Sometimes taking time away from a busy, hectic life can bring things into perspective in a way you wouldn’t have known unless you had left. Recently I moved to Colorado Springs from Chicago, IL. With that move comes a lot of packing, saying goodbye, and trying to figure out what your new life means in this new mountainous place. I think for me, there was equal parts excitement of the new adventure and then apprehension for choosing something so new. Continue reading “New Normal”
What if I come back and I am just another guy? What if I return and I am just a reminder of a time that existed three years ago, but is now irrelevant and forgotten? What happens when I can’t fit into a puzzle I am no longer a piece to?
For someone fairly confident about the decision to come back to his home country, I am still only human. I think one would expect questions like the ones listed above to careen through my mind at blistering speeds. Questions that cause damage to my calm and to my surety. As if there wasn’t enough to think about before leaving, I can throw on a heaping pile of insecurity about the place I called home for most of my life.
Sometimes in life, you stumble on something that makes you stop, think, and change. Those “things” in life can be HUGE, or they can be surprisingly small. This morning, after my exceptionally loud alarm reminded me to go for a run, I, for some reason, was drawn to the bottom of my desk drawer. There, underneath my pens, books, and other miscellaneous things, rested a very old notebook. This notebook was originally a notebook I used the first year at Aurora University, the year after I transferred out of Calvin College. Most of my Michigan friends know how hard that was for me. In this notebook, I wrote notes for a class I was taking; the subject of which has escaped my mind. Anyway, the notebook was faded, torn, and wrinkled. The back cardboard had been torn off, leaving the back page exposed to the elements. As I picked it up, I noticed something written on the back page. This is what was written:
All of a sudden, I remember where I was when I wrote this. I was on my bed, and I remember the feeling in my chest now, even as I write this sentence. The feeling was filled with new-found passion and joy. I wrote this 4 years ago, because of something I started to do inside this notebook. I started a project. I began to sift through the Bible that I had owned since coming to know Christ when I was 13 (some of you know this as the Duck-tape Bible), and I searched for all the verses I highlighted over the years that spoke specifically to our relationship with God. This was a challenge of sorts because it meant combing through everything I have read, and reading new pieces that I had yet to discover.
The process awoke something in me that I didn’t know existed. Page after page, I transcribed the verses into my notebook. There was a rush in my heart, I felt SO alive, that I had to document it. And this is when I wrote the little note in the back of the notebook. This is when I immortalized the deep, living, transformative experience that was going on inside of me at that very moment. The most helpful by-product of this project has been returning to the notebook whenever I need to be lifted up. Many times I have felt less than amazing and have opened up this notebook to pour over the truth, and beauty within Christ’s promises for us, and afterward…I feel his peace, and joy, and provision for me. It feels awesome.
I have never shared this with anyone in full, but I hope that it can reassure and maybe even give hope to others, and I know there are others, who feel as if there is something missing, or lost. Our fire is never lost, I just think we need reminding once and a while.
So thank you 21 year old, past self. You saw the value and wisdom in trying to reach out to an older, future self, that would one day need a proper reminder of how truly amazing it is when we chase Him with all we are.
[I uploaded a few pictures from the notebook. They are small in the post, but if you click on them, they will open up in a larger size.]
So I went with Randy , my brother in law, to visit a guy who has rumored to poses a treasure of old timey pipes circa 1900, and some even older than that. Naturally I was geeking out. This was the same guy that Randy bought my current pipe from [featured in the picture on the right]. Needless to say I had visions of sugar plums dancing in my head the entire night.
When I get to the guy’s place, I recognize him immediately. I had worked with him at Apple. His name was Andy. Great guy. We get to his, “man cave” which in the truest sense of the word is a man cave. It is a shed about twenty feet by fifteen feet that looks like it hasn’t moved for 300 years. Decomposing in front of my eyes, I enter the shed to see shelves, a workstation with tools everywhere, and a table saw. The place is covered in spider webs and history. I love it. Later I find out that Andy has not one but TWO sharpening stones outside the man cave. I’m talking about the ones that you spin in a circle by peddling it. He was sharpening his machete right in front of me. I love this man. haha.
So he brings out the goods. Two boxes of pipes. One box is about two feet by one foot…a fairly deep box. The other is about a couple inches deep and 9 inches long…a smaller box. He open the boxes and I glaze over. I’m talking about some of the coolest, unique, knarley pipes you’ve ever seen. He was sitting on a gold mine.
He told us about the history behind the pipes and how his Great Grandfather was a Slumlord in the area and one day a store owner came up to him to tell him that he didn’t have the money he owed. The store owner told Andy’s Great Grandfather that he’d have the money in month, and he would put his store up as collateral if he didn’t come through. The man died one week later. Andy’s great grandfather inherited a Pipe Shop that day. He ran the shop successfully for a while until he couldn’t do it anymore, and the entire inventory was boxed up and stored away.
Andy’s Grandfather gave him the boxes because they were taking up space and he didn’t know what to do with them. By this time in the story, Andy had brought out 5 boxes of varying depths, and proceeds to tell us that there was a flood about a couple years back, and Andy lost 75% of the pipes! He then continues to tell us that there are EIGHT MORE BOXES in the basement!! I’m flipping out right about now.
I bought four pipes, all new and dating before 1910, for less than 50 bucks. The entire trip was a blast and I can’t wait to go back to check out the rest. I need a limit on the money I’m allowed to bring to Andy’s place, ha.