Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Gentle Die

Twin fires danced beyond his eyeballs,
As molten lead was poured on his heart.
He felt it going solid,
As his soul fell apart.

Can one describe the rage without knowing?
Drink deep the black rivulets of night?
Know hopelessness without hoping?
And darkness without the light?

‘Don’t go gentle,’ someone once said,
But what good does fighting really do?
Can you get even a moment more,
Before that moment they all rue?

He knew better, once upon a time,
His own old words gave hell.
Yet, wrathful, he did the crime.
The purposeful stride and fell.

In his heart he railed well,
‘If they all go, why not I?’
‘Should I alone suffer,
‘The fightless life and, gentle, die?

Then he was let to fall,
A granite pinnacle allowed to rise,
His heart was pierced asunder,
And the fire left his eyes.

“Who are you to wonder?
“Who are you to ask why?”
Let his sweat bring forth thorns,
As the gentle get to die.

Remember words shared in your youth,
It’s what I can recommend.
For to wrestle with death is futile,
Your heart will break after it bends.

Then he was brought to mountaintop,
The world below to see.
Watching as people ran without stop,
And their efforts cared them out to sea.

“Observe all of their ragings,
“Against who they do not know.
“They try to forget, pursue happiness,
“Do anything to replace my Glow.”

Tears quenched the final embers,
As his heart broke open anew.
A flower rebirthed from winter death,
Recalling what he once knew.

The hole his heart had suffered,
Would be with him till he died.
But remembering his soul was gentle,
He had no reason now to ask why.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Life, Writing, & More!

Where to start… I guess feelings, then updates, and thoughts. We'll go from there.

I've been feeling eclectic, enthusiastic, vaguely nostalgic, rather productive, and even more worn out. It's made me an interesting person to be around lately, let me tell you. To give you a sampling my lunch today was a hotpocket which I slit open and stuffed with taco leftovers, cheese, and tabasco sauce. If that isn't eclectic I don't know what is. From there I left for OCC volunteering (Operation Christmas Child), enthusiastically leaping into carton stuffing and stacking (these cartons average about 50 lbs).

Being there doing OCC stuff is nostalgic for me, bringing me back years to when I was more involved. I can remember the fun we all had and how tough it was too… During the downtimes I've been alternating between paying bills, writing my novel, and doing homework (this counts as productive, I swear). By the end of it all I am every bit as worn out as it sounds like I ought to be (plus a little more so, since I've been working early mornings as well.)

It's great though and I wouldn't change any of it for the world. To update y'all: I'm already nearly halfway to my goal for my novel (I want 25,000 words from just writing in November). Plus, the semester is rapidly drawing to a close, meaning that college is as well! Yippee! From there who knows what could happen! It's all very exciting.

My thoughts on it all are very scattered… Theres a bit of trepidation about what God has in store, really. Then again, when isn't there? Part of the fun of life has always been the surprises and seeing His working through it all. Whatever comes next I am so very excited for it and for the good that He will accomplish.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light

