Imagining the service reminds me again that life is more than clothes and cars and a new flavor of toothpaste, that it is community and creation and beauty and humanity ... I am getting used to not having any music or television and not pulling over and buying something as a way of feeling some kind of change. There is a serenity in life, after all, and once a withdrawal is felt at having left the lies behind, a soul begins to feel at home in its own skin ... I was raised to believe that the quality of a man's life would greatly increase, not with the gain of status or success, not by his heart's knowing romance or by prosperity in industry or academia, but by his nearness to God. It confuses me that Christian living is not simpler. The gospel, the very good news, is simple, but this is the gate, the trailhead. Ironing out faithless creases is toilsome labor. God bestows three blessings on man: to feed him like birds, dress him like flowers, and befriend him as a confidant. Too many take the first two and neglect the last. Sooner or later you figure out life is constructed specifically and brilliantly to squeeze a man into association with the Owner of heaven. It is a struggle, with labor pains and thorny landscape, bloody hands and a sweaty brow, head in hands, moments of severe loneliness and questioning, moments of ache and desire. All this leads to God, I think. Perhaps this is what is on the other side of the commercials, on the other side of the curtain behind which the Wizard of Oz pulls his levers. Matter and thought are a canvas on which God paints, a painting with tragedy and delivery, with sin and redemption. Life is a dance toward God. And the dance is not so graceful as we might want. While we glide and swing our practiced sway, God crowds our feet, bumps our toes, and scuffs our shoes. So we learn to dance with the One who made us. And it is a difficult dance to learn, because its steps are foreign.
I think that's what I was hoping to find on my trip around the world. A "soul feeling at home in its own skin." For those who know me, I like to watch TV. Ok, I really like to watch TV. I know I could live without it, but when it's right there in front of me, why should I? It makes daily life more fun. But I was looking forward to not really having the choice of watching TV on my travels, but rather forcing me to depend on God and get closer to Him. But why do I have to wait until I'm forced to do it? Why do I find it so hard to do now? Is it wrong to watch TV? These questions swirl around in my head, but I'm sorry, I don't have an answer to them. Others may, and that's great, but right now, that's part of my dance with God. Why do I try to lead sometimes? Is it because I have a lack of faith? Like Donald Miller says, "Ironing out faithless creases is toilsome labor." Sometimes it feels like we're doing a crazy Hip Hop routine beside each other and laughing our heads off, and other times He takes me by the hand and slows me down with a waltz, but either way, I love to dance and I'm having a blast. Yes, my toes get stepped on and sometimes I'd rather "sit this one out," but He's always there waiting for me .. and for that, I'm incredibly grateful for His patience.