9/11/2014 (2:01pm) 1 note

Tragedy and Triumph are choices.

My father died about a month a half ago. He was only 53 so in many ways it was sudden and tragic.

Anytime you experience death first hand it is always strikingly clear and obvious how fragile we are as human beings. Death has a way of bringing sudden sobriety to a survivor’s soul. I remember in the days following losing my Dad, how graceful I was toward my fellow man. On the road, in grocery stores, in conversations I didn’t want to have with my friends. This was  triumph for me because this is how I always want to live, in utter gratitude. 

Sadly, as the days unfolded and the adrenaline pumped back into vapors, I lost track of that feeling. The realness of losing my Dad was solidifying in my heart by that time and I have spent these last weeks fighting the toxic mead of bitterness trying to settle in my bones and my heart.

I have no patience any longer for people being aggressive on the road, I fight to get first in line at the grocery store so I get to the safety and comfort of home, and I’m pretty silent during phone calls because I’m gassed. I spend most of the day catching my self spending what little resources I have left on fancy but useless defense mechanisms to preserve my life. 

Something about my father’s death eventually made me feel vulnerable and defenseless instead of grateful for life as I was at first. If I’m not careful this won’t just turn into permanent hatred, it will turn into an endless terror filled war inside myself.

Thirteen years ago, as a nation, we all went through this very same thing together. There is certainly some beauty left from our ashes, beauty that never would have come otherwise. But we should ask ourselves, are we being careful enough not to waste our lives trying to protect ourselves from the inevitability of tragedy?

While we stock pile our guns are we aware that our bones become brittle from bitterness and fear liable to crumble faster than the steel inside the towers? While we plan our wars are we counting the mental cost and the lives lost at home when our soldiers come back from abroad without the care they need for their broken psyches? While we allow people like Miley Cyrus and Kim Kardashian to distract us because it’s much easier to focus on the sideshow than our pain are we aware that the more integrity we lose, the farther away from intimacy we get, the closer we come to living in hell on earth?

Are we aware that by spending our resources to avoid tragedy we are actually bringing permanent tragedy upon ourselves?

Can’t we see that we are choosing fear over love as if that will save us from something?

I don’t want this to happen to me. 

I want to live. Really….live.

I don’t want to hold so tightly to things that are meant to fade at some point that I rot into a corpse with a grip.

I want the life I was living the days following my Dad’s tragedy. Where I cherished the idea of humanity more than I ever have in my whole life. That’s the person I truly am. That’s how I was made.

I don’t know how to get back to that but I’m going to. My life depends on it. America depends on it.

#allpoliticsislocal#LIFE#STORY#American#JOURNEY#hope#september11th#worldtradecenter#9/11

9/10/2014 (3:03pm) 2 notes

Dry and Thirsty

A few years ago when I started this blog I wrote a lot about storms. I wrote about them all the time. Storms fascinate me.

At the time there were storms everywhere. I mean we all have storms in our lives, and I did then too, maybe more now. But the storms I’m talking about were actual storms. They happened all the time, strategic times. When I needed them. Sometimes, a lot of times, followed by rainbows.

The best part? Flooding. 

I am finding it hard to write about storms now because where I am there aren’t many. Even though across the land from me they won’t quit. 

Now, it’s just desert. All around me. I’m finding it hard to write about the desert. Which makes sense. I’m finding it hard to write at all.

Hard things are always happening. But I’ve run dry. I’ve lost everything. People I care about, lots of them, have walked out of my life. A cat I had for seven years disappeared. A 5 year budding influence, service, and connection at my church, everything I’ve worked hard for, is completely gone. My Dad died. There are wars and rumors of wars everywhere. And the lake I cross every day, where in most places it’s normally 100 feet deep, is dissipating and dry in most places, leaving behind it a wake of caked dirt and moss. There is smoke all over in the air and the forests are blackening.

The trees are even dying where there have been no fires.

And nobody can water their lawns. Yellow lawns. Everywhere.

It’s no wonder I can’t eat or sleep.

This is not life. This is death. Always in your face without actually taking you to hell. 

How does one recover from this? 

Morsels.

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. 

Isaiah 43:19

(Yosemite, one of first places my Dad ever took me on journey, is rapidly burning before our eyes.)

