Monthly Archives: June 2014

Stories of a Broken World

                I had particularly good morning (which for me starts at 3 AM) made toasty by my overly affective heater and filled with contemplation on the way to work. I passed a billboard for the California Lotto. The stakes over 100 million dollars.

Later that evening, past my bed time of 7 PM I was on my way home from an event and decided to stop and buy two lotto tickets. I had debated whether or not to stop for about five minutes beforehand in my head. I needed to get to bed. I don’t plan on winning, but the excitement of waiting to see if any numbers line up is worth the occasional pocket change to me, and apparently losing a few minutes of sleep as well.

                I had a nice interchange with the cashier who has worked at that particular corner store for close to 10 years or more. “I am paying my, ‘I am not good at math’ tax to the state.” I quipped and smiled. I returned to and started my car, my obnoxiously bright HID lights slowly warmed up. A young homeless looking couple was huddled between a Redbox and an ice machine and lifted up a cardboard sign to shield their eyes. The sign red, “Please help me shelter my wife”

                I thought to myself, “I need to get to bed, I have to be up early and need to make sure I am awake as not to endanger my possible promotion. Besides, I don’t have cash on me.” The juxtaposition losing a few minutes of sleep and the last of my small change, and then justifying not helping based upon money and time horrified me—the whole way home.

                It is choices like these that show me how far my frozen heart has fallen. I am thankful I even noticed, and noticing is the first step. But oh how many shattered pieces has my heart become? It is my goal to piece it back together broken shard by broken shard, and then to thaw it out.

                But I am fighting the mental fight against something unreal. Television, Hollywood, the news, and a few unfortunate events have taught me, “why bother?” There are no guarantees that one, or many acts of kindness will make a difference. There is only a tiny flicker of a light holding on to, because it is right. I hope it warms up like the lights of my car, so it is something piercing and causes the pains of life to shield themselves. 


Reclaiming My Soul

                When I graduated from Multnomah University, I had a small house party. My closest friends came and we all played a bunch of group games. I wanted to go around and tell everyone how much I appreciated them, but of course they all objected and said they wanted to do the reverse. Two themes stood out to me.

The first was several of my friends mentioning in different words, that they felt like they were the person they were the person they were supposed to be when I was engaged in their lives. I had always tried to build a habit of seeing people as they could become, and not just where they were at. Apparently I succeeded.

The second was a story that I had completely forgotten about, was retold to me by Tamara. At church one Sunday morning we had a homeless man come in. After speaking with him for a while I led him in to have a seat. Partway through the sermon (apparently) I noticed that he could not keep from salivating on himself. So I rose, quietly went to the bathroom and brought him some paper towels to clean himself up with.

I am very grateful to Ray and Tamara for all of their input into my life. I must give much of my educational credit to Ray for all of his teaching. Most of all I am appreciative of him teaching compassion, which is best represented by Tamara’s retelling of this story. Even after all the study and education to acquire my degree, the part of college that really matters is the lives that I have touched. All the people whose futures I have believed in.

Unfortunately in the year or so after graduating that part of me that looked out for even the smallest or most outcast of people has fallen asleep. But Christ is in the process of healing the scars that have hardened my heart.

                It has been a very long time since I have written any stories. As my heart is coming alive again I wish to share the compassion for the world through stories. I hope you enjoy.