Posted by: ubahleeob | May 7, 2009

Here We Stand..

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I hate making decisions.  But what is life but one decision after another.  Here we stand again, having to make another life changing decision. A bit of back story is in order.

 My wife is a teacher.  Three years ago she had her contract non-renewed. She had been at the school for six years, it was private so there was no tenure.  They lobbed off the highest earning teachers, it was a money saving decision for them. Nothing personal, it was business.  ( I love what Meg Ryan says in You’ve Got Mail, ” …it is very personal to me!”).  Plus, we had become part of a small group of folks that were thinking about beginning a new christian fellowship.  Hopes were high, we were gonna change the world.  The leaders of this band of misfits relocated to another area and we debated loud and long about following them to assist with the fellowship.   I had a job, we owned a home and there were actually rumblings that the school might be able to rehire some of the released teachers.  There we stood, staring into the unknown, not really sure what to do.  

 The wife got a teaching  job the day before school started where our friends now lived.  So we sold our home (in a day actually), I quit my job and we relocated.  

Fast forward back to the present day and   we are basically in the same situation (well sort of).  My wife has again become one of the non-renewed.  Three years at the same school and now she’s out the door.  It’s a shame, they are losing a real teacher.  The hoped for “fellowship” never happened and we rarely if ever see our friends.  I have talked with lots of folks about this, and there is some validity to the idea that says”well you thought you were coming here for one reason, but evidently God had other things in mind.” Yet and still, the thing that brought us here isn’t happening.  We have no other connection to this place.  None.

So here we stand, again staring into our future.  We do have some ideas, but nothing is firm and there have been many more discussions, some loud — most long.  We have been trying to relocate to Northwest Florida for over 18 years. We love the area, we have found a church fellowship that we love, the whole place  feels like home.   Maybe this is the time to go.  I did get a call from a recruiter from the area, but still haven’t gotten that all important second call.  How do you convince someone that you are the answer to their need when you aren’t local?  It is a puzzle I have not yet solved.  How will the wife deal with her non-renewal, trying to convince a school to trust her after her employer chose to let her contract expire?  How do you pray about this?  Do you pray for what you want, what you think will make you happy?  Or do you just say “Lord, your will be done” — apply everywhere and hope something sticks?  Are we making it too hard?

Either way, here we stand.    Peace.

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Posted by: ubahleeob | March 24, 2009

Some Things Just Are…

adam-drummingOver the last four days I have been immersed in the world of indoor  drum and percussion lines. Drummers and dancers, drummers being dancers (some of it made me think about the Sobe commercials with the football players doing ballet—-big guys with bass drums doing twirls and turns).   It is the “Sport Of The Arts” (as they say).  They are timed, they are judged .  They practice and practice and practice.  They run, they do push ups.  It’s insane.   As a drummer myself,  it was wonderful!! Especially seeing my youngest out there doing things with sticks and heads I have only dreamt of.  And isn’t it  cool how talents and tastes are passed on from one generation to the next.  Some might say that the reason he drums is because I drummed. There has always been music at our house (loud if Phyllis wasn’t around), and  for the majority of his life he has seen me drumming. Some would say that is why he is becoming a drumming master (said his dad).

 I disagree, it is something else. Something deeper and more important.  

My father could fix anything. I saw him take a dryer that should have been put out of it’s misery 5 years earlier and when it looked to be headed to the Great Kenmore Store in the sky he somehow nursed it back to life.  He could take wood and make beautiful cabinets or bookcases.  I was around him and  I still can’t be trusted with nails and hammer, let alone power tools.  Some things you can’t teach, some things just “are” .  But why?  

For me that is an easy answer, it’s part of the plan.  As the Creator of All sat back, looking at the tapestry where he would paint “human history” he thought, this part needs a ….. drummer or a singer or a mechanic or a mom or ……… Some things can be learned, but some things just are.  

My other son is songwriter, singer and guitar player.  I love to write, and somewhere there are tapes and records of me singing in school and college choirs.  Again, he is not interested in cars or doing manual labor (definitely got that from me), he wants to write and sing.  We never forced them to do any of this.  There were no obligatory piano  or voice lessons.  Some things just are.

My wife, the aformentioned Phyllis, is a teacher.  She has taught special education kids, she has taught military kids, she has taught in public  and private schools.  She will tell you teaching is her passion, that thing that she has to do.  To her it is a calling.  Recently the school where she has been teaching for 3 years decided not to renew her contract.  The reasons are not important, suffice it to say, she was dealt with unfairly.  But unfairness happens to us all. She has struggled. She has cried. She has doubted.  She has questioned this thing she always assumed was her calling.  None of this is wrong, all of it is normal.  

