30 days of truth


First, I would like to point out that I have managed to make this “30 day” thing last longer than a year. I am awesome at procrastinating.

Second, I was going to make a new playlist for Jake, because that’s kind of a nice thing to do for someone, but I never got around to finishing it…uh, see above. So this is one I made for him this past summer, back when we were homeless and had no idea what the future held and he was spending a lot of time driving to and from contract/freelance jobs so he would have something to listen to. So they’re all related to uncertainty, or a difficult time, or questions one might want to ask God when He appears to be shirking His duty while trying desperately to believe that He is good.

You’re supposed to also say why you chose the songs so I have included a brief-ish excerpt or explanation for each. (Don’t judge me! I haven’t had much money for music since like 2002 so most of this is old.)

  • “You Did Not Have a Home” by Rich Mullins. Because we did not have a home.
  • “Let It Be Me” by Ray LaMontagne. “For every door you open, seems like you get two slammed in your face…Pockets full of nothin’, ain’t got no cash…You feel like you’d give anything for just a little place you can call your own”
  • “I’m Not Alright” by Sanctus Real. The title pretty much sums it up. And we discovered that most people are pretty intimidated when you say stuff like that.
  • “Next Age” by Stavesacre. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick with desperation/And we’ve had enough for a lifetime.”
  • “I Feel So” by Boxcar Racer. “I feel so mad, I feel so angry…so lost, confused”
  • “Trouble” by Ray LaMontagne. “Feels like every time I get back on my feet she come around and knock me down again…worry is my only friend”
  • “Walk” by By The Tree. Because that song makes me think of Camino (Jake used it on our slideshow (warning! for some reason he included a video of me draining a blister)), and this era in our lives was a spiritual Camino.
  • “Why Georgia” by John Mayer. “So what, so I’ve got a smile on/But it’s hiding the quiet superstitions in my head…Am I living it right?”
  • “Hard to Get” by Rich Mullins. I think this is perhaps the bravest song ever. I won’t put any lines because the whole song is exactly what I would say, if I was poetic.
  • “Aslan” by Kendall Payne. “Lay down your layers, shed off your skin/But without his incision you can’t enter in/He cuts deep, yes he cuts deep…but never leaves a wounded one behind/He won’t say the words you wish that he would/He don’t do the deeds you know that he could/He won’t think the thoughts you think that he should/But he is good, he is good.”
  • “Good” by Bleach. “My heart is bare/There’s not much there/But I believe you’ve given me more than I could know/And I know this/You are good”
  • “Your Love is Strong” by Jon Foreman. “I look out the window, the birds are composing/Not a note is out of tune or out of place/I walk to the meadow and stare at the flowers/Better dressed than any girl on her wedding day/So why should I worry? why do I freak out?/God knows what I need, You know what I need”
  • “Vision of You” by Shane & Shane. Basically begging Jesus to show up.
  • “Be Near” by Shane & Shane. Same idea as above…”Your nearness is to us our good.”
  • “Hold Me Jesus” by Rich Mullins. “The mountains look so big, and my faith just seems so small.”
  • “Yearn” by Shane & Shane. Wanting to want Him when you don’t. (Aside: it appears the Shanes have become the new Rich Mullins(es), no?)
  • “Waiting Room” by Shane Barnard. “I will trust when You don’t seem real…Lord, I know if I change my mind/You will change my heart in time/Sovereign Lord, this time’s from You/So I sit in the waiting room of silence”
  • “Better Days” by Robbie Seay. Here come better days! (I mean, there were only a few ways it could get worse.)
  • “The Best I Can” by The Normals. “This is not what I thought I had been praying for/But this is what I have been given/I will make the best I can.” One of my very favorite lines.
  • “Sometimes by Step” by Rich Mullins. If you are a real Christian you pretty much have to put this song on a playlist.
  • “You are Good” by Nichole Nordeman (and Erin O’Donnell). “When it’s dark and it’s cold and I can’t feel my soul/You are so good/When the world has gone gray and the rain’s here to stay/You are still good”
  • “Lifeboat” by The Elms. “When I can’t swim, You are a lifeboat”
  • “Gratitude” by Nichole Nordeman. “Daily bread, give us daily bread/Bless our bodies, keep our children fed…But maybe not, not today/Maybe you’ll provide in other ways/And if that’s the case we’ll give thanks to you/With gratitude” A very difficult thing to pray.
  • “Over Now” by Needtobreathe. “This time is just a season…Lift up your head, look out the window/’Cause it’s almost over now/Take back the time your fear has stolen/’Cause it’s almost over now”
  • “New Day” by Robbie Seay. “And I know it might seem/That the world is crumbling/But it’s me and you dancing in the kitchen at 2 a.m./And we’re still alive/And it might not be/The prettiest thing that you’ll ever see/But it’s a new day”

So there you have it. Don’t get your hopes up – several of the remaining prompts are completely stupid so I may not finish. And no, that doesn’t bother me.

