July 1st, 2002


A journey's toll

My roller coaster ride is catching up with me. This morning I just felt numb, not from the stress of anything before me, I think, but rather from the weight of everything behind me. Hope I'm not shutting down; that's not what I want. I'm only just beginning to learn to live with all of me again.

I'm not living in fear, though. Last night I had a great Olympic pizza-and-beer retreat with taci, followed by reading time at Victrola, though neither of us read a word. The conversation was better than a book, anyway, and I am learning, learning, learning, even as my heart threatens to give way. Today has been a productive workday thus far. Finished a report, made a deposit, paid some bills: dodging the bullets I can. We still aren't in the ballpark of making payroll, but more checks are coming in today.

And to my joy, my morning walk in took me on a minor detour, on which I learned that my beloved Blue Willow Tea House is now open on Mondays. Having a place like this to be right now is a simple, rich blessing. I also recommend the Dharma Rolls. Oddly, the flute music in the background has a riff that reminds me of Chet Baker singing "My Funny Valentine."

May be starting a new book today, Desiring God by John Piper. I'd love to say there's a profound reason for this choice, but here's the truth: I normally take my meals alone, but I bring something to read so I feel less lonely. Since I neglected to bring the Brennan Manning book I'm finishing to work with me today, I picked Piper's book from the office bookshelf.

Yet God seems to be in the business of surprising me.
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Freedom from time's tyranny

In either event [apocalypse or no], the Lordship of Jesus Christ extends over the cosmic continuum. "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End" (Rv. 22:13). Authentic prayer puts us in touch with reality and liberates us from the tyranny of time. His word calls us to conscientious conduct in the world day; tomorrow's survival is His responsibility.

—Brennan Manning, A Stranger to Self-Hatred: A Glimpse of Jesus

I feel as if I'm only beginning to grasp the freedom God has given and is giving me, moment by moment. More than once today, I simply felt free. Yet time...I don't know what to do with it. Time frightens me. I know the damage it can do, what it can strip from a man. End up on the wrong side of time, and you'll forever be an outsider, a stranger.

That's the message I've believed, anyway. And with plenty of reason. But maybe He's telling me something else today, redeeming my unique relationship to time. I never expected the years I have now; mostly, they've had a ring of hollowness. But what's the difference between emptiness and openness? Hope, perhaps.

Several times a day most people will glance at their watch or the wallclock or ask, "What time is it?" To our earth-bound minds Jesus whispers in prayer: "Now is the time! The 'real' world of price tags, who shot J.R., Gucci handbags, monopoly money, the iron umbrella of nuclear deterrence, beaver vests, Persian rugs, silk underwear and Super Bowl LXXVII, is passing away. Now is the time to stop running around frantically like Lancelot's horse in four directions at once and quietly remember that only one thing is necessary. Now is time for creative response to my Word and saving solutions for your brothers and sisters."

—Brennan Manning, A Stranger to Self-Hatred: A Glimpse of Jesus

There's something beginning now, something I'm called to, even before it's revealed. Whatever else it might be, it's my life. I have no idea how He's going to fill it up. "Show up and see what happens." Prepare me for this time, even as You have been all along.

Who knows whether you haven't come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

—Mordecai (Esther 4:14)
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