I went to see interstellar last weekend and it has taken me nearly a week to collect my thoughts on the matter. On the whole, as a movie, it was a great one. It had a fantastic cast that acted superbly, it was mind-blowingly beautiful, and it had one of the best scores of music I have ever heard in film. Sounds like I should be raving about the movie, telling all my friends to go see it right? Sadly there was one fatal flaw with this particular movie that soured the whole experience for me. It was like a delicious apple, up until the moment you realize it harbors a worm that is rotting out the core.
Let me be perfectly clear: the denouement fell flat. In other words the climax of the movie ruined it. It is hard to say that because I so love so many of Christopher Nolan’s movies and I wanted so badly for this one to come through as well. And it really seemed like it had a chance, like it was going to make it, like everything could still come out okay, right up until the main character, Cooper, drops himself into a blackhole.
“Do not go gentle into that good night…”
The set up is that (yes, I’m about to spoil everything for you. Run and watch the movie if you don’t want me to, but then come back and read what I have to say) all of mankind is on the brink of that good night. That they have come to the end and that without another planet to survive on mankind will disappear for good. But as luck (or is it fate?) would have it a wormhole opens up nearby and enables interstellar travel to a distant space galaxy with possibly habitable planets.
So the main characters need to find out if any of them are habitable and come back and let everyone else know. From there they have two plans. Plan A is to actually get a huge space-station that they’ve already built off the ground and out there with the rest of humanity on board and Plan B is to colonize the world with banks of fertilized human eggs waiting to be born and raised (If you’re having trouble with that one as well, I understand, but suspend your disbelief for a little longer. It gets a whole lot worse.)
Plan A has a fundamental flaw: humans haven’t yet harnessed gravity, so they can’t get the huge space station off the ground. The old man scientist (brilliantly played by Michael Cain) is working on it, but his formula isn’t complete. The main characters fly off anyways to find out if any of the planets are habitable while the scientist continues his work on the formula. Epic trials occur that try all the characters and we get to see some pretty amazing stuff. Through a series of bad decisions, though, they are left with a damaged ship and only half the crew they had at first, with not even enough fuel to get to the last possible planet.
Luckily there’s this huge blackhole very close by that they’re getting sucked into and that they figure out that they can use to slingshot themselves away to the last planet. They have to expend every last ounce of fuel in doing so, though, and they have to lose both shuttles to make the ship lighter. The shuttles need to be manned because they are being used to aid in the flight until their fuel is gone. After that the shuttles get dropped and make the ship lighter, enabling the slingshot thingy to occur.
The main character is in one of the shuttles manning it (a robot is in the other). The other character, Amelia, thought he was going to come join her after the shuttle needed to be dropped, but last second he says bye and drops himself with the shuttle into the blackhole.
Now, in order to fully understand this decision I need to explain some background. Cooper left earth promising his daughter, Murph, he would be back. He gave her a watch, saying that it didn’t matter how long it took or how old they were when they saw each other finally; he would come back. After that they get out into space and near the blackhole and the main characters start talking about the theoretical possibility that they can use the blackhole as a means of travel back to earth. They start talking about the possibility that gravity, like time, transcends space somehow and that they can harness it to get back home.
Rewind back to the beginning, to what got Cooper into space in the first place. There’s a weird, unexplained phenomena that his daughter is calling a ghost pushing books off her shelves and playing with the dust in her room. It reveals through binary the coordinates of the secret NASA base where Cooper finds himself asked to save mankind. When he decides to accept, his daughter rails against his decision, telling him to stay; telling him that the ghost was trying to communicate the word “stay” by dropping the books. The best explanation that they can come up with for this phenomena is “gravity.”
Such a pathetic explanation will never, ever do in a Christopher Nolan movie, so I knew that a better explanation had to be coming. The scientists believe some sentient life form placed the wormhole because that is the only possible reason for its existence and that some sentient beings are using the gravity phenomenon to get their attention and bring them out to these habitable planets.
Such sentiments about higher sentient beings got my attention and I started wondering if a Hollywood blockbuster might actually include God in the plotline. I should have thought twice; should have considered the history of Hollywood and their disrespect for God. Remembering that, I might not have been surprised at the ending.
Cooper falls into the blackhole. His space shuttle gets destroyed, crushed and torn apart. He himself, though, survives somehow. And suddenly he’s in this weird plain of colors that can’t really be described at first. Then, as he starts exploring, you realize they are bookshelves, that he’s trapped behind bookshelves. Cooper is somehow trapped trans-dimensionally behind his daughter’s bookshelves years and years ago when the ghost started occurring.
The robot that was in the other shuttle and that is now trapped with him declares it fate, saying that the sentient beings must have set it up this way. Cooper rejects that, though, saying that the sentient beings are them, humans, in the future that have evolved. He then proceeds to do everything the ghost did, spelling out the word “stay” and writing the coordinates in the dust that led them to NASA.
Taking it a step further he asks the robot for the Quantum data that will help finish the old man scientist’s equation that is somehow magically observable from just being in the blackhole. He then has the robot turn said data into Morse code which he plays out on the secondhand of the watch he gave his daughter, communicating the mankind-saving message to his now grownup gal (who just happens to be a NASA scientist who studied under the old man).
She rejoices and uses the newly finished equation to harness gravity, building space stations big enough for all of humanity to escape earth. Magically, years later, Cooper is found floating out in space near where the wormhole is and he is rescued. It’s only been a few months for him, but his daughter is an old woman now, having saved all of mankind. But they get to see each other, just like he promised. It’s so touching.
Sense any sarcasm? Everything beyond the “explanation” of the ghost really soured for me, because the higher sentient beings turned out to be evolved humans. This is not just Cooper’s theorizing. We’re shown that he is, in fact, the phenomenon that the other scientists observed and called a “higher sentient being.” It is exactly what the filmmakers had in mind: That humans are great enough to succeed on their own, if only they just try hard enough.
They said, “Rage, rage against the dying of the light!” that somehow humans can make it if they only put forward enough effort. Sorry to sound critical here, but that’s a paltry, stupid excuse for a message in a movie of this caliber. It’s a copout, typical humanist Hollywood trash.
What led up to the end was mistake after mistake after mistake after mistake made by the main characters, humankind’s last hope. Lies were told, one scientist tried to murder all of them, and two others were killed by bad decision on the part of Cooper and Amelia. We are shown over and over again that human beings are frail, flawed creatures, which is so true! To have the ending be those same humans succeeding on their own steam, after trying hard enough and long enough, is just so wrong.
We need God to succeed, the hand of Grace to wash away our mistakes. That is what is true. Interstellar was a wild and fun ride most of the way through. But the humanist baloney at the end ruined it for me.
Maybe I shouldn’t have shared, since my opinion is so negative. But a Welsh poet once wrote, “Do not go gentle into that good night … Rage, Rage against the dying of the light.”
I saw this humanist foolishness put forward in interstellar and it disappointed me. But it also made me wrathful. Who are they to say these lies, and bring us closer to that “good” night? I shall rage and rage again, in hopes that the light might not die from the eyes of those around me; in hopes that the Truth get through to those that need Him.

