Wednesday, August 27, 2008


When I came home from work yesterday, my dad was watching Cold Case Files on A&E. They were covering the Green River Killer that plagued the Seattle area many years ago. He was able to commit more than 40 murders over the span of 20 years before DNA evidence came along and they were able to catch him. Part of what made this case so infuriating / mind boggling was the fact that in his interviews, the killer showed that he was fully aware that what he was doing was wrong…and he had no remorse. Needless to say, there were many families who were hurt by the actions of this man, and they were ready to lash out when he had his day in court. I watched as mother, sister, father, and friend railed at this guy. He just stood there with an indifferent, maybe even defiant look on his face.

Then one man took the stand (I believe he was a father of one of the victims), and he said something different. He was a taller man, with a huge Father Christmas beard, and steady voice. Instead of yelling, he spoke slowly with his voice full of emotion and intention. He said something very close to: “You make living out my faith very hard. Because God just doesn’t tell us to forgive some, he tells us to forgive all. So I want to let you know, sir, that you are forgiven.”

When the camera cut back over to the defense stand, gone was the hard walled demeanor of the defendant. Instead, he was hiding his face and wiping tears away from his eyes. One man had the courage and grace, not to excuse the actions of this vicious man, but to extend a message of forgiveness in spite of it. The father still carried a burden of grief, but you could tell that he was not bound by it. His forgiveness had given him freedom, and it was overwhelmingly apparent that the same forgiveness stirred something very deep in the heart of the Green River Killer.

The moment didn’t last very long. The next person who took the stand yelled and railed and name called….and the defendant was once again a picture of cool calculation and indifference.

But for a moment I saw the power that genuine unsolicited forgiveness can have on the hardest heart.

Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. (Psa 32:1)

Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:18-19)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Jason Lezak

I love watching the Olympics. They are chock full of stories of triumph, teamwork, and sacrifice, interwoven with stories of heartbreak and disappointment. As my high school soccer coach would say, “It’s the stuff dreams are made of.”

Much bru-ha-ha has been made about Michael Phelps…and rightly so. I can’t help but be proud of a local Baltimore boy setting a goal and then making it happen. It’s awesome to watch him swim. If he were a man of faith like Eric Liddell, I could hear him saying, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I swim, I feel his pleasure.”

But for me, the biggest Olympic moment wasn’t brought to me by Michael. It was brought to me by the anchor leg of the men’s 4-by-100 relay that was swum by Jason Lezak.

Jason started his leg with lots of ground to make up. The man he was tasked to catch is the world record holder at that distance…and in all honesty, it didn’t look like Jason was going to be able to make up the gap. A lot was riding on this race…including potential heartbreak for Michael Phelps, and American pride after some smack talk by the French team. But after the turn, it was like something broke loose, and Jason started gaining. He said later in an interview that he thought to himself, “This is ridiculous. This is the Olympics. I can do this.” And he reached down somewhere and found the speed to swim the fastest 100-split of relay history at 46.06 seconds.

Because of Jason Lezak, the USA won the relay, kept Michael’s dream of eight gold medals alive, and demolished the old world record. But what makes the moment stand out to me (besides the incredible impossibility of it all) was Jason’s humility. He knew that the spotlight would shift right back to Michael and his quest for gold, and he was ok with that. Jason was quoted later saying, “I'm part of a team, and today was no different. I got with the guys and said, ‘We're not a 4-by-100 team. We're all one.’”

Now granted, I have a soft spot for team sports, and for side-kicks…but let’s face it: That amazing anchor leg, winning by a touch after making up a seemingly impossible margin…

That’s the stuff dreams are made of.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Kind of fun... words that show up in my blog:

Edit: 16 Oct 08

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Noisy Silence

I recently got to spend a very relaxing three days at the beach. I was able to simply “be.” What a gift! And during those few days I was able to enjoy some really meaningful conversations, some absolutely ridiculous moments, and also some very comfortable silence.

And in God’s wonderful sense of humor/timing, I have been hit with one of the most stressful work weeks of my time at CSC. Holding on the calm has been an exercise in self control and perspective…though not necessarily a bad one. And I truthfully don’t know if I have risen to the challenge or not. I certainly have been feeling like I dove (or was thrown) straight into the deep end. To those of you who know me better than others, you’ll know it’s been bad when I say that I have honestly been overwhelmed and stopped in my tracks.

