naming the beasts

 

Trouble is the common denominator of living.  It is the great equalizer.  ~Soren.Kierkegaard~

 

We are now about 11 days into the Lenten season, and I have already made mincemeat of both my Lenten sacrifices.

IS MINCEMEAT A SWEET?  MMMMM.

Anyhooo.

I have been attentive to my Lenten study, therefore, I deem myself to have only partially failed in my endeavors. Lord, I’m still hanging in there with You even if I’ve tossed several dozen Whoppers down my gullet and have proven myself to be a complete flop in my mission to digitally detox.

SHAMEFUL HOW I CAN JUSTIFY JUST ABOUT ANYTHING, ISN’T IT?

So.  Every year, a month before the season begins, I scour the Internet for study guide recommendations.  I find some studies more relevant than others, and over the years, I’ve deduced that the guide I ultimately choose is directly linked to the current condition of my life.  If life is being agreeable and there are no stones in my shoes, I want to hear about Jesus.  

LET’S TALK ABOUT YOU.

This particular Lenten season, life is giving me a few fits.  

OKAY.  LET’S TALK ABOUT ME.

The first week in this years study guide reminds us that the Holy Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness for forty days.  For a very valid reason.  Jesus needed to be alone to reflect, to pray, to fast and … in my own Personal Opinion because I do not declare myself to be a Biblical scholar … to shall we say, get His head around what’s going to happen next.

In like fashion, the study guide suggests that we need to slip into our own particular wilderness to more fully understand ourselves and where we are relationally with God. 

TO GET REAL WITH LIFE.

To begin, we are to make a list of Wilderness Things.  Situations that are stressing us.  It asks us to recall, in The Big Picture, what illicits unspeakable fear.  What keeps us awake nights.  And then.  THEN.  It asks us to not do anything with them. 

NOT JUST YET.

We are not to attempt to puzzle out a resolution. We are just ask to sit in the wilderness with these Scary Things.

UMMM.  LET’S TALK ABOUT YOU, LORD.

For inasmuch as I love to ruminate on things, I cojitate with the
Intent to Put Into Proper Order.

I DO NOT WANT TO SIT AND DRINK COFFEE WITH SCARY THINGS.

To be quite candid, it took me several days before I got past the Huge Knot of Dread in the Middle of My Chest to start writing.  I found myself unwilling … and sometimes completely unable … to give a name to the frightening things in my life.  Giving them a name acknowledges their reality.  So.  In a manner of avoidance, my list began with shrimpy troubles.

 

Does the fact my steering wheel emotes a little squeak when I turn right merely
mean the van is getting older, or does it foretell a Large Repair Bill to come?

Why is the actual usage on my electric bill far more than what my budget permits? 
When are they going to nail me for the difference?

 

By the time I filled up the first page of my journal with relatively safe drivel and flipped to stare at the next blank page, I could physically feel a flood of anxiety.  If I was going to get Real With Life and effectively complete this exercise, I had to Name the Biggest Beasts.   

AND THEY SHALL HEREFORTH NOT BE CALLED PENELOPE OR SALLY.

I began to write …

Extended unemployment
Stupid things my children will do that could mess up their lives
Financial ruin
Tax day
Abandonment
Becoming a burden to my children in old age
Who will love me for me

blah blah blah …

BATHING SUITS

Ohmyyes.  I named the Bathing Suit Beast.  I called her Paininmyrear.  Because in a less than two months I am going to warm and sunny Charleston and the last bathing suit I adored was over 25 years ago.  It was a purple and white ha-cha-cha bikini that so flattered the lovely caramel brown tan that I’d aquired that summer.

I’M SORRY.  I DIGRESS.

When I was done with my exhaustive list of Wilderness Things, I didn’t feel any sense of peace. I felt unnerved.  Uncomfortable.  Vulnerable and shaken.  And even though I was only instructed to write them down, acknowledge them, and leave them alone for the time being, I couldn’t.

