Rain In The Sunshine

The more life begins to spin; the larger the problems seem to grow…the louder the self-talk rises. How many times have we been in a room full of people, yet, the loudest voice we hear is the one from within. Christians are told they are loved by a God that died for them. But as we live out each day, we question purpose and meaning of our existence. Is the struggle worth it? Why do I keep trying? It becomes easier to point fingers at another, as if they are in charge of our happiness. Anger harbors itself within our hearts and we make it feel welcomed. Jealousy breeds deep in obvious corners of our being. We claim one thing, but make home in another.

We’ll give money to charity. We’ll rescue some sad-faced puppy dog  from tv. Participating in noble causes are a must. But when we stand in front of the mirror with the bathroom door closed and the world shut out, so many can’t see past their own fronts. When was the last time I laughed where I almost cried? When did I last have a heart-felt pain for someone else? How come I won’t let it all go and let someone know my toughest challenges? Too often times, there is an unfounded judgement that we think exists from our own friends and family. “They won’t understand. They will just put me down. All they want to do is fix me.” We’re so busy giving high-fives and fist bumps that a caring hug would have taken an additional four seconds.

Look, I don’t get my life. Its not even close to how I imagined it. I get that others are tired. I truly understand that plenty of people have a harder life. I am more blessed than most. But I don’t understand this path. Not only is it the path less-traveled, but it feels like I am hacking up a jungle mountain with a machete. I am not here with some mission trip tract. I am not pushing some new book, cd, or studying material. But I can speak from my heart, life, and experience…my God gets me.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to go on. I don’t know how to exist with Liz still not at 100%. I don’t know how to deal with five fast-growing children. I work and I pray. I do and I am. Its as if I am running an Olympic 400m race, but I’m the only one on a treadmill; and someone else is in charge of the speed and angle. But…God gets me. He has become my rain in the sunshine. I feel like Michael Jordan…standing on this court of a life, hands on my knees, clutching my shorts, trying to catch my breath…”God, is this my all? My lungs are stinging, my muscles are cramping, and I can’t stop sweating. Do YOU find joy in me?”

People ask me every single day, “How’s Liz?” Listen, nobody knows. She can tell me how bad the pain is or how tired she is. But inside, what’s going on? What’s wrong? Are things getting better, staying the same, or getting worse? Yes. Surgeries, drains, colostomies, pills, shots, heart monitors, and fight. This year alone, less than a full 7 months, two of my family members, the people entrusted to me to care for, have worn heart monitors. Hudson just got through battling pneumonia for a week. Liz has been out of the hospital for several weeks now, is still very limited in her activities. The quads…I looked at them the other night, as we were watching tv as a family, and remembered when they all weighed two pounds or less. I remember waiting away for their eyes to open. I look at Logan and pray to God that he gets how proud I am of him. Then last night happened. I got home from working all day and having changing clothes and getting settled, I went into the boys’ room to kiss their foreheads goodnight. Hudson didn’t even twitch. But Logan, he woke up, looked around, and then finally “came to.” He looks up at me with only the nightlight in the room casting light upon his face. He smiled and said, “Oh, hi daddy. (a sleepy pause) Can I have a hug?” For a moment, surrounded by 70 college pennants, the voices were silenced, the world gave me a break, and God reached for me in the form of my son.

Doctors appointments are before us. The unknown continues to reside as a roommate. It is easy to sit and daydream. What if my life became a real-life ‘Its A Wonderful Life’ or ‘Family Man?’ What if I did own a crotch rocket motorcycle or what if I had followed in my parents’ footsteps and became a missionary? What if I actually had money to speak of or lived in a house I was proud of? Here’s one…what if I lived out God’s plan for me? I am not talking about Mother Earth, Daddy Karma, or the ever so popular “Just go with what feels good.” So many people don’t get God cause they don’t want to. Their call. That’s fine, till its not. I used to think I loved. I thought I got this sense of energy and passion for life from people. I was close, but sorely mistaken. I have come to realize that I do actually love God and I am showing that through my passion for His people.

I sit in brand new cars everyday and show people how to operate them fully. There is a lot of new technology that can be taken advantage of in a luxury car. How in the world is that different from life. Why would I not pour into others, starting in my own home, so that they may take advantage of life’s potential. Existing and Living are two different routes. Happiness is created in one; joy results from the other. Too often times, I allow my self-talk/self-doubt dominate my day and relationships. I need affirmation. And then I question the affirmation. Who does that?!

