Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Lightened Darkness

Darkness clings to me. It’s searing, suffocating. I’m lost. My heart dives. Where am I?

I catch my thoughts. I’m lying on my back. Can I move? Yes. I lift my right arm and don’t feel any pain. I repeat the exercise with my left arm. Right leg, left leg. I think my eyes are open, but this deadening darkness won’t leave me. I set my hands next to my hips and dig them into the sand. The sand? THE SAND?! Panic. I quickly sit up, and scuffle my hands across the surface below me and conclude that I’m surrounded by sand. If only this darkness would lift. It binds every breath and is scratching at my face. I lift my hands to my head. Cotton? I grasp at my face and for the first time realize what is causing this sorrow. I’m masked. The eye holes spun around on the back of my head which kept the sunlight from my eyes. I grab the bottom of the mask which rests at the base of my chin, and slowly pry it from my skin, sliding it gradually up my face, and eventually off of my head.

I have to squint. It takes a moment for my eyes to adjust, and as the scene becomes clearer a sense of loneliness overtakes me.

I feel the sand. I see the jungle. I smell the ocean. I am on an island. I’m stranded. Lost. Alone.

Survival instincts kick in and I think of shelter and fire. I begin to stand up and notice two items nestled in the sand next to where I’m sitting. A coconut and a dictionary. These items, along with my body, were strategically placed in this location. There are scattered footprints, and a muffled trail showing that someone dragged me across the beach. Someone put me here.

Overwhelmed and thirsty, I grab the coconut and repeatedly bash it against a nearby rock until it’s milk starts to seep through a crack in the husk. I drink rapidly, trying desperately to quench my thirst. I’ll need shelter, fire, water, and food, yet something tells me to open the dictionary. Why!? I’m facing a very dangerous situation. What would a dictionary do for me now? These are just words! There is no story. There is no hope here. I grab a chuck of pages out of frustration, and hopelessly flip the pages over. I stand up, kick the sand, yell, fall back down into the sand, and softly begin to cry.

I look back to the dictionary and see that I’ve landed in the S’s. I look through the words and notice that this particular page is worn. The upper left corner is bent, wrinkled. I urgently search the page for a clue. A message.

SAVIOR. A person who rescues or delivers.

I’m in the middle of an ocean, on an unknown island. There is no savior here. I weep and stray into stressful sleep.

I only sleep for a short time and as I wake, I sit up and gaze out to the horizon. What is that?! I spring to my feet and sprint toward the shore not believing what I’m seeing. A boat.

What seems like hours pass and the boat finally arrives at my island. A native, grey bearded man steps out of the boat and makes his way through the sand over to where I’m standing.

“I want you to come with me. I am here to rescue you,” he says.

“How did you fi…”

“Silence, friend,” he interrupts. “Answers will come. For now, let us go. I am here to save you.”

I nod and begin to walk with the man. He grabs my arm and places it around his shoulders and helps me to his boat. It isn’t until we’re retreating from the island, making our way through the surf that he speaks again.

“I hope the mask, and coconut served you well?”

“Yes they di…how did you know about the mask and coconut?” I ask. My confusion is evident because the wrinkled man chuckles.

“Well, I gave them to you, of course. I am your savior,” he says calmly.

“Forgive me for not being more grateful. You’re a very nice man, but I don’t know you! If I had any other option I probably wouldn’t just climb into your boat!! BUT, as you can tell, I’m a little flustered and not in my right mind!”

Again the man grins and gently laughs.

“My friend, you were washed up on shore. How you arrived there is a mystery to me as well. I am a teacher on a neighboring island, and being a creature of adventure, I enjoy kayaking around the islands while I study.”

I’m silent.

“When I saw you washed up on shore I came to your aid. You were breathing, but I couldn’t leave you lying near the water, and my kayak is not big enough for two, so I dragged you further up the beach and left with you a few items.”

“Why did you have a mask?” I asked.

“ I often stop off on various islands on my adventures and use it to protect my face from the insects. I figured it might protect you from the sun. I hope it didn’t cause too much panic.”

