Thursday, October 29, 2009

Poetry, Prose, and a Prince in Process

"Sometimes you have to feel the fear and do it anyways."

I feel the fear of team mates more prepared,
drive to win
terror to fail.
My pride, my pride!

I have heard and now believe, "perfect love casts out all fear." I am a fish once large in my bowl now tossed into the sea. What adventure! What unknown! The decision to feed my heart from fear or excitement is in a waltz with the fickle verdict between pride and humility.

Freshmen once again. My choice meets me face to face, moment by moment, day by day.

Will it be Daniel today? The Angelic voice picks him off his face to say.. "Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard..."

Is my silence heard? That which is done in secret? Or shall I market my skill? Tell the world what I have done in my little bowl?

Listen here! I was once a big fish!

Times, grades,
height, and weight,
I will sing you my songs!
It is a clean slate.

Terrified by innocence
years since Mind raped Dream.
Forceful terror
exclusive motive.

My Virgil asked me if it was for grade...
or fear...
or for love that I study...
My Dream answers LOVE!
Resume says under its breath... Grades!
And still, Truth makes known to my heart the resonating answer,
it is fear.

I awoke from a dream and knew it was time to run again. After a year off of track and the decision not to run XC this fall at SPU, it was a dream redeemed. To add to the dreams recovered from my passionate youth I have also seen special operations resurrected. The success of these pursuits is tied to the grace of God that allows me to "humble my heart to understand."

The opponent that has proved itself most formidable is that of pride. I find my self set in a new city, a new church, a new school.... no longer in the town of 80 thousand. I had 18 years of tears planted, relationships watered, and respect earned in Bend, Oregon. Now in Seattle, about 3 million strong, with my leadership now caught by the pack.

In the past I have tried to distinguish myself in running with a guitar, in music with a mile time. I don't know if you can sympathize, but that is the truth of my pride. Now that I am in a place where my running is mediocre and I am chasing the team rather than being chased... I have the opportunity to grow. The limiting factor is no longer time, but pride. I find myself afraid to be behind... afraid to feel the pain of the climb. If I could lay down my fear of failure, this pride, I will have growth.

Once again comes the question of motive... why run? For Love? For Grade? For Fear? I believe I can defeat fear as I assault my pride with every race towards Love. In that pursuit I cannot lose for Love is my goal but also my teammate, my coach, and brilliant redeemer.

The character of an endurance person is what I am after. He who endures to the end...

The discipline of embracing restraints to bring freedom is my radical revelation, and my conclusion is that these growing pains are worth the growth. Conscience to creativity! Zeal married to knowledge, and Love that has lost its blindfold!

I have so much I would love to share but my eyes burn with tiredness. The prospect of my Thanksgiving coming to a close causes me to remember the dead lines that rudely continue their request of my time. I love you all and pray that you all seize your opportunities for growth.

Grace and peace!

Earshot Jazz Festival

There are times when I am convinced that jazz in the only methodical madness that can effectively outdo my own mind, will, and emotions. This last Tuesday night was one of those times and I was once again overtaken by the power of good live jazz. I received an unexpected invitation to Earshot Jazz Festival and accepted not knowing Earshot is praised as “one of the best Jazz festivals in America” (Seattle Times). After spending 3 and a half hours attempting to count the complexity of rhythms and being consistently surprised by the beauty of melody lines laced with in, I would whole heartedly agree with the praise.
Not only was the music superb it had a tasteful accompaniment with the atmosphere of the club itself. In my limited experience with jazz clubs it has been rare to find a classy joint without overwhelming smoke and the strong aroma of wine. This was good clean, classy, fun, without compromising the character of the atmosphere. And I must say the fun was aided by the musical and intellectual competency of the young lady I went with. Jazz, Atmosphere, and good conversation...
It was swingin!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friend, Fantasy, and Allegiance

