Tag Archives: passion

Not-So-Small Talk

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“And how can we live, never meeting you?”

“But you shall meet me, dear one,” said Aslan.

“Are–are you there too, Sir?” said Edmund.

“I am,” said Aslan.  “But there I have another name.  You must learn to know me by that name.  This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”  —C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

I have been thinking about this idea a lot lately, but this short article I read tonight confirmed my instincts: shallow is unsatisfying. 

I have struggled since graduating college with making friends that I truly and deeply connect with.  The people I met in school were not superior or smarter or deeper because they were college kids.  They did tend to be people working at understanding and  living out their lives with God at the center.  They were struggling with doubts and insecurities and disappointments, but they had a certain lense that they saw the world through: Christ.  Even those who did not believe the same things I do seemed to be open to looking, to seeking to know what it is that gives this life meaning.  This is not to say that the people I’ve met since don’t have this same drive, because I think, deep down, we all do.  It simply doesn’t come up.

I love movies.  I love television.  I like to shop and am trying to learn how to cook.  I read the news on occasion and have minimal knowledge of video games, sports and geography.  This can make for conversations that stretch far beyond the weather, which is always gorgeous, but at some point they stop satisfying.  At some point, something about the talks I had with people about God and our purpose in life, justice and passion, doubt and excitement as we began to understand more, they seemed to leave me full.  I was grounded and stretched in my own ideas and thought, challenged to put what I learned and discovered into practice.  I spent four years thinking about who my Creator and Redeemer is, who I am, what we have to do with each other, and my place among the rest of the world.  Big stuff, at times, but the stuff that fuels me.

The people I enjoy spending time with the most are those who venture into these heavier realms.  I know that I won’t always agree with what others think, and that religion is a personal, sensitive subject.  But it’s not even all about doctrine and ritual.  It’s the core questions that stir deep in all of us: who am I, really?  What am I doing with my life?  What is the point of all of this?  Those are huge questions with a million smaller questions hiding inside them.  I don’t mean to say that every conversation needs to result in a complete examination of one’s soul, but at times, it’s nice to leave the world of gossip and pleasantries behind.

I miss the talks that I used to have.  Very few people today talk with me about my passions, my gifts.  No one really asks what I have and want to offer the world.  No one asks my thoughts on social justice or forgiveness or joy.  I miss those times of really being asked questions, of dialogue that made me see myself and the other person in bigger ways.  As I think about this longing for deep conversation, I realize that the talks aren’t  necessarily even what I miss.

I miss God.  I miss having people share in my journey to know Him.  I miss being asked how I feel about Him and reminded how He feels about me.  I know that I can and should go to church to fill this void.  It somehow does not feel the same, though, without those close friends who knew me well enough to really dig into my life.  I just know that I love my friends from high school and my childhood.  No one will know me in quite the same way as those people who watched me learn ride a bike and drive, read and wear makeup.  I love the friends I have made recently.  They remind me what it is to have fun and enjoy living in the moment.  However, I haven’t loved people, loved God, loved myself, the way that I did in college.  I haven’t known what it is to be truly happy, loving, passionate, peaceful and generous like I did then.  I miss those days of seeking God’s intentions and desires for me and my life.  I recently have felt, as strong as the sun on my shoulders, the call of God to know Him again.  It may be sparked by the books I have read or the music I have played, but I feel a slow fire starting to kindle the passion I had for scripture, for prayer and for God’s heart for this world.  My heart has ached for the discipline of learning about Him, loving Him and others.  I want to be the person I was when I cared more about ministry than school or social status.  It’s scary when I think of how far I have pulled from that life, how little I think about the one who constantly seeks me.  It’s also a relief to know that at my core, in the deepest, most authentic part of me, I am still seeking Him.

 

“But everything inside you knows/ There’s more than what you’ve heard/ There’s so much more than empty conversations/ Filled with empty words/ And you’re on fire/ When He’s near you/ You’re on fire/ When He speaks/ You’re on fire/ Burning at these mysteries…”  –Switchfoot, “On Fire”

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“I’m feeling very Olympic today.”

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“They’ve done everything you’ve asked of them! And they did it with all of you laughing in their face. Hey, it doesn’t matter tomorrow if they come in first or fiftieth. Those guys have earned the right to walk into that stadium and wave their nation’s flag. That’s the single greatest honor an athlete can ever have.”Cool Runnings

Though the story is sports legend, I think that the film Cool Runnings is incredibly underrated.  I’ve loved the film since it came out, leaving its mark on my childhood.  The underdog story, redemption and determination, cliché as they may sound, cannot be told enough.  It is also difficult to call the film cheesy because, by and large, it happened.  But this is not a defense of the comedic stylings of Doug E. Doug.  It’s about what is striking me as I watch the Olympic figure skaters glide across my television screen.

Every time I hear Irv address the committee that disqualified his team, defending the men that he coached and telling them about the pride that comes with representing one’s homeland, I’m overcome with the image he presents.  While the opening ceremonies tend to be tedious and long, the men and women marching under their nations’ flags always gives me chills.  There is so much hope and excitement, so much joy to be known as American, Canadian, Swedish, Peruvian, Kenyan, or wherever they come from.  No matter the state of the world and politics abroad, these athletes somehow transcend the mess that they may come from.  They stand proud, representing the best that their home has to offer.  They are work and pain, perseverance and perfection.  It is only rivaled, perhaps, by the awarding of medals.  As the athletes wrap their flags around their shoulders and the arena is filled with their national anthem, it brings tears to my eyes.  There is recognition and fame that comes to the athlete, but it’s also something bigger, something that their entire nation joins in.  They do not stand alone at the podium, march alone into the games.  They bring a people with them.  I cannot begin to imagine the overwhelming pride and humility that must battle within.

And then there are the medals.  The ultimate sign of success, a symbol of excellence.  No other award, no matter the prestige it carries, can quite compare.  There is something different, definitive, immortal about an Olympic medal.  However, more than any other award, more than any nomination or contention, I think that the bigger honor comes from being included.  To train, which seems such an insufficient word for their efforts, and reach Olympic qualification is, itself, a victory.  To be among the best on earth, the elite, is itself honor.  I do not think that any athlete would refuse a medal or try not to win, but I would think that being a part of the games, being a part of history in that capacity, would be surreal. 

I’m not sure what it is about the Olympics that gets a person like me so revved up.  I don’t watch the Super Bowl, let alone other sporting events on television.  I’m not a sports aficionado.  However, every other year, there is something magnetic about the athletes converging and competing.  There is something beautiful and peaceful amidst the fierce rivalries.  There is hope.  Hope is palpable, emanating from the tv.  There is hope for the athletes, to see the reward for their faithful labor.  There is hope for the nations, to have their children bring honor and victory home.  There is hope for humanity, that we can come together, win together, cry together, lose together, and simply be together. 

“Derice, a gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you’re not enough without one, you’ll never be enough with one.”Cool Runnings