WHICH KNOWING LISA THE WAY I KNOW LISA, DIDN’T SHOCK ME IN THE LEAST.

Now.  Because I am who I am, I had to gather my beastly list together and figure out the common thread.  I was astonished when I realized it wasn’t necessarily the specific worries that were troublesome.  But that each of these things collectively represented to me things over which I couldn’t exert much, if any, influence to change them.

THEY WERE ALL THINGS OVER WHICH I LACKED CONTROL.

Logically, I know the answer is to trust that things will progress as they should according to a Bigger Plan.  The History of My Life has, time and time again, proven out this fact of faith. 

But.  The beasts continue to lurk in the wilderness.  

I REALLY NEED TO STOP FEEDING THEM.

something (kinda) different

You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late. 
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

 

For the past three years as a most heartfelt thanks to readers of ‘The Realm of Baa’, I’ve held a simple contest and given away a gift card.  It was the very least I could do in an expression of appreciation for y’all humoring me and my writing endeavors.  And as always, I thank y’all so much.   It’s such an incredible feeling to get a message from someone telling me that a blog touched them in a special way. 

BECAUSE THAT TOUCHES ME BACK.

This year, however, I’m going to do something completely different.  Well.  Not completely.  Let’s leave it at ‘kinda’ different.  I wish I could take credit for this clever idea, but I actually heard about it today on the radio.  And because it stuck with me all day, I’m going to take it as a sign upon which I am compelled to act.

ARE YOU SITTING ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEATS?

No?

Hmmm.

ANYHOOO.

This year, beginning on Saturday and for the next 14 days  I’m going to do an anonymous ‘good deed’ for someone.  This will be my own personal Pay It Forward event for the next two weeks.  Y’all gave me warm fuzzies this year. 

I WANNA GIVE SOMEONE WARM FUZZIES TOO.

I’ve decided I’m going to begin the adventure at the office with one of my co-workers.  The guy I have in mind has a habit of hanging up on me.  Regularly.

IMAGINE THAT? 

In his defense, it’s a tough, fast-paced business and we all get more than a little stressed each and every day.  I’d imagine severing our connection is his way of eliminating an annoyance (i.e. me).   I told him the other day that I’ve never been hung up more in my life before working here.

AND THEN HE HUNG UP ON ME.

Okay, I’m kidding.  He actually waited a full two days after that conversation before he hung up on me again.

BUT.

Knowing we all have so much goodness in our life, I challenge y’all to Pay It Forward this season.  The premise is that it doesn’t have to be anything ‘big’, just a simple kindness to someone who crosses your path on that particular day. 

Give a homeless person a few dollars.  Clean the snow off someone’s car.  Fill up your husband/wife’s gas tank.  Bring back a scone for a co-worker when you go out to lunch.  Pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru.  Although I must interject the last time I did that a few months ago, the cashier said, ‘Ma’am, his bill is $10.42.’

WHAT?!  DID HE BUY YOU COMPLETELY OUT OF DONUTS?!  FOR PETE’S SAKE.

But.  I turned over my Tim Horton’s reloadable card and thanked the good Lord I had an extra $10.42.  Because not everyone does.

SO.

I’d keep you posted on how my adventure turns out, however, it’s going to be anonymous.

I wish y’all a most blessed Christmas.

if i were a rich (wo)man

“If I were a rich man, ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.” 

~Fiddler on the Roof~

 

Earlier this week while scheduling my Tivo line-up of Life-Wasting Programs, I stumbled upon a documentary about people who’d won big cabbage in the lottery.  And folks, we are talking a mighty chunky piece of slaw.

COLOR ME VERY MUCH INTRIGUED.

However.  The more I watched, well dadgum, the sadder I got.  By the time the program was over, I was so dispirited I swore off gambling of any kind.  Because ya’ll know, who in their wildest dreams, wants to win lots of money and never have worry about bills again?

GOLLY GOSH, CERTAINLY NOT ME.

