Skip navigation

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

–Rumi

I believe there are times in your life when, if you’re awake and listening, the quiet voice inside informs you ever so gently that you need an attitude adjustment. I’ve been in this liminal space lately, where I can’t conform my thoughts and actions with my present reality. I think it’s because I’ve been so engaged with the things of life here in a really screwed up culture that demands of us to make enemies and encourage the battles to rage between and within us. This really hit me a couple weeks ago when I made a smart-ass comment about Sarah Palin and my good friend Jana called me on it. Jana and Brantley are family to me, but this stupid election has wedged itself between us and I’m not going to let that happen anymore. Today I repent, which means I turn from the attitude that causes me to fall victim to what evil would have us do, to divide ourselves so that love is weakened.

What I want you my friends, my family, my wife, and my kids to know…

I want you to know that I don’t care who wins this election.
I want you to know that you mean more to me than political allegiance.
I want you to know that although we will disagree and argue at times we will always love each other.
I want you to know that I am trying to become a little wiser to the ways of love.

With the exception of this latest episode of stupidity (and all the ones I won’t bore you with). The past year I have found myself walking with more ease in my step, because I have begun a journey of discovery, a pilgrimage toward what lasts…

Will you help me get back on the road?

Well today is a brand new day; I’ll start again
Open-eyed, I can see the sky open up for me
Here we are, you and me, we can see we’re going somewhere
But where we go, I dunno, feel it out when we get there

Well yesterday, you could say, is just a blip on my screen
Follow me close, heel to toes, you’ll see what I mean
Or maybe you won’t or you shan’t or you can’t hear what I say
Either way, yeah or nay, gotta go, gotta leave this place
—“My Pilgrimage” The Cobalt Season

This is not easy…
I often stumble,
I keep making the same stupid mistakes…

But (and I think it’s a big BUT),

I think it’s in the awareness,
in knowing that I must continue to ask myself,
my God,
and you the big question.

Do we love?

No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins
—Eugene Peterson

We are relational beings, we were created to love God and love each other.
We are His beloved, here with a purpose that is not of our own creation, nor of our own desires.

Most of the time…

I have given myself over to the powers of this world instead of the power of love in me and what that means to those around me.

politics or love
can make you blind or make you see
make you a slave or make you free
but only one does it all
—Derek Webb

The big question has nothing to do with asking the questions I often focus upon…

This is why daily I must ask for help, from God and you, to remain focused on what is required of me…

It is required of me to not only profess all things in love, but to embody love. And, we all know that it’s easier to talk of love, than it is to walk in love.
Love is not easy, even towards one another.

Therefore,

I’m trying to remember that love
is living out the radical demand of the Gospel to love God and neighbor,
does not wed itself to a particular political party or movement,
does not use the tactics of the world to try and accomplish God’s ends.

I am striving to embody a love
lived the way of the servant, the way of sacrifice, the way of eucharist,
given unconditionally to others that does not demand, manipulate, or otherwise enslave.

Each day I am seeking to embrace love
hoping to find myself working for justice in a world that does not just help the oppressed,
but also rescues us from becoming oppressors.

“For someone to receive, someone has to give.
For someone to be fed, someone has to provide the food.
If someone somewhere benefits, then someone somewhere has paid something” —Rob Bell

When we pour out our lives and give to one another, we provide the greatest blessing available to ourselves…
we have enacted love as Jesus did,
by removing our selfish desires and wants,
and replacing them with the greatest gift we can give,
that is the gift of love

Today I ask for your forgiveness, and for your help.

Where do we go from here?
God only knows….
Perhaps we’re the ones we’ve been waiting for.
Perhaps God has just been waiting at our door.
Waiting at the door….
I’ll try to be the first to tell you when I’m wrong….
Here is where I start to try and start again…
Learning to become father and friend.
Would you help me out here?
—The Cobalt Season “Help Me Out Here”

Shalom,

Carl

Advertisements

7 Comments

  1. Whoa! Not only are you the youngest 42 year old I know, you’re also the wisest!! Some of these same thoughts have been weighing on me these last few weeks. I’ve found myself suddenly thinking a little less of folks close to me when I find out they’re voting differently than I am. When my wits return, I realize how odd this reaction is. I have no idea why I would care–even for a moment–more about what my friend thinks of some politician neither of us will ever meet than I care about my friend! How jacked up is that?! I don’t think caring about politics is inherently bad, but I can’t let it trump love–even for a moment.

