January 2007


This morning neither Brooke nor I had to be up early for work. We stayed in bed and read and talked.

Also this morning, as Brooke was getting ready for work, she noticed her favorite jeans had a tear in them.  On the butt.  It doesn’t look professional to wear jeans with holes in them, let alone holes on the butt.  Brooke, with appropriate disappointment, tossed the jeans aside and searched for new ones.  New jeans, naturally, necessitated an entirely new outfit, which led to some frustration.  No one likes to see their favorite jeans become unwearable.

Last Sunday we talked about battling with a “lion, in a pit, on a snowy day,” as one of David’s mighty men did.
I have a confession: ever since I saw the movie “Braveheart” there’s a line in there that I secretly wish/think describes me.  William Wallace says, at the end of the movie, “They fought like warrior poets.  They fought like Scotsmen.  And they won their freedom, forever.”  It’s a stirring line (helped by some inspiring bagpipes in the background) and I’ve always thought, “I want to be called a warrior poet.”

I’m sure some of you are thinking, “warrior poet? are you serious?”  But, I studied literature in college, and I like to write, so poet fits.  The warrior part, I think is self-explanatory.  Every male I know, in some way, wants to be a warrior.

There aren’t, however, many lions awaiting me in snowy pits.  Literally.  There’s none.  I’ve looked.

And I tend to think that a “warrior poet” ought to constantly fight huge battles, like casting out demons or writing novels that people will still be talking about in fifty years.  But those things don’t happen much in my routine life.  Things that happen a lot are things like: I brush my teeth, I talk with Brooke, I watch television, I eat a meal.  I know, probably no blockbuster movies will chronicle such a life and label it “Gabe: Warrior Poet.”  My battles seem small.  I struggle with the checkbook, or with the leaky washing machine.

What if I don’t see the battles I could be fighting?

As Brooke and I talked in bed this morning I gave her a hard time.  It wasn’t really about anything, I was in a sarcastic mood and I let it out on her.  She wasn’t offended, she laughed.  But I didn’t build her up.  I tore her down, however meaningless my words may have been.  I didn’t think anything of it until later.  It was harmless joking.
But what if, while we were together, I had told Brooke what the deeper parts of my heart think about her: her beauty, her grace, her innate goodness?  What if I’d shared more of myself — a fear I’d never mentioned, an unspoken hope?  What if I made her laugh at me without being sarcastic and cutting her down?

She probably still would have been frustrated when her favorite jeans had a hole.  Maybe though, with life and hope shared with her first thing in the morning by someone who loves her passionately, maybe she wouldn’t have been as frustrated.  Maybe she would’ve laughed it off more easily.

Maybe finding a lion in a snowy pit means actually looking for the pit.

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We are launching our Sunday morning worship time on February 11th!  Between now and the 11th we will continue to meet in Room 1 of the New Hope Building for a good discussion time of the Nooma videos. 

 Beginning the 11th, we will meet in the sanctuary from 11 until 12:15 or so for a great time of worship with friends. 

I’m sitting at our kitchen counter, Bright Eyes plays on my computer, “24” comes on in three-quarters of an hour.

Scratch that. I just turned the music off. And the dryer. And the dishwasher. All that I can hear now is the tick of the clock next to me and the soft clicks of the keyboard. It’s rare in my life that it is this quiet.

We talked, yesterday, about breath. We watched a video about how the same Hebrew word means both breath and spirit, the very name of God — Yahweh — can actually be the very act of breathing. God not only imparts breath, but every breath is us breathing Him, every breath is us reciting his name, us adoring him.

In the quiet of my house in the dark I can hear my own breath. It’s slow and relaxed.

I was sick over Christmas break and unable to run, to workout, to do anything active. Last Thursday, I went skiing with my brother and a friend. At the thin air of 11,000 feet coming down through a mogul field, my thighs burned through their oxygen and screamed for more, my lungs opened wider but could not get enough of the life giving substance, and I sucked at the air as quickly as I was able. It felt like I was breathing through a straw. I did not think at that moment that I was breathing, “yahwehyahwehyahwehyaweh.” But I think it now that my breathing is a slow: “Yah… weh… Yah… weh.”

Perhaps when we’re short on breath — a near car accident, a panic attack, a shouting match, or the top of a ski run — we have to breath God’s name more. Our bodies are made in a way so that when times are stressful we have no choice. Our breathing becomes faster. We breath Yahweh the same way we might mutter, “godhelpmegodhelpme” just before a collision. Our bodies are made to cry out for God, and to cry out faster and more fervently when we’re short of breath. Short of spirit.

When I’m out of breath, I don’t think of this. I think of “catching” my breath, of getting back to that comfortable state where I can breath God more slowly. It’s on dark evenings with nothing but the noise of a clock, a keyboard, and my breathing that I’m reminded of how I am made. And I thank God for evenings of near silence, and for ski runs where I am short of breath.

Starting this Sunday, January 14th, the Gathering will be meeting at 11am instead of 6pm.  We will be meeting in Room 1 of the New Hope building.  Check our website for directions. 

 This Sunday we will be watching the latest Nooma video put out by Rob Bell.

 We will be meeting in Room 1 for the next 5 or so weeks until we launch our Sunday morning worship time in mid-February.