I was preparing an outline for our discussion up until the very last minute, rushing to leave work, while talking on the phone with Tim. My hands were more than full and I was trying to close shop, while carrying my laptop bag and the remnants of the day's lunch; my small cell phone precariously fixed between my shoulder and my head...
I was exhausted because I stayed out too late the night before after the "progressive dinner" talking to Elliot in front of his house, it's good to have him home.
Truth be told, I really didn't want to meet with the group last night...I was emotionally drained and feeling pretty cynical...and just tired.
In the words of Kerouac:
"I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion..."
I made it just in time to meet up with one of the guys before the rest of the group had arrived... he asked if we could talk and shared with me some very heavy things...I mostly just listened... The older I get, the more I listen and the less I speak - I should say the less I feel the need to say something for the sake of saying something... I think before, due to my insecurities, I always felt a need to say something profound...you know so that I would prove myself as capable or knowledgeable; otherwise I thought I needed to say something to demonstrate to the other person that I was in fact interested... but I'm finding it shows, if sincere, albeit in non verbal ways. I'm still insecure though...just dealing with it or trying to deal with it very differently now.
After he spoke...I asked him several questions that he pondered for sometime. I witnessed the inner struggle...as we sat out in the patio...in the cold. Being critically honest with yourself is never an easy exercise...not necessarily because we don't want to be ...but we've also learned a million different ways to lie to ourselves...and we have to navigate through that maze...
there were moments of long pauses...
I could hear people arriving...the house was filling up...laughter could be heard at a distance through the sliding glass doors that separated us, but I decided not to turn around, not even for a glance... I think I needed to be right there in our conversation, and only there. I hope I was of some help to him, but I'm not sure.
To my pleasant suprise, Tweed and Wash were over helping Vic bake cookies and zucchini nut bread. I am always suprised at just how easily women change the dynamic of everything... I mean even if it's completely unbeknownst to them and entirely unintentional... they bring a gentleness, a unique sort of calm and soft warmth that's very different from what guys have to offer... granted, these three gals are exceptional people.
Due to the activity in the kitchen, Louie threw a couple logs of wood into their fire pit and we sat outside with mugs of coffee and blankets. The discussion went well. I think the guys are starting to get more comfortable with one another, which means more individual involvement, more sharing.
The discussion centered around John Eldredige's idea that Desire is central to who we are. That we lose by supressing our desire and how the aftermath of that actually destroys us. There is a war waging within our selves, because we fight to kill off the very thing that makes us human writes, Eldredge.
We also talked about diciphering good, legitimate desire from illegitimate. We talked about what makes a good desire, good and a bad, bad... we also talked about intrinsically good desires, gone bad... It naturally turned to a talk of romantic relationships... we concluded of course, that God must be our portion, that all else could not be relied on...could not be the source of our hope...because it would all fail us...or fall away, inevitably.
I challenged the guys to consider then, what this should look like in practical terms. What does it tangibly look like in your day to day if God is your focus, the center of your life? I asked this because within the body of Christ we always hear the statement, "make God your center," it's almost a cliche, but we often don't know what it really means...it's abstract and if we don't evaluate it, we'll just associate it with a feeling, which is never a good idea.
The conversation that emerged was centered around the concept of Worship, with our entire lives. A few of the guys presented the idea of allowing God to truly exercise authority, the final say in all parts of our lives and I fully agreed.
Hoping to dig a little deeper, I presented the idea that because we exist in a finite reality, time was the ever precious commodity... Therefore, we need to closely evaluate where all our time was being spent because it would speak volumes regarding our actual focus in life. It's like money in that regard, of course they say: "time is money." We spend both on that which we treasure... as Jesus said: "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." I think I spend a good amount of my time and $$$ on keeping my stomach full (literally and figuratively), trying to impress others by making myself look a certain way, and well, keeping myself entertained... it's sort of the American way. Of course I give of my time and money... but such a small percentage, in reality. I think I can safely say, God is far from being the center of my life... I am the center.
Vanauken, in his book A Severe Mercy, states that God was like a beautiful poem he would read once in a while to make him feel a certain something... but a true, real relationship it was not. I feel that way at times... and I'm realizing this whole "relationship with God" concept is something I'm still only beginning to unravel after all these years...
Anyway, It thrills me to see everyone within the group getting along. We stuck around afterwards, playing video games and shooting the breeze; it seemed everyone had a good time. For some, this is the only community they are truly a part of...
I talked to Tim on the way home and I could hardly keep my eyes open... I was afraid to go home... afraid of being met only by my lonliness. It was hard to get up this morning... but I'm here... taking each day as it comes and trying to find God in and through it all.