Read every word, and no one gets hurt.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Calling for W

Low, gravelly voice: Hello?
Me: Hi, is this Harold?
Voice: No, this Lois.
Me: Oh, I see...

Let's try this again.

"Hello, my name is Mindy, and I'm a volunteer calling on behalf of President Bush..."
"Well, actually-" Click.

Hm. That didn't go so well. Onto the next one.

"Hello, my name is Mindy and I'm calling on behalf of George W. Bush..."
"I'm already voting for him, what more do you want?"
"Oh, well that's wonderful. We're just calling to-"
"I've been supporting him all along. Come, on what more do you people want?"
"Nothing, sir! I'm just so happy that Bush will have your support-
"He's got the votes of my entire family, for Pete's sake! Good grief!"

Not sure what went wrong there, but something seemed to be rubbing him the wrong way. Let's do one more...

Ring, ring, ring.
"This is David."
Long pause.
"Why don't I just pretend this call never happened?" Click.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

A Song in the Night

Something about that phrase captivates me. Call me cheesy, melodramatic, idealistic, whatever... but when I hear those words, there's a faint resonance inside me like wind blowing over an empty glass bottle.

Maybe it's because you can't hide from yourself at night. All the laughing and chatting subsides, the lights are turned off, and the time glows on the alarm clock. The thoughts that daylight always hides come swirling in close, and no amount of tossing and turning can chase them away. The image of how others see you is lost, and you are left with who you really are. Night is a time of honesty. Transparency. And for many people, that is a frightening thing.

So the idea of being all alone, in the dark, with a song... it takes my breath away. I read what David wrote and want to cry. "I remember of you in the watches of the night - I sing in the shadow of your wings." Does it get any better? We all know David lived much of his life in heartache and sorrow. But when he lay awake at night, he didn't worry or fear or daydream about the life he would rather have... he sang.

Something inside me cries out for that. I've often been awake at night, sometimes restless, other times startled into consciousness by a bad dream, and of course there's the occasional caffeine high that keeps my eyelids open till the early morning hours. But have I ever in my life been alone, not with my thoughts, but with a song? I'm sorry to admit the answer is only twice, and out of 23 years of nights, that's not an impressive statistic.

But the memory of those two nights gives me more hope than you can imagine. It reminds me that there is a God who, while He doesn't always overwhelm my senses with His presence, occasionally does become "tangible" - in the form of a song. Twice now, in the midst of sorrow and confusion, and in the silence and dark of night, He has surrounded me so completely, and filled me so utterly, that before I knew it, I was whispering a love song into the stillness.

This is the One who is with me every day, even when complaining is more frequent than praise. This is the One who remains with me each night, even when I worry and dream instead of sing. And I know He is real, because in spite of my unworthiness and lack of faith, He gives me a song in the night.

Monday, October 11, 2004

The Sparkle

No matter how dark things may seem, there's usually a glint of light somewhere. A flicker is all that's needed to reassure you that the sun is still shining, even if you can't see it. And if you've got something that glows a bit... you can make it through the longest of tunnels.

I've got much more than a flicker or a glow. I've got something that sparkles. And even though much of what surrounds my life in this season is shadowy and vague, this one thing flings tiny, brilliant flecks of light in my eyes.

It's almost silly, really. It's just a kid. Every Monday night I tutor an 11-year-old named Elkin. We work on math facts and read stories, sounding out the words that are hard for his Spanish-speaking tongue. We look up Bible verses together and find out exactly what happened to Adam and Eve. We stick stickers on his attendance chart and eat snack. Such simple, ordinary things. But there's a sparkle there. It's in his eyes when he asks for his favorite story. It's in his grin when he beats me at a math game. It's all over his face when he recites a verse by heart.

I guess it isn't just Elkin. The room lights up with the glow of a whole bunch of kids. I get to teach them every week... teach them things that will change their lives forever. I see their faces beam as they understand for the first time where everything came from, and why they need a Savior. I see them bow their heads in prayer and I see the light in their eyes after they give their hearts to their Creator. I see every glint, every flicker, every sparkle. And I know exactly how they feel. Because I sparkle, too. Just like they twinkle and shine for me, I think I light up a little bit of their night, as well. We're like a bunch of mirrors facing each other, reflecting tiny dots of light for infinity into the distance.