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In 8th grade, this new kid named Michael came to our school. Whatever it is that makes people cool, he had it and quickly became quite popular. This meant that we moved in VERY different circles. He was in a few of my classes that year but freshman year, I think he was in most of my classes if not all of them. It sounds so young now, looking back, but he was already into some decidedly unsavory practices. I remember being disgusted by him, trying to avoid him, even asking God to miraculously alter class schedules so I wouldn’t have to be around him. Somehow I managed to survive the year, saintliness unsullied.

The junior high we went to split between the 2 high schools in our district. I went to one and he went to the other. I didn’t hear much about him until junior year, when the people I sat next to in algebra (assigned seating) happened to party with Michael on a regular basis. He may have had some unsavory practices before but if the weekly Monday morning reports are to be believed, he had become quite degenerate by this point.

The summer in between junior and senior years, Michael hung himself. His stepfather had previously found out about a drug habit and threatened him about what would happen if there was any kind of repeat. I do remember he had been terrified of his stepfather. Anyway the stepfather had found out that the drug habit had resumed, or never stopped, and apparently Michael found out he knew and was terrified enough of him that suicide seemed a better option.

I happened to be studying Ezekiel at the time and this haunted me that summer, that year, and haunts me still to some degree:

If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.

Ezekiel 33:8

If I could change only one thing in my life, this would be it: I would go back and be friends with Michael. Probably not good friends, but I would at least be nice. I wish I hadn’t been so intimidated by his coolness or his problems, and I wish I had treated him with compassion instead of disdain. He may have made the same choices anyway, but maybe not. Maybe if someone had treated him the way Jesus would, his life would have looked very different and hopefully not so short.

So, that’s it: I wish I had been Jesus to someone who desperately needed Him.

At first I couldn’t think of anything for this topic, because I usually feel like I haven’t “done” much in my life. I was going to say “doing a butterfly release at our wedding,” not because the butterflies were bad but just not as awesome as I had imagined and we could have done something else with that money. But then I started to think of things I’ve said and suddenly I find myself with a wealth of regrets.

Once, years ago, I said something about my brother – not to him, to someone else. I at least knew this was not the sort of thing you say to someone. This something worked its way around to him, though, and I could see in his face that he was deeply wounded.

Sometimes – often, actually – I wonder if it still hurts.

Scenario: Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?

I would go to the hospital. Same as I would if we didn’t get in a fight.

Although, I don’t really get into fights with friends. Probably because we are all so mature and everything. Or maybe because I don’t have friends with the sort of wildly differing views that lead to vicious, heated arguments.

But it’s probably because we’re mature.

Really?? This is kind of a dumb topic.

Drugs: Just say no! I even try to keep pharmaceuticals to a minimum; they are always saying “This is a miracle drug!” and then 5 years later it turns out it causes cancer so I err on the side of caution here.

Alcohol: don’t get drunk but other than a moderation guideline, who cares? I’m really can’t figure out why this can be such a big deal to some people.

Religion: I believe Jesus. That pretty much sums it up.

Politics: Small government, because people should take care of people.* Big business is nearly as bad as big government…also, because people are important. Character is important. Family is important. Creation is important. If God created it (people/values/beauty/earth), conserve it – be a good steward, take care of it, nurture it – because it’s the right thing to do. Capitalism is great but consumerism is a moral problem. Vote on a ballot but also in the way you live your life and the choices you make.**

*I do FERVENTLY believe that, but am on WIC and my son is on CHIP. These beliefs don’t work as well when they’re not more mainstream. Which means this joins the list of areas in which what I do doesn’t really match what I believe.

**If I had to label myself, it would be Crunchy Conservative. You can read all about crunchy cons here.

This topic is quite controversial for my lil’ ol’ blog, but here goes. Due to religious/spiritual/whatever-you-want-to call-it reasons, I cannot in good conscience vote for gay* marriages to be legalized** or otherwise support them. I also have a degree in family studies from a secular institution and can attest that there are also many legitimate sociological reasons to oppose the institutionalization of homosexual relationships. But the reality is that no one really cares about that. On most controversial issues such as this, it seems to me that pretty much people believe what they want to believe and no opinion or even sociological reason will change their mind.

I will say, though, that I do understand the concerns of the gay* community concerning the lack of legality of their relationships. For example, if a person is in the hospital dying, the hospital may or may not allow their partner to see them, as they are not technically, by which I mean legally, family. And regardless of religious/spiritual/whatever-you-want-to-call-it reasons you have, that is just sad. Sometimes family is more than your blood relatives or the people who have the right papers. I really wish these types of issues could be addressed for the gay community. I can only assume it is these types of legal problems that make them want to get married in the first place; the odds on marriage aren’t that great these days so I cannot think of why else they would want to jump on board a sinking ship.

*I will never, ever cease to be bitter that this community of people has commandeered some perfectly wonderful words and changed their meanings, namely “gay” and “queer.”

**This raises the question of whether American courts, or American people, have the authority/responsibility/right to alter the definition of a social institution in the first place; they probably don’t. But that doesn’t stop anyone from trying. See above.

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