Thursday, April 29, 2010

Poem for the Illiterate

Fopmedgo dilmfwe ce ed stugef
mfase'ion emeo eomse ess
foem ciem tew velrm
kcoam iomes kam osm
aosemoms oesoe senng
mup

clamaoesm ocsemo meose
smoe fimpse cineis fewe
Joemv soe enws cesder
brothed focevwer newe
coc exe binmot
brasternaf franinigan hemd
pum

vegoena cneuind
Joemv ndes
nasied oeed s eod
agoe gpel comese
bersaed dipmed srat
ump

Friday, April 23, 2010

Water vs Mountain

The skies are dark. The clouds float silently overhead like fat ninjas. The mountain stands vigilant, but motionless in the dark. The clouds gather and bunch together over the mountain and rally it's troops for the attack. They send out a scout. He doesn't come back. They send out another. He doesn't come back either. Then, it unleashes it's army of millions and millions of drops that free fall to their victim below. They attack everything. The mountain tries to capture as much as it can of its enemy and feed them to its green battalion. The cloud attacks and attacks and attacks. In each attack, each warrior tries to break off a piece of the mountain and carry it as they find each other and band together. Then they travel as a stream until they have enough units to make a creek and only as a creek until they can form a river. Then they march to the ocean so they can prepare for the next raid. Their job isn't over. The rock still stands.

Lots of stuff today

JonathanDow.com has a new look. My brother Matthew pulled a reverse birthday and finished my website on his birthday. Cool, huh? In other news, I have the possibility to free up some time, but I don't want to let that thing go. So I'm praying for wisdom on that one. The time I had away from Chico has been like a restart for my computer. I feel better and less stressed. I wasn't sure it would work. Also, God toughened my skin today as I tripped and I bent a nail instead of being punctured by one. Thank you Lord!

I also learned a new card game.

Good day.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Short trip summation

So I got about an hour or so worth of walking time in today. It takes so long to clear my head and I discovered that walking past memories isn't a good idea to clear it. It just drags back old ones. Good opportunity to pray for those things I see and remember, but not for just listening to God.

I did decide that I want to try and visit family more often. Maybe do it monthly or every other month or so. I also want to plan another more remote place to sit at the feet of Jesus where there aren't bags of cans and bottles waiting to be taken to the dump and I wasn't trying to find a way to hang out with brothers and driving to San Francisco. Although that stuff is good, it wasn't what I was looking for.

But on the bright side, if I was here for longer than a couple of nights, I would make an escape to our mall, where I went for an hour or so to play with the iPad (better than I expected, but I won't be buying one any time soon.) and discovered nice comfy couches and chairs in the middle of the mall, with coffee and end tables! So if I were here longer, I would go there and bring my computer and some books and make a little office there. Free electricity (low wireless signal... probably not reliable) rest rooms aren't too far away. They have security and temperature control, good eating options, (Not like Chico Mall) and you can people watch all you like. There was even a coke machine.

We went to Bubba Gump's for dinner (at 4:30. My dad wanted to be back before dark. (actually, he wanted to be home by 7)) They told us it would take 5-15 minutes and we could wait at the bar. When we decided to sit at the bench instead, the guy told us we could go right on in. The restaurant was nearly empty. I realized it was a ploy to get us to sit at the bar and start drinking. Sneaky sneaky.

Anyway, I got up before noon, and the day still sped by me. I know this was a super short vacation, but it was good to see my parents and two of my brothers. I did come to some understandings with God. I now know that I don't have to have questions or an agenda when I come to Him. (I kinda knew this already, but it's more like sometimes, God doesn't want to talk about what I want to talk about. Sometimes, He just wants us to be. It's good to know. I like to feel productive. Just being doesn't make me feel productive, especially when I have a lot on my mind that I want to go over.) Also, if I did have to move home, I don't think it would be the end of the world. I still don't want to, but I could. I also know the theme and the theme verse for the High School Summer Camp.

So even though it was short and not as productive as I would have liked, I'm stamping the trip a success.

Monday, April 19, 2010

For This Moment.

She puckered and kissed the mirror with her red painted lips. The pucker turned into a smile, and as she backed away, her eyes saw past her wrinkles and gray hair. She looked at those red painted lips and blue shadowed eyes and saw that girl she was 60 years ago. She saw the same sparkle in her brown eyes that she saw when she kissed the mirror as a child... practicing. She lifted her arthritic hand to her mouth and blew a kiss to the reflection in the mirror.

He smiled.

He blew a kiss back. It was his birthday, and also the anniversary of the beginning of his bed-ridden life. This was the first time his wife put on makeup in a year. And he had never remembered seeing lipstick so red, eyeshadow so blue, and brown so beautiful as he watched his wife get ready.

"How do I look?" she asked through the mirror.

"Now you better get out of here, young lady. I'm married and she might be back any minute."