It is a small thing, perhaps. Maybe it doesn’t even matter. But I beg of you, do not go gentle into the well-told lies of that good night. Rage, rage with me! Me might see a few more hours in the day…

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Last Semester

Everything seems to come together for this point; for this fall. You know how life can sometimes swish back away or swell up and come crashing in? This is one of those crashing times. Like the months before were all holding their breath in eager anticipation of everything that would come bursting forth come the end of August. August itself even seemed to rush by, as if saying, “Hurry up, and on with it!”
I technically don’t have time to be writing a blog entry. I ought to be constructing characters and fictional places for this weekend’s activities. But I contend that if one doesn’t stop in these hurried times to recognize, if one doesn’t take a deep breath before the plunge then you risk missing it altogether. If you don’t catch each whispered flitter of the sword or take a moment to read between the lines you most certainly run the risk of missing it; missing it all.
I posit this: Have you ever taken a moment to taste a strawberry and contemplated that it could be your last? Ignoring the obvious, what if some strange new berry disease sweeps through in the next weeks, blighting all the strawberry plants out there and in a flash making the delicious thing extinct? Stop and smell the rose, I say, for you never know if it might fall off today.
For me, this autumn is my last in school, at least for the foreseeable future. It’s another step forward and another glance back; for the gray carapaces of those mighty stepping-stones which I have come along are still there, if only in my mind’s eye. They are still there because I stole a moment to take them in, to study the touches of God there; the masterstrokes that made it all possible.

Yes, the future is bright and full with possibilities. Life will get busier and busier still. But the Lord is my shepherd and I shall not want. He it is who has shaped my life thus far and He it is who holds it in His hand. Let all glory be given to God, for that is my joy.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Day And Night

A white-marble plateau with a sprinkling of sun-baked sand spread out in wind-swept waves across it. The sun is setting straight ahead, behind bleached rocks of monumental size. The day has had a good run, but here is the night…
Night in a forsaken, parched land. Will the cold chill many hearts? Who will remember the sun? As those last rays of warmth ebb will memory be enough to conjure them back again?

Is it wrong for me to feel that we stand in the twilight hours? To look back is to see where the sun has been, to remember greatness and good deeds. Wars were fought, freedoms won, a country born and glory taken. Peace and prosperity were our songs and our blessings, like the light from the sun, washed over the land. Yet to look forward… Darkness and coldness are coming, faster and faster it seems.

Some of you might think me negative. But do not wars and rumors of wars whisper through the air? Unity was our clarion call, "United we stand!" But now… To distrust and disparage is the common attitude between brothers, and the government acts as a monster which no amount of blood or money will pacify.

Worst of all, what is it we do to our unborn? How few know the number slaughtered each year! How few bring themselves to care…

Yes, darkness is rolling over this land. But before you call me negative look back the way we've come! Look back east, to all the great things we and our forefathers did in the day. Look to the magnificence we were granted by our sovereign God!

How much good He accomplished, even through the evil intents of man! How many blessings He has bestowed, even when the very first of us deserved it as little as we! God made this country a beacon, He used us for His glory. We are part of His story by His fashioning and design. By His good-grace we came to be.

