Friday, April 27, 2012

I'm Tired

                I am 44 years old and I am tired! I know I shouldn’t be but I am.  After fighting pain following three brain surgeries I am tired of doctor visits to neurologists and neurosurgeons.  I am tired of being told that “this pill” will finally do the trick only to find out that it doesn’t.  I am tired of getting up every morning and wondering if I will even be able to get out of bed or if this is the last morning I will even wake up.  I am tired of falling down stairs after having seizures.  I am tired of canceling events in my life because the pain is too much or that it just happens to be the day that my legs won’t work.  I am tired of going out in public and being embarrassed because my body refuses to listen to me and, instead, decides to jerk uncontrollably.  I am tired of not being able to drive a car or see the colors of a sunset. I am tired….but I am not finished!
                I am not finished fighting for a normal life.  I am not finished chasing after dreams that God has placed in my heart.  I am not finished believing that, even though I might not understand it fully, God has a plan for my life and it is a great one!  I am not finished with God nor do I believe that He is finished with me.  I am not finished believing that although my life is harder than some it is much easier than most.  I am tired but I am not finished.
                I am not finished believing that even though my health has taken things from me I have been given even more.  I know what it means to be cared for by an incredibly loving and understanding wife.  I have seen patience overflow from my children and I have been filled with love from my family and friends.  They refuse to give up on me and so I refuse to give up on myself.  I often think how easy it would be to give up and quit but then I realize that I am only tired, I am not finished.  Though persistent pain and symptomatic side effects eat away at my day they cannot have the day!  This day, today, has been given to me by God to do what God intends.  I am not finished with today!
                I grow tired with those who waste today.  Those people who have made it their mission in life to dictate their own terms and refuse to submit to God’s terms.  Our world grooms people to seek to “lord over” others instead of loving others, to seek their own way and not God’s way.  I am finished believing that I know better than God.
                Yes, I am tired but God gives me strength.  At times I despair but God gives me hope.  I hurt but God heals!  And so I make my stand.  The events of the world may seek to rob me of my life but…they cannot have it!  And the reason I will not hand over my life to my circumstances is because it is not my life to give.  Christ has bought me with a price and my life is His.  And as long as I have breath I will endure for “greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world”.   I am tired today but today is not tomorrow!  I am tired…but I am not finished.



Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hey everyone it's Jake with another post. This has been on my mind for a while and I just thought I would write it down and share it with others. I hope it makes you think about your own experiences as well.

When does it happen?  Every single person has or will experience it at some point. When is the exact moment that a child transforms into an adult? Is it the first day of high school? Is it a first car or first kiss? When does the process begin to start and churn inside an adolescents mind?  It is a moment that will be remembered forever, but all too often it tries to be obtained too quickly. The society that I find myself growing up in is different than all others that have come before. It is a place that, if you are not careful, can swallow you in your own selfishness and desires. It’s a place that can turn worlds upside down and distorts the comforting image of life that we have all grown to accept. But above it all, this society takes in the innocence of a child and spits out a hard callused adult who has grown accustomed to the bitterness the world so willingly offers. It leaves us blind to the reality that life is so precious and beautiful. But the question is…where does it begin? And why does it start in the first place?
Think of the most scraggily, beat up, filth ridden person you have ever seen. The deception is that this person has been like this his or her entire life and deserves the life that they have earned. It’s not too often that we think about this person as a new born baby, or a toddler taking their first steps. It’s not too often that we think about the new life in their fresh expressions as we smell the alcohol on their breath. I mean think about it, no one is born addicted to drugs or alcohol. No one is born without any ambitions or hope. No one is born a victim.  We are all born innocent, and have not been tampered with in any way. As we grow older, life throws us the first tastes of what it has in store for us. The little boy without his front teeth could have his parents separate or the little girl with the pigtails could be abused. We don’t understand it as children, but we are so curious as to why these things happen for no reason. It makes us wonder if the world isn’t as wonderful as we thought it was. And if we let it, our loving and innocent hearts harden a little and we begin the race to grow up when we could have preserved that innocence in the first place.
More years pass and soon we find ourselves interacting with people our own age who act and behave in similar ways. In some ways this serves as restoring hope, but the inevitable fact is our peers only serve as competition in the race to maturity. We hold some in high regards and in doing so poke and prod at the ones who don’t meet our standards. It is the first time that we really doubt our own validity. We think that if our peers don’t accept us, than it’s impossible for others to. The world once again puts an obstacle is our paths. There seems to only be one path filled with emptiness and trying to conform to a mold made by others. Our hearts and innocence harden more. The pace of the marathon quickens and we do our best to keep up.
                The anaconda of society is persistent and continuously presses against us. Some of us enter high school with some of our innocence intact, while others sprint ahead and are eager to catch their first glance at what is perceived to be “real life.” Our peers become an even bigger part of our lives, and force their own convictions on us. The storm of maturity engulfs us and slowly draws the last bits of precious innocence form our bodies. The things that gave us happiness before like spending time with family, playing a game, or swinging on the swing set are replaced with what we are told will make us happy.  Drugs, alcohol, and sex seem like the perfect catalyst to spring us forward in the great race. By the time we are finally done and ready to begin our lives outside of our sleepy home towns, we are nothing but empty shells, desperately searching for an answer as to why life has been so cruel to us. The blame is passed from one thing to another, but the virus we have been injecting ourselves with makes us numb to the idea that it could be our responsibility. Our hearts are now scabs, closed to the idea of anything that won’t yield us satisfaction or pleasure. Society has claimed yet another person with her evil transformation. And we set out and embark on our own journeys, believing that we have completed the race and that we should deserve more for running it as fast as we could.
                Blame is tossed around endlessly about why my generation is going downhill so fast. A common misconception is that it is all our parents fault and that parents are responsible for why we all want to grow up so fast. But it is our blindness and selfishness that causes us to dump our mistakes onto the ones that raised us. After all it seems like the easiest thing to do. In actuality it is our own faults for not being able to identify our own destructiveness. Our parents should be a way to ensure that a child has the best start and tools to help them stay off the path of destruction.
                So what is the answer?  It could be as simple or complicated as you want to make it. We seek out a way to heal our damaged and broken lives. Society offers many cures and tonics that claim to do the trick, but in the end we end up being a blurred image of ourselves. We are fooled into believing our best cannot possibly meet the universal standard of what is good or exceptional. When we can learn to slow down and give ourselves permission to have a loving, accepting, and kind heart is when we take the first step in uncovering the vale that has encompassed our whole world. We can live with our innocence and embrace anything that life presents to us. And yet the whole world sits, and continues to pump garbage into our lives that we are now expected to embrace.
                Let’s act and come out of the fire new. Instead of life engulfing us, maybe we can change what it really means to live in the first place. And maybe someday we can brag to our kids about how we were able to barricade ourselves from the gloomy mist of society.  We can stand up and say that we are proud to have not been the first to cross the finish line.