I guess it isn't about me, or Elkin, the rest of the kids, or even about all of us together. What sparkles isn't me or him or them - it's Him. "Walk in the light," He says. And "you are the light of the world." I guess when we're doing what He wants, the door cracks open and the light peeks out.

But I like "sparkle" better. :)

Saturday, October 09, 2004

I Figured It Out

In this case, "it" is why people do this blog thing. I've been pondering it and several other significantly more weighty concerns, and this is the only one I've managed to figure out. That's like 1/10. Not great, but much, much better than 0/10.

Anyway, onto "it". Here's the newsflash, folks. People "do the blog" (sounds like a strange, clumsy dance move) because it makes them feel as though they've published something. You type in a little white box, slap a title on your verbal meanderings, and - wa la! - there it is for all to read, in a neat font on a nicely laid-out web page. You're a published author, just like that! Only... it's not really just like that. See, we all know in order to actually be published, you must have a considerable amount of writing skill, a considerably significant idea to communicate, and someone must be willing to put out a considerable amount of money into printing your stuff (not to mention considerable confidence that they'll get their money back and then some!) This stuff, however fun, is not the same thing as being published.

But I can see the charm of it anyway. I actually felt a little thrill when I saw my first post leap outside the little white box onto a terrifically pink website. It looks so important. So official. So worth-reading. So... pink. I'm sure it's a tiny taste of what I might feel if I saw an article I wrote in Time magazine or the Star Tribune. I (believe it or not, folks) actually did have a short article published by a missions periodical last year. And even though it was on the last page, and they edited out what I considered to be all the good parts, I was darn excited about it. This blog kind of reminds me of that.

Well then, I guess I'm joining the ranks of the rest of you pretty-much-unpublished. We think we might be ok at writing, we're fairly confident we have an idea worth sharing, and we're sure as heck nobody's putting any money into us. So here we are.

(Your line: "Welcome to the club, Mindy!")


Friday, October 08, 2004

Peer Pressure

Forget all my former warnings against the evils of peer pressure. Peer pressure is why I'm writing this now.

Actually, I might temper that, instead labeling it "peer influence" or "peer-induced curiosity". But call it what you will - the simple truth is I am only doing this because people I know are also doing it. My brother's doing it, several of my friends are doing it... But Mom, everybody's doing it! I might as well join in on the fun.

Where the fun is in all this I have yet to discover. Right now I've just randomly selected a template for the site (I guess I was in a pink mood) and arbitrarily named it. For a couple years I've said that if I ever have my own youth group, I'm naming it "Encounter". I think it has a lot of potential and could be used in a whole bunch of ways. You encounter Christ at salvation, encounter the Holy Spirit in worship, encounter each other in relationships, encounter the world and help the world encounter Christ. I like it. But anyway, a youth ministry is the last (and only) thing I've ever thought of naming, so it was the only thing that came to mind when I found I had to have a name for this thing right away.

Keep in mind here, this is completely random. I'm sleepy, I'm playing Spider Solitaire, and suddenly I decide to do this. I don't really know why. Maybe it's because I often write in a small black leather book (uh... journal) and nobody ever reads that but me. That is, I hope nobody ever reads that but me. And sometimes, one does desire a slightly bigger audience. So maybe I'll even give the address to a friend or relative or two, and let my thoughts be heard by the masses. Er... you know what I mean.

So who knows? This could be the first entry of many. Or it could be a miserably unsuccessful attempt to be like everybody else. Only, I don't actually want to be like everybody else. I'm simply curious as to why everyone else seems to be doing this. Maybe I'll find it's therapeutic. Or maybe I'll find that it's just like so many other things that aren't all they're cracked up to be (like the majority of movies people tell me I just have to see.) I guess we'll see. Make that "I'll see." There isn't a "we" yet, is there? Not until you're reading this, which I'm sure is long after 10-8-04.

Anyway, thanks, oh ye peers who have pressured me. We'll see if anything good comes of it.