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A Couple Thoughts…

Here are some things I’ve been thinking about.
1) Baseball. What an unbelievable game. I love how one person from the offense goes up against the whole defense. It’s a complex, individualistic team sport filled with guys who seem to just dig hanging out with their buddies while they travel the road for half a year. I wish the season had a quarter of the games they play so each game would count more. Currently, it’s a bit like a marathon where teams have to pace themselves for a hopefully big finish six months down the road.
2) Ambition. Tricky proposition. I believe it’s probably easier not having dreams and goals. Yet, it’s hard to imagine walking around with your bow and arrow cocked but with nothing to shoot at.
3) Friendship. I can’t imagine not having someone to reflect back to me who I truly am, my worth, my value, my mistakes, my weaknesses. On my own, I can paint a self-portrait that looks a lot more like what I’m attracted to, or what I’m repulsed by (depending on the day), than who I really am.
4) God. It appears that ultimately he’s going to do whatever he wants. And usually that’s better than what I could’ve scripted. More nuanced, more beautiful, more redemptive.

Friday Night at the Prison

Had a great night at the prison. I wanted to throw the guys a party, you know, cause no one else ever does. So I loaded up the truck with food from Costco – shrimp, deli wraps, fireballs, olives, apple pie, ice cream – the essentials… and invited the incredibly talented Nashville Soul Choir to provide the musical entertainment. I love them! My buddies, the gym worker guys, had set up the gym so nice and helped serve all the food and run the sound. I spoke on how to live a life that defies expectations. It was so exciting to see their faces light up when they got a taste of hope for perhaps the first time.

I told them why I do this:
1) To make me look good.
2) To make them feel good.
3) To make God look good.

Here’s an article I wrote about how I got into prison ministry in the first place: Part One & Part Two

My Briefs – Monday Night

Just had an amazing dinner. I was going to settle for a drive-thru somewhere. Something cheap. And then decided to actually go to one of my favorite restaurants, J. Alexanders, and have my favorite Salmon Caesar Salad. It was amazing. A baseball game was on in hi-def, my favorite brew was on tap, and the bartender was actually interesting. I even made pleasant conversation with the men on either side of me while I ate. It was a success, but simply because I chose to dive deeper into my heart and go after something I love, rather than just settling for something cheap and easy.

Fear

“Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive – the risk to be alive and express what we really are.” —Don Miguel Ruiz

I like to look at my life like it’s my own special kind of reality television show, probably because fear is such an incredibly powerful force in my life. Let me count the ways: I’m afraid of being run over by a semi while I drive next to one on the Interstate; I’m afraid of falling from someplace really high like a skyscraper or getting sucked out of plane without a parachute; I’m afraid of getting stuck in a tiny crevice I have to crawl through to escape from a cave and then water starts seeping in until I’m completely underwater; I’m afraid of someone sneaking up behind me while I write this in my hopefully empty house with all the doors locked; I’m afraid of tomatoes, mushrooms, onions and green peppers—though not as much as I used to be.

I’d heard so much about people running headlong into their fears and emerging victorious. They’d jump out of a plane, or spend the night in a haunted house, just to zap their psyche free of their paralyzing fear. I decided I would drive over to my local Sonic and order a BLT just to attempt my own headlong run into one of my fears. My history would tell me I was going to hate it, that I would probably want to vomit right there in my drive-in stall.

“Welcome to Sonic, can I help you?” the friendly voice asked, completely unaware of my predicament.

“Um, yes.” My voice is shaking. “I’d like to…order…number…” My head is spinning. The check engine light is flashing on the dashboard of my brain.

“Do you have a BL…T?” Maybe they didn’t have one. Maybe they are out of tomatoes. I hear the cicadas screaming just beyond my car.

“We sure do! Would you like the combo?” She couldn’t be more cheerful.

“No thanks. Just a sweet tea, though please. Large.” I never get sweet tea. I must be delirious.

She told me how much it was going to cost, but she had no idea how expensive this order really was. I thought about driving off, but they’d recognize my car and I’m not that kind of guy anyway.

Standing on the edge of my own Grand Canyon, I ate the dang thing and something really unexpected happened. I was completely blown away. The sweetness and juiciness of the tomato and crispness of the lettuce deliciously complimented the crunchy toast and crispy bacon. I was shocked at how much I enjoyed that sandwich. It’s the perfect summer sandwich when it’s super hot outside and you don’t feel like eating a lot of food. And the sweet tea had just the right amount of sugar. That night I dove into a sandwich I had been afraid of my whole life and I emerged with one less fear.

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