The Happiest Happy Birthday to my beautiful Mom.
I could easily fill page after page after glorious page with all the reasons why she's wonderful. But it wouldn't ever be enough -- no matter how long I kept writing -- because every day, every moment, she's doing more. And I'd never, ever be able to catch up. But this is something beautiful. And only proves that it's grace, because grace is being overwhelmingly showered with something beautiful you don't deserve.
Happy Birthday! I love you. You're absolutely amazing.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
I think the idea of this day is glorious. A day to join together and feast, and just. . . give thanks. God has given us everything; we give Him back our gratitude. That seems trivial in comparison, but it's beautiful; He loves it.
"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." (- G.K. Chesterton)I'm finally realizing, just recently, how true that really is. When we feel happily awed, when we truly wonder at our blessings but aren't able to explain them (because they're inexplicable), that's when we begin to discover thankfulness. This year was beautiful. I've learned -- and lived -- so much. I've never had more to be thankful for. And today, when I try to think about all of my blessings, I'm feeling overwhelmed. Wonderfully overwhelmed.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Thursday, November 14, 2013
"Coincidences are God's way of getting our attention."
We see only the bits of life that are staring us in the face. We're children in a wondrous museum who don't understand great art, jostling for the closer spot, thinking closeness will give us the best chance. We don't know how to --- and we can't --- stand back and take it all in. The best we can do is to admire one patch at a time, one section. The best we can do is to take one breath at a time, one moment.
So, when reality smacks the wind out of us, we have no idea where it came from. And when a joke happens, we laugh, or not. Then we forget it. It's an accident.
Or maybe it's not. Maybe the coincidences are really meant to be. Maybe the hilariously un-planned things, the things that should by logic have never happened at all. . . Maybe those are God's way of snapping in our face, waking us up. They're the Author deciding that the plot has gotten monotonous and He's giving us a pinch to see if we're still paying attention.
But we don't look at it like that. We see a coincidence, we smile. . . we forget.
In a truly Christian worldview, however, accidents don't even make it into the equation. "Chance" is an invention of cynical grownup people, who don't want to believe in miracles. So they've come up with something utterly wretched, instead: The idea that wonderful things are accidents, freaks, that they don't matter.
Isn't it much more delightful to look at life like a book to be read? There's a point to each page, each word, each letter. There's a point to each coincidence. They're here to keep the joy in living. Coincidences are beautiful, just because they are coincidences. Because they're wonderfully unexpected.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Monday, November 4, 2013
Saturday, November 2, 2013
(Excerpts from a paper I wrote on Milton for Omnibus class.)
“And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.” (Mark 11:15).
No matter what we might see in the children’s illustrated Bibles, Christ was not languid and passive, only smiling and angelic. He picked up the children, yes, but He also touched lepers. He broke “laws”. He mocked pharisees. He threw tables. The pharisees didn’t have any idea what to do with this wild man from Nazareth. They tried confusing Him, by asking loaded questions, but somehow, He always ended up confusing them instead. He was too sharp for their tricks. But He wasn’t only sharp, He was gentle, too; He wept for His friend (John 11:35). His character is beautifully complex, multi-dimensional character; and nearly impossible to portray accurately. And, well, Milton botched it up pretty sadly. Paradise Lost is an incredibly significant work, but Milton failed, I believe, in the character of Christ. Instead of melding as many of God’s attributes, and layers, and twists, and enigmas, and paradoxes, as he could, he focused too much on only the mighty, ruling attributes. This resulted in God seeming like a distant and lofty king. He is portrayed as distant and almost sterile-feeling. We are half-afraid to get too close for fear of soiling his holiness.
This God doesn’t get His hands dirty. He doesn’t surprise people with His wit. He doesn’t enter into the human condition, like the real God does. He’s there in Milton, but He’s not really Someone you think you’d like to know. You get the feeling He’s too far away. It’s because Milton completely left out the most simple, most lowly, parts of Christ’s personality.
It’s because Milton so bungled the character of Christ in his epic that the character of Satan seems especially masterful, in contrast. Milton’s Satan has a complex, deep, truly fascinating personality. This powerfully guileful being has lost a key battle in the beginning of the tale, but he is unshaken in his resolve to continue. As we read, we clearly see the absolute futility of his going on at all. Satan, himself, knows what the end result of the war will be: Good always wins. But still, he keeps on with this hopeless task. Though at times he shows great remorse for what has become of him, he never falters in his quest to destroy all truth, goodness, and beauty. And his first aim is to destroy the Man and the Woman. If they are defeated, Satan figures he’ll have done pretty darn good...The true Christ is so much more than we get in Paradise Lost: Poet, teacher, king, and carpenter. “Talk to the Fool,” says N.D. Wilson. “To the one who left a throne to enter an anthill. He will enter your shadow. It cannot taint Him. He has done it before. His holiness is not fragile... Touch His skin, put your hand in His side. He has kept His scars when He did not have to. Give Him your pain and watch it overwhelmed, burned away in the joy He takes in loving. In stooping.”
He doesn’t only stoop. He joys in the stooping. He joys in His being birthed into our messy little world. This. This is what we are missing from Milton. In his book, we don’t see our scarred and holy God burning away pain. We see only the guaranteed victory. We don’t see the very ordinary bits of the Story. But Christ loves the ordinary things. He pulls sticky children onto his lap. He enters His city riding on a donkey colt. He called the fishermen, tax collectors, prostitutes. “God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong,” (1 Corinthians 1:27). That is true glory. Our King doesn’t only rule us, as in Milton. He lives among us. He washes our feet; He throws over our tables; He buys back the unfaithful bride; the one who should have died. Milton forgot the lowly side of Christ. And oftentimes the most simple and unremarkable things are the really beautiful things.