time/money."  What we don't see is that while we're sitting there patting our own backs, thinking we're all that, Satan is whispering "Amen" in our little ears, while people around the world are struggling with serious issues like Cancer, Addiction, Abuse, the Death of a Loved One, and a myriad other hurts.

So, here comes the first of several public apologies that I imagine will be issued over the coming days.  To God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit:  I am sorry for neglecting to love those around me in the way you have asked me to, and for failing to reflect the love you have for each of us.  To all the previously mentioned folks above:  I am sorry for neglecting to love you in a way that reflects the true love that our Creator has shown US ALL!  I hope that my thoughtlessness, ignorance, and, at times, down-right meanness has not been a stumbling block for you.  If it has, I owe you a second, deeply-felt apology as well.

If you are reading this and saying to yourself, "What is this fool talking about?" I'm grateful.  Either you have an immense amount of Grace, or you've been lucky enough to have somehow missed an attack from me.

I pray that this feeling of utter humility stays with me for more than just a few days.  As Christians, we are called to show the world what GOD looks and acts like.  I hope not another person looks at me and says, "God must be a judgmental, smug, prideful little man."  If that is the case, I will have truly failed my God.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A year of Change

Is it just me, or did a lot of things change in 2010?  I mean, the year started out all normal like, with the usual changes: socks, bed sheets, underwear, trash bags, etc.  Then, in March, a change came that set a tsunami of changes into motion.

This little change was a job change.  I'd been employed as a loan officer at that particular bank for 9 years.  I was very happy with where I was, but something came along, and I just had to see where it would take me.  Well, one thing led to another and this initial change led to a change in my routine.  I changed the people I worked with, and the way I worked.  I also had to leave my house by 6:30 to be at work by eight.  My one-way commute changed from 20-30 minutes to a whopping hour-and-a-half!  This change led to a change in automobiles as my old Santa Fe had 170k miles on it.  After 6 months of this daily commute (not to mention the hefty fuel bill) something had to change.  So... we bought a home in Wentworth, MO.  This resulted in our need to change addresses, utility providers, etc.  Once we got moved up here, we had to change churches, as it was a little difficult for our entire family to be ready for our hour-and-a-half commute to our old church.  This meant changing the friends we hang out with on a daily basis.  Now that we're Missourians, we have to change our drivers licenses and the tags on our cars.  We've changed the restaurants we frequent, and the places we shop.  We've changed our bank accounts.  We've changed the way we heat our home (wood furnace vs. propane), and the way we cook our food (electric stove instead of gas range), and the way I record (smaller studio :( ).

"Sounds a little overwhelming", you say?  A bit.  Quite a bit.  Ok, a lot.  But, these changes have been good for us and, though I'd sometimes like to, I won't complain.  I know there is a reason and a purpose for all of this change.

Some things, however, will not be changing.  For example, our phone numbers.  We have Vonage, so no change there. :)  Our love for each other--Not changing unless it's for the better.  And last, but certainly not least, our status as Razorbacks!  Not gonna change.  On Tuesday night, I'll be watching with bated breath to see if Mallet and Co. can show Ohio State who THE University is.  Woo Pig Sooie!!!