The End of an Era (or So Long and Thanks for all the Fish)

The past three and a half years have been among the most challenging & rewarding times for me. There were days where as a staff, we would sit around and wonder “why are we doing this?”. I would sit there and think “I can’t go on, I can’t do this anymore.” It was in those moments, that my favorite quote from Lord of the Rings comes to mind (here’s the YouTube version, if you prefer it)

Sam: It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the ending, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened. But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come and when the sun shines it’ll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr Frodo, I do understand… I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only the didn’t. They kept going, because they were holding onto something…

Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?

Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr Frodo… And it’s worth fighting for.

But now that struggle has come to the end, and I find myself again wondering if it was worth it. If the time we spent mattered, or if it was all for naught. And again I find myself finding comfort and solace in the words of Samwise Gamgee. Continue reading

When you give hope to others, you find hope for yourself.

closeup-tear

This was written over the course of the past few days. I would just jot down my disjointed thoughts, and then I tried to piece them together in a way that would make sense, without losing the overall feel of what I was trying to say, and I didn’t really expand or elaborate on any of my thoughts, so please keep that in mind as you read. If you would like me to elaborate, leaves comment with what you’d like me to elaborate on, and I will.

The phone rings. I take a deep breath, and pick up the phone and smile as I say “Hello, this is Joel. How can I serve you today?”

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Working is the hardest thing. I find myself at the front desk a lot these days. A place I need to be cheery, a place I need to smile, answer questions, and give hope. Hope I don’t feel. But behind the perfectly plastered smile on my face, my mind swirls with questions. Why? How? Somehow reaching out for understanding that doesn’t seem to come.

Then I read what others say. What the news says. The picture they paint. And I don’t see it. Instead I see someone broken, hurting, and in need of redemption. I don’t feel what society tells me to feel. Instead of anger, hate, rage, disgust, I feel sad, heartbroken, like someone died. And in a way, someone has.

In a way, a lot of people have.

So many people will never be the same. So many lives have had something ripped away from them. Peace, security, trust.

Trust.

And when trust is betrayed, we get angry. But when people are hurt, anger will never heal. Healing will only come when we replace anger with love. Redemption can only come from love. So many people are hurting right now. Spreading anger isn’t going to bring a single one of those people healing. We need to instead let our words be of love and support for everyone. And this love needs to come double from those of us who call ourselves the church. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” ~ John 13:34-35

Maybe, if we can inject love into the situation, we can see healing come to each of people involved in and surrounding the situation. Maybe we can stop the cycle. Maybe, just maybe, we can actually change people.

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As my mind still swirls, as I find it hard to focus, I find myself asking questions. The worst kind of questions: questions that really have no answer. Questions that can’t be explained. And then the phone starts to ring. Someone comes in needing hope. And so I take all those swirling, twirling, questions and push them down, plaster a smile on my face that I don’t really feel, and answer the phone. And I give hope. Because when you give hope to others, you find hope for yourself.

Graduation Bingo

Well, it’s graduation season.

That means we get together, listen to cliché words, phrases, and quotes, all for the sake of something that, let’s be honest, you probably wouldn’t have finished if your parents hadn’t pushed  you.

I love celebrating accomplishments, but I HATE cliché stuff… I hated my own graduation cuz of all the clichés, but I went to a graduation last night because my “little brother” was graduating… As I was live tweeting Pequea Valley’s Graduation last night, I said this: Continue reading

United We Stand?

So many times, we christians are our own worst enemy. We judge, argue, call names, ostracize, alienate, and belittle others, over little things in the name of Jesus. But that is so wrong. Continue reading

Leaders Can Do Anything, But Not Everything

“Every decision is a trade-off. Doing one thing means you can’t do another. Leaders can do anything but they can’t do everything. In deciding what you’ll do, you choose what not to do.”
~ Dr. Tim Elmore

This is something I’ve been re-learning recently. Sometimes you have to say “no”. You might really want to do something, but if you decide to do it, you have to be willing to say no to something else. Continue reading

Your Life in a Flash

 

“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.” –Unknown

I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. When I’m gone, what is the legacy I will leave behind? what will God say about me when I arrive in heaven? Continue reading

Direct and Indirect

I’ve come to realize that I have this characteristic that is a great thing, but leads to a flaw as well…

When I have a problem with someone, I go directly to that person to deal with it. This is a good thing. In many ways, but not all… Continue reading

Memorial Day

Yesterday was Memorial Day, and on Saturday, I was kinda bummed cuz I didn’t have plans to do anything and I didn’t know what to do… Most of my best friends were gone, and some other friends were having a Volleyball day, but I couldn’t afford the gas to drive down to visit… So I was bummed to have nothing to do for Memorial Day.

Then I woke up Sunday morning, and saw someone had posted this on Facebook… Continue reading

Revisions are not always better

Here is a little thought for you guys today

Sometimes revisions are not always better…

But if that’s true, then why do we still publish the not-as-good-revised versions of things?

I would love your thoughts on this one, so feel free to leave them in the comments below

Memories and Wisdom

There is a lot of change coming. Some for me, some for friends, some for people I don’t really know, but it is coming for all of us. We can’t escape it. Change is a part of life, and change is good, but it’s not always easy.

For me, one of the big changes is losing a place where I have so many memories. I can’t really say too much about this yet since I’m not sure how public the knowledge is, but some of my best memories with some of my best friends happened at this place, and now it’s changing and we’re losing it. I’m excited for the possibilities in the new place, but the old place always felt like home, a place of comfort, a place of rest and peace.

With that change, I have been asked to help develop a few things. And I am so excited to help, but I find myself wondering why I was asked. I don’t think I have any great wisdom, or any great insight on these things, but I have been asked to help. So I find myself excited for the changes, for the role I get to play in these coming adventures, but I find myself nervous because I know I am not equipped to do it. But I also know that God does not call the equipped, He equips the called. So if the people who have prayerfully asked me to help them with this believe I am the right man for the job, then I must trust that God knows what He is doing and that He will give me what I need to do it…

I don’t know what the road ahead looks like, but I’m oddly ok with that….