Things I’ll Miss (Part 1)

Things I’ll Miss (Part 1)

As Lee and I prepare to take our next steps into full-time mission work, we’ve had several conversations about what it means to give up everything and act out of obedience to God’s calling. Many of those talks have been deep, tear-producing moments that have helped us grow in our faith. Others have been more tongue-in-cheek banter about some of the conveniences we’re going to miss. This is one of those moments.

If you stop and think about it, the list of things we’ll be leaving behind is really quite long. In all seriousness, that’s part of the obedience process. However – and as an example – today was a busy day with errands involving a visit to the veterinarian and an oil change for the car. As is typical behavior for Lee and me, I decided to pick something up for lunch on the way home (as opposed to fixing lunch once I got there).

In a pinch, we like ordering from Little Greek that is in the shopping center across the street from our housing development. The food is always amazing, the service is fast, and it’s an affordable meal. Lee, who was working from home, placed the order, and I picked it up as I completed my errands.

As we sat and devoured our food, the thought came to me. “We’re not going to have this in the D.R.” It was a somber and melancholy thought, one that quickly led to another conversation about things we’re going to miss once we move. So in the spirit of list-making, I am moving the gyros from Little Greek to number 2 on my list of foods I will miss most, second to the deli subs from Publix. Seriously, I may cry if I think about going a year or years without Publix subs.

But in the end (and in all seriousness), missing out on these items and conveniences is so worth it.

Put Me In, Coach

One of the beautiful things about the hyper-connected world in which we live is that regardless of how much we’re bombarded with stories of violence, hatred, and overall negativity, every now and then we come across a story that helps restore our faith in both humankind and human kindness.

As many of us search for the answer to, “Why are we here?”, you never know when your mission field will come find you. As is evidenced in this video below, God calls us to act when we may least expect it. The analogy Mr. Darnell Barton uses (0:55) says it best. “You gotta’ go in there and make a play.”

“for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” – Romans 11:29 (NIV)

Called to Drink

It’s been my experience that life is found in the spontaneous moments.

“Dude. Whatcha’ doing right now.”

“Talking to you.”

“I mean …. do you have anything going on this afternoon.”

“No. Why?”

“Want to go get some beers?”

“Are you in the need for some beers?”

“Dude ….. I’m always in the need for some beers.”

“Let’s do it.”

As so ‘it’ happened, and so my buddy and I got together for some beer and some grub. Totally off diet, but totally worth it. There was no rhyme or reason. We weren’t planning anything. He didn’t need to give anything to me or I return anything to him. We just got together because we could.

And we got together because I told to do so.

I know a lot of people will roll their eyes at the notion that God speaks to them. Statements like those often lead to bizarre follow-up questions or awkward silence. So I can only imagine how it will be received as I tell you that God told me to go drink beer with my friend. “Dude. I turned water into wine at a party. Go share in some suds with you bud.” {As an aside, I love the notion of surfer-dude Jesus. Jesus calling out to the first disciples in their boat: “Sup, dudes. Catch anything? No? Try the other side, man.” Jesus telling Peter he will deny him three times: “Duuuuuuude. Before the rooster crows, you’re gonna like totally deny me three times. Bummer, I know.” This would make for an excellent play. Anyways….}

It wasn’t a voice. There was no sign. It was more of a feeling. At the moment I reached out to my friend, I felt a conviction there was nothing more important that I needed to be doing. It was the feeling of, “Go. Leave now. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.”

As it turns out, my friend had a lot on his mind. As a guy, I was someone to whom he could simply turn and just talk, vent, inquire, wonder, etc. By the end of the third beer, I could see his demeanor had changed. He was tight when I met up with him. As we headed home, he seemed more relaxed and a little more at ease.

Whatever the reason, be it divine intervention or simple random impulse, this evening meant a lot to me. I am quite sure it meant a lot to my buddy as well. At the end of the day, we don’t need a special occasion to make an occasion special. All we need is the motivation to reach out to each other and be to others the type of friend that makes a difference in someone’s life.

That and beer.

Beer

Giving In

It’s a daily struggle for me to get into gear. The blessing that is working from home has a flip side, a side that is weighted down by sluggishness and complacency. I thoroughly enjoy not having to commute into work, but I also have to fight myself to ‘get going’ in the mornings and get the ball rolling. Sometimes inspiration – not to mention the crack of the boss’ whip – comes soon after 8:00 AM. Other times I feel like I don’t get out of second gear until well past 10:00.

Still, there is no rhyme or reason as to why or when the moment of energetic infusion hits. It could be a pressing deliverable for work, it could be a crisis situation (which in my work world usually means systems outage), or it could be the right song playing on the radio at the just right time.

Sometimes it’s a tweet from a friend. Sometimes it’s a blog post that I take a moment to read because, after all, I don’t feel like doing much of anything else. Sometimes something as simple as someone’s Facebook status can change my perspective and outlook for the day.

Inspiration is funny like that. She’s a clever little devil.

I’ve had this voice in my head for the past month now. It was a little, nagging whisper I’ve been ignoring for some time, and it finally go to me today.

“You need to write more!”

For weeks and weeks, it was there like that faint buzz you sometimes hear when an electronic device is turned on. I’d simply cast it aside like an annoying pet begging for food next to the dinner table.

“Go away. I’m ‘busy’.”

“No you’re not. You’ve been staring at ESPN.com for thirty five minutes.”

So as I gave into my lack of motivation this morning, I was bombarded online by message after message after message. It’s as if this little voice took over the Internet and deliberately directed content my way.

There was a tweet about how Rome wasn’t built in a day, but at some point the project DID start. My friend wrote a blog the mentions how Stephen Kings writes every day. Another friend’s blog got me thinking about what my calling is, and whether or not that voice in my head has something to do with it. This all came to a head when I received notification that someone I admire and is an inspiration to me is following me on twitter (yeah, I don’t get it either).

So here I am … BAM … shaking off the morning molasses and feeding the voice in my head. Call her my muse, call her a bitch; either way, both are probably correct.

Lazy is tempting seductress, one that fills you with emptiness and the regrets of missed opportunities. I know her well. Still, you never know when inspiration is going swoop in to help save you from lazy’s quicksand grip. Once she does, however, don’t let yourself hide behind excuses. I know I have.

The reward of the accomplishment is in looking back at all that was overcome to reach that point.