“A little,” I say. “The coconut makes sense. But a dictionary?”

“As I said, I’m a teacher, and the study of words is my passion. A word that is of the utmost importance to me, which I have underlined in my dictionary, was very appropriate to use in this situation.”

I begin to understand, so I chime in and finish his story. “You bent the corner of that page! The page that contained your favorite word. SAVIOR. You wanted me to find that word and know that help was coming.”

“Yes, friend. You are correct.” He shows his biggest smile yet.

“I must admit, I saw your underlined word, yet didn’t believe. I’m still struggling with it. It doesn’t seem believable.”

“But yet it happened, friend! I am here with you. You’ve been rescued.”

We grow silent. The only sound is the ocean’s foam against the boat’s aluminum siding.

“Thank you for saving me.”

“You’re welcome, friend. Even in the darkest moments, there are signs of hope all around you. After all, you just escaped an island with a mask, coconut and dictionary, my friend.”

“Escape? No. I’ve been saved.”

Friday, March 4, 2011


I’ve gone back and forth, mainly in my head, on how to start this post. I’ve typed, backspaced, and typed some more, and unfortunately for all of you, this is what I’ve come up with. Two run-on sentences explaining my struggle to produce a grabbing introduction. So, now that I’ve explained absolutely nothing, and probably wasted 45 seconds of your time (assuming you’re as slow of a reader as I am), I’ll try to jump right in to something that I’m calling Project Countdown.

Recently, some of my best thinking has come under the influence of coffee. Not just any coffee. 4 scoops of coarsely ground whole bean Columbian coffee, made with boiling water, stirred, and gently French Pressed. The 4 cups of coffee usually gets me through the last 3 hours of work, but tonight, it did something different for me. Out of nowhere came an idea. More than an idea. An urge. An itch. I wanted to write. Project Countdown.

There is something about me, and I’m willing to bet it stretches beyond just me, that loves a countdown. We’re always doing it. Something about looking forward to what’s to come. The suspense, anticipation and excitement about the future. Countdown’s can be good, bad, nerve-wracking, exhilarating, and down-right fun! What I want to do is write about countdowns. I’m open to taking ideas from any readers out there, but if not, I think I have a few ideas that will keep these fingers typing.

Project Countdown: Day 151 of 180 – Destination April 2nd

I’ve been engaged for 151 days, not that I’ve been counting. I have 29 more days until I get to marry my best friend, and put this 180 countdown to rest. I don’t think I’ve ever lived a 6-month span that went as fast, AND slow, as these last months have. When I think of all the stuff we’ve done to plan our wedding and how far we’ve come, it seems like the time has flown by. On the other hand, waiting and wanting so bad to spend every minute with the love of your life, and having to wait 180 days to start that life-long journey together…6 months seems like 6 years.
People told us right when we got engaged to soak up every minute of engaged life, and to cherish this time. “Don’t wish it away,” is what they’d say. I wracked my brain, jumbled my thoughts and tried to figure out why they talked like that? The only thing I could do was heed their advice. After all, the people giving this advice had been there before. They’d already done this whole engaged thing. So, making sure that I didn’t “wish this time away,” I made sure I steered clear from wishing wells, birthday cakes, magic lamps, and shooting stars, and so far it must be working, because I’m still in this countdown, and it’s not April 2nd, so I think I’m doing this right.
Once this is over (29 days from now, if you didn’t catch that earlier) and I’m married to the coolest girl in the world, I wonder what advice we’ll give to newly engaged couples? I hope I’m not the one that says, “Don’t wish this time away,” because honestly, I don’t get what that means. On the other hand, I don’t want to be the tough guy and pretend that I hated being engaged. You know what, I think I’m just going to keep my mouth shut. I’m not sure I’ll give any advice. Part of the excitement of a countdown is not knowing what’s coming. think I’ll just smile, and say “let the countdown begin.”

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

i had a dream...