#Storm#STORY#Desert#JOURNEY#LIFE#hope#Jesus#GOD#californiadrought#America

Keith Olbermann Calls on NFL Commissioner to Resign Over Ray Rice Incident →

I’m very very conflicted over this. 

On one hand I have been a victim of domestic violence. In my state there is a no tolerance policy, but it was never enacted for me. My abuser lied and I was never protected. It makes me want to say off with his head.

On the other hand, during my recovery from that trauma, my next relationship ended in me going to jail being accused of domestic violence. I don’t disagree with that action, because I was involved in a physical altercation with “a person I claim to love.” I believe authorities should have taken the action that they didn’t for me when the tables were turned.

The problem is that I know the truth of what happened in that moment, and though I put myself in a shady place I never should have been in, and I needed healing and separation from that relationship and the one before it, the incident was two sided. I did not deserve to be the one arrested, we both should have.

But my situation was totally different. To be clear Ray Rice is a jacked up punk for cold clocking a woman. He violated rule number one of human code. But in most cases it’s not as simple as his and rarely is there such clear video evidence. What presidence will we set by publicly-but no not really-cutting off the heads of people who commit crimes, even the worst ones? That said, I agree with the action the Baltimore Ravens took in firing him. Harbaugh bro duece needs to take his brother lead.

Back to the first hand though, the NFL is a shoddy shoddy organization. There is no denying this. As a Saints fan I witnessed this first hand. Off with their heads. Perhaps?

Should we just be turning in our Ray Rice jerseys or should we boycott THE SHIELD and start returning everything they’ve rented to us staring with our cute little replica uniforms and start buying our jersey’s black market only? Or should we fire the NFL?

When does this nonsense end people? 

The symptom is not the problem. Until we start asking ourselves why we are a violent society, it’s is hypocritical at best if not borderline barbaric to punish the violent offenders without looking at ourselves for cheering at the arena.

Hope is not found in roasting offenders in public. It’s not even found in killing them even if they deserve it. Hope is found in healing our nation by healing our own hearts. It’s so freaking simple.

But not easy.

Hope is found in God and and God alone. And who wants to rely on an invisible God that allows violence? Yep. It’s easier to villify. No doubt about it. 

No doubt. Zero.

9/9/2014 (2:43pm)

#Healing#STORY#NFL#Saints#domesticviolence#rayrice#rogergoodell

I’M HUNGRY

All this talk about our stinky D. Here’s the thing. I’m gonna ask a better question. WHERE IS THE HUNGER? I was watching video of that Meach strip in Washington from the Super Bowl run and it brought back every memory from that season of hunger. There were so many of them. Takeaways happen from hunger. Beast runs happen from hunger. Multiple miracle catches don’t just happen from lots of time on the jugs machine, they also require….HUNGER. Wonder why Ingram is turning back into a beast? He got hungry after the Dallas game and he’s still fired up. We all watched with out our own eyes. Wonder why the Seahawks may getaway with a two peat? You saw the game on Thursday. THEY. ARE. STILL. HUNGRY. It’s been a longwhile since I’ve seen our team hungry. Truly hungry. That is the number one x factor for winning a championship. We will never win another SB without hunger. So I’m wondering…what happened to our hunger?

9/4/2014 (7:18pm)

WHAT MADE YOU A SAINTS FAN? From NOLA.com

I grew up as a kid in the bay area as a Niner’s fan.  Montana Rice Young Waters etc. I mean I was a big fan. But it was clearly only about football. By the time Steve Gleason blocked that punt, and I was listening on the radio, I was a grown adult who had lost a lot, possessions, stability, friends, my mental health, and a clean arrest record. I didn’t have a home cause I had lost it. I heard that punt block in the parking lot of an employer who had just fired me. I knew, just like everyone else, that everything was going to change. Not just for the Saints, finally revamped from the top down in a diligent way, but for the city that America forgot. And if that place could rise, so could I. My grandmother grew up in Tennessee and moved away to New Orleans when she turned 18. I loved the city from a distance all my life, but not like this. I had a kinship with it because it knew loss the way I did. That punt block had something personal attached to it. My life did indeed change for the better. And because of that I will never stop being a fan of the Saints, win or lose. The Niners know how to build great teams, but the Saints know how to build families. There is something special about this place and this team that the 49ers could only dream to have. That the Bay Area will never have, as much as I love it. I’m hooked on the black and gold. And the Saints carried me, by distraction if no other means, through one of the hardest times in my life. The Super Bowl was just icing on the cake for me. So incredibly grateful for this team and this city for welcoming me.

