You Can’t Get There From Here

Not sure how the joke goes…

Something about a guy asking for directions and an old guy making that statement.

I feel depressed and frustrated. 

Life always feels so distant from what I wanted it to be.  Happiness, contentment, peace, joy, love seem so elusive, mirage like in their ability look so close, appear as possible, only to evaporate as I grasp at them.

I try to be a better husband, better father, better man.  I try to love more, hate less, not cuss.  I try to help, not complain, not be a jerk.

But I fail.  Over and over.

I talk to God.  “Can’t you make me better?  Can’t you make my faith stronger?  Can’t you make me want to try?”

And I hear Him say, “you can’t get there from here.”

All religions (including “christianity”) are based on the idea of trying harder, becoming “better” people.  And they all fail.  We hold up saints and monks and zealots and clergy as examples of how religion succeeds, ignoring the reality and embracing the legends we’ve made up.  Destroyed and disillusioned when we find out they were human after all.

And most watch us and shake their heads, knowing we pursue a lie that no one can attain.

You can’t get there from here.

Can’t we just backtrack?  Go back to the good old days?  Maybe there are multiple paths, maybe all religions have the same ultimate goal.

But the cross stands over us.  Not as a way to make us be better but simply to open a door.

Paul said his righteousness was as filthy rags (menstrual cloths to be precise).  The prophet Isaiah agreed.  Our best efforts, though nobly given, don’t make a crack in the wall that separates us from what God intended.

Somehow, I have a feeling that the lonely single mom, the addict, the father who worked everyday in a nowhere job, all the “losers” that pursued Jesus, through failure, through the valleys may receive a heartier “well done” than all the preachers combined. And when we stand before Him, there will be no shame, no disappointment, only a realization that He was always there, always with us.

I’m still sad that I’m not “better”. But, I think I’ll quit thinking about me so much and just fix my eyes on Him.

Are You Pregnant?

How many know that when a kid asks you this question…

And you’re not…

And you’re a guy…

It may be time to start eating less and exercising more?

Now she was just a little girl.  She had seen me leading worship for a while and I think was actually trying to be nice.  That doesn’t make it better.  It really makes it worse.

When I was a kid, I was always the smallest.  I couldn’t get bigger no matter how much I ate.  I started lifting weights and running and could not gain any muscle, any bulk to save my life.  I graduated high school weighing 130 pounds and looking like a concentration camp victim.  By the time I went into the army I had grown a couple of inches taller and now weighed a whopping 140 pounds.  I ate like crazy but still could not gain any significant weight, still was smaller built, wiry and tough but still one of the smallest guys in my unit.

Then I got married.

Weight gain is not the issue anymore.  Now I’m pregnant.

Life is so full of twists, turns, things that we don’t see coming, things that sometimes don’t make any sense.  We can try and try to change things, change who we are and end up disappointed, angry, bitter, depressed.

Or we can laugh.

And yes, I mean laugh when we lose our job.  We can laugh at injuries and sickness.  We can find the humor in devastation.  See the amazing miracles that make any of us survive.  We can even laugh in the midst of divorce, abandonment, great sorrow.

It isn’t an Effie Trinket style, “smile and the world smiles with you” attitude.  It is a choosing to see the blessing, the gift, the silliness, the ridiculousness that is life.

And really, I do look kind of pregnant.