Yet the ultimate answer  for her, and the rest of us, remains the same, some things cannot be taught — they just are.  In my wife’s case, sure, there are schools that award teaching degrees.   But that love of learning, that patience that true teachers possess, that ability to take elephant size concepts and break them down into easily digestible pieces —   you can’t learn that, it just “is”. Her current position will be ending,  perhaps God decided another part of the painting needed more “teacher”.  We don’t really get to choose how we are being  used, only the Creator has the perspective of space and time to know when and  where our uniqueness is needed.   

So next weekend we get to do it all again.  Another drumline  competition. More twirling and dancing drummers.  I can’t wait to see it, the legacy that I am leaving behind, passed  to me by my mom who loved to sing and my  guitar playing grandfather.  It is too wonderful and difficult to figure out.

Some things just are.

 

peace

Posted by: ubahleeob | January 7, 2009

Where Did All The Time Go?

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It’s 2009.  2009, I can’t believe it.  Actually I can, every time I try to get off the couch or bend down to tie my shoes — the reality of  2009 is made very, very real.  However, like I told a friend, “Aging is better than the alternative.”  

I spent New Year’s weekend with a friend who is going through a divorce.  Married 19 years, she never saw it coming.  One day her husband (who I count as one of my best friends) decided he “wanted to be single”.  He claims he wrote her a letter 2 year and 5 months ago informing of his desire to depart (can you say coward?) — but she only recently found the alleged letter in some of  his belongings.  He wants no intervention, no counseling, he claims he just wants to be single.  He goes on to intimate that God has given his heavenly okee dokey to the separation — God wants the hubby to be happy.  All I can say is “WHAT MADNESS!!!”   This odd turn of events has of course, devastated the wife.  He also is attempting to make her the bad guy.  While he claims he wants to stay friends, he asserts that her actions (nothing more than questions about what happened) are instead turning him into an enemy.  

All I can do is shake my head in disbelief and pray.  I have spent hours; lots and lots of hours with the both of them.  I met them both at a church we were visiting and our following of Christ was something we shared from the start.  He was a guitar player, I am a drummer — we actually have played together a bit.  But most of all, we just liked them because they just liked us.  Nothing fancy, just good ole fashion friendship.  Now, I don’t know — he wants everything and wants to leave her nothing (not that they have that much to split).  He has found another female to spend time with, claiming that their marriage is no longer valid — it’s just a piece of paper. All along I keep wondering, ‘where did my friend go? What happened?”  Sadly I have asked, but he will not answer. So it seems that I have started the year by losing a friend.  Hopefully, when 2010 comes around, I will have found him again.

Posted by: ubahleeob | December 6, 2008

Are We Whacked In The Head????

toadily-insaneAre we whacked in the head??  This is what I mean.  I have been reading lots of posts from seemingly intelligent fellow followers of Christ who are saying things along this line,”why, I sure wish God would bring some persecution to America — that’s what the church needs”, or “what we need is a real 1930’s type depression, then the church could be the church — that’s what we need –economic disaster”  What?  Huh?  ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

 

What is it about us that would make anyone think that what the world needs is some good ole wrath of God?  I thought we were supposed to pray for peace, I thought we were to be known by our love, I thought we were to be known as the ones that forgave when others mistreated us?  Did I miss a memo or something?? Can someone please explain it to me?

 

Persecution is here (only in America and the west do Christians roam about in relative safety), and sadly, the day of wrath will come soon enough.  But weren’t we told to work while it was still day — not pray for the night?  Those that say “ah some persecution and missing a few meals would be good for us — make us thankful for what we have” have somehow forgotten what Paul wrote of love — it always hopes for the best, believes the best, strives for the best.  It is that love that identifies us – nothing short will do.  peace

Posted by: ubahleeob | November 7, 2008

These Days…..

 

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Wow, it has been a long while since I posted.  As with most bloggers, at times life takes you in other directions.  But I also think that writing and inspiration can be like a wave, it hits the beach with such force and then that power dissipates.  So much has happened — the continuation of the new job, a new President, our search for a home (tired of giving $$ to the landlord), and the continuing evolution of how I look at things. 

One thing  I do intend on blogging about is the importance of “authenticity”.  I have a dear friend that pastors a small church that is smaller now thanks to a split.  The worship band was offered a paying gig at a bigger church, took the offer and half the church went with them.  Well, my friend is wondering what to do with his decimated fellowship.  One suggestion is to kick off the new year with a big blow out re-introduction.  Kind of a “Here We Are — Try Us, You’ll Love Us ” thing.  And that would seem to make sense.  But……..

If you have read anything that I have ever written you know that I am a big fan of what Rob Woodrum and the fellowship he shepherds (Eastgate Fellowship in Panama City Beach) has done.  Rob would say that he really hasn’t had anything to do with the fellowship’s growth, but I disagree.  I think it is the very fact that Rob tries to subordinate himself, take the spotlight off of anything that they do, that has in fact made the difference.  If there is one thing that they seem to crave and covet at Eastgate it is “authenticity”.  And while I have learned that there is no template for church growth that really works everywhere (remember we are a body  not a machine), I think the idea of authenticity translates into any situation.

