Saturday, November 21, 2009

Help me in my unbelief

2 nights ago I got the news that John Green, a college classmate, was found to have died in his home of carbon monoxide poisining. His wife Cheryl, also a classmate, was in critical condition but I understand she's made a strong recovery.

John and Cheryl have had a tremendous impact on a lot of lives. Even in college, their example and faith made a huge difference to so many people. John was the minister for many many years at the Christian Church in Clay Center Nebraska. Over the years I'd run into people who knew John and Cheryl through their ministry, and all I can say is that it's a tremendous loss for the church and the community. You could get a sense of the kind of person he was from the report that KHAS TV had on him.

I sat, very heavy hearted and stunned. All I could think about was how sad it was for John. In fact I almost started this off calling it sad news.

And then I stop myself and think... why does this leave me so heavy hearted? When I get right down to it I know I find myself feeling sad for John, and yet... the truth of the matter is he's got it an awful lot better right now than any of us. He's in a pretty awesome place and I know for sure he's not feeling too terrible at all about where he is. I do feel bad for Cheryl, I can't begin to imagine waking up and learning that the man she's been married to all these years is gone. They have 2 kids and a huge family known as the church there. And for all of them, I do feel terrible.

But I know that if I'm honest, deep down I know it's John I have been feeling bad for and that it's a very hard feeling to shake.

I then rationalize it all away by saying when we feel bad like this it's for our own loss. And maybe that would be true if I saw John on a regular basis. I always considered him a friend in college (how could you not? he was just that kind of guy) but since then I've only seen him in passing a few times. I have no plans of seeing him anytime soon. I hope this doesn't sound bad to say it, but there's not really a true personal loss here. That really probably isn't the best way to say things, but what I'm getting at is that there's not an ongoing relationship now and so if it's not been there it really isn't a loss from that side of things.

And so when I shake it down to its core, if I'm being honest, I feel sorrow for his sake. And it's that feeling that leaves me wondering about my own faith.

It's a strange mix of thoughts here. I can't find even a bit of a question in my mind about where John is at this moment. From the time I've known him it has been obvious that here's a guy who has lived out of his faith. I know... I just know... without question or doubt... that his faith has him in a wonderful place, finally getting to enjoy being with the same Jesus he has followed and preached about and walked with for all these years. It can't get any better than that.

But I guess that's the mix of thoughts. Because when I know that, and in my heart I celebrate that, but then I'm feeling sad for him, then it leaves me wondering just how much I really believe it. In the end I think I find myself maybe discovering that while I know in my mind there's a great amount of assurance and belief, but some of the sadness I feel makes me wonder if that faith isn't as much in the heart as it could be? I don't know that this is me knocking myself as maybe understanding a bit more about my own faith, and how there's still a huge amount of room to grow in it.

And I look forward to growing to the point where news like this doesn't trigger an instant sadness for someone but instead brings about an instant celebration for their sake.

It's at this time I think I really appreciate the honesty of a father who came across Jesus and had said "If you can do anything." Jesus called him on that "if" and I love what the father came back with, because I think it so greatly fits in with where I am right now. Maybe where a lot of us are?

"I do believe. Help me in my unbelief"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What am I, nuts???

Okay, so yes, it's been a couple weeks again since posting. Nothing new here, is there? Not that this is a shock or anything. Actually, some consistant posting would be the real shocker, wouldn't it? At least this time I can say I've just been stinking busy. Which is a good thing. Maybe. I think.

Since income in the self employed world can be very hit or miss, and in this economy sometimes I think too much miss and not enough hit, it really got to where I figured okay, I do need to get some form of regular income. So I've taken a job in the tech support call center over at Dish Networks... kind of a cool place really, and it makes a good combo of my enjoyment of all things technical and just that social aspect (even if it is talking to ticked off customers who can't get their remote to work on the night of the big game). It's enough to at least make sure the bills are paid on the slow months.

But this is Murphy's law in action. The very moment I start doing this evening job, I start getting slammed with work. Now it's all subcontract work for other companies, but that has its advantages as well. Yesterday though came this realization that I have to start setting some boundaries here. It starts with having to run out at 6:30 AM for an urgent early morning call to get there by 7. From there another call that ended up taking the rest of the day. Then off to work my night job right from that job.. finally getting home and realizing that i've been on such a dead run the past few days and with today looking booked solid as well, I needed to get some invoices out and take care of some things. Considering that my main computer has been DOA since crashing last week (note to self -- no more letting teenagers use the computer -- viruses come along happily when you do) there was some extra work to transfer my backed up financial files to this puter... and by the time I'm sending out the invoices it's 2 AM. Okay, so that adds up to working 25 out of the previous 31 hours.

When I get paid for it all, that will be a very nice thing... but there's a point where I have to say enough. So I was not too terribly disappointed when what was going to be a day long job had to be re-scheduled as a result of some equipment not being there. And I did end up turning down another job for today just because I needed to catch up on living. Not to mention a nap. I'm deeply looking forward to leaving in a little while, picking my kids up from school, spending some time with them, cooking supper for them and getting a wee bit of time with my wife before going back to work.

That said... I'll admit that right now being crazy busy is still a much better feeling than business being very slow and living on beans and rice, rice and beans.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Exercise in a different manner

I had figured on settling into a good walking routine when of course there was a nice big snowstorm here in Denver. We figure a good 16 inches. Of course this puts a crimp in the whole exercise routine, right?

Well in case I was of the mind to wimp out, we wake up Thursday morning to several inches of water throughout the basement. Actually nothing to do with the snow, surprisingly enough, but instead thanks to a nice little root in the sewer pipe and a toilet that decided to run for we're guessing at least an hour after being flushed, lots of water backed up through the floor drain. The water restoration company that came out pumped about 450 gallons of water out of the basement, and now we get the pleasure of 10 big fans blowing air against the drywall throughout the basement.

Because it's considered black water since it came through the sewer pipes (though fortunately very clean looking water) we were advised to get as much out of the basement as possible. So rather than a nice 2 mile walk somewhere, substitute that for dozens of trips up and down the stairs hauling stuff to the garage or patio. Fortunately not a lot of stuff is ruined or anything, though now we're just in wait and see mode to see what the insurance adjuster says, and whether they think they dried things out well enough to avoid future mold problems or if they need to cut out some drywall and dry things off. I have a feeling there's a lot more trips up and down the steps in the near future....

Thinking I'd rather go walking.