That’s me over there. I am the confident one getting into the BMW, gel in my hair, and designer slacks. Don’t you see me? Every day I look at the pictures on the wall of the family lost from the years of porn addiction.
That’s me over there. I am the one who has climbed the corporate ladder, the esteemed CEO of this multi-million-dollar corporation. Don’t you see me? My life is traveling from factory to factory making production quotas and answering to shareholders. Every day talk with my wife on the phone to find out how the kids are doing.
That’s me over there. I am the one on pushing the buggy down the road unwashed clothes, unshaven beard, lost in yesterday’s war. Don’t you see me? I don’t know what has happened to my brothers and sister, I wish I was not alone.
That’s me over there. I am the one walking into the clinic scared to tell my mom and dad. Don’t you see me? I wish I wouldn’t of but feel I have no choice.
That’s me over there. I am the one on the tractor waiting for the rain. Callused hands, tired eyes. Can’t you see me? This place has been in my family for years, it might be time to move on.
That’s me over there. The one who kissing the soldier, holding back the tears. Can’t you see me? This is his last deployment before we start our family.
That’s me over there. I have one extra chromosome with the smile that lights the sky. Can’t you see me? All I want is to be normal.
That’s me over there. . .
Dear Jesus I know you see “me over there”. I know your hand is upon me please help me to understand the times. Please Help me to know what your will is. Jesus I want to serve you. Help me to be an answer to someone’s prayer today.
“What goes up must come down.” “What goes in must come out.” “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” “You reap what you sow.” My personal favorite “Hit it with a hammer it will move.” For good portions of my day I look at data. Data which often has very little meaning to the people inputting it. “No more than a number” they say. “Anyone with common sense can see what’s happening you’re just making more work”. Yet with each data set a picture is painted of the processes being studied. Crazy as it may sound, I would love to look back at the “data” in my walk with Christ. To break down the inputs, map the variances, control chart the out puts (yup I am that guy, GEEEK!). I can hear the CI group (continuous improvement) as we tear the data apart. “What do you think was happening on the 8th and 9th? He did not pray at all.” “Yea but look at the 25th and 26th obviously something was going on”. We would start to look at possible correlations trying to see if one area of my life was dragging down the other. “Look it is showing the more hours you pray the lower you score on the sin scale.” Of course, we would have to run the predictions. “Tomorrow is Saturday if you pray 2.1035 hours you should be around a .65 or so on the sin scale.” I could see us mapping out the inputs and outputs looking for wasted motion or uncontrolled circumstances. The group would definitely bring up what the cost of the process is and how to make sure it is making positive financial impact. “What value does the bible have in your prayer time” “Do you really need a notebook to write down your prayer?” “Do you have the ability to chart how much time you use each input?”
As I ponder what it would be like to look at life data a few Bible verses come to mind. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Galatians 6:7) A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. (Luke 6:45) Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. (Matthew 7:17) I realize my life is a series of inputs and outputs, statistics on display. Times of worry I pray more. When I don’t spend time with Jesus I sin more. If I miss my bible in my prayer time I don’t pray with as much scripture. I guess in short, I should be able to look at the data of my life and know when I need a good hit by a hammer to move in the right direction.
Have you ever put on someone’s shoes? Not just any shoes old worn in shoes, smitten with dirt from their past journeys, gouged lines of miles walked. How did they feel? Did the soles of your feet ache begging to return to the cradled comfort they have grown accustomed to found in your own closet? Mine did! It is not often you get the chance to be in someone else’s shoes, but when you do an empathy for that person grows from the seeds planted along their journey.
His name is Ngabo we developed a strong friendship years ago when we were both living in a foreign land. Two different cultures brought together by the sovereignty of God for a purpose. He would teach me how to pray in faith, I would teach him a white man can love. He would teach me what it is to hope, I would teach him what it is to be a husband. A survivor of the Rwanda genocide Ngabo lost most his family. God told him to flee to England and with child like faith he walked on a plane with no passport in hand. A stranger in a strange land Ngabo started to pray soon others joined and a church sprang up. Our churches at the time shared a sanctuary. Needing renovation we put out a call for help, Ngabo answered. As he shared his testimony my heart longed for justice for him and his family, yet he had peace. He talked about leaving his mother and brothers. He talked about being detained by the border security when he arrived in England. Learning how to speak English came while trying to find work. His faith following the Lord was fragrance to a dying soul. Ngabo became part of our family he would join us for dinner and bible study. He would pray like a man lost in peaceful surrender. Before we came back to the United States, he showed up at the house with a couple of small gifts for our family. Sometime during the evening he grabbed my hand and said “brothda we have a saying in my condry,” having learned over the past months my hand didn’t retract as it once would of, instead I put my free hand on his shoulder “we wear da same shoes”. Here in front of me stood a man who’s whole family was gone, had been subject to such prejudice that he fled his home land while his tribe lost close to one million people. How could I untie his shoes let alone wear them? “you see I never dought a white man would be my brothda…”
I leave this story on an abrupt ending in mid thought on purpose. In our world, right now, we need to “wear da same shoes”. I have no idea what it is to be a Mexican, Chinaman, Blackman, etc… But I do know what it is to be a “CHRISTman” what it is to love. Will you love your neighbor as yourself? Will you “wear da same shoes”?