Also, I have been thinking about what it means to be a follower of Christ and an American.  This is what I mean, I know that I am to pray for the new president.  I want him to be successful and our country to be at peace.  But, it is likely that I will disagree with some of his policies.  What am I to do with that?? Where do my responsibilities lie, on both fronts?  For so long many of us have seen our Christianity and our American citizenship wrapped together, you can’t be one without the other.  I am struggling with this idea, this internal separation of Church and State (if it even exists). I plan on writing about this idea as well.

So, there you have it  — peace

Posted by: ubahleeob | September 14, 2008

Where You Worth it?

I went today and watched a friend of mine give his first talk/teaching/sermon.  I have to give him a lot of credit.  Granted, the church where he spoke might have only had 40 people in attendance,  however, with the fear of public speaking being our number one fear (we are even more afraid of it than death), I have to give him some credit.  It is a very humbling thing to be asked to teach.  However, he said something that got me  thinking and elicited quite a conversation on the way home.  He was talking about what a  great  sacrifice Jesus was for us.  Then he popped the question, “When God looks down from heaven, does he think you were worth it. Are you doing enough to warrant the sacrifice of God’s only son?”  

Kind of a tough question to answer don’t ya think?  I wish he had rephrased his question. I wish instead he had asked, “is there anything that you can do to make yourself unworthy of Christ’s death?” That is a better question.   I can’t answer his question, but I can answer mine.

No, there is nothing you can do to cause Jesus to look at your life and say, “I’m really sorry, you’ve done to much… you’ve gone to far,  I regret dying for you.”  That is the essence of grace.  That is the message of the gospel. You can’t get away from it. Yes, you can choose to avoid it, but if you want it — it is yours.   There is always a way back, there is always a road home.  No matter what, Dad is always waiting.  In this instance, it doesn’t matter what you have done, it only matters that you have decided to turn back, to listen to that voice that says “there is a better way, let’s go down that this road.  Follow me, I know the way.”  

I love my friend and I hope he continues teaching.  I just hope, in the future, he asks the right question.

peace

Posted by: ubahleeob | August 12, 2008

Thank God 4 Music

 

 

It is only Tuesday and this week already feels 19 days long. It is early, I am alone in a hotel (yet to open) that  I am dragging, pushing and pulling toward a halting, stumbling opening and I am feeling a bit despondent about the whole thing. The owners don’t seem to understand that there are just some things that can’t be done as quickly as they want etc, etc, etc.  Let’s just  add  feeling a bit stressed to the aforesaid despondency. So as I usually do, first thing in my cluttered office I plug in the trusty Mac and log on to Rhapsody.  A couple of clicks and I am listening to Viva La Vida, and feeling better.

Thanks God, music was one of your great ideas!

Posted by: ubahleeob | August 4, 2008

Upside down

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I heard about two friends this week.  Actually, it would be a strech to call either a “friend”, they are both acquantinces  I care about.  The first is a hero, in the truest definition of the word.  He is a member of an elite special forces group and has been places we know about and done things we’ve read about. He has has also been places we didn’t know about and done things we would rather not read about.  He has protected his country without regard for his safety (and has more than one Purple Heart to show for it). Earlier this week, while riding an ATV with his wife, something happened and when they both stopped rolling he had broken his back in two different places.  

My other friend, well, I am not sure what happened.  I don’t think they are sure either.  Life was rolling along, pretty good from what I could tell.  Then something happened, they point to an event but who really knows, and when they stopped rolling their marriage was broken into pieces.  

Life has a way of turning us upside down, and it stinks. I hate that feeling, of losing my feet and living out the very really application of “what goes up, must come down.” It hurts, sometimes things break.  It is not good.  To make things even “better” some  well meaning Christians will say, “Well, God must have some reason, maybe this is a test or something…..”  Both of these people have had their lives turned upside down so that God could administer some twisted test??  Nope, don’t buy it, can’t see it, won’t ever believe it.

The God I know remembers what it is like to be broken.  The God I know can still remember  the pain of the whip. The God I know  still bears the scars in his wrists, his side, his feet, his back.   He still remembers, he still feels, he is marked for eternity with the scars caused by the beating he took that day so very long ago. Not that he didn’t care  about us before, but I would like to believe that now he understands us a bit better. He understands how it feels to hurt, how it feels to fear, how it feels to have life rip the rug from underneath your feet. 

I have no idea at this point what course the healing process will take for my friends.  But healing will come, but scars will come too. Don’t be afraid of the scars.Scars can serve as something that reminds us of the pain, reminds of us of the darkness.  Or, if they (and we) will allow them, the scars can serve has a reminder of the healing.  A reminder of how while  we were broken and beaten a loving and understanding God put us back together again, we are Humptee Dumptee no more.  

