Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Jakinian Language

"So, regarding singing your song, the real question here is, do you want to fit into a little box with your life and your song, kind of like singing along with a "popular" song that doesn't quite fit you, but is acceptable and "nice," or do you want to risk everything to BUST LOOSE and CO-CREATE! -identifying and celebrating what is unique and extraordinary about you." - Jim Spivey
"Live a life worthy of the calling you have received." - Paul (emphasis mine)
"Train up a child in the way they should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it." - Ancient Proverb (emphasis mine)
My youngest son Jakin has started developing his own language. It's called the Jakinian Language, or Jakinese, depending on how he feels. He loves adding words to his vocabulary, and it is slowly infiltrating how he and I communicate and interact. He has attempted many word-creations, but these 5 have stuck in our memories and have become real parts of our vocabulary.
Shaka-Baka (shah-kah-bah-kah) - "I love you."
Moshe (mow-she) - "I'm sorry."
Aka-Bakee (ah-ka-bah-key) - "See you later!"
Taleequah (tah-lee-qwah) - "Could you please come here?" or "Come here." (depending on tone of voice)
And my personal favorite...
Sekasakee (see-kah-sock-ee) - "It's singin' time!" (After which it is culturally appropriate to bust out in song).
Jakin is 4, and he has yet to figure out that he is supposed to learn and behave and communicate within "what already is" and thinks that he can just go around making a unique contribution in order to "co-create what is".
I pray that God grant me the freakin' grace to never break him of this.
It is his creation, and my job is to encourage this entrepreneurial spirit in him by being a participant with him in it...and I'll tell you what, it is a joy, and it brings joy to both of us as we participate in his creation, and it has even brought joy to those who have had the privilege of overhearing us. You should see the smiles it produces out of thin air!
Maybe it seems silly, but I'm telling you what this actually does and produces - it transforms otherwise mundane, normal, regular, popular conversations and interactions between a father and son into a creative, exceptional, special, intimacy-building experience. And dog-gone it, isn't that the whole point of life anyway? That may actually be a pretty good definition for the word:
Life (lif) - a creative, exceptional, special, intimacy building experience.
The Bible says that Jesus came to give us this...and to give it to us to the full (Jn 10:10).
I must fearfully confess that I almost squelched this whole thing of his, right at the outset of his experimenting with it, as an inconvenient, childish, silly, immature waste of time with a wave of my hand and roll of my eyes. Oh God help many wonderful and beautiful things have I so mindlessly destroyed with such ignorant apathy and dismissal!? So many of us grow up and "outgrow" our creativity, and I guess the creativity in others (of any age) makes us mad, or regretful, or guilty, or feel with a wave of the hand and roll of the eyes we dismiss them.
As Jakin grows up, if I will train him in this way that he should go, his own unique way...then when he is old, he won't depart from it. He'll keep on going around thinking he is supposed to make his own unique contribution rather than fit himself into some "preconceived and proven" job or some pre-determined cookie cutter role. Rather, he will co-creating with God with ever-increasing significance and impact. And at a time when I'm about to preach a sermon about "joy to the world" during a season when people pay a tad bit more attention to actually doing so, I'm now acknowledging and mourning all that "is not" because of the boxes that all of us people think we and those around us are supposed to operate in. 
Thank you, Jakin, for busting loose and allowing me to be a participant in co-creating something that is unique and extra-ordinary about you. I want to be just like you.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The response of devastated husbands

Last week, my friends Bryan and Roman both received terrible phone calls about their wives. They were each in very serious car accidents.
Bryan is a shepherd among a group of Christians in Africa that I have grown to love. And Bryan is one I truly respect and am grateful for, because he is advancing the Kingdom of Christ through his love.
Roman is a shepherd among a group of Christians in Amarillo that I have grown to love. And Roman is one I truly respect and am grateful for, because he is advancing the Kingdom of Christ through his love.
Bryan's wife was killed in her accident, and Roman's wife is still in unconscious in critical condition in the hospital. I wanted you to read a piece that each of them have written in response to their respective tragedies. After you read them, you clearly see how God get's glory through his people...those in the midst of tragedy and those who dare surround them, joining them in their pain, as agents of healing.
One final note from me: In Roman's piece, you will notice my little brother's role in "being Christ" to Roman's family. This kind of zeal, commitment, sacrifice and loyalty is not unusual for Craig, it is his daily life, and I have been a blessed recipient of it all of my adult life. He and his wife Vicky are some of the very finest I know. Roman is in Craig's men's small group (accurately dubbed "The Unit" by Roman's son, because of their intimate partnership and cooperation in becoming more like Christ together and delivering Christ to the world), and their community is a model of what being the church is all about. It is not my intention to diminish the roles that all the others are playing (actually, most of them are also a part of Roman's "small groups", be it at work or at church), only to highlight the great pride I take in my brother.
FROM BRYAN: "To all friends and fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
This is just to acknowledge your condolences and best wishes following the death of my dearest wife, Rose on 3 Dec 2008 following a road traffic accident.. having lived with her for 30 years she had become in "inseparable" part of me according to my human thinking but the Good Lord had other ideas. Some events and signs leading to her death have left me in know doubt whatsoever she is in the hands of our Lord Jesus right now. I am convinced the Lord took my wife and therefore am happy for her. It is the void she has left in my life and that of the children that is irreplaceable and is the source of my heartaches. I simply don't have an idea of how I will cope without her but pray to God that He will pull me thru as He has always been Gracious to me. The very fact that He gave Rose to me as a partner is clear evidence that I have always found favour in His eyes. Please join me in prayers to enable me to overcome.
The sad thing is that although I have always known that she was a very good partner, I have only realised the extent of her goodness after her departure, How I wish I had shown her more appreciation during her lifetime on this wretched earth.
The presence in our home of so many Christians, family members and other friends during the 6 days of mourning were an appreciated source of comfort which I will always cherish. All the kids were also able to come home and join me in time for the burial.
My simple advice to all is that we should appreciate our spouses whilst they are alive."
FROM ROMAN: "God put it on my heart to share and give thanks to those who have responded to my family in this crisis. Whether checking up by phone, praying, asking others to pray, doing menial tasks for me, buying a meal for me, (or a phone), you are appreciated. I know there are people that have done things that I don't know about and have come by to visit and I did not see. I give thanks to God for all of you. I recognize all of you who have thought of my family during the day and said a prayer. All is appreciated. I do want to and think it is right to recognize those who have gone above and beyond and I already know now that I will forget someone and even miss someone because they have done it behind the scenes. Just know all of you are appreciated.

