Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Looking Across The City, And Into the Abyss

I hardly ever talk about my work here on the blog. But today, something fascinating happened. I was allowed on a private tour (along with other real estate professionals), to the very top of Freedom Tower 7 - at the World Trade Center.

Above is the view from from the top floor of Freedom Tower 7 in New York. The first phase of the rebuild of the World Trade Center.

More soon....

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Racing Forward, Struggling Home, Disquieting Times

I had just come out of a late afternoon meeting.

Racing Forward
My mind had been engrossed in my work for the past several hours, and the earth had not waited for me, turning on its axis without my permission. Time rushing forward.

I walked into the parking lot next to a rush-hour street, above me hung a sublime golden twilight sky - the few wisps of white clouds looked like the perfect brush strokes of a master, painted with ease and perfection. Creation shouting, if I would but listen. The cars continued to rush by, and I was aware of a sense of timelessness, even in the midst of this busy commuter evening.

I got in my car, backed out of the parking space, and began the trip home. It was not two blocks away, when stopped at a busy intersection, I was presented
with a visual, living reminder of the fleeting, struggling nature of this life we all lead.

Struggling Home
To my left, out of the car window, was an elderly man, towing behind him a small shopping cart. He was not on the sidewalk, but moving diagonally through the gas station on the corner. He was not moving easily, not at all. Not really walking, more like shuffling, very very slowly. It was as if he was existing in a time warp that was 1/5th that of everything around him. Going 15, in a world of 75 miles per hour.

The most striking feature, and the image that is burned in my memory now, was his posture. Or perhaps the complete lack of it. In fact, his body was almost completely bent over to the point where he did not look forward as he shuffled; rather, due to age, or time, or pain, or maybe disappointment, he looked down, directly at his feet. He moved so slowly, never looking up, towing his little cart of groceries.

Hurry up, little old man. Get out of that gas station parking lot, before someone honks at you, and scares the daylights out of you.

Time seemed to stand still just then. My mind filled with all sorts of thoughts, sitting at the traffic light, under that early evening sky:

Who was this old man?
Where was he going, and would he get home safely?
How much farther did he have to shuffle to be safe at home?
Did he have family? Did they know if he was ok?
Where had he been in life?
And what physical ailments, or emotional burdens had reduced him to this slow plodding shuffle?

And then, the light changed.

I eased forward, heading home. The old man continued his slow plod, in the opposite direction as me, receding in my side-view mirror.

I hope he did not have far to go. To get home. And as I moved on, the sky above this little scene glowed a brilliant orange and red that brought tears to my eyes.

Fitting It Together
The writer and philosopher Laurens van der Post, in his memoir of his friendship with Carl Jung, said, "We live not only our own lives but, whether we know it or not, also the life of our time." We are actors in a moment of history, taking part in it, moving it this way or that as we move forward or back. The moment we are living now is a strange one, a disquieting one, a time that seems full of endings."

I agree. Over the past several months, we have witnessed the sadness and loss of the death of two very dear friends. Two really wonderful men; one, Jim, passing far too early in life, from cancer. In his early 60's with way too much life left to live. Another friend, Frank, in his 80's, after a battle with Lou Gehrig's Disease that left him comatose for months, but still alive.

How might can I fit together these deaths, that struggling gas station man, and that stunning sunset together?

I am not sure how it all fits, other than to say that there is a form of great and tragic, wonderful and ominous orchestration going on around me, every day, if I would but take the time to see it all.

And, if I am a part of this symphony of life, may I play a joyous, hopeful, and comforting part.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Saying We Are Sorry

I stumbled upon a web site that is helpful for all of us Christ - follower types. It goes by the simple name of "Sorry" in banner links from other websites, and I might add it to my links. I think I will find it good for me to read from time to time. Maybe more often than that.

We Christian folk have done a lot of damage to people, and for that, I am very sorry.