Life’s pains exist. Troubles mount and challenges arise. So many lose loved ones, possessions, fights, and friendships. Which is the greater struggle today: to love or to be loved? Is there much in life to cherish? Is there reason to smile?

By God’s grace and His grace alone, I can say that I am a joy-filled person that occasionally allows my circumstances to overshadow said joy. I once heard someone said they would love to be a bird. When asked why, they explained that a bird can go where they want. They fly, soar, coast, and aren’t confined by bills, and jobs, and stress. Even birds can be confused, turned around, and stressed. The other day, I walked into my area at work, where we had a car waiting inside for the customer to get out of finance. All of a sudden, coming right at me is this bird that found its way and can’t get out. This sucker is flying all around the room, flying into the ceiling and walls, but especially, the big glass doors that lead outside. He couldn’t see the glass. Over and over again, he kept slamming his beak into the large glass door as if it moved in the last three seconds. And then I started getting upset at his “bird brain” because he then landed on the freshly cleaned car, several times, leaving behind little stress presents. Finally got him out the door, but really…you want to be a bird?

Over the last few weeks, as I have spent time thinking and looking into my own life, I have come to realize that breathing in and out is made better by love, joy, hope, peace, patience, kindness, self-control, envylessness, humility, politeness, and by encouraging others and forgiveness. I can’t be focused on days off, square footage of living space, or those things that I have zero control over. I talk to myself daily. I wrestle inside with big issues. I do allow myself to get caught up in the hype of more and better. This blog can’t become a replacement of an ongoing chat with God, sometimes called prayer. Thunder and rain…the warmth of the sun…the chill of the night…may I not be swayed by me. You don’t water a tree from the top. The roots are dug in deep. The lifeline is alive by the fruit. Not matter the cost of the Bentley out front of this coffee shop, its in the way when there’s no gas in it. I have given in and become empty too many times. Running on fumes, spinning, drowning, or trying it my own way, whatever you want to call it.

I’ll share a thought I have had lately…ever thought of Jesus sleeping. At night, He has said goodnight to his crew, He is staying in some “stranger’s” house that night. They walked all day, talking with people, and hanging with his guys. Did they do the guy half-hug and the three pats on the back? He buy some fruit or dates from the stand on the side of the highway he traveled. Imagine the Camelbak from those days; a bull’s horn with a string attached to each end and slung over the back. He’s tired, but can’t sleep. He’s laying on His back, looking up at the stars through the ceiling that was poorly put together. That evening, he and the guys had mashed corn, beef, and goats milk. Think He thought of you while laying there. He laid there daydreaming of His home in Heaven. Think He thought of you by name and the place awaiting you?

I have a lot going on. In the last six and a half years, I have 100’s of people help me and my family. I have been prayed for by 1,000’s. To you, right now…I say thank you. Not this simple Hallmark thank you found on a card in the back of a pharmacy in a drug store on the East side of town in a rural town in North Western Nebraska. I mean it, I thank you. I am a broken man, held together by a mercy called upon by many to a Living God who knows Donny. My golf swing needs work, my Mountain Dew intake is excessive, and my taste in music is random. I’m not looking to get to Heaven by default. I want to be expected.

Its apparent to me that I am still learning me. Its obvious I have struggles and obstacles to overcome. I pray that I get to impact and influence others have so many have helped shaped me into this mess God has called His own. Today, I am in love with life.


One Response to “Rain In The Sunshine”

  1. Reading this I was reminded of and couldn’t help but share part of what I read “today” as I am rereading “The Problem of Pain”, by C.S. Lewis. In the last chapter, “Heaven”, he writes,

    “This signature on each soul may be a product of heredity and environment, but that only means that heredity and environment are among the instruments whereby God creates a soul. I am considering not how, but why, He makes each soul unique. If He had no use for all these differences, I do not see why He should have created more souls than one. Be sure that the ins and outs of your individuality are no mystery to Him; and one day they will no longer be a mystery to you. The mould in which a key is made would be a strange thing if you had never seen a key: and the key itself a strange thing if you had never seen a lock. Your soul has a curious shape because it is a hollow made to fit a particular swelling in the infinite contours of the divine substance, or a key to unlock one of the doors in the house with many mansions. For it is not humanity in the abstract that is to be saved, but you…”

    And you know what a praise it is from me when your writing makes me think of something from C.S. Lewis. L, P, & P – Pops

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