You all need to know what a minister Craig Mashburn has been to my family. Yes, I said Craig. On day one he was there and took my phone to exercise the warranty on it so I would have it. This was after I shattered it on the floor in my pain. The company told him I must be there myself. He just bought me another one and had all my information on the phone transferred to the new one. He is the first one here in the morning and the last one to leave. He has been here 12 to 15 hours a day everyday. He does not leave for lunch unless he is taking some of my family to eat. He runs interference when we are too tired to respond. He forces us to eat and sleep when we need to. He has done and will do anything we ask. He has made the biggest impact on my children. They both love him. He has played makeshift volleyball games in the waiting room. Instant messaged across the room to both my kids with bursts of laughter. One night he left and I got to my car a few minutes after and he was scraping ice off my windows. I teared up. Austin told me last night, “Brian and Craig are so different, but they have the same heart.”

My last post I gave Bryan VanMeter credit for cleaning my wife’s bloody rings and he let me know that it was his sweet wife that had done that. What he did do was almost as loving. He shot three pheasant on Sunday and fried up two breasts and gave it to me. Now that is love. He has been here everyday at least once a day. He has engaged with my children as well.

Michelle Mitchell is picking up our mail 20 miles from her home and going through and organizing our bills. I understand she and another have been raising funds to help our family. She is here everyday at least twice a day. Wade has been here every day as well.

Landon Collard and Justin Nash are here daily for emotional support and making sure my mind is in the right place, helping me see what God is doing, helping me to help my children process this, and keeping me accountable in my relationship with God in this haze. Friday, they both plan on supporting me as I see our car in person and the place of the accident. Craig Mashburn will make that trip as well.

Tammy Nash is updating you guys with information from this web site. Knowing Tammy, she is doing a thousand other things that I do not know about and/or have forgotten.

Betty Golightly got past this accident with my father and ministered to his heart regarding his painful ordeal. She reminds me of Biblical truth everyday. She tells me about the awesomeness of our God and what he has done in her life to help in times such as these.

Melissa’s work crew in Clarendon have driven up here numerous times to visit and call at least twice a day. They cleaned all our stuff out of the mangled car. Her lunch bunch sent lunch money for my family. The whole college for only the second time in it’s history have donated hours of leave for Melissa to continue her pay while she is out. There are professors who have stepped forward to teach Melissa’s load for no compensation to assure our financial security.

My work crew has donated money for our meals as well and came back with a second money donation for meals. Barry Gilbert is doing his job and mine until I return. (real sure I will pay for that later) Charlotte Robledo, my co-worker’s wife arranged a big basket of snacks that has still not run out. I am told that leave donation will be in order if I run out as well. Jane King, my God wise boss and friend has kept me spiritually centered. Jay Kantor, has agreed to help negotiate replacing our car with a dealer locally. They have representatives here about every day. Jeanette has baked twice and brought every kind of coffee creamer you could want to go with this bad hospital coffee.

My mother has done laundry and cooked and is taking care of my rambunctious dog. She has rearranged her life to be here.

Melissa’s uncle has brought a huge motor home to a nice park only a couple of miles from here so we do not have to drive home twenty-five minutes one way. We are also able to sit in shifts and drive there to sleep and eat and just relax.

Countless friends have brought their kids to entertain mine and have taken them bowling and to movies an to eat or just to be here to keep them company. Though I have been given tons of money from friends, family and work friends, there are those that will not let me spend it and have bought my family meals.

I have forgotten as many things as I have mentioned. I tell people I have an emotional concussion and my memory is scattered, discombobulated, and gone. Just know in the moment when you have ministered to me and mine, it was special and encouraging. I feel held up by a thousand hands. You all who have done anything for me and mine are the hands and feet of Christ my savior. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What I want for Christmas...

I want to love people just enough... 
...just enough for them to know they are not alone.
...just enough for them to know that I am okay with them just the way they are.
...just enough for them to remember that they need not deserve love in order to have it.
...just enough for them to feel space in their lives to reflect, inspect, and introspect.
...just enough for them to believe that there is more, better, and deeper life and that it is available to them.
...just enough for them to find themselves in my life and my story unfolding.
...just enough for them to feel like their existence and life deserves a party.
I want to love people just enough to shake up their status quo in any way that will give them more life.
This is how I want to love. This is how God has loved me. This is how I want to love all of you.
Merry Christmas. I love you.