Dear Jack: We’ve Been In Our New House A Month… So Now What?

4 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: We’ve Been In Our New House A Month… So Now What?

Dear Jack,

The way Mommy and I are wired, we have to always have some big project or plan or scheme we are working towards. It’s always been that way with us.

On the surface, there’s a decent chance our family appears to be pretty laid back. In reality, I think it’s that we’re always busy and moving because we aren’t that good at… whatever the opposite of that is.

So I have to admit, it has felt a little strange this week, not having some certain big challenge ahead of us.

We worked our way out of debt for the first 5 years of our (almost) 7 years of marriage (while Mommy earned her Master’s degree), then saved up for this house, then moved into it, and now here we are…

So now what?

Dear Jack: We’ve Been In Our New House A Month… So Now What?

I suppose we should simply enjoy our lives now. It’s just not that easy for us.

No, the answer is not simply having another child. Our current state of restlessness is not based on us wanting to grow our family. It’s an option to consider for the near future, as I can appreciate not having two kids in preschool at the same time; but just not something we’re focused on right now.

I think the reality of it is that we need to learn how to enjoy taking it easy. It’s somewhat unnatural for us, actually.

It’s time to start focusing on spending time with friends, learning new songs on the guitar, and planning some new road trips for our family- hopefully “car reviewing season” will be beginning soon.

This is, in essence, a season of the Sabbath for us. Sometimes you really do have to just slow down and appreciate the good things in life.

I’m in culture shock right now. Here’s to trying to just lay low for a while… until that new project presents itself, which I’m sure it will.

Love,

Daddy

The Speed of Life: Trapped in a Time Machine

We are time traveling every moment of our lives.

Greek-American comedian Demetri Martin explains in his Comedy Central special “Person”, that he invented a time machine.  The problem is, it travels at the normal rate that time passes, so basically it’s just a cardboard box with “time machine” written on it with a permanent marker. 

So much of childhood is waiting for it to be time for something: trapped waiting for your parents to get off of work to pick you up from daycare or waiting for school to be over so you can go home or waiting to be old enough to do something your current age prevents you from doing.

And obviously, waiting is always a part of life.  Adulthood is no exception- waiting to graduate college, waiting to find the right person to marry, waiting for a good job, waiting for a promotion, waiting for enough money to get out of debt, waiting to pay off the house, waiting to retire.

And all this talk of all this waiting makes me think of one of my favorite songs from the famous Country band from my hometown, “I’m in a Hurry” by Alabama: “I’m in a hurry to get things done, though I try and try until life’s no fun.  All I really gotta do is live and die but I’m in a hurry and don’t know why.”  Ultimately, when we by default view each stage of life as just another one to be waited out, we miss quality moments and surprisingly meaningful stuff in between all the waiting: Like being trapped in a time machine that travels at the normal rate of time passing.

For a similar post by the same author, read Taking the Time to Stop and Smell the Play-Doh.

When Our Life Expectations are Faster Than the Speed of God

Roll the dice.  Press the buzzer.  Time to play America’s favorite game.  “Solitaire: Life Expectations Edition”.

Life is often a difficult and careful balance of two extremes. Not any two certain extremes- each situation has its own.  But one in particular of these balances has proven consistently annoying: The balance of being a motivated, goal-oriented, hard-working American as well as living in accordance to God’s timing.

I have an agenda, a set plan, an order of events, a timeline by which I’m already behind on, according to me.  Yet on a yearly basis, I’m stalled by a classic answer to many of my prayers: “wait, it’s not time yet”.  And that’s what I call being faster than the speed of God.

Obviously, God, in all his power and lack of limitations can not be outrun.  But by pointing him to my calendar and its several missed and delayed events, I’m simply reminding God of my inability to keep up with him- since his calendar doesn’t simply just move forward; he’s in every moment of the past as well as the present and future.

When God misses my appointments for his involvement in my life expectations, it also serves as a reminder that man-schemed plans are often irrelevant in the face of God.  My life expectations are nothing more than an often-frustrating check-off list of a game that I am playing, involving other people at times, as my volunteers and spectators.

Graduate college and get a job.  Check.  Get married by age 27, which is the national average of American men when they get married.  Check.  Buy a house.  Check.  Have a baby by the time I’m 30.  Check (of course, Lord willing).

Good for me.  I’ve met some of my goals.  My American society-influenced landmarks.  Of course there are plenty more that I’m only beginning to scratch the surface of.  So by playing the rules of my own game, I lose.  Conveniently for me, though, I’ve still got the rest of my life to play this game, and accomplish these goals.  Yet still, the humbling truth is that this game still doesn’t matter to God.  His checklist for my life is much simpler, yet much more complicated.  And from everything I can tell, it mainly just revolves around loving other people.

As for the film based on my non-fiction book, Scenic Route Snapshots, starring James Franco, it’ll have to be postponed until 2013.  Because after all, I need to publish the book first.  And according to my calendar, that’s scheduled to happen next year.

And yet I return to the pointless game of Solitaire: Life Expectations edition.