Thank you, God, for America, and for all that You have done through us. Bless those of us who remember You and recognize the works of Your Hands with good deeds as well, that we might walk through them with your guidance and in so doing bring You the glory!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Tastes Of Home

Oh to go where the streams are calling,
Oh to walk in the footsteps of ghosts.
Oh to find yourself freefalling,
Oh to give-up on all your boasts.

Oh to touch the clouds when they’re sighing,
Oh to get lost in a starry night.
Oh to let loose with crying
Oh, Lord, stop my heart’s flight.

Oh to remember evenings past!
Rekindle creations romance once more…
Youth’s tears that fell too fast,
A flame you knew in your core.

Come back to me! Come back to me.
Awaken again this heart of stone.
Give me more than a taste, oh God!
Of that place that calls me home.

Friday, June 27, 2014

This Isn't The End

What if you stood on the crest of a hill and knew in the crevices of your soul that your life had hit a wall? What if you whispered down the aisles of humanity that your life tended down and felt no feelings at all? What if you began to be convinced that you were a ghost?

Blood is thicker they say. Warmer, definitely. The red stuff dripped from his fingers. He could feel it, too, pooling under his shirt. His head was clear but all he could do was stare at the shafts leading into his chest. Three of them, altogether, leaving very little left of his heart. Is this the end?

Life is tough. Are we grateful for the time we have been given? Do you want to hide from the wounds that tear open the heart? Can you embrace the broken pieces to find a new start? Or don't you have the strength to try?

WHY? WHY? WHY? He crumpled to his knees. Tears mingled with his blood as he tried to grasp the arrows, grasp what had happened. I need…Your…Hand. I can't… can't.

'But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?"' - Romans 9:20
No. No, it won't. But even still God listens to our hearts, wants to hear them even! We have no right but He extends us the privilege anyways. Is He not glorious?! He holds me up, though I am on my knees. He keeps the pieces of my heart firm, though the arrows shatter it. And He gives me peace amidst my tears, my sorrow, my pain.

"…And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. 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 will 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…I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding onto something."
"What are we holding onto…?"
"That there's some good in this world… and it's worth fighting for." He is worth living for, and dying for. For God is the only good, the light in the darkness.

"Once the cards are dealt you have to play with them like it or not, you know."

"Every moment has pain and joy. The trick is focusing on the joy instead. That's the only way to live a happy life."

'I know how to be brought low, and how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.' - Philippians 4:12-13 [emphasis added]

He finally got his fingers behind the shafts. Grunting, tears running down his face, he pushed and pushed. Christ is my Savior, my strength, my all. He…is…my…Joy. Slowly, surely, the arrows went deeper. They sunk in, disappearing in the crimson stream of his life. I will be content. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord! He bent lower, hugging the wound close. Lord, thank you for my children. Thank you for blessing me.

Are you grateful for the time you have been given? Can you make out the beauty from broken bones? I tell you, not without God. Not without a Savior. Can you stand there and know that your life has hit a wall, that it is the end, and be able to get back up without God? No. Not with purpose, not with clarity, not with love and thankfulness and joy! Without Jesus what is there worth fighting for? Without Jesus it is the end! Darkness and danger have prevailed and there is no new day to dawn.

But God is here. Jesus is in our hearts, if you have accepted Him as the savior for your sins. He's piecing you back together from every blow. He's giving your heart joy that you might not even know. And though the end will come, know you will be exempt. For, those who Jesus saves it isn't the end. There is no end.

Friday, April 11, 2014

I Heard An Empty Saying…

I heard an empty saying,
Drifting down the hall.
It was quite clear the person saying,
Had no knowledge behind it at all.

A heartfelt, insipid something,
That was meant to be so true.
But when thought was used to investigate,
It made me want to puke.

“What’s true for you is not true for me,”
Others did intone.
I had to resist the urge to grab a big stick,
And strike them to the bone.

See, blithely spouting “knowledge,”
Is a pastime of the fool.
The Greeks thought it heavenly,
And so ended their rule.

