Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Some Thoughts on Lindsay Lohan

If you are like me, you probably get tired of being constantly bombarded by images from Hollywood. It's hard to even check my e-mail with out seeing half a dozen pictures of some one's latest plastic surgery, reading a headline about a once beloved child actor who is back in rehab for the third time or learning about how much money a certain actor owes the IRS. Television, the radio and even the billboards I pass on the way to work are also filled with the same information.

Because we are surrounded by so many "spicy" details and gossip on a daily basis, for many people nothing is really shocking anymore. I have noticed for me personally that it is easy to become not only indifferent, but also somewhat critical of the lives of some of these Hollywood stars. Like many, I have been aware of some of the unfortunate events in the life of Lindsay Lohan.

In case you are not familiar, Lindsay Lohan has been the stereotypical "child star." She was an adorable actress as a kid, but as she grew, her life began to spiral out of control. She has struggled with substance abuse, an eating disorder and multiple family issues. Most recently she has been sentenced to spend some time in jail because she has repeatedly violated her parole and missed court dates stemming from her substance abuse struggles. Just before she was sentenced to jail, I found myself being very critical of her. Secretly I have been happy that she has been in trouble. After all, "this is what she gets, right? She has had more opportunities than many kids will ever get, and she threw it all away. She has made more money than most of us will ever have and she has wasted it on drugs and partying."

I hate to say it, but those thoughts really were going through my mind. When I heard recently that Lindsay had been sentenced to jail, I felt the Lord's compassion for her, and I began to realize how different His heart toward her is from mine. While it is true that she has made some big mistakes and may not seem to appreciate the opportunities she has had, she is still very precious to the Lord. She may feel that she is above the law and openly shown disregard for her parole, but I believe the Lord's heart is truly broken for Lindsay, just as His heart breaks for all the young ladies who find themselves in similar situations.

Whether a person is a world famous Hollywood actor or a little known girl from a rough inner city neighborhood, they have been created by the Lord and they are very close to His heart. He destined them to great things before they were ever born, even though many may never properly esteem His purpose for them. Any time a life is wasted, it is a tragedy. Because the Lord deeply cares for all of us, the enemy desires to destroy us. He may not take our lives physically, but he will do all he can to trip us up and enslave us in self-destructive patterns. Right now Lindsay is caught in these types of patterns. When we read the headlines and see a life that is being destroyed, our first response should be to pray for them. Lindsay may be at a place where jail is the best thing for her, but we should pray that she finds the Lord in a greater way through it all. She has made some choices that she will undoubtedly regret, and her life is a mess. This is tragic, but her story doesn't have to end here, and it doesn't have to continue on the same path. The Lord can still redeem her life, and I believe He wants to do so. We should want the same thing and participate with Him by praying that He will.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Songs that Voices Never Share

A while back I posted a little note called "The Cardinal in the Wood." That particular post is one of my personal favorites so far, and I am writing this post as kind of a sequel to it. Recently, more or less by accident, I rediscovered the music of Simon and Garfunkel. I say "rediscovered" because my dad used to listen to them when I was little, but hearing them at 31 years old is a little bit different than hearing them at 6 years old. As I listened I remembered many of the songs from being in my dad's truck on the way to take off the trash or go fishing, but this time I was able to really hear and understand the lyrics. I have become a fan all over again.

I have been walking around the house singing "The Boxer" for the past couple of weeks, and that is just about to drive Nicole crazy. :) But this is not a plug for Simon and Garfunkel, and beyond just being entertaining, some of the lyrics have really been inspiring and thought provoking. If you are not familiar, let me share some lyrics from one of their songs. The song "The Sound of Silence" talks about the lack of emotional connection between people as many of us become so busy going through the motions of life and not really taking the time to get to know each other and let ourselves be known.

The singer is talking about a dream he had in which he saw masses of people, and here is how he descibed them: " . . . people talking without speaking, people hearing without listening, people writing songs that voices never shared: no one dared disturb the sound of silence." I heard this and began to think about some of these songs that we will never hear. I began to wonder how many of those songs have been born and then died inside of me. Obviously the word "songs" in this case means more than just songs. They could be songs, but they could also be ideas, poems, books, a conversation with our spouse or even just an encouraging word to the guy standing behind us in line at Starbucks.

I know it might sound cliche', but there really are "songs" inside you that are not inside anybody else. There are "songs" inside me that nobody else could ever write. If you and I don't share these, who will? About 11 years ago and bought a mandolin and have been learning to play ever since. I have written a handful of songs, and that's probably news to most of the people who might be reading this. That's because I've rarely shared them. I will probably never make a CD or have a song on the radio, but that's not what's important. The important thing is that I share them. What kind of songs are inside of you? I'm going to set a personal goal to start sharing mine . . . what are you going to do with yours?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What Are We Waiting For?

A couple of weeks ago Nicole and I took Ava to the beach for the week. Despite being very hot, we had a wonderful time and were able to relax and enjoy some time doing just about nothing. It was Ava's first time playing in the ocean, and I'll never forget her expression when she first looked out and saw all that water in one place. Her little eyes got so big and she gasped as she took it all in. She loves sand and had a great time feeling it between her toes and watching daddy build sand castles for her to run over and knock down. Thankfully she didn't eat any sand, which came as a surprise to Nicole and me. She loves to eat the sand in her sandbox, so we thought for sure she'd have a feast sitting on the shore.

It took her a little while to become comfortable enough to wade out a little bit into the tide. However, after a while she would let me carry her into water that was up to my waist. She would get so excited when a wave would come toward us, and she would scream and laugh as it rolled over us. Nicole is almost 9 months pregnant with our next little girl, so she spent most of the time sitting back and watching us play in the water. However, there was one time when she and Ava were walking along the shoreline just close enough to the water that their feet would get wet when the tide came all the way in, and something happened that reminded me of why I named this blog "Further In."

I was out in the water by myself swimming a little bit and enjoying the waves. After a while, Ava began to look for me, so Nicole pointed out in the water to where I was. As Ava scanned the horizon trying to spot me, she began to walk out into the water until it was about ankle deep. I waved my hand so she could find me, and then one of the sweetest things ever happened: when she saw me and realized that it really was me, she let go of Nicole's hand and began to charge out into the water. She lost all sight of the waves and didn't care that the water would soon be over her head - she was coming to her daddy! For me it was one of those times when you just feel like the most blessed person on earth. Here is this precious little person who is so full of innocence and purity, and she loves me more than any other man in the world. She knows that her daddy will meet her halfway and pick her up and take her back out to where the big waves are. She can relax in his arms as those waves rush over us and we both become totally enveloped in all this water that stretches farther than her little eyes can see.

What she doesn't know is that her daddy enjoys those moments as much as she does. He gets to share this moment with her that will never come again in quite the same way. For those moments she's all mine and there is nowhere else she'd rather be. There is also nowhere else I'd rather be. I cherish those times more than she'll know until she has kids of her own, and I look forward to many more years of making memories like that one. When I saw her charging toward me, I also couldn't help but picture our Father standing in the deep and watching us venture further in . . . He is waiting for us and I know He enjoys those times even more than we do . . . what are we waiting for?