Monday, December 25, 2006

and Omega.

His words will be full of ancient wisdom and boundless mercy.
But first,
he must learn to speak.

He shall strain against His cross, carrying up to Golgotha all our burdens.
But first,
he much learn to walk.

He shall live a perfect life, and die a perfect sacrifice.
Bur first,
he must be born.

One day, He shall cry out
"It is finished!"
and it shall be true.

But on this day,
this Christmas Day,
it begins.

Merry Christmas, one and all.

I have also reposted a certain Christmas story I wrote a few years ago on Nightsawake. Please enjoy.

And may God's immeasurable grace be always before you.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

God sighting, 12.19.2006

At the Jplus Architects Christmas party, I  got $150 cash in a gift exchange.  A fifty dollar bill, and a hundred dollar bill.  I assumed God was giving me some extra money to cover expenses.

Since my car had recently been stolen, it wasn't as easy to get down to the back to make a deposit.  So I didn't.  The money sat in an envelope on my desk for several days.  One evening, I finally put it in my wallet, intending to deposit it when I next stepped out to run errands.  Never quite made it to the bank, and in my wallet it stayed.

I made a small purchace at a local store, and asked if they could break a hundred.  Nope.  Oh, well.  Just checking.  Various other little expenses came up, and the fifty slowly disintegrated.  Easier to break.

Upon realizing one morning that I didn't have enough change to ride the bus, I stopped by the Schools Credit Union ATM on the ARC campus, to see if it would take my Wells Fargo card.  It did.  Got a twenty out, and wondered if I should go ahead and make the deposit from that ATM.  Uncertain of how that would work, I didn't.  The $100 bill sat in my wallet.

That day, a friend called me up.  Had an expense to cover, and the friend who had promised to loan him the money had fallen through.

He asked to borrow $100.

I smiled.

Monday, December 18, 2006

God, to the wretch

I thought this deserved a seperate post.  This verse came up in a conversation with my friend Jeremy, and I realized it fits in perfectly with my earlier post on self-loathing:

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.   -2 Corinthians 7:10-11 (emphasis mine)

If your conscience is bothering you, it's God speaking.  Take that guilt, and turn it toward repentance, and, having served its purpose, the guilt should by all means go away.

If you hate yourself, it's not God speaking.  Seek Him out, and He'll tell you.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Juggler

"Do you know the difference between a jester and a clown?"

A trickle of blood dripped into Zippy's eye. He winced at the stinging pain, shaking his head and blinking rapidly. "Um... the clown's tied to a chair, and the jester's pacing back and forth, holding a knife?"

Arvhad halted in his tracks and threw Zippy a hard look. His left hand tossed and caught one of Zippy's throwing knives, casually. A heavy truck rumbled past the warehouse, awkward in the silence.

"I was referring to a more general sense," Arvhad said at last.

Zippy shook his head, leaning his head down. The blood dribbled, slowly and steadily, from the gash on his forehead to the concrete floor. The red, ink-like streak stood out starkly against Zippy's paper white skin.

"A jester," Arvhad began, resuming his pacing, "is a trusted advisor in disguise. He can say things to a king that no one else can. He can hide truth in jest, and say it straight into the king's ear. He has influence, but he wears a foolish mask."

"Or hat," Zippy smirked.

The bells on Arvhad's jester's cap rattled as he turned to his captive. "Precisely." Then, he took two swift steps forward and kicked Zippy in the chest. Zippy's breath left him in a whoosh as he tilted backwards, teetering past the point of balance and crashing to the floor. He flexed just in time to land on his elbows rather than his wrists. Bone-deep pain shot into his shoulders, and he clenched his teeth, straining against the zip-ties on his wrists and ankles.

"Now stop interrupting."

"Sorry. Please go on," Zippy wheezed.

The ratty black scarf hiding Arvhad's mouth shifted as he grinned, his eyes narrowing. "Thank you. So, a jester has influence on kings. A clown, however, has influence only on the handful of peasants that buy a ticket to the circus."

“See, I don't sell tickets, though,” Zippy said from the floor. He shifted his weight to avoid aggravating his bruises. “So I can reach a wider audience.”

“Very true,” said Arvhad, turning his pacing around the back of the chair. He stood over Zippy, looking upside down at his captive, still tossing and catching the dagger. Then, he stopped. Slowly, Arvhad shifted the dagger in his gloved hand, pinching the grip between his thumb and forefinger. He stretched out his arm, dangling the knife above his head, over the bridge of Zippy's nose. Zippy's eyes locked on the point of the blade.

“Perhaps,” said Arvhad, “you're more of a daredevil with clown makeup.”

Zippy's eyes never left the dagger. “Uh... maybe.”

“There are two things I associate with a daredevil, Zippy. The need to impress people...” Arvhad's hand drifted back and forth, the knife swiveling in his loose grip. “...and a death wish.” And as he said the words, he looked up from his captive, spread his fingers wide, and let go.