Where am I going with this? Well, since my life is a musical, I’ve had the following stuck in my head for the better part of the last week:

Breathe on me breath of God. Love and life that makes me free. Breathe on me breath of God. Fan the flame within me. Teach my heart. Heal my soul. Speak the words that in Christ we know. Take me to your sanctuary. Breathe on me. (Probably because of the “sanctuary” part.)

*ahem* Also the lyrics “If you’re going through hell, keep on moving. Don’t slow down. If you’re scared don’t show it. You might get out before the Devil even knows you’re there.”…but that has less to do with the rest of the ramble.*

Comfortable silence. Just breathing.

I took a break from the stress and made time to go to 49 West with Christine to hear Kate sing some jazz music. It was delightfully reinvigorating to just sit and let the music swirl around me. I remember a Bible teacher somewhere in my education telling us that God has a funny way of redeeming the time when we carve time out of the craziness to be still and have quiet time with him. Now granted, my “quiet” time was full of sound, and I was around lots of people, but it in a bizarre way it was just me and Him in that coffee house that night.

The interesting thing about silence is that it can unearth as many questions as it answers. Between time at the beach and sitting in the coffee house, I can honestly say that I have been able to settle some things that have been bouncing crazily around in my head and at the same time discover things about myself that I didn’t know were there. But regardless of the answers or the questions, I have a renewed sense of camaraderie with my traveling buddy; and while I may not be entirely sure where the road is going, I’m ok with walking arm in arm with Him and enjoying the journey…regardless of how crazy the traffic may be at this particular moment.

After all, the trick to keeping one’s head above water is keeping one’s focus in the right place…right?

So here’s to finding a wee bit of silence, even in the deep end of the pool.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Deep Cries Out to Deep

Deep cries out to deep
And from the depths of me I answer

The depth of stories held in stone
Built by the men of old
Behind the cracked and ivy’d walls
Their narrative unfolds

Beyond the marble arches
Among the engraved halls
Their grandeur orders silence
I am humbled by depth’s call

Deep cries out to deep
And from the depths of me I answer

Through the frailty of a flower
The strength of mountain peaks
The mystery of galaxies
The voice of nature speaks

Mighty, crashing ocean waves
Graceful rainbow skies
Reflections of a designer
Right here before my eyes

Deep cries out to deep
And from the depths of me I answer

Songs left behind by artisans
Who penned their angst and joy
These architects gave works of sound
That prompt me to add my voice

The dancing notes that capture life
Without having to use words
Within dissonance and harmony
The inscrutable occurs

Deep cries out to deep
And from the depths of me I answer

A symphony of stories
Seen through other people’s eyes
I have traveled far and journeyed wide
By sharing in their lives

Who knows what treasures lay beneath
The walls you hide behind
Betrayed by way of kindred hearts
Our deepness intertwines

Deep cries out to deep
And from the depths of me I answer

The art found in a smile
The danger of a glance
In the beauty of relationship
I revel in depth’s dance

The disarming power of a hug
The healing of a laugh
I look behind your eyes
Where deep speaks on your behalf

Deep cries out to deep
And from the depths of me I answer

While I have not traveled far
Bestow on me your grace
My quest is onward toward depth’s call
I’m devoted to this race

Don’t define me by the place I stand
Or what I’ve done so far
Define me by my hopes and dreams
The ambitions in my heart

Deep cries out to deep
And from the depths of me I answer

The alluring beauty of the deep
Is there is always more detail
Mysteries long to be discovered
Waiting just beyond the veil

Depth is a journey and a goal
I will linger where depth leads
Help me look beyond the surface
And answer from the deepest part of me

Deep cries out to deep
And from the depths of me I answer

Let my answer to the deep
Be causing change in those I reach
Leaving legacy, not memories
Calling you to deep with me

You have so much potential
If you could only see in part
Let me challenge you to grow
Awaken dreams within your heart

I cry out to the deep in you
And beckon it to answer

A walking, breathing legacy
Not defined by works and walls
Lifting you up pushes me to deep
And I triumph in depth’s call

So this would be my victory
Calling others to the deep
Finding marvelous in everyday
And it remains for me…

Deep cries out to deep
And from the depths of me I answer

~ 2007 ~