Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Lack of Character Study

Have you ever woken up one day to the feeling that your life was all wrong? That you were somehow in the wrong story; that you needed to pull up from the typewriter of your life, pull the page out, crumple it up, throw it away, and start all over. It's like the epiphany Jerry Maguire had in the beginning of the popular movie when he realized that his priorities were all messed up and if he could do things the way his heart felt he should they would be done way differently. So he wrote his mission statement for a changed life and way of doing things. I had one of those moments when I turned 33.  The age Jesus was when He died and rose again.  The age my father was when he died and rose to be with Him.  I wondered if this might be a defining year in my life.  That in some way a resurrection of sorts would take place as I pick up where I left off with my studies several years ago.  I am confronted every day with reminders of how short life can be, how ephemeral and fleeting our existence is.  I think upon this often as I remember the time I served at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC and my current service at Brooke Army Medical Center.  My job has in large part been to care for the wounded warriors returning from Iraq and Afghanistan as well as work major local trauma incidents.  Some of the warriors are dealing with the limbs they have lost, some, the horrors they have seen.  I see young men, much younger than I am, pushing themselves in wheelchairs; bereft of legs they possessed only weeks ago.  I wonder what they will do, and how they will survive in their radically changed life.  What would I do in their place?  What is their mission now? What is their story now? And then I ask, what is my purpose in this life? If I could write a mission statement for how I really wanted to do things, what would it be? How would things be different if I stopped listening to the voice in my head saying that these things I dream of just aren't possible? It seems like life is full of questions until we have the courage to answer them. If we stop living in fear and start walking into the dreams that God has placed on our hearts we will find the answers. They may not be the ones we think we want but they will be the ones that change us in an unmistakable way. The mundane existence we mire ourselves in for lack of faith in something magical happening in our lives threatens to slowly choke out any real living we might do. Around the corner there is something magical that just maybe rests on us to choose to believe. The tragedy is that we have lost our imagination in our rise to the seriousness of adulthood. The rite of passage we think is to leave our childhood behind while we lament the fact secretly for the rest of our lives living through our children and grandchildren's ability to see life as fresh, new, and magical everyday. Children hold a faith that is so purely held that it affects those around him or her bringing truth and life. Is living through others lives a drug or addiction? It may be. Hence the rise of the rule of reality TV shows. They are all ways we try and create life and bring vitality to our own empty existence. Are we all just parasites looking for our next fix from people and things around us? Hello, I am Andrew, and I'm a parasite. But my mission statement is to be one no more; to recover my imagination, my childlike faith and walk this world in a pure radical belief that He who has brought me here will get me there and back again. That there is one way, one truth, and one way to get the life I so crave. I will believe that dreams do come true, that the desires of our heart that God has planted within us from before time are meaningful and a calling which we should all listen to if we are to truly walk in freedom from fear; fear of pain, fear of hurt, fear of failure. And I will walk free of this because I realize that this life I talk of was never mine to begin with. I was created for a purpose and a story beyond myself, something much grander than I could even imagine. I have limited myself by chaining my expectations to this earth and all it has to offer. I have become the Bob Marley of my generation dragging the chains of all I have done in this life. Lucky am I that a Savior came and rescued me from the living hell I was trapped in within myself on this earth. Why is it that this world is full of billions of people yet one person can feel so alone sometimes. We do it to ourselves though. Our fear is what forms the bars of our internal prisons. Prisons from which we never let out true selves out to see the light of day because we can't handle the truth. So Western Culture creates the great escape for us. All of life is about escape. Get away from it all the ads say. Follow after the American dream. Spend your life accumulating wealth so you can run away from it all in the end. We have manufactured electronic marvels to plug in our attention 24 hours a day. Video games give us the chance to live an adventure in our living room. We never even have to leave our house to become a conqueror, a king, anything you want. We manufacture reality to satisfy our deepest desires. But pseudo reality can only cover up and never fulfill, you always need more. We run in vain when we try to escape. All things are lost if this is our dream. Maybe we should shut everything off and just listen to ourselves and God for awhile. and just maybe we should walk out our front door and ride off into the sunset of adventure in the real world living life to the fullest by being filled with that which is the greatest. As we walk we begin to see it, then we jog and it becomes clearer, then we begin to run. And we run into the arms of a mighty God, creator of all things, in whom we truly live and have our being; where perfect love casts out all fear and our tears are no more...
      

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