In honor of football season starting today, the moment that made me a Saints fan. I will never forget how despondent I was sitting in a parking lot listening to this on the radio. New Orleans is a changed city, the Saints are now Super Bowl champs, and Steve Gleason is still a hero, sticking it to ALS. It’s just football, but it says a lot about how at any second things can change for the better no matter how long they’ve been bad.

 

#SAINTS#champion#Identity#hope#STORY#missiondeoro#NFL#stevegleason

Good friends become each others keepers. I hold your story in my mind. I carry it for you. I’m a record of your life. I know what you will do next because I know what you’ve done in the past. We communicate paragraphs through a glance or a raised eyebrow. When our eyes connect and twinkle over a crowded table, I know telepathically that you are remembering the very same thing at the very same moment. In those moments we are on the same page of each others stories.

∞ 1 note #LOVE#STORY

Glennon Doyle Melton

8/30/2014 (12:31am)

No Money, No ball

Dear Oakland A’s,

You should not be where you are.

You come from a city whose government can’t care less about you. Despite having one of the best records in baseball you have one of the lowest payrolls. You have a GM who one day works like a magician to set you up for success, and the next cuts your manhood off by trading away your only classic slugger and face of your franchise. You are made up almost entirely of unwanted misfits. Misfits who get injured a lot.

Right now you are competing with one of baseballs highest payrolls and you are giving them hell.

You should not be where you are. Yet…here you are. You may be gutted but you wont stay down.

Keep your heads up. This is still an incredible story.

Sincerely

A lifelong fan and fellow misfit who refuses to stay down.

#letsgooakland#Athletics#moneyball#Champion#identity#story#missiondeoro

8/29/2014 (5:16pm)

A prayer of Moses, the man of God.

Psalm 90 New Living Translation (NLT)

Book four (Psalms 90–106)
Psalm 90


1 Lord, through all the generations
you have been our home!
2 Before the mountains were born,
before you gave birth to the earth and the world,
from beginning to end, you are God.
3 You turn people back to dust, saying,
“Return to dust, you mortals!”
4 For you, a thousand years are as a passing day,
as brief as a few night hours.
5 You sweep people away like dreams that disappear.
They are like grass that springs up in the morning.
6 In the morning it blooms and flourishes,
but by evening it is dry and withered.
7 We wither beneath your anger;
we are overwhelmed by your fury.
8 You spread out our sins before you—
our secret sins—and you see them all.
9 We live our lives beneath your wrath,
ending our years with a groan.
10 Seventy years are given to us!
Some even live to eighty.
But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble;
soon they disappear, and we fly away.
11 Who can comprehend the power of your anger?
Your wrath is as awesome as the fear you deserve.
12 Teach us to realize the brevity of life,
so that we may grow in wisdom.
13 O Lord, come back to us!
How long will you delay?
Take pity on your servants!
14 Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love,
so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.
15 Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery!
Replace the evil years with good.
16 Let us, your servants, see you work again;
let our children see your glory.
17 And may the Lord our God show us his approval
and make our efforts successful.
Yes, make our efforts successful!

#HOME#JOURNEY

The Eastern Pacific Has Turned Into a Freak Hurricane-Producing Machine →

8/29/2014 (5:12pm)

#California#STORM#Story

8/29/2014 (4:58pm)

Remembering Katrina PT 5

HELLO HURRICANE

…you can’t silence my love.

#Storm#STORY#rememberingkatrina

Remembering Katrina Pt3 →

Eerie amusement.

8/27/2014 (7:38pm)

#Storm#STORY#rememberingkatrina

The City of God is the ultimate society. It was this vision that compelled Abraham to leave the greatest human culture of the time and his place in that culture as an obvious member of its aristocracy. He was willing to go to places he did not know to be a part of what God was going to build. This is the same vision that has compelled every true sojourner since.

#City#JOURNEY#rickjoyner

Rick Joyner