Category Archives: Reading

The Wedding

My general rule is to never read anything by Nicholas Sparks. His books are all the same. Someone always dies. It’s not a happy formula. Yes, their lives are forever altered by the one who was sacrificed for the sake of the story, but still. It’s depressing. I think his only really good book was The Notebook, the rest just make you want to kill yourself.

Or so I thought.

A friend told me I had to read The Wedding, a sequel of sorts to The Notebook. Since that was the only book of his I liked, I was willing to give it a shot.

I’m glad I did.

Wilson and Jane (Noah and Allie’s daughter) have been married for 30 years. Over the years he provided well for his family physically but wasn’t really present emotionally. Wilson let Jane run the house and he ran his law practice. On the eve of their daughter’s wedding he tries to rekindle her feelings for him afraid he is going to lose her.

The story is beautiful. The sentiment feels genuine. I forgot that one of the things I like about Sparks is that he tells the love story from the man’s point of view. We get to see his emotions and thoughts. A simply put the story is beautiful. Reminds you that the best relationships require work and care. We can’t take each other for granted.

It’s a beautiful story told in the spirit of The Notebook.

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Creating an epic journey

I finally got to see Donald Miller, one my favorite authors, speak a few weeks ago in Whittier about his book, A Million Miles in a 1,000 Years.

This book and lecture is about story. The story we are telling with our lives. How we live. What drives us. What are our goals. Role of conflict? How do we live to make sure that our lives tell an epic journey?

It really made me think about my life, especially where I am now and what’s next for me. Yet what really grabbed me most was his notion that God doesn’t have a specific plan for our lives and that we are not complete in Him. So what then is the story and how do we tie into HIStory and if we are not complete in God what’s the point? Thought provoking isn’t it. Don’t call it blasphemous just yet.

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Lent Update

Well, so far I have managed to stick to my resolution to give up soda for Lent.

At first it was quite easy. There are lots of others drinks I enjoy, including water, tea, crystal light, etc. It is afterall relatively easy to find low-sugar drinks these days. It seemed like an easy thing to “give-up.” My brother did sweets. No way I could do that. I wondered for a while if I was doing Lent Lite. I felt guilty, maybe I am Catholic after all.

However, as time wears on, it has gotten increasingly more difficult. I’m sick of tea. I have tried it in every flavor and concoction. The novelty has worn off.  I want soda. I need soda. I’m longing for soda.

Then we drive cross country. I would have killed for a diet mountain dew. I needed the caffeine and Starbucks are few and far between from New Mexico through to Kansas City. It is a sad reality.

It would have been so easy to give in, but I decided needed to stay true to this. I feel like I need to finish. It isn’t a legalism thing. It isn’t a requirement. I just needed to, for me and Jesus, as trite as that sounds. It’s a stretch of journey very specific to this point and time of where I am in life and in my relationship with God.

I think part of the point of Lent is simply to have a reminder in the middle of our day to stop and think about God. To think about what He is doing in and around us. To turn our thoughts towards him and identify with him in a new way. So, I am grateful for the time in the middle of my want, need and desire to focus soley on him. Usually I turn to my own devices, I’ll give in, I’ll distract, I’ll otherwise medicate. This time I chose to sit in the trivial pain of really wanting a freaking soda.

I know that Easter is much bigger than that. But for me right now this is where Jesus is in my life. He is sitting with me in the desire for something I can’t have.

I recently read Donald Miller’s book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years and he said, in a roundabout way, that the beauty is found through the pain. I’m not there yet. For me the pain is still the pain. The longing is still monumental. I want a lot of things right now that I can’t have. I want answers that aren’t presenting themselves. I want resolution where there may never be any.

But I hold on. Grateful for the friends on the journey. I am more aware of where God is in my life and in my story right now.

And in a couple of weeks I will get to have a diet mt dew. It’s not all bad.

Experience of Grace

”In God’s search to find us, he enters every dark corner of life. Thus, our saving hope is not to be rescued from the dark world but to live in the darkness by the light of Christ. It follows that we can spend a lot less time praying for deliverance from how it is and more time asking to see the face of God in every circumstance.”

– Craig Barnes (Yearning)

I got this quote from a friend this week and it is so true. I would add that our experience of grace in these dark corners really depends on our ability to be vulnerable and open to the depths of the blackness. Do we try to shine the light ourselves cheapening the experience of grace or do we really reflect who he is even in our weakness, defeat, horror, shame and/or sin?

Five Love Languages for Singles – Physical Touch

Our last love language is physical touch.

Whatever there is of you resides in your body. To touch your body is to touch you.

I love that quote and description. It really puts a different perspective on touch and why its so important. To touch your body is to in essence affect who you are and make contact with your soul. We need to protect our bodies as much as we protect our minds and hearts.

In the book, Chapman identifies four different kinds of touch: appropriate and inappropriate, implicit and explicit. The first pair don’t need definiting. Implicit touches are subtle, fleeting or even accidental. It can be a quick touch to the hand or shoulder. It can imply understanding, emphasis and is okay with people we hardly know.

Explicit touch demands full attention, takes more time, and requires knowledge of and a relationship with the other person. It’s the different between a two pat hug and “leaning.” (Points to those who recognize that reference from “While You Were Sleeping.) It can be sexual, a massage, a good hug, a kiss or even the annoying pinch on the cheek from an aunt.

“Physical touch is a powerful communicator of love. In a time of crisis, more than anything we need to feel loved. We cannot always change events, but we can survive if we feel loved.”

It’s amazing how in moment of pain all we need is a hug. Just somone who is willing to reach into the emotion and let us know that we are not alone. When you think about singles and physical touch its alarming how long some go without being touched in a meaningful manner.

In my small group we always hug one another when showing up and leaving. At first it was a little awkward. I didn’t know them very well and it seemed odd. But now I look forward to it. It has become love to me over time. It is more than just custom or what we do. I like it.

This chapter can’t exclude sexual touch from the conversation. Chapman provides an overview of the sexual revolution and how it has damaged our use of sex. Sex isn’t about satisfying an animal instinct. It shouldn’t be used just to feel better because in the end it errodes our view of love and connection. Our sexuality isn’t limited to our bodies but is an expression of our wholeness through commitment to one person. When we reduce it to just a carnal act we effectively remove the divine from it.

A chapter on physical touch must also include its shadow side – abuse. Physical touch can be perverted causing physical harm to another. This inappropriate touch is destructive and debilitating. In a dating relationship this can be excused as love and ignored but it will get worse if left unchecked.

Real love doesn’t take advantage or use force. It is gentle, appropriate, and it waits for the right time and place to be expressed.