A Currency of Dreams

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Ask my kids what they want to be when they grow up and you’ll get two different answers. Aiden, our youngest, loves dogs.  He’s gone from a K9 police officer, to a veterinarian, to a dog trainer, and even a monster truck driver (he’s a big fan of cars and trucks too).  Carter tends to be more contemplative.  He wants to do something active.  He dreams of his future as an athlete and leans towards science and math pursuits.  Maybe one day he’ll be able to combine the two.

At some point our dreams start to fade.

I remember as a senior in college sitting in the lounge of Main Hall at West Chester University talking to a few other Lit majors. We were throwing around what we’d try to do with our futures.  One guy mentioned that Comcast would need to hire people to write their television program descriptions right? So why not him? He had a valid point.

You have a purpose.  Search your social media feeds and you’ll find numerous people selling you online courses and coaching to reveal just what that purpose is.

You’ll find your purpose in struggle and suffering. In the courage to put yourself out there.

I still battle with the courage part.  The strength to speak and write without the fear of not being heard or connecting.  The strength to open up the wounds so others can open theirs as well. The strength to reach out a hand in comfort and stability.

The strength to try. 

That word is loaded with meaning.

Ever fiber of our being pushes against change.  We want the old, we crave routine and strive for sameness.  We want comfort.  The same instinct kept us alive when the dinosaurs roamed.

It also kept us out of new lands.  Until resources dried up and we had to move, to step into the darkness.

It takes courage to try. It takes courage to get up in the morning and face the day.  Reach deep and feel the newness inside straining for life.  Some moments it is clear.

Life is a battle between both sides and every day is a choice.  Choose wisely.

 

Wind

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I overheard the following conversation this morning between two people at the office:

-“It was really beautiful this weekend.”

-“Yeah, it was kind of windy though.”

Life is perspective.

In high school I was on the mock trial team.  I was a lawyer, all four years, and enjoyed breaking down the case files and reading over the witness statements.  Now all were fake and written by law students, so every team had the same source material.  We’d conduct “trials” against each other (two matches, one prosecution and one defense) and be judged by a jury of lawyers from the county. You’d wonder how, if every team had the same material, we could develop any strategy.

Each team had lawyer advisers (our adviser one year turned into the current DA of the county next to ours).  We learned quickly that perspective is key.  Go to a crowded street corner and watch a car accident.  There may be twenty witnesses and each story will be different.  How did it start? How did it end? Who was at fault? Depending on your source of material it could be viewed twenty different ways.

A few years ago I got called to jury duty at federal court in Philadelphia.  I ended up chosen and served on a gun possession trial that lasted two days. It was immensely interesting to get in a jury room and listen to twelve different views and see how majorities would develop. We’d all heard the same witnesses and pulled different opinions.

This Sunday, our pastor delivered a message about Jesus and his final meal in the upper room.  He mentioned the observation given in the gospels that Jesus entered the meal In Full Knowledge of what was about to happen over the next few days.  Around him sat Peter, who would deny him and Judas who would betray.  The others would turn into cowards and stay silent. Twelve different viewpoints.

What did Jesus do?  He served.

It was a beautiful night for some.  For others, the beauty was lost.

We all choose how we see the world.  Our boys, Carter and Aiden, are prime examples of that. Aiden is the optimist. He lights up a room and can find joy in situations.  Carter is more serious, more emotional.  He’s like I was as a kid.  He’ll stay back and observe before jumping in and his opinions are passionate no matter right or wrong.

If you are like me, this new season is a time of reflection.  Fall leads to winter, the ending of summer and desolation of cold. Nights are longer. Time outside is now time inside.

I tend to take inventory in the fall.

Right now I’m feeling the gap and hanging on the expectancy of fulfillment. Maybe you are there with me, weeks and months of waiting, of work being done.  You are standing in the warehouse and God is putting you through whatever is needed so you can move forward. You want more. Your soul longs for meaning and greater things because the alternative is unfathomable.

You call out in the dark moments.  When the kids are in bed and you are in bed looking at the ceiling and wondering when tomorrow will be different, when you’ll love your circumstances. You may not find that love right now, no, but that is for a reason.

Because you are meant for something more. Your story is meant to change generations and impact those you love.  It is meant to change hearts.  This change is work.  Sleep and rest, sameness and routine are so tempting.

Erwin McManus, head of Mosaic in Los Angeles, said this in a message:

Some of you know way too much about your lives.

It is time to embrace the mystery, step into the challenge.

See the beauty and feel the push of the wind. Know your heart aches for something more and follow it, no matter the cost.

Because nothing changes if nothing changes.  And it is time to wake up.

 

The Boys

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image from imdb.com

If you are not watching The Boys on Amazon streaming, you should be. This quality adaptation of the comic with the same name is helmed by Eric Kripke, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogan. Kripke is the mind behind Supernatural, one of my favorite television shows and the writing staff includes veteran writers from the X Files, a show that defined my childhood.

I’ll preface saying the show is for adults, so not something I’d sit and watch with Carter.  The writing is deep and relevant as they address current issues across headlines.  In their world, superheroes are real and managed by a corporation.  This corporation keeps close watch on their superheroes, a group known as The Seven, and works various power plays within the country.

As episodes progress, information is revealed.  Our heroes all have dark sides and face their own demons.  They are vulnerable and real under the costumed exterior. Hughie, played by Jack Quaid, is an outside player that finds himself in the center of the action. Hughie’s girlfriend is accidentally killed by A Train, one of The Seven, and this spurs him into character change.  Quaid has his father’s (Dennis Quaid) magnetism and he uses it to full effect as he enters a relationship with Starlight played by Erin Moriarty, the newest member of The Seven, as she deals with her own identity as a hero.

Hughie’s story is the most intriguing, in my opinion.  After he experiences the tragedy, he’s told by his father to just calm down and be the nice boy he is.  He is offered a payoff by the agency managing the heroes and denies it.  He ends up working with The Boys, a covert group of mercenaries  keeping the heroes in check. He’s pulled, consistently, out of his comfort zone and experiences the rush of rising to a challenge.

In the last episode I finished, Butcher, the head of The Boys, takes Hughie to a victim’s support group.  The group is for individuals who had been damaged physically and emotionally by superheroes.  Butcher finds the people living in a victim mentality and gets angry.  He stands, yelling at them an important question:

Where is your rage?!

Now that scene itself is worth an entire movie and book. Victim mentalities can weigh us down.  We are called to rise up and take back what was ours.  We are called to act.

We have a choice.

Status quot. The same routine, day in and day out.  The same relationships and friendships, the hollow conversations, the meaningless seconds tick by.

Or we can tap into that rage just under the surface.  That anger that knows we’ve been wronged. That voice that everyone has told us to keep quiet for way too long.

As we stand and we rage, we find truth. We find power.  We find identity. Not without sacrifice, or sorrow.  Not without emotion.

We meet ourselves in the fire.  Raging, as Dylan Thomas wrote, against the dying of the light.