Friday, October 30, 2009


They said "461" and in my head, I automatically rounded that number down to "460". It's just the way I work. I round numbers.

But as soon as I did so, a face flashed in my head.



A glowing smile.

Light-filled eyes.

A full face.

A healthy belly.

And I was hit with the realization that, in my head, I had just eliminated a child.

A life.

And that led to a deeper realization, that I had just helped save that same life.


You see, we make it about the numbers.

This many children are starving right now.

This number of people will die every single day.

But numbers are not important to us.

Not really.

Not deep down inside.


Faces are important.


Little Moses who was found in the bottom of an outhouse and now is over three years old, aspiring to be the president of Haiti.

He is important.


We spent two hours, some of us more, last night filling plastic bags with nutrient-rich food.

Food that will be taped up and shipped all around the world.

And if we let it, our engagement, our attachment will stop there.

Stamp licked.

Address written.



But follow that box to Nicaragua.

Follow that box to Haiti.

Do you remember what it felt like to hold your baby sister or brother or son or daughter in your arms for the first time?

What about watching them take their first step.

Or sound-out their first word.

Follow that box to the slums and orphanages and refugee camps.

And you will find children who are alive today.

And children who will be alive tomorrow.

Who will live.

And not only live, but thrive.


Because someone was given a vision.

Because people really are good, deep down inside (and I refuse to believe otherwise).

And because we are all yearning for a purpose. To be part of the bigger story.

Because we are not our own. And what we have been given is not ours to keep.

Because what we do for the least of these....

Because seven hundred some odd boxes were packed last night, by seven hundred some volunteers, who suddenly realized.

Who suddenly came to understand.

Last night a little girl in Haiti went to bed with a satisfied belly.

And Jesus felt full.


We cannot round these numbers down.

Monday, October 19, 2009


I have always been overwhelmed by the concept of eternity.

Forever and ever.

We live our days here on earth knowing that everything - good and bad - eventually comes to an end.

Days turn into night.

Months, years, decades pass.

It is ingrained in us that we are finite.

Not infinite.


So when I would stop to think about Heaven, I could not fathom what forever meant.

Because, in my mind, everything ends.

Not so with what happens after life here on earth.

What comes next... will have no end.


I spent yesterday afternoon, last night, and this morning in Tennessee.

My dear friend and I both desperately needed to get away.

So we packed up the Mazda3 and drove dow 75.

We met up with my mom, stepdad, two sisters, and close family friends.

Crashed on their couch beds and ate their food.

Stayed up late watching UK football and eating peanut butter M&Ms and playing Phase10.


I woke up this morning to a quiet house.

I am not at home, was my first thought.


We bundled up and drove to the trailheads.

Only to hit standstill traffic.

Because the highway was covered in ice and snow.

So we stopped and found a new trail.

And we started hiking.

It was an easy hike. Rough pavement, slightly uphill.

Towards the falls.

My cheeks stung in the cold.

We could see our breath.

The sun would peek out from behind the clouds and we would bask in its warmth.

We were overwhelmed with beauty.


After the four mile hike, we climbed back in the car.

Feeling started returning to my fingers.

And I felt like the broken parts of me, the pieces that had been shattered over the past few months, were being pieced back together.

I had forgotten that part of my soul belonged in the mountains.

My eyes see the world through a viewfinder.

My lungs expand with cold, fresh, unprocessed air.

My skin responded to the kiss of a mountain breeze, sunlight cast through trees, and the cool spray from gushing falls.


Bonnie and I got home and very quickly unloaded the cars and drove to church.

How much it says about us and our lives that even after an adventure, our hearts long to be with the people we love. And to worship in a place we call home.


Jon was talking about Heaven.

About how Heaven is God. And God is in us. And therefore, we are Heaven.

In my mind... that means that Heaven is perfect community.

Jon started talking about what we are going to "do" in Heaven.

None of this mundane, cloud-sitting, hym-singing eternity stuff.

My heart skipped a beat.


Jon explained Heaven the way he imagines it.

And I'm not sure I 100% agree. Which makes me happy. And I think it would make him happy too.

I believe that we will feel cold. But no one will die because they didn't have a warm place to sleep.

I believe we will sweat and feel humidity. But no one will ever be far from shade.

I believe we will feel satiated and full.

And that the first time I try to run a marathon in Heaven,

I won't be able to do it.

Because I believe that there is beauty in the extremes.

And that glory is brought to God through our learning process.

That we will spend eternity learning about God.

And exploring the universe with Him.

That He created us to evolve.

But in Heaven, there will be nothing standing in our way.

Only opportunity.

And boredom ... will not be something that exists in the presence of God.


I almost cried when I thought about what Jon said.

Because this... I agreed with wholeheartedly.

We will be spending eternity knowing God.

When I get to Heaven, when judgement is over, and a million years have passed...

and I have explored the milky way and ridden the back of a lion and swam with the whales...

I will still be able to walk up to God, who has His feet soaking in a hot spring, and I will reach out...

And I will touch His face.