But.  According to the People With More Money Than They Knew What To Do With, the big win literally ruined their lives.  Close relationships with friends and family were often destroyed by jealousy.

Friends who were interviewed, across the board, said they now found a lack of any connection with the person who was catapulted into a different financial stratosphere. They felt, without reservation, that their friend could no longer relate to them.  And vice versa.

Some winners were struck by the loss of meaningful purpose in their lives lacking the need to work for anything.

One man who won the lottery decades earlier discovered that his brother had hired a hit man to knock him off for the inheritance.

SOBERING.

I began to wonder if, in our materialistic-centered society, having a financially secure future was apparently such a downer, what does make our daily lives significantly richer?  What fills our tanks?

I count myself as very blessed.  In the big scheme of life, my tank is full and overflowing.  I am not rich. I do not have a model’s physique.

I shall pause momentarily for a bit of wistful sighing. 

However. I have children whom I love with every molecule of my being. I have a good marriage, a humble home, and a job I love (most of the time).  I cherish my awfully brilliant friends who make me laugh, share my joys and divide my sorrows. And in spite of my love affair with McDonalds and a lifelong adversity to regular, consistent exercise, I am healthy.  I have enough.

AND MORE.

And I realize what really makes me smile, what fills my heart to swelling are not the Big Life Events, but rather the simple daily gestures of kindness I’ve received.

The Saturday mornings when I’ve awakened to find a cup of Tim Hortons the Husband picked up for me before he went golfing.

An unexpected full tank of gas and a clean van.  Although it’s yet to be determined if the Husband did that out of love or annoyance as I frequently drive on ‘empty’ in a less-than-sparkling vehicle.

The period of time where the Husband was in the middle of an extended job search and a 70-plus year old family friend wrote to me every few weeks to make sure I wasn’t going to strap on my cement shoes and wade into the deep end of the pool. 

We’re talking handwritten letters on homemade stationery. 

HOW CAN YOU NOT CALL THAT WAY SPECIAL?

And. On two separate occasions, this man of relatively meager means, included a check for $25 in his letter notated ‘A Gift From God’. It sure felt like it.

An email or text from a friend just to say I’m thinking about you.  Or I love you. Or I’m glad you’re my friend. Or what do you think of X, Y, and Z?

Discovering an unexpected little package or card tucked into the mailbox.

The clever note my 10-year old taped to our bedroom door.

Opening a book I received as a gift several years prior and re-reading the handwritten inscription from a precious friend.

On a side note, in this day and age of electronic everything to receive a solid piece of someone that’s lovingly written is enormously special to me.

I’M FEELING RATHER VERKLEMPT.

And.

Just so ya’ll don’t think I’m as thick as a slab of beef, of course I would love to win the lottery.  However.  If in the process, I would lose the wonder and gratitude for the smaller things in my life, than I haven’t really won anything at all.

the brushing together of souls

For where two or three are gathered in my name,
there I am among them
~Matthew 18:20~

These past few weeks of my life will be scribbled into the book of history as Ye Olde Tempestuous Times.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say they bordered on the dismay of the Dark Ages, but in some of my weaker, self-pitying moments I probably would have said so.

Because every now and then I get dramatic.

But not often.  

I SWEAR.

I won’t go into the intimate details of said Big Issues, because for purposes of the events that unfolded today, they’re quite irrelevant to my story.  I humbly believe there’s not a soul alive that doesn’t, at least once in their life, shake clenched fists heavenward and with overwhelming fear and frustration holler to the Lord, ‘Is life ever going to be normal?’ 

Through the years, I’ve come to understand normal is just a word with an infinite array of possibilities.  Sometimes I could just kick myself in the backside every time I act utterly and completely surprised when Trouble comes a’callin’.

IT’S JUST LIFE.

However. It appears, even after repeated visits with Mr. Trouble, I haven’t quite grasped the concept that he’s comin’ … and when he leaves, rest assured at some point … he’s a comin’ back.