The red painted lips opened in a smile. "Oh, Henry." She only wanted to look at him through the mirror. Ever since his stroke, she had a hard time looking at him directly. He wasn't the man he used to be. He wasn't supposed to be like this, was he? She had never thought what it would be like this late in life. When she was young, she imagined them being young forever. Maybe a couple wrinkles and gray hairs, but never this. There was sadness that she fought so hard to keep from her surface. This was his birthday. A day for celebration. Happiness. She looked at his reflection again. He looked the part. As long as she looked at him through the mirror, she could imagine him getting out of bed the next minute. She could imagine him going into the kitchen and making his world famous burnt omelet and climbing the step ladder to take the battery out of the smoke detector. This house had been much too quiet this year. But she knew, that she could only start at his reflection so long. Eventually, she would have to turn to face the reality that he would never get up again. He would never burn eggs or climb anything. She slept in his deathbed every night, wondering if it would claim that name before the dawn.

She hated to think that way. Especially today of all days. It was his birthday. She dabbed her tears with a tissue.

"Evie, come sit by me." His call was casual, but assertive. She didn't want to be like this around him, but couldn't bear to be away from him for a single one of his remaining minutes. She went to his side. He took her hands in his and she remembered when he first reached for her. It was dark. She was crying. He was a GI on leave, still in uniform, duffel bag over one shoulder, a glimmer of hope in this eye and stubbornness in his jaw. She had waited two years to see him, and as soon as she did, she cried, her mind racing past the next few days to when she would lose him to the army again until the tour was over. Back then, he told her to focus on the now. This time...

"When I was young, strong, and healthy, I went into battle without fear. I didn't mind dying. I wanted to die young. I wanted to die strong. I wanted to die healthy. It was a hero's death. But that was almost 65 years ago. Now I'm old, weak, and sick." She started to protest, but he quieted her with a slight squeeze of her hand. "Let me finish." He took a labored breath. "I didn't fear dying because I knew that my body was the best it would ever be. There was no where to go but down." He squeezed her hand again. "But the one thing I didn't count on was you. In losing my youth, I have gained a deeper friend that only those years could accomplish. In losing my strength, I have gained the love of one woman for 60 years. And in losing my health, I have gained this moment."

He took another deep and labored breath. "Over the past 60 years, you have made me realize that what I feared was really my treasure. Were I a rich man, I could not be happier than I am with you by my side. It is for this moment that I have lived all my life. This is the reason I survived two wars, three car crashes, and the lawnmower accident of '86. This is the moment that I tell you I love you, and it means more to you now than ever before."

She wasn't trying to stop her crying anymore. The tears flowed into the wrinkles in her cheeks. her lower lip quivered, but she didn't make a sound.

"This isn't goodbye, Evie." His eyes were getting heavy. He couldn't keep them open anymore. "I'm just going ahead." He took a shallow breath. His voice lowered to a whisper. "Tell them we were right. I see Him. He's beautiful." Another shallow breath, fainter than the last. "This isn't goodbye. I'm just going ahead."

...

She sat with him for what seemed an hour before she picked up the phone. When the operator answered, she simply said, "My husband went home."

my trip to my parent's... the first night

Consider the ant. It has six legs, but works seven times a week. God did not command the ant to rest. It gives it's life and it's livelihood to serve the colony. Look at the bee. Also six legs, but works seven days a week. God did not command the bee to rest either. It also gives it life and livelihood for the hive. Neither expect any reward or recognition. They just do it. Now I'm not an ant nor am I a bee... (mental note to remove stinger) I have two legs and am commanded to work six days and rest one. I haven't been very good at that commandment. I did it for a long time... but I wanted to serve more. It's the rest that got me. I did it wrong. I just sat around... resting... Sometimes I wouldn't change out of my pjs all day long and wouldn't go outside so I could be "resting." I would wear myself out the day before knowing I had a rest day and would spend most of it sleeping. I heard this is what a pastor did. I didn't like it.

So I decided to serve on that day. I think it was a better choice. Not the best choice, but serving seven days is better than living six days for God and one day for yourself. I kept coming across passages in the Bible and in books about the Bible where Jesus got away to pray. I realized I have been missing that. My prayers (although many) have been offered up while my hands were working, while my eyelids were closing for the night (morning), while I was driving somewhere to do something. I've been doing the praying without ceasing, but I wasn't ceasing to pray. I need prayer. God is a God who can run the universe and meet us one on one at the same time. I can and do multitask most of the time, but when someone wants to be my friend... (hmm...) I don't want to multi-task while friending them. When I want to be someone's friend... (double hmm...) I don't multi-task in from. Or at least I shouldn't. (I do... sorry... I don't think I've been a great friend.)

I know I have a lot to do. I am hoping it's all for a season, but I fear that it may be a long season. Is this a test of endurance or is it just foolishness? I think of the ant and the bee and think that it's all for the colony. It's all for the hive. I don't want to be selfish... which I still don't want to be... but I am commanded to rest. My verse of this trip is Matthew 11:28, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." I don't think I'll get it. My parents already have most my day planned. My father said that he wouldn't wake me up, that he would let me sleep in, and we'll go recycle the cans in the morning. You think a father would know his eldest better. Then, at 3, we go to the city to have dinner with my mom and then back to the house by 8pm.

