Wednesday, August 10, 2011

When it just clicks ...

If you're looking for them, there are a few lines in every movie when the writer moves beyond creating dialogue for the characters in the movie, and expresses their own personal sentiments. Scenes where the producers turn the camera on themselves, and share their own inner resonation with their work of art - surreal moments when you finally understand the purpose behind what you’re watching.  And not only is this true of Hollywood - it's true in our own lives as well.  Surreal moments - what you've been seeing in your own life finally makes sense.

I’m going on a bike ride with my brother and some of his friends in northern Arizona. Actually, “ride” is quite a generous term. I soon find out that could more appropriately be called a bike climb. After several miles, we reach an even steeper portion of the trail, and I decide it’s time for the hiking part of this duathalon. As they push on ahead, I jump off and slowly start the trek up the ridge.

One of the things about bike-hiking mountains is that the top is always elusive. By the time you see it, you round a corner and it magically becomes much, much higher. As I was slowly making my way up the mountain, I decided that, contrary to appearances, the end was not in sight. Much to my surprise, my skepticism was invalid, and I was rewarded with a great downhill segment after a short rest at the top.

In mountain biking, the bad thing about awesome downhill segments is that they lead to horrible ones. Times when a nice winding trail changes to a rocky creek bottom, and your hands ache from the constant pummeling of the handlebars. But you know what, if all uphills were moderate, and downhills silky smooth, it would be called road biking. In the end, all uphills lead to downhills, and all horrid downhills become a badge of honor and a good reason to find another trail.

I’m pounding down a concrete two-lane road in southern Mississippi. I’m with a fellow senior cadet at Camp Shelby – we have some time off from instructing the younger cadets, and decide to go on an afternoon run. Only thing is, afternoons in Hattiesburg, Mississippi typically run high 90’s in both temperature and humidity. As I’m wondering why I signed up for this workout, and why we are pushing such an incredibly fast pace, something I’ve known all along hits me in a profound way. Exercising isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to be incredibly hard – if you want to improve yourself and meet the goals you've set. And the feeling of accomplishment is more than enough reward to motivate me to head out the next day.

In these moments, my life suddenly makes sense. I see the purpose for the stress and hardships of my life, and how they've had a major part in building who I am. And regardless of how difficult life can be in the moment, eventually I’ll reach the top, and see the bigger reason for what I’ve been facing.

God gives all of us a few lines in the script of our lives when the words explain everything else. A few scenes where we get a birds-eye view on our lives. I think the Amplied version really brings out the meaning of this passage in Romans 8 – and is a really good place to sum up our thoughts.

"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son ...

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow-not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below-indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Picture Slideshow

Spring Break 2011

Wrapping up an amazing spring break trip!  2,889 miles of awesomeness.  Click "larger map" to see our route.  Pics and video to follow!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Spring Break!

In the interest of spring break and changing my routines, this post will have no deep insights, no thought-provoking sentiments.

Just a suggestion to look at the right sidebar and see how close we are to SPRING BREAK!  One test and one quiz, and I'm there!

This is all.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Perspective is everything!

This post was written during the trip to Canada to start Christmas break.  I just now got around to editing and posting it.  Enjoy!


Well, it's the end of another semester. It's amazing how they have their own way of coming to a close. You're preoccupied with an ever-growing crescendo of homework assignments and tests to study for, and it seems like the work will never end But before you know it, you're waiting for final grades to get posted, and are in amazement that you have finished off yet another four months of school

This particular night, I'm driving up to North Virginia to fly out of Reagan for Christmas in Canada. It's the conclusion of a long day of driving from my aunt's house in Nashville, and for the last stretch I decide to fire up some Eagles on the Ipod. As I have mentioned before in this blog, the Eagles are my perfect road trip band. They have this indescribable way of capturing classic Americana through their tight harmonies, classic instrumentation, and unique blend of country and rock elements. As I drive through the moonlit, snow-covered countryside, I reflect on the past semester. This drive is as good a time as any to step back and take stock of how things are going away from the constant din of classes and homework assignments.

It's been a interesting semester. Starting even before the beginning of the semester with my dads final health decline, to his passing on September 11th and the funeral services, this semester has been about much more than just academic assignment. I don't think there is a way to really process mentally the loss of a family member that close to you, one you respect deeply and see in him a reflection of yourself on a deep level.

As I am zooming along the snowy countryside, thinking about the past months, I realize that in spite of the challenges I have faced, this semester is the moment that my faith has been preparing for all my life. What is the purpose of my belief in Christ if it is only for the sunny days, the green pastures of life, and not for the times when we must go through the valley of the shadow of death with someone we love? When life doesn't make sense, Christ offers us the chance to step out of our own minds and intellects, and view things from His perspective. You know, if we look at something as basic as how we are supposed to pray, we see this change of perspective illustrated. This is what the Lord's Prayer is all about. Recall the words:

Our Father which art in Heaven,
Hallowed be THY name.
THY kingdom come.
THY will be done on earth
as it is in heaven

Yes, there is the petition for daily bread, forgiveness, and deliverance from temptation. But then Christ brings the focus back to Himself with the closing lines,

for THINE is the kingdom,
and the honor,
and the glory,
for now and forever,

Life has its moments. Not only the happy moments when you have the world by the tail. Also moments when it just doesn't compute, when you are wondering how you should even feel. Through the times I have felt this way in the past few months, it is a blessing to be able to rely on God and His infinite perspective to give guidance and comfort in my life.