OH. YOU AGAIN?  DRATS.

So.

After not having attended Church for the past few weeks, coupled with the Edict from Said Church about attendance envelopes and the underlying tone of We’re Watching You … blah blah blah … I went to Mass alone today.  On a side note, I abhor the guilt the Church heaps upon it’s parishioners. But. I give them credit.

IT WORKS.

Anyway.

Because of the Memorial Day Holiday, Church was relatively empty this morning.  I settle myself into a barren row and shortly before the Mass begins a woman about my age and the size of a Barbie doll sits down next to me and gives me a weary smile.  

We get through all the Catholic Rituals without any real interaction.  Then.  In the Catholic Church when we get to the recitation of the Lord’s prayer, it is customary to hold up your arms and lift up your palms.  Today, this woman reached over and took my hand firmly in hers.  And, of course, after the past Bad Weeks, it made me weepy, this stranger holding my hand tightly in hers while we’re giving praise to God.

WHEW.  BIG STUFF.

When it gets to the Kneeling Time After Communion, I kinda lose it.  Sometimes, especially if I haven’t been to Church in a few weeks, that part of the service can be very overwhelming to me.  The only way I can describe it is that there’s an immense sense of release, of just letting it all go.  Of being in His presence and the simple knowledge that He knows Mr. Trouble has knocked on my door again.  

So the tears are running down my cheeks and I’m praying, and all the while I’m thinking, ‘Good grief, do I have Kleenex in my purse? 

OHMYGAWD I HOPE NO ONE IS LOOKING AT ME.

The priest finishes, we kick up our kneelers and sit back in our seats.  And then, this Woman With the Weary Smile, wordlessly pats my leg reassuringly.  I fish a Kleenex out of my purse, scrub at my face and lean over to the woman, ‘I’m sorry, it’s just been a trying few weeks,’ I manage a mascara-less smile in her direction.  She nods and whispers, ‘Oooh I hear you.  For me too.  It’s been a bad few weeks for me too.’

YOU TOO?

Walking out of Church with her after service she tells me her story.  And, Lord, would you believe it’s the EXACT SAME TROUBLE AS MINE.

ALMOST TO THE INTH DETAIL.

And I exhaled. 

I’ve never seen this woman before.  I rarely go to Mass alone where I would have had the opportunity for this interaction.  The Church was wide open, yet she sat next to me. 

AND WE HAD THE EXACT SAME TROUBLES.

GOD MOMENT.

When we parted, two strangers sharing a common burden, we hugged and wished each other a better week.  And when we pulled apart, we laughed a little and she said, ‘I feel better already. I don’t feel so alone.’

Sometimes, that’s all we need to feel. 

Post Scriptum:  To the dear souls who have held my hand through time and space and listened to my incessant whining and attempts to puzzle things out, I thank you with my very being.  The sharing of your stories and selves makes me realize I am richly blessed.  Sometimes when I’m asking God to show His presence to me, He shows up in the form of incredible friends.

time in the tunnel

You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.  ~Psalm 18:28~

Several nights ago I had a dream.  Well. I dream every night, but this particular dream was of the variety that when I woke up I KNEW IT MEANT SOMETHING.

In this dream I was walking into a tunnel that grew increasingly darker the further we progressed.  At one point it became pitch black.  As in Black on Black.  Wow.  Kinda reminds me of the AC/DC song.  It’s been years since I heard that track.  Wait that was ‘Back in Black’, right?

Anyhoo.

BACK TO THE TUNNEL.  STOP CLOWNING AROUND AND GET THIS BLOG WRITTEN.

So.  There was someone in front of me and someone behind me, and as we reached that deepest, blackest point, we all stopped walking.  We were too scared to walk forward.  And we were unable to turn around and retreat back along the path from which we’d come. 

Then something said, ‘Just keep walking and keep talking. I’ll get you out.’

