Welcome to my processing. I can't believe it is August. I had one of those "what the crap," moments this morning when I realized just how quickly this year has gone. So quickly in fact that one of my New Year's resolutions I felt the most sure about - writing more often - has in fact not even been scratched. The dust has continued to gather as unwritten ideas have swirled around with the dead moths that stick to the upper edge of my ceiling fan. This isn't an energetic surge back into writing. This is writing because I'm tired and desire to process and share some of what God has been teaching and doing this year.
Plenty of these things deserve their own post but at this point they are part of the melting pot of 2015. This year (so far...), I have: fallen in and out of love, learned deeply about God from a 6th grader, planted a garden, remembered how badly I need to work with my hands, made some cool wood shop projects, discovered my love of coaching, shaped my passion for teaching (scripture, classes, people, inanimate objects), said "see ya later" to friends as their lives shifted, said goodbye to one friend in particular yesterday that taught me more in three weeks about radical love for others than I've learned in a lifetime, and I personally have been formed and molded more in one year than any year I can remember. Welcome to 24. One of the realizations of my current week of recovering from summer with stay-cation and prep for the school year is that my schedule the last few years has been unsustainable. The funny thing is that there's a difference between knowing about and knowing that something can't work.
One of my favorite analogies this summer became the snow-globe. I used to love shaking my snow globe as hard as possible. I'd watch in awe as the white pellets would soar and bounce off the inside of the glass. After a few moments of being still the pellets would resettle back to the bottom and you could see the figurine or picture inside the snow globe. Our lives are similar to that snow globe. I love summer camp because for many students a week at camp is a time where their life stops being shaken long enough that they can see what is actually going on in their lives. The third or fourth time I was giving that analogy this summer I realized I needed to listen to my own words. I hadn't let my snow globe stop shaking in a long time. Sure, I take walks on the pier and I have space for sabbath every week, but all of those things are just brief intermissions before stepping back out into the frantic flow of my day or week.
One of the most important things I've done this year was plant a garden. Gardens are inherently slow. I have so much to learn from plants that take weeks to sprout. It is the most maddening hobby in the world for someone that craves immediate results and the thrill of accomplishing things.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5
Read the rest of that passage, before and after this verse. It's good stuff. One of my favorite sermons I've ever taught was from that passage and used the rich metaphors of pruning to talk about our lives. Having a garden this year has not only brought that passage to life for me but it has taught me a new lesson that is really an old lesson, just being re-learned.
It (life, growth, being a pastor, everything) takes time. I need to abide.
That's it. Not revolutionary. But so important. This year I have needed the reminder that things will take time. And that's a good thing. The snow globe needs to not shake for a little while so that you can see what you've got inside.
So what does the rest of 2015 look like? I really hope I write more. I'll even put it back in my calendar. But I want to stop trading an eternal mindset for a mindset so focused on chronological events happening. In Greek these words for time are kairos and chronos. Kairos is the kind of time that God calls us into. The two things I'm trying to grow in right now are pretty simple. I want to be a softer man and I want a thousand foot perspective on things. There's a difference between softness and humility. When we pray for humility we are often given opportunities to be humbled. I'm not sure if I'm ready for that bold of a prayer right now. But I am praying that I get softer, more patient. More focused on long-term, kairos time, than short-term objectives. Secondly, I want to develop more of a thousand-foot perspective on myself and others. A thousand-foot perspective is just the ability to see something from a removed vantage point. I spend much of my time with a five foot perspective. Often I get blinded by not being able to imagine anything beyond what is right in front of me. The more we zoom out the more we get the ability to see ourselves and others the way God does.
Normally I have follow up questions but this post was essentially just me having an outlet to process and record a lot of thoughts. Thanks for reading. What do you think? What do you want to read about the rest of this year? For the five people who will read this, thank you (hi mom! thanks for being my biggest fan).