But the good news is, I have a theme for High School Winter Camp. God is already answering the prayers I prayed in the car while driving home... it wasn't a great prayer time... I was too unfocused to listen, but I could ask. Anyway... pray for me. I've also had the desire to do some creative writing... maybe another post?

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Listening Well

One day, while playing in the woods near his home, Jimmy found a well, hidden by some bushes not too far from the grandfather oak tree. The stones were fitted together like jigsaw pieces with no glue or mortar. Jimmy, like any child of seven, found a nearby rock and dropped it in, waiting for it to splash. He counted. 1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...9...10... But there was no splash. He waited until he counted to 200, got bored and left.

If someone would have asked him about the well, he would have told them. It didn't start out being a secret. He just forgot about it for that day and the next. Then it rained, and Jimmy sat in his living room, staring out past the tear stained window pain as God watered the earth. His head sat in his hands, his eyes half closed, and this thoughts went back to the well. This was when he decided to keep it secret. "It will be my special place." He thought to himself. "A place where I can be by myself."

His mother walked up behind him. "Why don't we read a book?" Jimmy didn't want to read. He didn't like reading. It was hard for him. The letters keep switch places when he wasn't looking.

"I don't wanna read." But he read anyway. He sounded out letters and made words out of the sounds. Whenever he saw a word longer than ten letters, he would breath out an exasperation. If it took him more than three tries, his eyes would water up tears would stream down his face like the rain on the window pane. "I hate reading," he would tell his mom.

His mother, who never raised her voice at his displeasure, would tell him that even though it was difficult, he could still do it if he just tried enough times. And after reading more, his writing would get better and then there wasn't anything he couldn't do.

"Can't I just talk?" He asked.

"Writing is much better than talking, and listening is better than writing." His mother answered. "You need to listen more, so you know what words sound like. That way, when you read them, you just recognize them."

"But what about talking?"

"What about it?"

"Why can't I just talk?"

"Do you have something you want to talk about?"

"Umm... no." His thoughts went to the well, but he wanted to keep that secret.

"Well then, if there is nothing to come out, it's time to put something in. So listen and read until you have something to say. If you want to talk, I'll listen. However, it is much better to write your thoughts than say them. That way, when you read them, you can listen to yourself."

It stopped raining. "Can I go outside?"

"Yes, you may go outside. Just put on your boots and raincoat first."

Jimmy put on his boots raincoat, grabbed a piece of paper and a colored pencil, and ran out the back door into the woods under the bushes to the well. "You shall be my listening well." He whispered into it. There was no echo. He wrote his name on the piece of paper and dropped it down the well. He watched it float down into the darkness. He counted to 200. He imagined the paper and the rock falling forever.


Over the years, Jimmy visited the well almost daily. As he got older, he read constantly, and carried journals with him everywhere. He had different journals for different kind of thoughts. He had political journals in which he recorded different types of government as he learned in his history classes. He had science journals in which he wrote down every new scientific break through he could find. He had a philosophical journal in which he tried to define words like right and wrong and good and bad and sin and redemption. And among his many journals, he had one that was special. It never had any writing in it. It would just get thinner and thinner until it ran out and he would have to replace it. This was the journal in which he wrote his deepest thoughts, ripped them out and dropped them down the well. He would always count to 200 after he dropped in each one. He would whisper into the well, asking for his secrets to be kept, his prayers to be answered, and his dreams to come true.

He imagined all those pieces of paper falling down, floating, not in a hurry to get to the bottom because there wasn't a bottom to get to. No matter how crazy life was up here with midterms and jobs and school dances, his deepest thoughts floated slowly to no where in complete darkness.

One day, he stood before the well in a tuxedo.

"I know I don't normally do this," he told the well, "but I'm in a bit of a hurry." He fidgeted his fingers and looked down at his shaking hands. "I'm not coming back here. I'm starting a new life today. I'm moving out. I'm getting married. I got a job lined up across the country." His voice found a strength he didn't know he had. "You've been a good friend. You've taken my deepest darkest secrets and you swallowed them up. You never judged me or called me slow or stupid. But I am different now. I've changed and I don't need you anymore. I only have one more note to leave you." He took out a piece of paper and a colored pencil, scribbled out a quick note, and dropped it down the well.

This time he didn't count. He didn't imagine the note floating down forever. Instead, he imagined a bottom far beyond what he could see, father than 200 seconds of fall time. He imagined a rock, covered by thousands of worries and fears and dreams and hopes and thoughts and opinions and slander, and the one on top saying, "I've found Jesus. From now on, I look up."

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Does this mean I'm a booker?

Last night, I was in the church book store when asked on a recommended book on courting. Scott was there, but busy, and quite frankly.... I look at home in that bookstore. I started to show the Men's and Women's sections of our selection and well... after a moment, I said, "I know exactly which book you need. It's over here." I showed her a Bible. I should take my own advice.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Procrastination Station

I arrived at this station a couple of hours ago. I thought the next train was coming five minutes later, but it didn't... I'm running out of stuff to do here... I take that back. I'm running out of fun things to do here. Next on the list is paying taxes... ug. Not filing... writing the check... ug. But on the bright side... nope... there's no bright side... okay, government... here's your money. I think I hear the train a coming. Goodnight everyone.