Our King will put us back together again. But there will be scars.  And that’s ok.

Posted by: ubahleeob | June 21, 2008

I Love Saturday Mornings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t you just love Saturday mornings?  It’s 7ish, I am sitting here with a great cup of coffee listening to the new Coldplay album.  The wife and kids are at the grandparents, so the neighbors are also listening to Coldplay.   if you haven’t heard the record (if you are under 30 call a parent or ask an older friend about this thing called a record) it is really, really good.  Good like a quad shot cappuccino at Starbucks is good, like a conversation with a good friend is good, like that kiss from your beloved after a hard day is good (well, maybe not that good), but it is really good.  Ok, enough about Coldplay.

So back to Saturday mornings, I love them.  The weekend is full of the  promise of two days of well, whatever.  Sundays are cool too, but they are closer to Monday so they are less fun, by association. 

I was sitting here on this Saturday just letting my thoughts wander.  Where I live they have a fundraising raffle for St. Jude’s Hospital every year. Companies get together, build and furnish a house, the public buys raffle tickets for $100 each (all goes to the hospital), and then one lucky someone wins the house.  This years house is valued at $650k, without the furnishings.  Pretty cool huh?  

ANYWAY, the TV station that helps sponsor the raffle has been running lots of human interest pieces about the great work that St. Jude’s does and one story really hit me.  They were interviewing a mom who’s little boy had some horrible form of leukemia. One week he was fine, the next he was dying.  She made this comment, “I have always thought myself to be a Christian, I believed and all. But these last few months I have really been eyeball to eyeball with God.”   

Eyeball to eyeball with God.  What a picture.  So why do we wait for something horrible in life to happen before we get that close to God?  If God is loving, kind, forgiving, willing to put up with my junk (that is “longsuffering” for all of the KJV lovers out there), and the creator of all that ever has been,  then why do we treat him like the friend we don’t really want around unless we need a ride to work or help moving? I don’t know,  but I would love to read your thoughts.  

HOWEVER– if you are going to tell me that there isn’t a God, how dumb I am for believing etc, etc, etc, this is not the topic for that discussion.  On second thought, answer away– if I am about anything it is honest thoughts and discussions. I really am, no kidding, ask anyone.

Well  my oversized Starbucks mug is empty, Chris and the boys have sung the last tune, and it’s time to go. It’s time to get on with my Saturday.  The second pot of java awaits.

peace

Posted by: ubahleeob | June 9, 2008

Kinda Sad, But It’s Ok

 

 

 

 

Sorry gang, kinda sad tonight.  I have been  trolling the tag surfer for the past few hours and it has really given  me a case of the  blues.  I have spent most of the evening  reading a lot of blogs by “former” Christians.  It’s really amazing how many of these type blogs there are, maybe it shouldn’t be.     Also, the level of their thought and writing is really,  for the most part, great. Witty, scathing, critical, funny — most of these blogs are top shelf. 

You know, I could have been one of them, except in my de-evolution I have never given up on Christ.   Oh, in my day I was guilty of wearing the Big Christian Hat, spouting all the blather that we Christians spout. Then the change came, the “horizon event” that caused me to re-think all that I had ever believed. Most of what I had held onto as truth bit the dust,  but I never gave up on Jesus, or maybe he never gave up on me (probably closer to the truth). 

Still it makes me sad.   Most of these writers seem to have spent a substantial part of their lives “in the faith” and  then something happened that caused them to walk away. Some of them point to “the event”, for others it took some time.  Still all came to the same conclusion — I have questions and Christianity doesn’t have the answers.  Wow, what an indictment.

 I know what some of you might be thinking, “well the Bible says it’s better to have never known Jesus than to know him and walk away.”  I know, but I am sorry, I can’t give up that easily.  It’s a personality issue thing with me, never have been good at giving up. You can help Judas adjust his rope, I just can’t. 

I wish  I could tell them all that it’s ok to have questions.  It’s ok not to understand everything.  It’s ok to have doubts.  God is up to the questions, he is up to the doubt.  Don’t think you are the first to be honest with him. Honesty is one thing he craves (I think).  It’s ok to scream, cry, and throw things.  It’s ok. 

Still it’s sad to lose your faith and replace it with what,  science or your own intellect?  Now that is really sad.  Maybe that’s why I never let go. I can’t help it, I have to believe that the creator of everything from time to termites cares about my doubts, my cries, my anger, my confusion, my fears — he cares about silly, messed up me.  I can’t help it, like Michael Been(of The Call– what a great band)  said, “I still believe”. 

Still,  I’m a little sad tonight, but it’s ok.  

Peace

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