I was nannying. Standing in the living room looking into the kitchen where Dwight (the dad) and Eli (the child) stood. Dwight wanted to go run some errands and was telling Eli to go get ready so he could go with him. I thought, "if they're leaving...what am I gonna do? Just sit here?" I snuck closer to the kitchen to hear the conversation when the door bell rang. Eli went to the door and unlocked it, but Dwight said, "Eli I’ll get it, don't let them see you." he tried to hide himself but was standing directly in front of one of the windows. i laughed. Dwight approached the door and gently swung it open to find two men in gray electrician suits standing on the front step. both men had scruffy beards and now that I think about it, looked as though they could have been twins. man #1 said, "we're contractors who helped build your house, we know you have money in your wallet, give it to us." the men walked in the house and headed toward the kitchen. Dwight quickly reacted and pushed the button on the alarm system that was supposed to notify the police. the two men simply laughed...apparently they had already snipped the wires...the police weren't going to come. the scraggly criminals snooped through the kitchen trying to find things of value and began taking everything they could find. I'm scared. my mind is racing thinking of something heroic to do. I don't think of anything. man #1 starts taking some of the goods out to their van which leaves man #2 alone with the three of us. i see Dwight open up the cutlery drawer and grab two forks...not the knives...he grabbed the forks. he slipped one into each sleeve. he was plotting an attack. i waited near by so when he began his assault on the burglars I was ready to join in. man #2 turned his back and began snooping through another drawer. Out of nowhere Dwight tackled the man and started poking the man’s hands with the forks. Dwight’s tactics were confusing me. Out of all the places to stab the potential murderer he stabbed him in the hands. I looked at Dwight thinking, "you've gotta be kidding me..." I ran over and shoved Dwight off of man #2 and started beating the man repeatedly in the face. After several hard punches to his head, the man lay there motionless. Scary music started to play in the background as man #1 reentered the house...pointing a gun...right at Eli. Now things were serious. Dwight quickly grabbed Eli and ran out of the house into the garage and hid behind their car. i followed. man #1 ran out the front door and trapped us in the garage. he opened fire, trying desperately to end our lives. I sat there, not even ducking behind anything, knowing that i wasn't going to get shot, God was on my side. A second gun appeared out of no where. It was a strange gun that shot tiny bombs that had to be loaded one by one into the barrel. Once the man was out of his regular bullets and had to reload I popped out and fired at him. Direct hit to the shoulder blade. He dropped his gun. He let out a hideous cry and staggered closer. I calmly loaded another mini bomb into the gun and fired again. Direct hit to the abdomen. Man #1 let out another cry. I reloaded. Fired again and hit the man in the leg, rendering him incapable of moving any further. He dropped to the ground. I ran into the backyard and see several tiny children escaping from inside the nanny house where they had been held captive by the two contractors. Apparently when they built the house they had fashioned a prison in the bowels of the home to hold little children. I shouted loudly for the kids to follow me to freedom, however, a river separated us from the shore we so desperately sought after. I jumped in the river, fighting the tide and carried each kid to safety. I don't know what happened to anyone else in the story, because once I crossed the river, I didn't go fact...that is when i woke up.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mental DVR

Do you ever wish that you had a TiVo, implanted in your brain? That you could push a button inside your ear that would start recording everything you’re seeing and hearing? That you could pause special moments and just drink them in? That you could rewind, and relive the hilarious minutes of everyday? Ok, ok. I know this sounds exactly like the movie Click, but I’m not talking about fast-forwarding through the dull parts of life. I’m talking about relishing all the awesome moments we get to experience everyday. I wish I could replay the story about I’m about to tell you. I have a feeling it would be a new YouTube sensation.

As I paced back from the men’s bathroom, on the third floor of my office building, I turned the corner and began the final stretch of my walk back to my desk. About 15 yards away, there was an average looking lady, with scraggly blonde hair walking toward me. The 15 yard gap is an awkward distance to deal with, especially when we were the only two walking down the center aisle of our office. Do I acknowledge her? Do I smile? Do I say “good morning?” Do I put my head down and ignore her existence? All of these thoughts trampled throughout my mind in a matter of a second, which eventually led to my split-second decision to do whatever was natural. (whatever the heck that means).

