Friday, June 24, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
If you don't get that joke, you are missing out. They were a great band.
Yup. WERE a great band. They disbanded. Broke up. Went on to other things. Apparently the lead singer made a deal with his wife that if they didn't hit it big by a certain time, he would give up the band, settle in one spot and do youth ministry with his family. Date came, things changed, they all moved on.
I hate finishing books. Especially series.
i love finishing books. Especially series.
Its kind of a love/hate thing.
I love it because it is the climax of a story and the final curves of the character arcs. You get to know the ending, finally, and see what happens to the people and places you have been following for weeks, months, even years (yes, Harry Potter I'm looking at you). I hate it because when you know the ending, it is just that-- the end. There is no more story. There is nothing else to read, know, discover. The ending is the End, and as many times as you read the book hoping that this time, this time there would be more, that it would keep going-- it always ends.
You have to move on.
Life is like that. With stories that begin and swell and climax and conclude. It has chapters that open and close and End. And once they are done you never get them back. As much as you want to go back to that time or that place or that story, you can't. You have to move on. You have to say goodbye.
I have been thinking about this in relation to my time here in China. Its not time for me to leave yet. But with people I know leaving, and my original contract beginning to wind down, I realize that one day this chapter of my life is going to conclude. It is going to conclude. I don't like that. But its unavoidable. Stories have chapters, and how can you ever live the next chapter if you are stuck in the one before?
So heres the rest of this chapter. May the end be as good as the beginning.
Monday, June 6, 2011
In other news, I finally have a Chinese name. Last Friday I went out to eat with two of my Chinese coworkers from the office. Only one spoke any English so most of the night consisted in fun multilingual conversation that went something like this:
I have been thinking a lot about friendship recently. Mostly I have been thinking what an incredible gift it is.
College was one of the best times of my life. I absolutely loved it. My years there had a hugely transformative effect on me. It wasn't because FCC is some academics powerhouse or super holy place, it was because of the people there. The people that mentored me, the people I mentored, and perhaps most importantly the friendships I formed. I began to discover how rich and deep and wonderful friendships with fellow believers can be. We laughed and learned and got mad at each other. We battled sin together and talked theology together and worshipped together. We ate together, shared together, lived together. My friends from college are some the people nearest and dearest to my heart.
Then we graduated.
I am a bit different than most people I know. I grew up in the same house, in the same town, going to the same church my whole life. I never lived anywhere besides South Daytona before I went to college, and since home was only an hour away it never really felt all that far. I have never had to say goodbye to my best friends before, knowing we would never be together in the same way again. It is heart wrenching.
China kind of threw all of that into overdrive. Not only was I leaving college behind, never to return, I moved across the world to a place where all my relationships were starting from scratch. The first while here was really hard. I told people I didn't have culture shock so much as moving shock. It wasn't weird food or foreign language that was getting to me, it was the complete shakedown of the etch and sketch of my relationships so that I was left basically with a blank board. All there was to do was simply start turning those knobs again and building things back.
It takes a lot of time to fill up an etch and sketch. I didn't really expect to make much progress.
Turns out, I was wrong. I have been incredibly blessed here in China with wonderful friends. Friends who make me think, who make laugh, and who make me grow. And the cycle of loss from college to now has made me appreciate what I have, right here in the midst of it. Community is a wonderful beautiful thing. No wonder the New Testament talks about it so much. Godly friendships are incredibly formative.