Thursday, December 16, 2010
I'm Ch-ch-ch-chokin' on Ch-ch-ch-changes
Maybe David Bowie was stuttering after all when he sang about ch-ch-ch-changes. My wife and I have just made the most monumental decision in recent decades and I certainly find myself stammering and stuttering as I come to grips with it all.
We are both quitting our respective jobs/careers as of Feb. 1 and we're going to work with and serve the poor in Honduras for 3 months, beginning in March. Mercy International in Yamaranguila, Honduras has invited us to do so and we have accepted. And a significant part of me says, "You did WHAT?!?" The bolder, trusting side says, "YES!!!!" At this point it an ongoing internal dialogue hundreds of times a day.
Ch-ch-ch-changes. Some of us thrive on change; some of us dive from it. I personally thrive on diving from change. Gimme my predictable comfort zone within which to operate and then a comfy haven to come home to at night. I want the American Dream--without the divorce, the rehab, the ulcer, the mid-life crisis, the sense of pleasure but no purpose, the spoiled adult children. But then it wouldn't be the American Dream--now would it. I want my comfort zone but I find myself getting complacent in it. I find myself becoming soft 'n pudgy-- the Pillsbury Dough boy with a remote.
I believe there is something innate within us that needs adventure; we need a cause, a purpose greater than our own ego. I need more than my acquisitions and accumulations. I don't buy into the idea that he who dies with the most toys wins. He still dies. By the way, have you heard some variations of that 80's mantra?
Judaism - He who buys toys at the lowest price, wins.
Catholicism - He who denies himself the most toys, wins.
Atheism - There is no toy maker.
Branch Davidians - He who dies playing with the biggest toys, wins.
Hare Krishna - He who plays with the most toys, wins.
Polytheism - There are many toy makers.
Evolution - The toys made themselves.
Church of Christ, Scientist - We are the toys.
Communism - Everyone gets the same number of toys.
Baha'i - ALL toys are just fine with us.
Amish - Powered toys are a sin.
Taoism - The doll is as important as the dump truck.
Mormonism - Every boy may have as many toys as he wants.
Voodoo - Let me borrow that doll for a second....
Jehovah's Witnesses - He who sells the most toys door-to-door, wins.
If there is someone I have not offended, please let me know. I have been known to digress and I believe this might be one of those instances. I will get back on-course.
As inviting and alluring as it may be at times, I don't want to settle for the status quo. I don't want to observe life like I'm some Audubon bird-watcher. I want to fly; I don't want to watch birds do it. There is a stone plaque that sits eye-level on my computer desk. I'm looking at it right now. It reads,
Remember this; when you're through changing. . . you're through.
Now THAT makes me stutter. That jolts me out of my false sense of security and possibly settling for less than what God intends for me. How about YOU? Are you embracing ch-ch-ch-changes? Are you resisting the life of consumption? You and I will make an impact--either on the couch cushion or on others. I'm far from it but I want to embody that axiom, If you're not living on the edge you're taking up too much space.
My hope for not only me but you is that we will discard our pipe dreams and embrace our God-given dreams. That we will summon the courage--the faith?--to go for it in spite of the obstacles. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the tradewinds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. (Thank you, Mark Twain)
The Foo Fighters in "My Hero" pose this question in a lyric about heroes, people who discard their apathy and give all they've got to make an impact on this pummeled planet. "Don't the best of them bleed it out while the rest of them peter out?"
May God give us grace not to settle for being one of "the rest of them." May we bleed it out because we are fueled by a heart for others, a restlessness with the status quo, a compassion for those who are suffering.