Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Holding onto Life

"Where is it I was reading somebody condemned to death said or thought an hour before his death that if he had to live somewhere on a crag, on a cliff, on a narrow ledge where his two feet could hardly stand, and all around him there'd be the abyss, the ocean, everlasting darkness, everlasting solitude, and an everlasting storm, and he had to remain like that -- standing on a square yard of space -- all his life, a thousand years, an eternity, it would still be better to live like that than to die at the moment. To live and to live and to live and to live! No matter how you live, if only to live! How true that is! God, how true! What a scoundrel man is! And he's a scoundrel who calls him a scoundrel for that."
------Excerpt from Crime and Punishment by Fydor Dostoyevsky

We, as humans, have an intense desire to hold onto life. I can say that I would relinquish my life for many things, but I don't know if I really would. I can speak in ideals, but that has limited benefit. We hold onto life at many costs. Maybe this is what is so shocking about Jesus saying that we must lose our lives in order to gain them. It may sound good in theory, but when we come face to face with the daily implications of this decision, it seems that I want to hold on at all costs.
Thank God that we have a patient Savior who does not leave it up to us to become who we need to become. Only through the strong power of Jesus could I ever say that I am crucified with Christ.
I hope to do that today.
I hope to do that in Lithuania.
I hope to do that as a man.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Bath time at the Beach House Posted by Hello

Lovin' the Beach like a true Californian Posted by Hello

Sleeping like a Franklin Posted by Hello

4-Year Anniversary Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Matthew and Dad at the Beach Posted by Hello

Matthew Pitching Posted by Hello

Karina and Matthew Posted by Hello

Monday, June 13, 2005

This Desert Life

We all go through times that we might look back and call “desert times.” They are times when we feel empty, dry, parched. Then there are other times when things are good.
Or are they?
What if all of our “good times” are nothing more than times that we are distracted from the fact that there is something profoundly wrong with everything around us? What if those times are distractions from something much more alarming:
There is something profoundly wrong inside of us.

Is this depressing? Am I saying that all of my good times have been nothing more than me pretending that things are better than they are? Maybe.
A few Christmases ago, Karina and I got a DVD player (we are horribly behind the times). We bought it and also the extended version of The Fellowship of the Ring. I was so excited. Not only was this a four-hour movie that I loved, but it was also hours and hours of extras and bonus features. The entertainment and fun would be inexhaustible.
I hooked up the DVD player and it would not work. I moved around some wires, but still it would not work. I tried several different options, but I was unable to access my endless stream of goodness and satisfaction that would come with this DVD. Those were desert times. Finally, I found the right combination of wires, channels, and plugs. I pressed play and began to watch. Ah. Good times at last.
Is that as good as it gets. The DVD was as good as could be expected, but it has been exhausted and there is still something deeply wrong outside and inside. What if all of our good times are times when we are doing our best to deny the inevitable reality:
We live in the desert
Is it resigning myself to a life of emptiness and gloom to embrace the fact that I live in the desert? Maybe not. If I recognize that I live in the desert, I will not expect the Oasis that I so long for. And I do not lose hope for the Oasis, because I believe that it is coming. If I do not expect the desert to be the Oasis, then I can enjoy the simple pleasures of the desert, and I can smile at those with whom I live in the desert. I can enjoy the desert for what it is, and long for the Oasis that I will one day enter.
Is it strange to think of this life as a desert life? Jesus’ apostles referred to us as pilgrims, strangers, and wanderers. We are referred to as people without a country. We live in the desert. We long for a better country. That is the Oasis. Oh, how wonderful it will be to live there. The outside is beautiful, and the inside is fixed. . .at last.
In this desert life, maybe one of the best things we can do is to
stop pretending that we are living in an oasis

embrace life in the desert