As the gap between us shortened, we made eye contact and a gentle smile brushed across her face. I remained stoic and continued my final few paces before I reached her, not completely ignoring her, but not letting my green eyes tear her heart from within her.

The gap was 5 feet now. I looked at her. She looked at me. She stopped dead in her tracks, not because she was awe-struck by me, but because she ran directly into the side of her cubicle, making a loud thud echo across the office. Completely embarrassed, the average girl looked at me. I tried to pretend I hadn’t just seen her walk directly into the side of a stationary, inanimate object, but she knew that I had indeed witnessed her embarrassing mishap. Without a moment’s hesitation, she opened her mouth and nervously spoke these words to me: “I don’t have any depth perception.”
Was she serious? Did she really have some sort of depth perception disability that hindered her from walking like a normal human being? Or, was my breath taking presence so debilitating to her that she lost all primal motor functions and reverted back to early childhood when she didn’t know how to walk? I didn’t have much time to react. In an effort to save some her some ounce of dignity, I stifled back the eruption of laughter that was about to burst out of me and restrained to letting out a calm chuckle.

The average looking girl, with straggly blonde hair doesn’t look at me anymore. Or maybe she is looking at me, but she has crossed eyes, which caused her to run into the side of a cubicle. I guess I’ll never know.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Kentucky Coleslaw

Kentucky Coleslaw jolted upright in his bed, his heart pounding, hair standing in every which direction, looking as though a hippo sat on his face all night. He hadn’t been sleeping well the last few days, in anticipation of his collegiate graduation. Kent is one of those worrier types. Someone that is so filled with doubt, and anxiety that he has a hard time just living his every day life. He has a great group of friends that care about him, and a loving family, but Kentucky failed to drink in the moments he was living, because he was too worried about moments that had yet to be lived.

His restless nights, filled with mind-numbing questioning of his future plans, just about drove Kentucky to insanity. He continued to toss and turn, wondering if his life had purpose, until the day of his graduation.

Due to all of the hours Kent spent worrying about a job, a future family, and all of the things that come with being an adult, he completely over looked the details of the graduation. Little did he know, the commencement ceremony was being held at Pickleberry Park, and not the Draconstein Memorial Auditorium. Kentucky showed up in his cap and gown and noticed that there weren’t any other cars in the Draconstein parking lot, and immediately started to panic. He tore threw the parking lot and headed to the auditorium where he found a small green post it note with the words, “Good morning. If you are here reading this note, then you are not at Pickleberry Park, WHERE YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE!!!” Kent’s heart sank and headed straight to the library where he could access the internet. As he sprinted to the computer lab, he remembered that he had his GPS in the car, but thought he should print off directions as well, just in case the GPS didn’t work. He ferociously tapped the keyboard as he entered the web address for mapquest so he could find directions to Pickleberry Park. Kent was so worried about getting lost, that he decided to go to google maps and print directions from there as well. He also printed off two alternate routes, and stopped at a gas station to get an atlas, to insure he could locate the park. After all of the worrying and over analyzing the dilemma, Kent turned on his GPS, which gave him perfect directions to the park. He spent so much time and energy worrying about the future that he hadn’t been taking time to live in the moment. He had back up plan after back up plan in place, just in case the GPS didn’t work, when he should have had faith that the GPS would do its job and guide him.

Sometimes we spend so much time worrying about the future that we don’t enjoy living the lives God has given us. We try to map out the course of our lives, and set up back up plans in case we need a plan B. Why is it that we worry about mapping out our lives, when we have a GPS to guide us? God already knows our final destination because he is the one that programmed us! Ok stick with me here. I’m trying to make this analogy work. Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. God has a plan for you. Even when we don’t know where we’re going, we have to trust that the GPS will tell us where to turn and get us there safely. That is how God operates with us. We have to trust, and have faith in the fact that he’s going to guide us down the path we’re supposed to go. My challenge to you is to soak up the everyday moments that God allows us to have. Don’t get caught up in what’s going to happen down the road. Live everyday to its fullest, not so that you may receive blessings and glory, but so that your faith may be rooted in the fact that Christ’s love for you is greater than anything you’ll ever experience, and that he has promised to guide you and never let you go.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Like Frosted Flakes