  2. Wow, Carl. On the one day a year that you have every right to be self absorbed, you instead decide to lean into God to ask him to work through you. The awkwardness of last week’s tour made me so sad, but I wasn’t brave enough to bring it up and work through it. But you are. Thank you. Thank you for being a friend, and a brother. I’m so sorry for getting all preachy with you. We certainly do love you, and think of you and Lane as family. The message you write is so needed. Thank you for the refreshing wake up call.

    The problem you describe is one both sides of the aisle struggle with. My support of Gore/Liberman in 2000 in Abilene, and my current support of McCain/Palin this year in Austin do not change who I am. I am still Jana Starr, child of God, trying desperately to accept God’s love myself and share it with others, failing miserably and looking to God and my fellow man/woman for forgiveness.

  3. How did we ever arrive at the point of believing political parties matter when Washington seems to look the same, no matter who is in office… The love we are called to – and the love you have remined us of – is the only thing that will make a difference. Keep reminding us that Wall St. and Washington are not saviors, but that “simple gestures” of love in his name will change the world… again.

    Thank you. For a wake up call. For your own intention to love more like Jesus. For reminding us that all we are simply called to love God and our neighbor. Surely in doing that any election pales. You are a special and
    precious person.

    Carol

  4. Carl,
    I am continually touched by the way you express your heart when you write. Your thoughts, feelings and passion for your journey is contagious. We will all just keep walking together and helping each other and calling each other on our missteps….and loving each other through it all. I posted the picture of us all at the ICE sculpture event from last Christmas here in Orlando on my Facebook page. I was sorting through some things and came across it and when I opened it, I just laughed out loud…then I got tears in my eyes when i looked closer at this family – some craziness, some sadness, some disappointments, much laughter, much love – and i thought – this family is good. My tears were tears of gratefulness and peace that we belong to each other and that we are all HIS. Sometimes we stop and have a moment of clarity and think, “This is my life.” And I am glad.
    I love you for everything you are, sharing your journey with us and pushing us all along with you! Amen!
    On a lighter note….I’M JOE THE PLUMBER………. 🙂

  5. Carl,
    You write from your heart and so you live in our hearts; it seems to work that way. I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I have a son like you; that you came to us through your love for Lane, and that you have through it all loved us all. When I thought about the person Lane might someday love, I did not pray that it would be someone like you, because I did not know that there would be a gift exactly like you. I do rejoice that we are family, that love reigns supreme, that no matter how deeply we question our own motives or the motives of others, it is possible to see through the eyes of love, and then to give thanks for each other.
    I think we really do not know where we are going in our lives; when we walk in faith, we follow a path not of our own making. So we are always surprised; sometimes we are disappointed; sometimes we are overwhelmed with joy; sometimes we are afraid, and unsure; we are created for the journey, and we understand that we do not walk alone; how great is the goodness of God that we can take the journey together…and as the words to the song say, “Love will keep us together.”
    Gerald

  6. Great Writing Carl! Really nice to read after a long week!

    We miss you guys!

    Shawn

  7. Thanks to all for the warm encouragement.

    Jana and Brantley, you are the embodiment of who I seek to become. It should be the other way around, me being older, but it you and the Bundy’s that teach me what wisdom and discernment mean.

    Lee, I hereby pronounce you “Lee-the-Encourager”. You provide the can-do glue to the love of our family, even if we are really weird.

    Carol, you always have been and continue to be my hero in the faith.

    Gerald, your kindness and generosity never ceases to amaze me.

    Shawn, I know this is a hard year, but I also know the kids you’re working with are blessed by your presence.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: