Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Multiple Personality Disorder

This is me. I'm 6'4" tall, 240 lbs. I wear glasses because of a slight astigmatism. I'm particular about many things, including my hair and my clothes. I love to drive, play music, read and write. I'm married to a wonderful woman, and I have a really cool cat. I'm a Christian, and on my best days that infuses everything I do and say. However, like any person, my personality is in a constant state of flux. From one day to another, I will want different things, have different opinions and dream different dreams. It can be maddening.

As my wife and I walked to work this morning, we talked and laughed and wished. We wished specifically that we were back in the Bay Area. We spent our first year of marriage living in a small city just 45 minutes north of San Francisco on the 101. We loved it there. We had a little apartment, a crabby rabbit and oodles of friends just a stones throw away. What's more, we lived in easy driving distance of one of the world's coolest metropolitan areas.

I'd love to be back there. Living perhaps even closer to the city. Berkeley would be a cool place to live. Any city in the Pacific NorthWest would be awesome, actually. We are very seriously considering making a go of it in Portland...but that's for another blog. We are city people. We love the culture, the shopping, the architecture, the electric buzz of hustle and bustle. We love the cosmopolitan lifestyle with access to art, cuisine, entertainment and leisure that makes city living well worth the high cost you pay for a frumpy flat. I can all too easily imagine myself sipping a latte, sporting a sweater and strolling through Union Square, not as a tourist, but as one who knows that city, one who takes ownership of it, responsibility for it, the good with the bad, one who works to make it better, stronger and more beautiful.

And yet, there's another part of me that would like to leave it all behind, forsaking fashion and technology in favor of a simpler life. I find inside me some wild desire to move to the mountains, work with my hands, swing an axe, stoke a fire, grow a beard, to raise a horse and to raise a boy, teaching him to ride, hunt, fish, worship the Lord and care for a woman. O to live simply, work hard and rest well, to detach myself from the drama, debates and difficulties of modern society. There is something mysterious in my soul that wants this kind of life. I imagine that this desire reflects something of what I hope heaven to be like. Not an ethereal world of cloud and insubstantive existence, but a new earth, a new garden to cultivate in which to walk with God in sinless perfection, for eternity.

In addition to this, there is an adventurous side of me that wants to sell all I own, leave behind familiar comforts and culture and become a missionary somewhere in South America or Africa. To care less for the state of my shirt and more for the state of the souls with which I interact. To lose my life, figuratively and perhaps even literally for the sake of the gospel. Ferial confessed to me last night that she often wonders how much our desires are connected to God's call on our lives. Are we to deny our desires in all things? I think not. However, I know we often cannot trust our hearts. They are all too often agents of deceit (Jer. 17:9). These are things I wrestle with. However, it's not just a philosophical struggle. It's also a desire.

And so I wonder, what do I do? How then should we live? I wonder which one of these things I might want most... I know that my current lifestyle reflects little of the second and third scenarios. Also, this list is by no means exhaustive.

We are on the cusp of a season of change. Life altering decisions need to be made in a matter of months. As we explore where we are to go and what we are to do with our lives, I will continue to update you on the process. In closing, though, let me leave you with this.

"The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not be in want."
I shall not be in want of food.
I shall not be in want of shelter.
I shall not be in want for love.
I shall not be in want for family.
I shall not be in want for guidance. 

When the time is right, the shepherd will give guidance to the sheep. 
It is not mine to question the shepherd, but to graze, to rest in his protection, and go where he guides.


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