Zippy darted his head to the right, scooting the chair inches to the side. The dagger landed point-first, digging a chip from the concrete and clattering onto the floor. Arvhad looked down, unsurprised, as the dagger landed. Twisting his neck, Zippy could see the knife laying a few inches from his eye. He found himself breathing hard.

“And yet,” Arvhad was saying, “your survival instincts preserve you.”

Zippy craned his neck up, and could only barely see the jester. “I get a lot of practice.” His voice was unsteady when he spoke.

“Exactly. Exactly my point.” Arvhad folded his hands neatly in front of him and stared back at the clown. “Your life is in near-constant danger, because of choices you yourself make.”

“I...” Zippy realized he was breathing even harder, through gritted teeth. Angry, and getting angrier at the sound of the jester's voice. Shut up, he thought.

Arvhad turned as though he was about to start pacing again, then paused. He looked back toward his captive, clearly grinning behind his scarf. “It makes me wonder....”

Zippy's pulse raced. He looked over at the knife, and a thought occurred to him. He flexed his arms.

“My question is this,” said Arvhad, leaning forward subtly. “Why, O Razorclown, do you want to die so badly?”

The surge in adrenaline served him well. With a hard shove of his hands and a kick of his bound legs, Zippy rolled himself backwards, thrusting with his neck and shoulders to propel him over. He landed hard on his knees, gritting his teeth with the pain. Arvhad only had time to take a single running step before Zippy popped his hips. He rolled, chair and all, over his left shoulder, in perfect position for one hand up snatch up knife as he bowled into Arvhad's shins.

The jester toppled over the chair and landed hard on the blood-slick floor. Zippy rolled to a stop on his side, but only long enough to spin the knife in his fingers and saw twice at his bonds, cutting free his hands. Arvhad regained his feet and looked up just as Zippy, snarling with animal rage, with his ankles still bound to the chair, crouched on the toes of his boots and leapt forward, arms outstretched. The Razorclown's tackle drove Arvhad to the cold slab, stealing his wind. A loud jangle hit the air as the jester's head smashed against the concrete.

It was the last sound Arvhad heard before the blackness.

* * *

“Sir!” Kenzo was kneeling next to him.

Arvhad sat up sharply, and immediately saw spots. He clutched his head, blood-encrusted and sore at the back. “Nnn. Where is he?”

“The Razorclown, sir? Escaped. Jumped across the roofs.”

Arvhad stood, scooping up his hat and replacing it carefully on his head, covering his short blond hair. “Right. Who tied him up?”

“Sir, he-”


“Oh, yes.” Kenzo thought for a moment, frowning. “Rocco.”

“Teach him how to restrain someone properly. Then have him train the rest of the men.” He looked over at the group of thugs just returning from their failed chase. Arvhad took a single, deep breath, then reached down and grabbed the chair, setting it upright. Calmly, he said to the men, “Get to your secondary assignments for the night. Training session later this week. Go.” And they went.

Kenzo sighed. “You want some guys after him?”

Gingerly, Arvhad touched the back of his head, wincing very slightly at the pain. “No. No, not tonight. May as well give him some time to stew.” The hidden smile came to his face again. “I touched a nerve.” He reached into the pocket of his leather jacket, and removed a small digital recorder. He pushed the button.

“Profile update. Zippy the Razorclown. Physically stronger and more capable even than expected. Aggressive response when probed about death wish. Given his background, likely candidate for childhood abuse... or... a-ha.

“Survivor's guilt.”

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Sometimes, I seriously hate myself.

I say this because, for one, it's the truth. It doesn't take much for me to get down on myself. One mistake, whether it's a minor verbal slip or a major lapse in judgment, and I'm growling at myself inwardly. When I give my best effort, and it isn't enough - or worse, my best effort only makes the situation worse - I want to punish myself for being such a screw-up.

The main reason I say this is because I've seen several of my friends post similar comments on their blogs, and I want them to know they're not alone. Not by far.

I have a lot to learn about how to love myself, particularly being able to forgive myself for mistakes. God is teaching me, and I'm slowly learning. It's not easy. As it turns out, there's a reason we sing Amazing Grace. The title of the song isn't "Well-Earned Grace." No such thing. It's amazing that God dispenses his grace to us, even though we mess up so very often.

Here's my problem: I focus so much on the "amazing" part, I miss the essence. Grace.

"Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." -Paul, Romans 5:7-8

I do God a grave disservice by beating up on myself. The only place for guilt and shame in my life is as an indicator that it's time to repent. That's it. Learn, turn, and move on.

God's love is greater than my failings. In him, I have hope to learn from my errors and grow beyond my own miniscule power.

I'll be praying. That our attitudes toward ourselves won't hold us back. That our anger toward ourselves will be momentary and constructive. And that God himself will show us a love greater than our mistakes.

How sweet the sound.