Friday, March 31, 2006

Many Colored Days

Having a toddler, I get the pleasure and pain of reading lots of toddler books. Most of them are mundane and repetitive, but one of them recently got my attention.

Though I've probably read it close to a hundred times now, recently one phrase from My Many Colored Days keeps repeating over and over again in my mind: "You'd be surprised how many ways I change on different colored days."

I can see the point of the phrase. I mean, when someone reads my blog, some days I'm happy, other days are sad, and that comes out not only in what I write, but how I write it.

But I wonder about my many colored days. Every day I'm both happy and sad, sassy and pensive, reflective and brash. Every moment of every day these things are swirling around inside me, looking for a trigger to get out. But how can that be? How can I be both happy and sad?

The reality, I think, is that every happy time in my life is at least partially colored by a sad time, and likewise every sad time is colored by a happy time. My previous experience colors how I understand each and every moment, and my actions in response to that understanding color how you know me. When you get to know me, you travel in time and visit my past in each every moment that I respond to you. Likewise, you cause me to travel in time as you face my actions and respond to them.

As I reflect even more on my life, I realize that the parts that hurt make me who I am more than the parts that don't. Not only do the parts that hurt cause me to be more reserved, more cautious, they also remind me of my failures, of things lost and broken. Even during the happy times, the parts that hurt dig deep, they pinch and cut, and they drive me into the future to find the thing that can heal the wounds.

I wonder about the future. Am I more than the sum of my past? Is there redemption for the painful experiences that remain forever fixed in time, integrated into who I am becoming? Does heaven mean that God erases the painful parts of who I am, and in the process erase the very thing that makes me unique - the very thing that causes me to search after Him?

Somehow, I don't think so. Somehow I think that God leaves the parts that hurt - the things that make me, me. But how can a just God leave the pain just sitting there? How can a just God allow the events of Auschwitz to remain hanging in time? How can a healing Father allow the events surrounding my Dark Time in college to still swirl around inside me, coloring all I see? How can the infinite beauty of heaven coexist with the painful events that make us who we are - the very things that cause us to grope after the divine?

Maybe it's all about color. Maybe the beautiful, colorful God interacts with us in as we grope for goodness. Maybe when He touches us, he travels in time to our past, and sees our hurts and pain, sees how they color our lives and make us who we are. Maybe when we touch Him, we travel deep into the past, being colored as the infinte God interacts with us, and shows us His presence, making us new. Not new because our past is erased, but new because as we travel into the past, our perspective is shifted. No longer is each and every moment of hurt colored by pain, but in each and every painful frame of our lives our interaction with God shows Him there, interacting with us, being hurt with us. God's presence in the horrors of the past heals our painful memories and dissolves the repressions we use to keep painful memories from hurting us more. God colors my Dark Time, he colors Auschwitz by breaking down the barriers that keep full healing from taking place, then the God of all creation shows us what true healing looks like. In this way we are both the same, and made new.

So as I stretch towards the future, in search of healing and wholeness, I realize that God is slowly changing my perspective, slowing coloring me to see Him in every one of my many days - he literally changes my days to a different color. So, to me, the meaning becomes much more profound:
"You'd be surprised how many ways I change on different colored days"

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Blogging Rules

After reading over the first two posts in my blog, I’ve realized that the one with pictures is much more interesting. This has caused me to think pictures should be much more used in my blog than I would otherwise be inclined to do.

No one probably knows about it, but I used to have a blog many, many moons ago. Way back when the net was new and 56k dialup was considered as fast as you would ever want to go. Problem was you had to be rich to get a 56k modem, provided you could even find a provider that would allow for dialup that fast. Occasionally, I’ll speak of the (re)creation of my blog, which is a reference to the earlier blog. In fact, "Entering the Blogsphere" is a slightly reworked version of the first entry in my old blog.

In any case, I still have a lot of those entries from way back then. Upon occasion, I’ll dig them up and “pontificate” (a little nod to Stacy the Con here) on whether I was right or wrong. Pics, while not possible in ancient times, will of course now be included where possible.

All of this has led me to think that I need to have blog rules. So, here is my stab at how any reader should approach my blog. Some of them I’ll try to do, some of them the reader needs to keep in mind:

1.) The entry is useless without pics! (I mean, it worked for Postsecret, right?)

2.) Be yourself. Sometimes that means I will be funny – other times I’ll be pensive. Or nonsensical. Sometimes I’ll think I’m more important than I actually am – at other times you’ll get tired of my self-abasiveness. Welcome to my blog.

3.) Some things will forever be off limits, though I’ll tangentially refer to them. That way I’ll seem more mysterious and interesting.

