starving for substance

Mexico on the Mind

Posted in Uncategorized by starvingsteve on September 22, 2008

There was a night in Mexico that I remember vividly.  We were done with our activities for the day and we were being driven back to meet up with our host families in the back of a pick-up truck.  It was one of those nights where the heat of the day was gone and the breeze going through your hair had your senses tingling with the feeling of life.  You could catch whiffs of cooking meat and tortillas frying as we drove by various street vendors, the sound of the noisy truck echoing off the quiet streets, and the banter between team guys as we talked and joked about the happenings of the day.  Just one of those rare instances where everything just felt so right.

Contrast that to a recent email our team got.  It appeared in CFC’s Mission’s Focus.  Grenades lobbed into a crowd.  Death and destruction.  Smoke and blood.  Sheer terror.  There’s a picture of Morelia taken from atop a mountain as my desktop.  I just happened to glance at it and see the twin spires of the cathedral.  I still remember our first night in, driving past that cathedral and admiring how beautiful it looked, basking the lights of the city.

When 9/11 happened, those events rocked our nation.  But they said that for people who had actually been to the towers, seen them up close, worked in them, for those people, 9/11 was that much more traumatic.  And while 8 dead and 130 wounded pale in comparison to 3,000 dead, countless injured, when I heard about Morelia, my heart broke more than it ever did for New York.

Everything about the town square hit me so vividly.  The crowds, the noise, the lights, the music.  Knowing what it’s like when that area gets crowded, to imagine what would happen when a grenade gets lobbed into the mess is impossible.  Not because you can’t imagine it, but because you don’t want to.  I think about the faces in our pictures.  The places I remember passing by in my walk to the church.  Were any of them hurt?  Do they know anyone who was hurt?

Life is fleeting.  Urgency was one thing Sean had us thinking about on a daily basis.  And suddenly, the reason behind the necessity for a sense of urgency smacks me in the face.  Because people die without knowing the Gospel.  Sometimes, I wish conclusions were more drawn out and elaborate.  But sometimes, that’s just the way it is.

Pedí el Perspectivo

Posted in Uncategorized by starvingsteve on September 14, 2008

I’d like some fresh, clear, well-seasoned perspective.

That’s my favorite line in the movie “Ratatouille,” as spoken by the feared restaurant critic Anton Ego.  Not only is it arrogantly clever, it also provides a nice reminder on life.  So many times I forget how time is not the only relative thing on this Earth.  When it feels like the weight of the world is on my shoulders, I only have to check the news and realize that I don’t have half the responsibilities the rest of the world has.  The “problems” I face in my daily life pale in comparison to the struggles of humanity.  Yet since even my perspective is relative, and I’m so selfish, I always rationalize and let myself get away with thinking that feeling sorry for myself is okay.  That since I don’t know worse difficulty, my angst is acceptable.

For instance, this post was not supposed to start out like this.  It really started out with a quick jot down of the three biggest things on my mind.  They were all about me.  I wish that my biggest worries were for the lost, the hurting, and everyone else in need.  Naturally (literally (sorry, that’s a sick pun and I just want to point that out)),  I’m all that’s on my mind.

Looking at the companies coming to career fair and the qualities they’re looking for, I’m looking at myself as unemployable.  The jobs I want I can’t get as a direct result of my unfaithfulness in my studies last semester.  The jobs I should want I have no desire to get, nor can I get.  Again, the result of my unfaithfulness in my studies.  Everything boiling down to the things I want to do I can’t do because I couldn’t be faithful in the little things.

Looking at what’s ahead of me, all I know is that the only certain thing is uncertainty.  For the first time in my life, I don’t know what I’ll be doing or where I’ll be next year.  It sucks.  I love to have things planned out in advance, and now I’m going into the next phase of my life virtually blind.

Looking at my life, the decision of should I stay here or should I move on also comes up.  It’s said again and again how CFC is a great church, and a great place to grow.  Honestly, I didn’t do much growing my first couple years here, and I feel like I’m two years behind spiritually.  I really need to question my desires on why I feel conflicted in the first place though.  Is it because I truly desire growth?  Or is it because I feel comfortable here?  Ironically, answering “Yes” to each question offers a compelling reason to leave.

Looking at the cross, I know that all of this is inconsequential.  Even now, with my piss-poor job prospects, I am again given the chance to be faithful.  Even though I screwed up last semester, I get another semester to do things right.  That’s a pretty sweet picture of God’s grace and faithfulness.  That regardless of the decisions I make, I know that I can trust God to be there through it all.  If anything, the previous three paragraphs show nothing but my lack of faith.  Life has all these complicated problems, yet the Bible offers one pretty simple solution.  And on my wrist, there’s a bracelet that I got in Mexico.  It says “Confia en el Señor con todo tu corazón.”  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.”  Such a beautiful and simple message.  That I can trust in God’s faithfulness and never worry or fear (hey, a tie in to the Bible study!).  If I could boil it all down into a single succinct sentence, I’d say it like this: The faithfulness of God far surpasses the uncertainty of life.

And that right there, is some fresh, well-seasoned, perspective.