Lingering

First, I want to apologize for a delay in posting.  The last two weeks have been busy, more than usual. Inspired by a few points I’ve written about recently, I decided to go back to school and make some concrete moves to follow a dream and gain some stability in life.

My heart breaks for all involved in the shootings across the country this past week. This country is sitting on a crisis point, one that arrived on the waves of two hundred years of history.

Then I find out a few days ago that my cousin, my closest female relative in age who was always like a sister to me, is in ICU dealing with a cardiac issue. She’s too young to have these problems and we are all concerned, as a family, praying and pushing hard for her recovery.

She had done something we all do, wait for what seems like an innocent illness to pass and, when it doesn’t, finally go to the doctors. It was almost too late.

Lingering pain can destroy our lives.

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We get comfortable in our narratives.

This morning I took Carter to a pediatric sleep specialist at Penn State Health.  He hasn’t slept a full night in close to five years. We just keep sleeping with him to maintain some level of peace and get him back down as quick as possible.

It was time for a change and, thankfully, he will have a sleep study.

It was too easy to let it go and tell ourselves things will change at some point.

We get this way with our faith, our physical health, our families and our marriages.  Change takes effort on both sides, bringing whatever we have and meeting God in a divine collision.

For there is no such thing as stasis.  If we aren’t moving forward, we are falling back.

I’m in the midst of reading Phil Knight’s memoir, Shoe Dog about the founding of Nike. He mentioned something the other night that stuck with me.

He said that the essence of competition is forgetting, forgetting the past and ignoring the voice that tries to convince you to stop. It is facing each challenge with a fresh template.

As impossible as it seems, the power of the past can be broken.  From a macro level with policy reforms and new leaders to the micro level of taking a step of faith. It may sound cliché at this point, but I believe that God has a purpose for all of us.

We have a difference to make and, if you are reading this tonight, your difference is still waiting.  Your job isn’t over.

Your divine collision is on the horizon.

~Matt

 

The Whole World in His Hands

Today, a grand jury in New York City declined to press charges against a white police officer who applied a choke hold on a black man named Eric Garner, killing him in the process.  Garner had suffered from asthma and this move may have put him over the edge to the point of death.  In the wake of the Michael Brown situation, this only adds another level of frustration for those feeling like they cannot get justice or representation, that the justice system is skewed to protect police departments.

Garner died at the hands of a police officer. Michael Brown, according to a witness, had his hands raised before he was shot. These two ideas catalyzed my thinking tonight behind this post and the importance of what we do with our hands.

The New Testament tells us the story of Jesus. We read of his life, death, and resurrection.  He appears to the disciples and tells Thomas to touch the wounds in his hands so he may believe.  In his life, and his new life, his hands represented the embrace of the divine and the electric moment when Heaven and Earth collide.

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Hands can help or hurt, embrace or strike.  Babies rely on the touch of their parents.  Reach out to a child who has suffered abuse and you will get a much different response. A touch can soothe a broken heart and mend a bad day, it can heal a wound and provide strength to fight.

It is time to get hands-on.

We spend way too much time on the sidelines.  I’m guilty of this. It is so much easier to watch and let it pass, to go back to our everyday lives and figure someone else will deal with it. We are content with passivity. We are relaxed in routine. We are settled in our suburban groove of SUVs, PTAs, and trips to the grocery store.

We drift while this world explodes around us.

It is time to have the hard talk, to tell our kids about reality.  It is time to be active and serve to build bridges in the community.  It is time to have a front-line faith. Jesus could have stayed in the temple, made some money, and released some cool worship albums. He chose the other path.

His hands weren’t up, they were nailed to the cross.

We are called to pick up our cross and follow him, or are our hands too full already?

~Matt

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