But here we are again,
As history repeats.
In the land of Liberty,
Full of “knowledgeable” g(r)eeks.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Wrong Track

Have you ever had a moment when you’re standing on the middle landing of a two-level stairway, surrounded by double thick, floor-to-ceiling windows separating you from the bitter, wintery world outside, and you wonder if you’ve been doing it right? You peer into the glass at your dim reflection, you reach out to touch it in hopes of it being real, and you ask yourself, “Have I just been wasting my time?”
Maybe that’s just me…
Maybe you’re more the type who has stood in the middle of a vast library, pacing both sides of the table, as you argue back and forth with yourself as to whether or not your chosen path is the correct one. The musty smell of the hundred-year-old tomes did nothing to clear your mind, and the sound of the rebellious throng outside, destroying its way down the avenue toward the building, did nothing to relieve the tension of your thoughts.
No? Well…
Perhaps you’re the type who has found yourself balancing atop the back railing of a runaway, double-decker bus, cane sword at the ready, wondering what you could have done differently to have prevented your situation. It’s the kind of question that would have gnawed at you, even as the congresswoman had continued to creep menacingly over the rows of seats toward your position, forcing a more pressing question into your mind: fight on or jump off?
At this point you’re just being modest.
Anyways, that has been me for the past few weeks. No, I haven’t literally fought a congresswoman on a double-decker bus, or paced around a table in an old library, or even reached out toward my reflection in a window on a stairway landing, but I have mentally come to grips with the fact that I’ve been wrong.
Really, it was not the fact that I was wrong, but the coming to grips with it that seemed to give me trouble. It wasn’t that I wasn’t ready to admit I was wrong. It was more like it just took forever to do so. Like being twenty feet under water and then starting for the surface. You can see the surface, you want the surface, but you aren’t at the surface until you get there. And sometimes that surface you conceive in your mind can feel a light year away.
What I have been wrong about is in regards to the mindset I hold toward my fellow human beings. Again, I find it hard to type this, as if I am fighting watery currents to get every word out. I have known people and I have cared for people, and I have loved people… But I did not pity people and I did it consciously, and I was wrong.
You see, people are more than just earthly shells, more than just basically good or basically evil. People are souls who know both good and evil; who know both laughter and tears. People are either in rebellion against God or in subservience to Him, either hearts twisted by selfishness or pierced open by the Savior.
Let me share with you a quote that I heard near the end of my swim, summing up all that had come before:
“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which,if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations — these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” – C. S. Lewis
…We are all of us, immortals. Ever last one. It is just where we will spend eternity that is in question. Will we spend it in Hell, away from God, as our selfish hearts desire? Or will we spend it in Heaven, in the Glory of the one True God, as we were created to do?
When you begin to look at people like this, see them for what they are. Then suddenly everything has changed. The way you smile, what you say… Most of all whether or not you pity.
Because the truth is none of us deserve pity. But we all need it. We are immortals in a mortal world, that we ourselves and our forefathers made that way. We ran from Love and deserved to die. But God in His infinite Love showed us pity, forestalling our judgment to give us another chance.
That chance came as Jesus, God incarnate, who brought His infinite Love into a finite world to draw us away from damnation. He lived a perfect life, died a perfect death, and rose in perfect victory. He embodied this infinite, perfect Love, and if we believe in Him He is with us, bringing us to eternal glory.
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected with us.” – 1 John 4: 11-12
“…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” – Ephesians 3: 17-19
It is this that draws me on through the water; pulls me up as a hook through my heart. We all need pity, whether splendor or horror, we all need love. If Jesus did not hold back, how can I?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Of Monsters and the Son of Man

