08/05: Home again

Well, I'm back, and summer 2007 has begun. It's definitely been crazy, and I'm learning quickly that all that sleep I thought I'd catch up on this summer just isn't gonna happen. Last night, we didn't get to bed until around 1:30, and I had to be up again at 3:30 this morning to drive my dad to the airport. Today, we've been driving all over creation getting odds and ends taken care of and I'm guessing that's what I'll be doing tomorrow. I hope to start work Wednesday if I can, but we'll see how it goes. It's definitely going to be a packed summer. Life definitely changes when you leave school. I'm gonna bang out a little "pros and cons of being home again" list for starters here. Next time, I'll write down some goals for the summer (kind of like new year's resolutions but slightly more likely to happen).
- Driving: It's so great to be driving again. I waste too many hours of my life doing this but it sure is fun. I've driven 4 different vehicles for probably close to an hour each over the past two days, between two different states. Oh, the freedom.
- Music: Old music, new music, quiet music, loud music... music is the bridge to memories. This summer will be full of memories and whatever music I listen to through it will be a link back to the memories 10 years from now. It's looking like a lot of 60s and 70s stuff right now, and a couple modern songs in between. You just have to be careful with those sentimental songs - my iTunes decided to play a string of about 5 of them and by the time it got past 'em I was feeling pretty sappy.
- No curfew: Bedtime just comes around whenever you run out of stuff to do at night.
- Wrestling with my bro at 2:30am. Always interesting.
- No scheduled meals... I never thought I'd have trouble remembering to eat but today 2:45 in the afternoon rolled around and I still hadn't really consumed any kind of food for the day. Oops.
- No prayer group. I know it can be frustrating at times when 10:30 comes and I'm busy and don't want to go to prayer group. But it's a great way to shift focus back to God each night shortly before bed so that your day begins and ends with you facing the right direction. Here, it's open, and up to you. As far as flexibility, that's awesome, but the responsibility is huge - it's so easy to keep brushing it off until bedtime (no curfew, remember) comes around and you just feel like hitting the sack. I think Zach and I are going to schedule something in to keep that from happening.
- Waking up at 8:30am to a sharp pain in your left calf and realizing your 8-year-old brother just shot you at point-blank range with an airsoft gun. It broke the skin and the mark is definitely still there. Remember, don't get mad, get even.
- No curfew. Yeah, it's a pro and a con. When I don't have to go to bed, I generally don't, which needless to say does a pretty good job of depriving you of energy the next day. Case in point: as I'm typing this, it's 1:15am. Why, I ask you, why?

Now for a rather drastic change of subject... I need to write some of this out tonight just to figure out what I'm thinking, so feel free to listen in. The catalyst is I Corinthians 13 - the chapter on love. And not the kind that's talked about in those sentimental songs I mentioned earlier... we're talking the real thing, the kind of love that we as Christians are supposed to exemplify. My pastor preached on this yesterday morning and I've had to repeat "love is patient, love is kind..." to myself over and over again this past day. An interesting point he made though is that this isn't a love we can put on ourselves - we can't force ourselves to be longsuffering, patient, or humble; it's against our nature. This kind of love is something only God possesses. If we correctly serve Him to allow His love to be channeled through us, then we can show this love to others. But if we do not, even if I "understand all mysteries and all knowledge," and "have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing" (verse 2).

I'm going to have fun this summer. I want to get a lot of things done and really enjoy myself. Honestly, there's nothing wrong with that. But what's my focus? The past year of my life, really, I've poured myself into other things - friends, relationships, work, projects, school... the list goes on. Are those things important? Sure. Are they priorities? Some of them more than others. It seems I've learned very quickly over the past month or two that a lot of those things aren't supposed to stand as high on the priority list as others. And some of them don't really matter that much in the end anyway. However, something that should have been above all that is God. But God isn't just another thing (Thing) on the list. He shouldn't be set apart, in the sense of "I'm going to do these three things, plus serve God this summer." Serving Him, knowing Him, and loving Him are not separate actions that we can just "do". It's a focus, a passion, a driving force that should be behind, before, alongside and within everything. Without that, everything I do is "sounding brass or a clanging cymbal" - it's just noise, a useless distraction. I want to look back on this summer as one of the best times of my life, but I want to see some lasting effects too so it's not just a meaningless vapor (can you say Ecclesiastes?). So in the words of David (Psalm 115:1, 18): "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your name give glory ... we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord!"

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