So we began walking again, this time talking our way through the rest of the tunnel until we reached the end and stepped out into daylight.

And then the alarm went buzz-buzz-buzz.

I find that when I’m stressed, I tend to dream of tornadoes.  When I’m going through a particularly difficult part of my life or, conversely, anticipate that my life is going to change in a manner in which I would not necessarily chose for it to change, I dream of tunnels. 

I will state for the record. I HATE LIFE’S TUNNELS.

I do. 

HATEHATEHATEHATE … OHSOHATE THEM.

But.  As more and more of my life unfolds, I realize that sometimes I need those tunnels.  Well.  Okay.  This, of course, is an observation made purely in retrospect. I never feel like I need these tunnels when I’m in the middle of them.  In fact, I go into them kicking and screaming just like everyone else.  And sometimes when I’m really dadgum tired of crawling about blindly in the tunnel, I get kinda angry

I start challenging God, ‘Why me?  Ya know, Lord, I’ve had it up to about here of doing this whole Into-the-Darkness-to-Show-You-the-Light schtick.  You and I, well we’ve done this quite a few times now.  So.  Why can’t y’all go pick on Boo Boo over there who never seems to have any tunnel experiences!?  Boo Boo’s just lollygagging through life, for cryin’ out loud. PICK ON SOMEONE ELSE.’

I swear, I’m going to be so embarrassed when I finally meet my Maker.

For me, a Life’s Tunnel can be a very frightening place. It’s dark and precarious, full of Things Out of My Control.  I can’t see ahead.  And I can’t go back to the Way it Was.  Often, the tunnel is a very lonely place to be. 

However.  Life’s Tunnels have a way of strengthening me, sometimes breaking me open to utter barrenness in order that I have room to be filled and healed with better things.  The tunnels teach me perseverance in a way I couldn’t learn otherwise.  Of opening my eyes to show me where I’m making grievous errors in my own path.  And of showing me that while I can’t control everything in my life, there is a Bigger, Infinitely More Rewarding Plan for me. 

Most importantly, when I’m in one of Life’s Tunnels, God and I are justhisclose.  Because I’m talking to Him more.  I’m praying without ceasing.  And maybe he takes us to That Place for that very reason. 

Bring a flashlight.

sign, sign, everywhere a sign

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for
and certain of what we do not see.
~Hebrews 11:1~

I am a very tangible person. I like solid things, things that are real and concrete.  I simply adore planning and as to the point of organization?  Well my gosh, what would I be without my utterly ridiculous organization skillz. 

They complete me. 

Having said that I can’t take credit … or conversely, blame … for this blessing-slash-curse.  I think it’s genetic … my mom has mad skillz too.  When we were young ‘ens, my dad could call from work Friday, oh say about noon or so …  ‘Hey honey, feel like camping this weekend?’  By the time my dad pulled up to the curb about 5:30, my mom would have completed unfathomable bales of laundry, organized and packed the pop-up camper for three children, herself, and my dad, planned menus for three days, took a spin through the grocery store, and could ultimately be found standing on the front porch with a martini in hand for Bob. Okay.  Scratch the martini.  That was me taking literary license again.

I digress. 

But I think you get the point.  I come from a long line
of People Who Like Things In Order.

So.  Now that you have a wee bit o’insight into one of my (many) personality quirks, you’ll understand why faith is sometimes difficult for me. Not faith in the sense of belief, but rather faith as defined by trusting that things are going as planned.  I’ll pause a moment while you skip back to first paragraph above. I like solid things. 

PERIOD.

And I truly think God gets me on that point.  Well … hmmm … honestly, I think I give God alot of grief and sometimes He probably ponders where he went wrong with me and my need for reassurance.  However.  That’s all fodder for a completely different blog.

So.

I do believe that God understands my inherent desire to ‘see’ things in a definitive, absolute sense.  And sometimes He oh so graciously humors me. 

However.  Before I tell you my Way Cool God Story, I want to impress upon you that I don’t believe God owes me a dadgum thing.  Alright.  That’s not entirely true.  Sometimes I get a little out (read:  way out) over my skis and whine (loudly and I’ll admit, annoyingly), ‘Why God!?  WHY?!?’  And sometimes when I pray I have to remind myself that God is not my Magic Genie.  I can’t rub my Bible three times, chant Scripture, then make a wish and expect Him to jump.

But all in all, I think I’m relatively well-grounded in my faith and understand
My Own Particular Place in the Big Scheme of Things.

Okay.  Story, Lisa. 

MOVEONTOTHESTORY.

During one particularly turbulent time when My Life Changed in a Verra Big Way, I prayed pretty much non-stop for God to return things to normal.  Jesus, let’s just simply turn back the clock and try it all over again.  No harm, no foul.  We’ll forget this ever happened, because, Lord, I’m quite sure you don’t want me to be this unhappy.  To be this scared and uncertain.

I KNOW YOU DON’T, RIGHT? 

And there was silence. 

Days and weeks of silence. And the weeks rolled into a few months.

AND NOTHING CHANGED.

We are now into the tail-end of winter. I’m sitting in my car in a parking lot in Ann Arbor.  Gooooo Michigan!  Sorry.  I promise no further outbursts.

But.  To this day, I can still vividly remember the patches of dirty, ugly, well-trampled snow left on the ground, the bare, spindly trees, and the bitter cold wind.  And just like the season, I’m feeling very raw and very abandoned.  I see no tangible change in my circumstances.  Things are not going according to The Plan, regardless of my prayers.  I’m sitting there quite broken, wallowing in a Major Case of Self Pity, over several months of which I’ve now perfected to a performance worthy of an Academy award.  I swear.  I was just that good.

And I pray again.   

‘Lord, all I’m asking for is a sign that you’ve even heard me.’  And then.  I go one step further to test God’s limits.  Kinda funny, huh?  Me testing God.  I’m sure one of two thoughts ran through his omnipotent mind.  He was either moved by immense sympathy for me … or He was just completely weary of my grousing.  My un-educated guess would be it was a combination of both.

I asked God to show me a yellow bird.  ‘Lord, if you’ve heard me,
I need you to send me a yellow bird.’

And honestly, I felt kinda mean and bratty asking for such a thing.  Then I attempted to temper my request, geesh, it wasn’t like I was asking for a rhinoceros or giraffe or some other large safari-type mammal.  Yeah, there I go justifying Bad and Rude Behavior again. 

But I wanted to see something discernible.  I craved seeing something … anything … to let me know I wasn’t flying solo.

AN UN-MISTAKEABLE SIGN THAT THERE WAS A PLAN. 

Not a common sparrow, or robin, or squirrel. A yellow bird.

Let me pause a moment while I savor my Goosebumps of Remembrance.

GOD GAVE ME A YELLOW BIRD.  OHYESHEDID.

I opened my eyes and looked at the barren little tree in front of my car.  Within a few minutes a little yellow fluff of bird flew into my peripheral vision and lighted on that darn tree. 

ICANNOTMAKETHISSTUFFUP.

(nor would I dare too considering God doesn’t like it when we lie … tsk tsk)

The bird flitted from branch to branch while I had a major meltdown.  I felt relief and joy and … gosh … the experience was completely indescribable.  I’m not going to even try to convey it in words because, as trite as it sounds … I simply cannot.  There are no words to adequately portray how that transformed me. I was quite giddy.  Yes, giddy might be a good adjective.  And sobered.

GOD HEARD ME.  HE HEARD ME?!

Wow.  WOOOOOW.

I’ve had the same experience only a handful of times since in my life, each time when I was at a particularly low, I Can’t See An End to This Bad Awful Time Anytime Soon period.  And the yellow bird always … always … appears at completely illogical times and/or places that cannot be explained as the Natural Order of Things.