Why do we always fight who we are? We do! Don’t believe me? When was the last time you were content with who you are? We’re all desperate to change! That’s another way of saying we’re fighting who we are.
Sure, maybe it’s a just cause. Maybe we’re fighting against a monster that might come out and wreck havoc on society as we know it if we let down our guard. What a gloomy existence though… Is that who we’re supposed to be?
Short answer: no. Now, let me take a second and say, I’m not a believer in positive thinking. I am not about to spout some mumbo-jumbo about turning your whole life around by yelling aloud at it to change or thinking really hard about who you want yourself to be. Sure, there might be some value there. Personally, though, I don’t think there’s a lot and that’s not my point at all.
My point is just to suggest that, while the monster is a part of all of us, it’s not who God sees us as. And if God is focusing on something, someone else, ought not we do the same? So the question then is who does God see?
In keeping with the clipped tone: Jesus. He’s the answer to everything, right? No, I’m being serious. He is.
You see it doesn’t matter what kind of monster you were or are, Jesus is the answer. His sacrifice on the cross allows Him access to every human soul. Jesus cleaned house on the cross. You can tap into this house cleaning simply by believing in Him and what He did.
That’s an old metaphor, by the way, the heart as a house. But where that metaphor stops is that the house of your soul isn’t left empty… Jesus is there. He remains, He resides. The Holy Spirit in you is Him and that is who God sees.
Side note: This is not about stopping the fight against the monster. On the contrary, it’s about redoubling your efforts! It’s about looking in the mirror and seeing a work of God! But when you see a work of God, suddenly the monster’s strength is broken. When you use God’s strength then the monster can’t stand.
Think me crazy? If Jesus is with you and you start looking then you’ll see Him. You’ll see Him in your work ethic, in your smile, in your kind words or you kind deeds. You’ll find Him in your laughing joy over beautiful things, or in your tears of sorrow for those lost.
If the Holy Spirit is really there, honestly abiding, then you can’t help yourself. Sure the monster’s remains might bark and posture, but deeds speak louder than words. And what do the deeds done show?
Either God is there and you’re saved: Rejoice! Or you need to find God and run from the monster. It’s that simple.
So, stop fighting. Face yourself. Look yourself in the eyes and tell it like it is. Relief is either immediate or imminent, trust me. Personally, it’s immediate and I’m going to revel in the joy.

What do I see in me when I gaze into those deep brown eyes?
A cat with a Cheshire grin, a fox knowing every surprise.
A little boy filled with laughter and a jester who can’t help but jest.
Or a tea wielding, cynic who even critiques the best.
Most of all I see a broken man who was forgiven of all his sins.
A man who finds strength from the Father from whom new life begins.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


It’s a new year. 2014. Doubt any of you are surprised. That’s as pessimistic as I’ll get, though, which I know is odd. But last year was so bad, 2014 is a welcome breath of fresh air in comparison.

I know, I know. I’m starting to sound like all the other writers, waxing poetic about how a New Year actually means something new. Changing trends, changing habits, changing people… To hear everyone talk you’d think a “New Year” is an event verging on cataclysmic which brings about miraculous change in people’s lives. Sorry to rain on all y’all’s resolutions, but the New Year doesn’t mean a darn thing.

Know how I know? Because my change started a week and a half prior to the proper New Year. Yes, if change is supposed to come with a “New Year” then my 2014 has been ten days longer than all of yours. It was Christmas Eve for those of you who have started counting backwards.

You see, on that day I was reminded of a solid truth, a truth so powerful that it singlehandedly wiped away all the pain and frustrations of 2013. The truth is that Jesus has always been here.

The context line that led up to this truth was the question, “What has never changed about our candlelight Church service?” You might say, “Sure, that’s obvious,” but that would be avoiding the truth.

I can’t help but imagining a rope, tied up to the dock and stretching off into the darkness. It’s like I forgot what that rope led to, and that on Christmas Eve someone grabbed that rope and pulled. Suddenly the point of a humongous vessel appears out of the dark, drifting your way, and you realize that this truth is far, far too large to be ignored.

That’s where I was at Christmas Eve. Jesus has always been here! This truth doesn’t just apply to that service, or the day following. IT IS EVERY DAY! HE IS EVERYWHERE! Jesus has always been HERE.

He is the reason for our being beings! He is the one who gave us years to begin with! Through Him were all things made! Without Him there is no New Year, nor any day to celebrate it! Most importantly of all, Jesus Christ is the only one who effects true change.

Sure, we could argue that point. Some might say they’ve overcome vices through their own willpower, taking up better habits. My short answer to that is that vices are idols and exchanging idols for idols that you or the world have labeled “better habits,” doesn’t qualify as real change. It might benefit society better if you’re doing yoga instead of drinking and driving, but worshiping a workout session instead of a bottle isn’t any better for your soul.

If you think that truth hurts like a ton of bricks, just imagine that titanic of a truth again, tearing out of the darkness, hitting home and rending in two. That’s how I felt on the 24th of December.

Oddly, it was a kinda good feeling. Knowing Jesus was with me every day of 2013 made me feel great. It also made me feel pretty stupid for not really realizing it until nine days shy of the end of the year.

In a flash I knew I had been thoroughly selfish throughout 2013. The more joyous realization, though, was of how to change for this year. Yes, 2014 will be different. Not because it’s a New Year or because we all try harder, or something like that. 2014 will be different because every day Jesus is here, whether we remember it or not.

I’m pretty sure I’ll remember it this time, though.