“What do you want to get out of this?” Pausing for a moment taken aback at such a simple question I thought for a moment. . . “To be the best manager this mill has ever seen.” I thought the answer although not original was good enough for the conversation. “No that is what you want to do. What do you want to get out of this? Why do you want to be the best manager?” Well… “To be honest I want to make a bunch of money; mill managers make good money that is what I want”. “Would you be willing to relocate?” Not thinking the answer flew, “If that is what it takes, yes” The pause was intense as the feeling of suppressed anxiety set in. “Would you be willing to work long days?” smiling knowing that it takes sacrifice to move up the corporate ladder, “I have a great work ethic, long days, nights, weekends will be worked as I make this move”. Sitting there in the silence I noticed the rhythmic noise of machinery as it processed material. There was the sound of the air conditioning humming and the chatter of the radio in the background. “Jered do you understand what you are asking?” Is this a rhetorical question I thought “yes I believe I do”. “You are asking to be away from your wife and children, to uproot your family, sacrifice your ministry, be a slave to the systems of man. You are asking me to allow you to fulfill your fleshly desires, where there will be no heavenly gain. You want to make money, have authority, be successful, at the price of giving up what I have asked you to do. Do you remember what you were asked to do last week?” This time I paused, with a deep sigh “Yes Jesus I remember, you had me go visit the team member who was in the hospital from a heart attack”. “At that moment what mattered?” Tears welling up in my eyes “his wife, she was so worried Hope got to minister to her. His brother he looked worried as well, and him, I got to talk to him about you” Worried now that someone would walk into my office at any moment seeing the distress on my face from loosing my direction once again He spoke softly. “Jered the higher you move in leadership the more of a servant you need to become. You are called to be a leader not for your gain but mine. You are called to serve not to be served. Don’t get caught up on promotions and corporate advancement. Your call is above that. Love your family, care for their needs, love your employees serve them. I will move you in my time”. Refreshed by the presence of the Lord the contentment came. I am His and His will (I pray) is my will. Today I will seek Him as my King, Provider, Friend, Father and most of all My Savior.
Thank you, Jesus, for your comforting words. Thank you for your truth, today I pray I will walk in it. Please help me to hear your direction. Jesus please bring my workplace to know you. Help me lead with Godly character. Please help me to understand how to deal with the everyday. Jesus I love you.
So for the first time in my life,I am alone. This is the new experience for me one I’m not used to. Sure I’ve been alone in the past, a day hunting alone or fishing alone, but now 18 years after my marriage 37 years of my life I am entirely alone. It is a new experience to come home to an empty house walk the dogs feed the fish without a sound. But through all of this I often wonder what is it that God is trying to teach me? Why is it that I’m going through this now? It is not because my wife left me nor was there a death in the family. No my wife and my children are on vacation. Holiday in our other place we call home, were mission was given with friends that are more than friends they are family. My wife is in good hands my children are experiencing the love of another nation. For now though I am home alone or am I alone? I don’t know ,but yet I do. I sit down in early morning and instead of hearing the snoring of my wife or the kids coming out to give me a hug (my wife really doesn’t snore by the way) I hear the whisper of God good morning Jered how are you doing today? It is a whisper that I haven’t heard in a long time and because I have been forced to be alone, I stop and say good morning God how are you today? What a sweet voice! I walk in my garden and I look at the flowers that my wife has planted as I’m trying to water them and the Lord speaks to me, He speaks to me about being a father, and He speaks to me about what it is to love your children. To love your bride. I have a new understanding for the yearning of the bridegroom to want to be with his wife. The Bible says that the Father will tell the Son when its time to get his wife, the bride the church that’s you and that’s me! I’m understanding at a new level or what it means to prepare my house for my bride my wife will be home in two short weeks but I want everything perfect for her. Like digging in her garden to make sure that our flowers are just right. Or preparing a new play area for our kids. All of this I’m doing out of love for my bride for my wife. How much more is it the father is watching the Son prepare a place for His bride (that’s you if you know Jesus) I’m understanding at a new level what it means to actually hear from your bride. Today my wife called me I gotta talk to her. I got to find out about a meeting that she had down next to London with my oldest daughter, talking about colleges .It wasn’t what she was saying it was the sound of her voice the love in her heart. She was asking me my thoughts and my opinions as I listened I was able to impart with her some little trace of wisdom that I might think I have. How much more I understand the need for me to speak with my Father how much more do I need to speak with my heavenly husband Jesus Christ He yearns to speak with us. He yearns to hear our voice. I understand a new level now of what it means to be wanted. I want to see my wife, I miss her, I want to hold my children. How much more does the Father want to hold his children? Or the Son want to be with his wife? With all of this the few short weeks will pass, my wife will come home to me Lord willing. And I’ll be able to hold her and hug her give her a little smooch ,tell her I love her. I look forward to that day. But praise God! that I am alone yet not alone.
I am not one who blogs. Not one who writes with ease and grace. I flunked English, and could not tell you where a . needs to be let alone a ; or a ,. No this is not my style. My spelling is horrible. My content lacking, so why would I even try to pen anything? The truth is my wife loves to write. She loves to sit for hours on end laughing at the jokes she has made up in her fictional storys. The thought of being able to share what God is doing in her life with people in spires her to love more deeply. I have learned in the past 18 years of marriage that the more I can share with my wife the stronger our marriage will be. So for now I am sharing this world of writing. And maybe with time I might be able to say in all truth I am a writer. For now though I will just be a husband that is sharing with his wife her dreams.