And now, I try not to press God too much to prove He’s around for me.  I think He wants me to simply have faith that He is.

editing my life

This week I feel like I’m flying on one wing.  Seven days of fruitless, never-ending circles flapping about on a single wing. 

Work has been overwhelmingly busy which … in the big scheme of things like The Sick Economy … is a good thing. 

I know, I know. 

STOPYERCOMPLAINING.

However.

I’ve also been crawling into bed much too late.  Okay, fine.  I know I’m being dramatic.  However, those that know me are well aware that I don’t function at peak capacity … or even marginally close … without my requisite 7 hours of sleep. 

Alright.  8 hours.  

Geesh.  I only lied because the truth seems so … well … lame.  And weak.  Awfully, embarrassingly weak.  The past several nights I’ve averaged about 5.327658 hours of sleep.  But hey.  Who’s counting?

Whining shall end about … NOW.

Anyhoo.

I’ve attempted to peck out a blog on no less than three separate occasions the past few days.  Ultimately, when my brain ceased spinning a cohesive yarn, I shoved all of my Jon & Kate Plus 8 ramblings into Ye Olde Draft Folder.  The blogs haven’t seen the light of day since.

Pitiful.

Or.  Maybe not so much for those who are more than a bit weary of that drama.  After re-reading those drafts, I’ve deduced that I have nothing even remotely profound to say on the Pennsylvania couple’s situation that hasn’t already been hashed and re-hashed since the Divorce Announcement episode that aired on Monday.

Nada. I got nada.  So I’ll spare you the torture.

Today, I’m taking the route of Mrs. Lazy Blogger.  I’m going to simply present y’all with yet another Good Reading Recommendation. 

Dum dum dum duuuuuum.

I know y’all will thank me some day. 

Y’all mark my words.

One of my favorite Life-As-it-Relates-to-God authors is Donald Miller. Me loves Donald Miller.  He completes me.

Alright.  Maybe that’s a bit extreme.  But.  I love his easy, ‘real and honest’ style of writing.  His simple … yet intricately complex … grasp on the topic of faith.  Whenever I finish one of his books I sigh contently.  And smile.  And think, ya’ll know we make it so much harder than it has to be.

We do.

As I anxiously await the September 22nd release … let the countdown reflect 3 months now… of Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Echo in the Bone’, I began trolling for information on my other favorite authors, hoping for something good I could get into my hands in less than 90 excruciatingly painful days.

And.

I see Donald Miller has another book soon-to-be-released.  Yes. In September.  I can see already September is going to be a pretty special month, folks. 

Ohmymymy … it is.

The praises of Donald Miller, author of ‘Searching for God Knows What’and ‘Blue Like Jazz’, should be shouted from the rooftops.

Hear ye, hear ye. 

So.  To get a little flavor of Donald Miller’s writing style, below I’ve snipped an excerpt from his upcoming book … 

‘A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: 
What I Learned While Editing My Life’
.

 

Not all the scenes in my life have been pleasant though, and I’m not sure what God means with the hard things.  I haven’t had a lot of hard things happen, not like you see on the news, and the hard memories I’ve had seem like random experiences too.

When I was nine, for instance, I ran away from home.  I ran as far as the field across the street where I hid in the tall grass.  My mother turned on the porch light and got in the car and drove to McDonalds and brought back a happy meal.  When she got out of the car, she held the bag high enough I could see it over the weeds.  I followed the bag down the walkway to the door and it shone under the porch light before it went into the house. I lasted another ten minutes.  I sat quietly at the table and ate the hamburger while my mother sat on the couch and watched television. Neither of us said anything. I don’t know why I remember that scene, but I did.  And I remember going to bed feeling like a failure, like a kid who wasn’t able to run away from home.

I dig Donald Miller. 

Because he talks to me.  And not at me.  Because he tells a story, winding it the fabric of faith so you can see it and feel it … and understand it.  And because his writings always make me take a deeper look into my own faith.