Tuesday, November 11, 2008

6000 Feet

Tonight I took my wife flying. I got my license yesterday and today it became obvious all the work I put in was worth it. I can't tell you how amazing it was being up there with her. It just felt right. It seems writing and flying do about the same thing for me - I like flying much better. The world seems so quiet from up there, everything kind of fades a little. Down here I find comfort in words and stories - up there its in space and distance. I don't know how to describe it really, but I feel better connected to myself. I feel like a bit of a bad-ass and yet somehow humbled. I feel accomplished and small. I feel like man and a child. I know that sounds really cheesy and I'm sorry, I just don't know how else to describe it. Its the same basic feeling I had the day I got married and day my daughter way born. I think its the feeling of being in a moment you know you were specifically created for. I was supposed to marry my wife, I am the father God chose for my daughter, and flying is clearly what I'm supposed to do. Its ridiculous to compare flying to those things, and obviously its not in the same league, I just don't know of anything else to compare it to.

At church last week we had one of those "keep your chin up" kinds of services. I know they're necessary right now, people are freaking out. I'm not. I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, its the first time in my life I've been even remotely sure of that (aside from moments previously mentioned). Anyway, the message was about a really dark time in Israel's history. They had been under siege for so long they were basically living in a sewer, oh, and all they had to eat was each other. So their army ran away and their king had his eyes put out and his sons killed and then their city was burned and they were made into slaves. It was a rough couple of years. So they find themselves slaves in some Godforsaken foreign land and throw in the towel. They hang their harps in poplar trees and refuse to sing songs to or about God. I sort of know how they feel, hell, I've been there. Hung my harp right up in some stupid tree and walked away. So I'm sitting there in the service thinking it sounds about right. I mean, what would you do in a situation like that? I know what I do, I quit.

About this point I start getting real uncomfortable, not because the message is getting to me but because I begin to see what they plan on doing with that huge tree they've got sitting on stage. They plan on making me walk up there and in front of everybody take a little paper harp off the tree and promise never to put it up there again. I hate that crap, I really do. We all know no one takes that seriously. Its peer pressure. Its like when everybody at that made for TV church down the street stands up at the same point in the final worship performance (usually coincides with the climax of the song and a spectacular light show). We all know few of those people are actually moved by the song, I'd bet most of them are so busy thinking about lunch they don't even realize they've stood up. Its mob mentality. You can't force people to make a decision with peer pressure - you can't make me so uncomfortable I have to act. I will not make a decision for Christ because everyone is watching and I'm embarrassed not to or because the really spiritual people are doing it. Its not real that way. That being said, there is a pair of jeans in my floor right now with a little paper harp in the back pocket.

Here's the thing, this time I was one of the few. It was real for me. I don't want you to think I wrestled with it and came to a decision. God was very clear in that moment that this decision was not mine to make. I've just recently gotten my harp down, I don't get to put it back. I got angry and quit once before. The question now becomes; did I learn my lesson? I think I did. I know where that road leads. I'm not exactly on fire in my spiritual life right now. In fact, things are pretty quite on the God front. Its been quiet before, but this is different. I know where I'm going now. I've been a quitter before; I quit teams, I quit school, I quit jobs, relationships, and church. I quit on myself and on God. Somewhere in those stupid paper harps God reminded me that I'm not that guy anymore. I'm on the other side now. I've come to far to ever quit again.

Tonight I got to feel what it was like to finally succeed. I didn't have a senior season (in college)- I don't have a diploma. Tonight was the first time in a long time, if not ever, that I achieved something I set out for. Tonight I learned what it feels like to succeed. It changes everything.

I think the decisions I've made in the past will affect my relationship with God for a long time. I don't think of him the same way and he doesn't deal with me the same way. I think this is how our relationship is going to be; times of intense passion and growth followed by deafening silence and searching. Tonight, in the quiet distance of 6000 feet, I was reminded of what it will take to find success in my spiritual life. I have no choice, throwing in the towel is not an option. I will continue to sing, continue to play, and continue to wait.

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