Glad Angry (passion) Lonely

A year ago Interlinc called and asked if they could interview my oldest son Jay for a ConGRADulations DVD they were creating to give High School students across the country as a graduation gift.

When Jay did this short interview (a cheap camera sitting on a table with one take for each question) none of us had any idea what the next twelve months of his life would look like. 

I remember thinking as I watched him answer these questions, "Where did this kid come from?  How did my boy become such a man?  When did that happen?" 

They say in Alaska that there are four seasons:  winter, winter, winter, and winter.  

That's really not true.  There are two seasons.  Summer -- about 3 months.  And winter -- nine months.  Fall lasts about a week and Spring lasts about a week.  They happen so fast you can't even call them a season.  

In one week the trees can be full of leaves and a week later they are bare.  In the Spring when the trees start budding, they go from bare to fully leafed out in a week as well. 

When I lived in Tennessee, Fall lasted from September till November (3 months) and the Spring lasted from late February until May (3 months). 

Life is like that I think.  Sometimes growth is so slow we barely notice it's happening. Sometimes it happens so fast, we can't catch our breath.  

Here is the interview with my then Senior in High School giving himself good advice he'd need to hear a year later . . . now a freshman in college.  

God doing for Jay what Jay could not do for himself. 




Home Alone

Lonely Sad Glad Fear

In addition to my normal work and life schedule, in the past two months I have:
  • Sent my oldest son off to college in New Hampshire.
  • Put my oldest daughter on a plane for a semester in England.
  • Flown to the Philippines for 12 days to train, equip, and encourage the Compassion International Filipino staff and 700 Palawan pastors.
  • Recovered from a 4 week illness (a parting gift from the Philippines) that shed almost 20 pounds from a frame that can’t afford to lose that much weight.
  • Preached messages in 9 church services in the USA.
  • Spoken at a men’s outreach based upon the movie Courageous and facilitated the four week follow-up.
  • Undergone an endoscopy (camera down my throat into as far as the camera would go) for a still undiagnosed illness.
  • Planned and hosted a dinner/auction to raise funding for what I do with Sage Hill (a 501c3 non-profit).
  • Video taped 4 ½ hours of Sage Hill content for a Men’s Fraternity (men’s curriculum) remix.
  • Led a weekend retreat for a “who’s who” of young leaders in a L48 city.
  • Attended two board meetings (Sage Hill and Compassionate Hope) in the L48.
  • Met with influential leaders from a country where living out your faith in Christ can be a life and death proposition to plan my next trip to their country in January.

As I write this I am about to board a flight home (at least headed that direction) after two days of airline mechanical failure and weather delays.  (It’s gonna take three different airlines to get me home and I haven’t seen my luggage in 48 hrs).

When I see this on paper it looks crazy. 

Rather than write about the insanity that was behind this, I'm contemplating the impact of it.

I’m lonely for me.

These past eight weeks have been about survival . . . in my mind pushing into and out of each opportunity or challenge (mostly good stuff) knowing that I’d have a couple days coming at Thanksgiving to get my breath and recharge my batteries.

That’s how I used to live when my life was out of control. Pushing and pressing through life like a camel surviving the desert until the next oasis.  But it’s not how I’ve lived, or learned to live, for the past six years. 

I’ll always work hard, but this isn’t about working hard.  It’s about having myself and being myself in the work vs. riding myself like a beast of burden to get the work done . . . not being human . . . not acknowledging the neediness of my humanity and my hunger for relationships that feed my soul.  My relationship with me.  My relationship with God. My relationship with my family.  My relationship with a few friends.

My 17 and 14 year old daughters saw it.  They attributed it to me being sick for a month.  “Daddy, you’ve not been yourself.”  But it wasn’t my digestive system that was sick, it was my heart.

As I think about going home today, I’m mostly thinking about “going home.”  Brenda misses me.  My kids miss me.  I’ve got a few friends who miss me.  Again, not because I’ve been traveling some, but because I’ve not been “home” in my own heart for awhile.  Going home today means going home to me first.

And if I’m not at home (pre-occupied, distracted, motor running, surviving, getting it done, checking the box, mentally in the future and emotionally not present), it doesn’t matter if I’m sleeping in my own bed in my own house in physical proximity to my family and friends, I’m still not home.  

If I’m running so fast and so far ahead of myself . . . if I’m not paying attention to my life and the living of my life . . . if my life is in the doing more than in the being . . . if I’m not answering God’s question, “Jeff where are you?”  I’m not here. 

No wonder my wife is lonely for me. My kids are lonely for me.  My friends have told me they are lonely for me.  If I don’t have me, they don’t get me because I can’t give what I don’t have.

Get you.  Have you. Give you.

I’m going home today.  Then I’ll go home.