Quadrennial Musings (Reposted from Xanga)

My older posts on WordPress were originally posted on my Xanga blog, which is soon to be defunct.  I’m transferring this one in its entirety because it’s valuable.

~~~~~

Xanga tells me I’ve been here 4 years now.

Funny how that somehow makes me an “old-timer.” Four years represents a mere wink compared to the history of the Roman Empire, the length of my life, or the amount of time it’ll take me to pay off my household debt. *coughs*

I think the occasion merits some retrospection.  I’m a different person than I was 4 years ago.

I came to Xanga in March 2005 because I had found friends here, and because I wanted to connect with my students (who all had blogs at the time). I’m not sure what the recent “demise of Xanga” trend says about the literacy and mature introspection of our nation’s youth. Probably I shouldn’t read too much into that.  haha  Lines of communication shift; the world changes.  Only the brittle refuse to shift with it (though stubbornness andbrittleness are close cousins… and no one disputes my stubborn streak is a mile wide).

anyway….

To be blunt, 2005 turned out to be hell.

I didn’t know that when I sat up late one night during spring break week selecting my background color and fonts and profile picture for my posts. (Everything creative for me happens after midnight.)  Online connectivity and blogging = so exciting!
*insert smileys here*
*insert quiz results here*
*insert nifty protected post here*
*receive lots of comments*
Fun Fun Fun….

I didn’t know God was about to literally dismantle my soul, pull my heart into pieces, rip away a layer of deep-seated self-centeredness (don’t worry, plenty of layers still left to lose), and install a whole new view of life and Grace.

I also didn’t know that I was about to embark on one of the most amazing periods of fellowship with the Lord that I’ve ever experienced.  It was a valley-depths, mountain top experience.
Yes, I realize those terms contradict.  Paradox is a powerful vehicle for Truth. 

And there I was, pinned against the paradox of intense suffering and incredible faith.

I lived in the foot of the throne of grace.  I ate (what little I did eat — *sarcasm* duress is a great weight loss plan*/sarcasm*) as a shadow of partaking of the Real Bread.  Prayer wasn’t something special; it was an ongoing conversation with the Redeemer of the Universe about my little corner of the planet and what needed to be done in it, IMHO.  Kingdom Promises grew to the stature of monuments. Answers to prayer sifted down gently when they were most needed.

It was brutal. And beautiful. And a sea-change.

Everything new tends toward overreaction, and thus I label 2005 as “hell” and “inexperience” and “faith.”  One huge mess. Grace IS messy.

For me, the foundations of relational ministry and grace-based education were born in that crucible.  I emerged from the fires 18 months later emotionally exhausted, ground down, transformed.  Nothing has been the same since.

Life is rather calm these days by comparison. Four years of experience dull the edge of what used to cause ripples… guess that means the next round of divinely appointed learning experiences will ratchet up a notch.  Currently, days fall under “the mundane.” Students are always interesting; classes vary; but the learning curve doesn’t present the same challenge.

Yet in a tiny (very tiny) way, now I can relate to Frodo and Gandalf and the others who returned to the Shire so transformed after their engagement with The Ring and its destruction that they could not ever return to life as normal.  Frodo’s wound ached; he could not find peace in the old ways. Normal life tends to be rather…. disillusioning.

I deeply miss those days of Eden-walks with my God.
Life squeezes out His voice. Without duress, we foolish children wander far from our Father.

Well, maybe it’s not entirely foolishness.  All children grow up to independence.

But there’s something bittersweet about it … the way a 19 year old never throws his arms around his mother’s neck anymore to smother her cheek with kisses like he did when he was 6.  The warmth subsides into a dull glow.

I dunno.  I just know I miss a lot of things about being ‘in the fire.’  Horrible days beget incredible mercies.

Happy 4 years, Xanga.

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