February 26, 2005

Sunny But Cold

Today is a beautiful day. It is sunny outside. The sun has been quite absent over the last few months around here. I normally don't notice things like that, but I did the other day. I normally don't get annoyed with the snow because I love the 4 seasons of Michigan. Yet, the other day when it was snowing again all I could think was, "when is spring coming?"

That seems to be a theme in my life right now, the idea of waiting. I'm on the edge of the spring and the new, but not yet. Some of you know that I was away from life for a few weeks this month. I went to the hills of East Tennessee to crank out the first draft of my thesis. It was a long, hellish two weeks being squirreled away from my family in a 6' by 6' space for 10 to 12 hours a day. I did make it through the writing process and my first draft was completed. That's about the most you can say about it. It was horrible writing in my opinion. Dr. Norris, my thesis adviser, confirmed that the other day with an email saying it was miserable and with his pen marks all over the paper copy he returned to me. So, while I'm closer to being done with my degree, I'm still not yet there, and there is a lot of work yet to do. Plus, I have so many books on the to read list like Lord of the Rings that I cannot get to right now because of the thesis work and focus.

It's the same way in my ministry. When I came to South Lansing Christian Church I knew that I would do a dual ministry in worship and youth for awhile. When I think back, two years sticks in my head as the estimated time frame. It has been four years now and there is no hope of a change anytime soon. Not that I don't enjoy my job. I love my job and the things that I get to do. It is just that I sometimes feel spread so thin in the areas that I lead that I cannot make good progress in either one.

My family life also has the same challenges. Steph and I have had the priviledge of living in the farmhouse on South's property since we moved here in 2001. It has been a blessing for us. Yet, we are at the point where we want a place that is our own. We have ideas and dreams of what we want in a house, how far we want to be away from the church, and such. But, with the comotion of the thesis the last few months, winter colds and the stomach flu in Januray, and keeping up with ministry, we have only had the time to dream.

So, as the day outside is beautiful and sunny, the cold of winter is still present. Snow covers the the dormant brown of earth and new life waits behind the curtain for another day. As Christians we are in the same place. Our Lord and Savior has come and gone. He has showed us the way, the truth, and the life. We eagerly wait for his return. Yet, as with my thesis, my ministry, and the desire for a house of our own, we must move forward with life now while we wait. We must live out the way, the truth, and the life with our faith and actions in this world as we wait for Christ's return. (John 14:1-21)

February 5, 2005

An Outdoor Interruption

I have been away from my family now for 10 days. It has been a long ten days where my focus has been on finishing my thesis. That has gone ok, though I unfortunately am no where close to being done with it. It just takes too long to get into my data and get my brain out of "not thesis writing" mode.

I have been in the library or reading and working on this thesis pretty much nonstop. At best, I have had some mental breaks in the evenings when I go to my friend divides house, where I am staying. Today the library was only open from 9am to 4pm. This really sucks in my case because I get the best work done when I'm in the library. So, at 4pm I got kicked out. I've been working at such a crazy pace that I decided to take a break and go for a drive.

I enjoy driving through the hills of Tennessee. It is always a joy to drive and look at all the different styles of houses and see the countryside. Sometimes it is a bit scary when you drive into a "deliverance" type area. There were none of those experiences today, thank goodness. So I drove, with the window down, since it was warm.

On my journey I ended up at Watagua Lake. It is a big inland lake stuck between a couple of mountains. It is very beautiful and very peaceful, except for a bit of road noise. So, along the way I pulled off the road and sat by the side of the lake. It was heavenly . . .

As I sat there and stared across the lake wondering about life, my thesis, and being away from my wife and daughter, I began to hear a rumbling in the distance. I looked to the left and saw a houseboat. I thought, that would be fun and cool. Out on the water for a couple of days at a time, just floating and taking in everything. I think that would be grand. Because of those thoughts I was not to distracted by the rumbling of the motor, which was loud for a boat.

After awhile they stopped. I could hear a couple of voices in the distance, but it was not bad at all. Then the music started. Picture the most peaceful waterfront you can picture with a tranquil hush coming from all over. Then jar that image and calm with some good old country music! And to add to the heinousness of their "crime", I could hearing one of the guys singing loudly in a drunken tone.

Needless to say, I quickly left my peacefulness and headed to the car. So much for spending some quiet time with nature. . . $%@! rednecks!