Some apologies from the site that were meaningful to me:

I have been critical and expected you to live according to my expectations. I am sorry. -- Patsy

I am sorry that so often the church has twisted Jesus' message to exclude rather than include people. --Sally

I'm sorry that so many acts of kindness we bestowed upon you had strings attached. --Lee

I'm sorry that I joined with the multitude of Christians who were known by what (who) they are against, rather than what (who) they are for. That’s judgment, not grace! --Glenn

I am sorry that I ran off my mouth instead of just listening to you. --JP

For those of you who bothered to read up on Jesus, I know you read the wonderful stories about people flocking to Him and finding love. Or finding a miracle and you hoped that if you came to church you’d get some too. So you came with that last ember cupped in your hands, coming to find the God you’d read about and the love, treasure and the miracle. We stomped on it. I am mortified that we took your last hope and extinguished it. Lord have mercy. I am so sorry. --Sonja

I am sorry too. Sorry for the life I have lead thus far, ensconced in the little Christian social bubble I have built around me. About not seeking out people in my life, and just loving them, without an agenda. For not listening, for being self absorbed. I am sorry for the gigantic undercurrent of Christian folk in this country that have created a consumer culture that rivals that of WalMart, instead of really loving people till it hurts, and making disciples of Jesus.

I am sorry for the shallowness of my faith, and for ignoring the depth of pain and questioning in the lives of those around me.

I am really sorry for judging those around me, just because they don't go to church every Sunday like me.

I am just sorry.

Monday, March 16, 2009

God Speed Discovery!

I saw this in person about 17 years ago; a night launch. This one was earlier today. I love this stuff.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

German Tragedy

Tonight, all we can do is pray for the community of Winnenden, Germany.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My Inner Peter

It's Lent, and so, a season to reflect on the end of Jesus' life.

They were sitting around a fire. Sort of like a campfire. It was the final night of Jesus' life.

And Peter was there. You know, The Rock of the Church, and the thoroughly ordinary, all in one. He was by that campfire too. Eyes nervously darting around. Not willing to look anyone in the face, at least for very long, for fear the expression on his own face might give away the feelings that were churning around inside him. Much like those feelings that swirl around inside us all at times, when we know we have been self-absorbed, let others down, lied, or acted like a fool with people we love. I do those things lots.

That Peter. Like me. The one that denied Christ three times. The one who was a general disappointment.

The other day, I came across this, from the Gospel of Luke:

60Peter replied, "Man, I don't know what you're talking about!" Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times." 62And he went outside and wept bitterly.
I am familiar with this story, and have read it many times, and skipped right over one little piece - right there, in the middle.

"The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter."

I have been stuck there now, thinking about that look, for several days.

What was in that look; how would his gaze have looked to me? Could I have sensed what he was thinking? How would it have made me feel; would I have felt the warmth coming to my face, if I had received that gaze from him?

I asked a very wise theologian about that look, just the other day. His response was, "I would like to think that look was the same look on the face of the Father in the prodigal son story." Perhaps.

Then I wondered if there might have been something else in that look; very different emotions that we have heard about Jesus that put us more on edge. Like the time he got fed up with smart guys. And probably with humanity a little too, perhaps. He got mad on occasion, that Jesus.

And then I asked my wife what she thought of that look. Her response was similar to my own thoughts. "Maybe that look was full of a thousand different emotions". Exactly. Sadness, regret, understanding, empathy, frustration, anger, resignation, pity. How many human emotions are there? So many were likely contained in that look.

So, I am back to thinking about Peter, and what made him sit by that fire, and what made him deny the most important relationship in his young life.
And I am back to that look.

I think I have an Inner Peter.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


I was born
I was born to be with you
In this space and time
After that and ever after I haven't had a clue
Only to break rhyme
This foolishness can leave a heart black and blue

Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love can heal such a scar

I was born
I was born to sing for you
I didn't have a choice but to lift you up
And sing whatever song you wanted me to
I give you back my voice
From the womb my first cry, it was a joyful noise...

Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love can heal such a scar

Justified till we die, you and I will magnify
The Magnificent

Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love unites our hearts

Justified till we die, you and I will magnify
The Magnificent

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The End of Alone

I found this article, and the accompanying video below a bit damning....and true. What am I becoming?

DePaul U In DeSnow

Bit cold out for the campus housing tour, I should say. Great day!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


Forecast: Flurries
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