With a to-do list the size of Texas and my heart constantly desiring to love anything shinny I find myself a wee bit busy. It is a new busy for me but I still do not have free time enough to do the kind of blogging I have dreamed of. This new busy I would like to describe to you in the first of what I am hoping will be a three part series describing the newness of life. Part 1. Friend, 2. Fantasy, and 3. Allegiance which will be my focus tonight.
When I wake up at 4:30 am after a night of trying to hide away from the traditions of a scandalous floor I wake to the darkness. This darkness I have known before and I have charged into it morning run after morning run as I strained towards my dreams in high school cross country. This darkness and I have become the sort of friends where silence has become the best solace.
When I need to vent my frustrations I beat the air and the pavement, I throw my heart out to the Wind and I bring my body to an endorphin stimulated attention.
In this attention whether prayer be my vehicle, the power of the darkness my cloak, or the breaking of silence my release I come into fellowship with revelation. You know that place, that state of being where human understanding is at its hight yet still you are left with desire? That place I find regularly in philosophy, theology, art, and all the things I love but at that moment of weakness comes revelation.
My revelations have been sometimes to complicated to tell and sometimes to simple in their beauty that I must share them in person or keep them locked in the intimacy of memory and prayerful meditation.
One I will be free to divulge is that of a revelation of my allegiance specifically in the growth and process that Air Fore ROTC has instigated. Our first flight letter was sent out on the second week of SPU classes and I climbed through the thickets of antonyms I found the order to learn the Airman's Creed. I opened the attachment to read...
I am an American Airman
I am a warrior
I have answered my nations call

I am an American Airman
My mission is to fly, fight, and win
I am faithful to a proud heritage
to a tradition of honor
and a legacy of valor

I am an American Airman
Guardian of freedom and justice
my nations sword and shield
its sentry and avenger
I defend my country with my life

I am an American Airman
Wingman, Leader, Warrior.
I will never leave an Airman behind
I will never falter

and I will not fail.

This is a declaration that I found myself immediately judging. Thinking, "I am not a warrior. Would I give my life for this country? A nation? What is this legacy? I worked on memorization but my intellect fought my heart into a disposition that was less than amiable. I found myself in a tension caught between the dreams of my youth and the visions set before me and those laid behind. My struggle was not birthed by the Creed alone but was rather more grounded in years of questioning the military with the new testament.
These struggles came to yet another point where I needed Revelation to send aid badly. And aid came in the form of my uniform, a benefit concert, and a counseling appointment.
I received a text asking if I was available to play a benefit concert this last friday and in summery I was able to make it. Not only was I able to make it but instead of just playing drums for the main band I played my own music for an hour during the silent auction. This allowed for me to be able to grab time with the director of Stop Child Trafficking Now. He is a pastor of warriors and has been involved with special operations militarily and inside of criminal justice with the demand side of trafficking. He was able to draw out a specific passage in the gospels which describes a centurion who comes to Jesus and asks him to heal his servant. In the Jordish paraphrase Jesus offers to go with him and he says he is not worthy but knows because he is under authority that Jesus has authority to command healing and see it done. Jesus goes on to praise his faith as the greatest in all of Israel.
From this one account he fed me some thoughts. First, Jesus never condemned a soldier for his job or told him to change his profession. In fact in this instance he is praised for his faith and understanding of authority. My teacher then began to point out the obvious that the old testament was not meant to be apart from the new, nor do they contradict. Also that God told warriors like David and Saul to kill whole people groups even though the fifth commandment says we are not to murder. "There is a difference between kill and murder" he elaborated. "God does not contradict himself."
This was Revelation that confirmed what I felt God speaking to me but could not surrender to which is further solidified for me through my uniform.
I wore my uniform it for the first inspection of the year and was again given the instructions to know the Airman's Creed well. This time I spoke it out into my empty room as I prepared the night before. The louder and more sure I became with the words the more my heart was able to grab hold. My heart and spirit finally collided into alignment with my mind when inspection came and Detachment 910 yelled in unison our Creed. It became mine just as the uniform aided the revelation of my commitment. I stood at attention eyes just above the horizon proclaiming I am an American Airman, I am a warrior! It was not brian wash or fear that instigated Revelation but the realization of begin a part of a cause much greater than I, a proud heritage.
I was no longer in conflict in my mind and my heart was at peace even while begin inspected! I wish I could be dancing excitedly in front of you to add emphasis to my fresh joy. This joy was sealed in me during a counseling appointment with my teacher and captain who are one and the same. Capt. Morgan told me about the lounge of the special forces units she has worked with. She said the lounge was lined with books,their was often chess going on, and it was surprisingly calm. She told me that they are not looking for crazy people but normal people disciplined in doing crazy things.
That Revelation brought my heart to life and my childhood dreams claim to a hold in my practical pursuits once more!
Oh the adventure I have been lead to! I my pledge allegiance to God and he guides my steps some times in spite of my plans.
Signing out! Dream well and God bless you!