I’ve tossed and turned in my sleep for the past couple of nights, questioning whether or not I should use my workspace (blog) to declare some sort of enthusiastic pep-talk about how to live our lives in 2010. Some part of me wants to create some sort of rally cry that sparks pure emotion and causes everyone to strive to be all they can be. The other part of me wants to avoid the cliché new years resolution type of speech, and fall back on the harsh truth, that even if what I had to say created some interest or some sort of drive, that by the time February rolled around, it would be dead along with all of your other lame resolutions.

On the other hand, maybe what I have to say is worth something. Maybe I will be the one to break through and revolutionize resolutions. What are the chances that these words which are now being vigorously typed could stir up enough emotion to make a resolution become a lifestyle?

The crisis of whether or not I should voice my twenty-ten devotional, was leading to more restless nights. I woke up today, and decided that if I continue my current sleeping pattern (which has consisted of more tossing and turning, than actual sleep) that I would probably end up being that guy, by himself, at the movie theater, watching the midnight showing of the latest romantic-comedy, eating a bag of popcorn and drinking a large cherry Pepsi, because I had become an insane insomniac, that couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t decide whether or not to join the thousands of people that created new year’s resolutions. In fear of becoming that guy (although I do enjoy a chick flick every now and then), I made a resolution to make a new years resolution. Confusing, I know.

My new year’s resolution is to strive for greatness. I want to be great. Great at work, playing sports, when I’m with family, reading books, being a friend, writing, talking, thinking, loving, praying, laughing. When I’m doing all of the simple things in life, I want to be great! How does this happen? What kind of tangible, real life things can be applied to obtain such greatness? Whoa…great question. And the answer is…I have no idea. I really don’t. There isn’t a workout program, book or motivational speech that can help me achieve greatness. All I know is that God hasn’t called me to a live a life of mediocrity. He’s infused me with his joy and because of that, I know I have potential greatness coursing through every bone in my body. Look through the bible. Moses, Daniel, Joshua, the disciples. Ordinary people, used to do GREAT things.

Be great! Not so that you can receive the glory, but so that Christ may be seen through you.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

a boy, a sword, and a princess: part two

It’s been about a year now,
since the Princess broke his heart.
It’s given the boy a healthy chance,
to have a brand new start.
But even though he left his home,
and the princess is far away.
He thinks about her smiling face,
every night and every day.

The boy has moved to a foreign land,
where no one knows his name.
No one knows the things he’s done,
or knows about his fame.
He graces the people of his town,
with smiles and good deeds.
And takes time to stop and talk,
And meet his people’s needs.
It didn’t take them very long,
To care about the boy.
The town had never been this pleased,
And never had so much joy.
The town’s love was not enough,
To clear the poor boys mind.
His dreams were of the princess,
He was forced to leave behind.

The boy would lay awake at night,
with the princess on his mind.
Wondering if he had done some wrong,
but nothing could he find.
His feelings hadn’t changed for her,
despite being sent away.
He vowed that he’d return to her,
and hoped she’d let him stay.
So, one fall morning he packed his bags,
and saddled up to ride.
The men and children waved goodbye
while all the women cried.
They asked him not to leave the town,
and begged for him to stay.
The boy just smiled and bowed his head,
and this is what he’d say.
“I thank you for your gentle words,
and tears that you have shed.
But after all I’m just a boy,
with jumbled thoughts up in my head.
I love a girl who broke my heart
and sent me on my way.
A girl who haunts my every dream,
throughout the night and day.
It’s stupid that I feel like this,
but I have to leave this land.
My heart can simply not survive,
unless I hold her hand.
Sometime soon this will make sense,
for I still have much to learn.
But do not fear, for I promise you,
someday I will return.”
With those last words, the boy rode off,
deep into the setting sun.
And though the boy had come this far,
his journey had just begun.