4.) The entry is useless without comments! Comments are highly encouraged. I mean, if I didn’t want comments, then I would simply journal. Useful comments, that is. Bad comments will be promptly deleted. But only after they are shamed. Or beaten, I can’t decide which.

5.) My theme will be the past and the future, rarely the present. I’m all about things that are formative rather than forming. Whatever that means.

6.) Sometimes I’ll make things up. Deal with it.

7.) No more than a week should go by without an update. Ideally, I’ll have 3 entries or so per week. Unless I’m dead. Please send flowers.

8.) KISS – keep it short and sweet. No one wants a thousand words on each entry.

Okay, now I’m bored with making rules. I might make more later.

But right now, I want to add a picture of something funny. I visit an internet forum called Head-fi, which is all about headphones. (I know, I’m a dork.) Anyway, one guy posted a thread called “What you DON’T want to see over your house!”, and he posted a pic of a black police helicopter flying over his house. Then hilarity ensued. By the time I stopped reading the thread, it had morphed into this:

Who says dorks don’t have a sense of humor?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


For the first time in years, I had contact with some people from college.

I suppose that’s a bit of an exaggeration, since I have had extremely sporadic and limited communication with a couple of them over the eight years since I graduated college. But by sporadic, I mean less than 10 emails.

Alethia got married!

I didn’t get to take as many pictures as I wanted, but even if I would have tried, they probably wouldn’t have turned out. The lighting wasn’t conducive to photography during the wedding.

As I sat in the sanctuary, looking at the back of Alethia’s head, I remembered my life when I knew her. In fact, I journaled back then (the real journaling, where no one reads what you’ve journaled but you), and I recently looked up some of my thoughts from way back then. What a mystical place that portion of my past is! The most painful hurts, and the most joyous realizations happened to me during the time I knew Alethia. Back then, we cried on each other’s shoulder, we laughed at and with each other. She was a good friend – imperfect, human, and raw. I loved her for it.

But as I sat on that bench in the sanctuary, watching the back of her head, I realized that I don’t know her anymore. Not that it is a bad thing, since life sometimes takes people away from you, but I mourned the years I’ve been disconnected from this person.

Then I realized that behind me sat three other people that I spent time with in college. Jessica, Stacy, and Amy. What amazing, beautiful people. I mourned the time I spent disconnected from them, too.

But it wasn’t the first time I mourned. When I was younger I was a self-righteous fool. I thought that leaving behind people you loved, cared for, and who (at least seemingly) cared for you was a sign of strength. It was a sign of internal fortitude and spiritual reliance on God. I thought it made me more healthy to dispense with relationships – even good ones.

I was wrong. And as life and God taught me the real importance of relationships, I learned I could grieve over the loss of my friends - over the complete and total divorce from my past that I had inflicted upon myself. When I could find time and room to feel safe, I cried over the bridges I had let rot. I cried the deep cry of the despondent, and I felt for the first time the kind of loss so many of the Psalms convey. A lot of my personal theology was forged during this time.

After the wedding, we all went to the reception. I got to sit with Stacy, Amy, and Jessica. I felt like I was sitting at the cool kids’ table. I got to see Amy’s beautiful daughter Sadie, and catch up on the path their life is taking as they surrender to being full-time ministers. I got to catch up with Jessica, her thoughts about education, and her long-term goals to teach. I got to hear about Stacy’s path after college, her time in Lake Charles and the move to Monroe. It was all positively riveting. Every moment was healing as I got the chance of a lifetime to build new bridges.

My guess is that it will be at least a decade before I see any of them again. But this time I got contact information, and said goodbye in such a way that I can still relate to them. The (re)creation of my blog is an attempt to stay in contact with their world.

So, to Alethia, Amy, Jessica, and Stacy – this entry is for you. Here’s to the memories, both old ones, current ones, and ones yet to come.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Entering the Blogsphere

And so I write this. I don’t even know why. Do I have anything important to say? Anything funny, or sad, or thought provoking? Or am I just another face swimming in the sea of faces? What makes me unique?

Maybe I’m writing this because I’m not unique. I mean, blogging is the new thing. Everybody has a blog.

Why is this, I wonder? People don’t journal, at least not in the same numbers as the people who blog. To me, this means that people aren’t blogging out of some sense of personal existential exploration. If people were, then journaling would have been much more common right up until the point where blogging became available. Instead, it seems people blog not because they want to record something about themselves for themselves, but they want to record something about themselves for others. They want people to see their experiences, comment on them, interact with them. And ultimately, I think, they want to see other people’s experiences too.

But is blogging more about voyeurism or relationality?

And so I write this.

Maybe one of these days one of my old friends will find this, and we can be reunited, virtually, at least. Or maybe one of these days I'll find them and tell them about my blog.

In any case, here I go, entering the blogsphere.