Monday, November 24, 2008

Failure and Redemption

In case you were wondering I'm at my aunt and uncle's place in Keller, Texas.  There's some college basketball playing in the background, with the smell of my aunt's cooking wafting upstairs.  But most importantly right now, my cousin is playing the old Blessed Assurance hymn on the piano.

There's something about hearing the old hymns being played on a good old piano that tugs me back to simpler times, before I became "aware" of the rest of the outside world.  Back when I thought that people were basically good with a few flaws here and there.  When my only worry was whether or not to play Lego's once I got home.

On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand now....

Now years later, I know that life is difficult.  I have and will make mistakes.  Many more mistakes.

Lord Prepare Me to be a Sanctuary now...

To me, it's amazing that my cousin is playing those hymns, as she was one who has recently turned to and fallen on some hard times; the details of which I won't go into.  Suffice to say that, hearing her play these songs, helps me to believe that there is still something soft and sweet somewhere deep inside her.  Something that has endured in spite of the efforts of the outside world and her own rebellions to kill it.  Something that keeps alive the hope of future Redemption.

Hopefully, I'm not being naieve in that assuption.  She's playing a piece now that I don't recognize.  Not any less beautiful though...

Failures and Redemptions have been on my mind today.  Recent and past.  Minor and Major.  Physical and Spiritual.  I hate that depressing sense of failure and naturally love the uplifting of redemption.  My problem arises from living in a recurring cycle of failure over the same things and never changing the situation.  Or at best paying lip service to change and immediately falling flat on my face.  Never changing.  Never lasting.  And I hate it.

Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be. - Thomas A Kempis

I can't do it on my own.  And I'm so tired of trying.

It's time I lived this conviction.  It's time for a change.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Apples to Bond

I saw the new James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, this past Saturday night, and it was awesome! I know a lot of people don't really care for this new incarnation of Ian Fleming's spy, but I do. There's something about the way the attitude that Daniel Craig brings to the character; something about his (and the director's) willingness to show Bond actually getting hurt and having scars on his face. He's gritty, doesn't care what other people think about him, and seems a lot more "human" (gets angry, is ruthless, doesn't have futuristic gadgets) than the recent incarnations of Bond have been in over the years (see Moonraker and Die Another Day). Nothing like a plot that's actually feasible.

After finishing the movie, I went with some friends to a local coffee shop, Rockwells, and played the most excellent of games, Apples to Apples. I love that game. Seriously. It's such a great game. You find out so much about the people you play against, and can be just plain silly. I personally like the goofiest, offensive, or historical matches when I choose. File that away all you potential Apples to Apples players..... One of these days I might post a list of what I consider to be trump cards....

I couldn't sleep the other night and scooped this out of the restlessness....

Home Again
I could write a thousand songs that I would love to sing
And each one would surely miss the depth of my feelings
I could pen a thousand words; a thousand different ways
And still never say all I wanted to say
I could speak a thousand words on the greatness of Your grace
And stay my hand upon realizing You knew them yesterday
I could shed a thousand tears for the growth in the pain
Holding to the hope that joy will come again
I could bleed a thousand ways to show you that I care
Knowing you're worth more than all the pain I gladly bear
I could calm a thousand fears to bring you peace of mind
And wait for you to run to Me so I could name you Mine
I would die a thousand times again to prove My love to you
And sing the chorus of My joy as you are made anew
I would do it all a thousand times to call you Child and Friend
And dance among the stars as I bring you Home again

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Of Leaves

I think that one of the best things about winter is walking through the leaves. Those crunchy leaves. For some reason that's just a pleasant feeling for me. Can't really explain it. Since childhood in south Louisiana, I've always looked forward to the falling of the leaves. Other places have snow and ice. Down there we did the best we could with the piles and piles of leaves. I tell ya, no one could make a better Leaf Snowman than we could back then. I guess in an area where no one knows what snow looks like, you have to make due with what you have.

That's apparently translated over to something like nostalgia as I've gotten older. And what's crazy is that even now, years later, crunching through leaves on a winter day has consistently been the thing that I look forward to each year. Even more than Christmas (ya know that holiday that starts before Thanksgiving?).

I could probably come up with some pseudo-philosophical guess as to why mere dead leaves affect me this way. Something about the representation between the getting rid of the things that weigh me down each year and the potential of the coming years to make something better of myself. I think that last sentence might have been it. At least for now...