Monday, April 21, 2008

Toy Cars and Nothingness

I can still feel the vibration the toy car made on that concrete retaining wall. I was 9 and my best friend was 10 and we would play cars together. It seems silly to be talking about playing cars some 30 years ago but it is the place and time I have the privilege to escape to now and then. I'm not sure what pulls me there but I think it has something to do with those innocent, non-programed, non-driven, non-pressured, and just plain simple moments when one friend plays alongside another. That something is hidden in the quiet moments of nothingness that we seem to have less of as we grow into adulthood.

These moments are not gone completely in my life yet! In fact, I experienced one tonight as I finished my run I lay down on the cold concrete and looked up at the darkess of the sky and just looked. . . At first I saw nothing but darkness and it was good! Slowly I began to see hints of stars and when I looked deeper I felt the vibrations building up in my hand as I remembered driving that toy car with my neighborhood best friend. Before that moment was done I had experienced nothingness and a sense of deep down happiness that oozed out in the form of goosebumps. In that simple moment I knew again, like the first time I knew when I was 9, what I was created to be! I hope everyone has these moments . . .

If someone asks how do I know God has propinquity with me, this kind of story is all I have to offer.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


My parents arrived today as they normally do; spontaniously and unannounced. They just decided that it was time again to come see their son, well the only son that lives more than 3 blocks from them. My parents are now at the age that their topics of conversations revolve around new pacemakers and joints that wont work like they used too. However, when it comes to my parents they are also a good midwestern farm people so intermixed into these age-driven conversations are stories about how yesterday dad climbed a ladder and dropped a 85 foot tree that the neighbors said someone his age should never attempt to do. My mother is not far behind as she was lifting the logs onto the splitter. Mom turned 70 this year and Dad will turn 75 in December.

The foundations of who I am are surely built from their DNA and many of my instincts in ministry were surely trained by growing up as their son, in a rural Iowa town in a family that had very little money. This environment created in me the ability to seek out memories and meaning in the everyday moments of life. This instinct is in me as much as my instinct to breath.
I love my parents for everything they are and everything they are not. In many ways I have grown beyond most things they understand, I have learned things that they never knew were to be learned and I have gone places that they dont know exist even today except through my stories. Yet, sometimes when I tuck my son into bed and listen to myself ask him about his day I hear my parents in my words. I am overwhelmed with memories . . . and I like it!