For those who have had their heads in the sand for the last couple of years, there’s a guy in Portland, Oregon named Donald Miller. He wrote a book call Blue Like Jazz and, for you head-in-the-sand types it’s a best seller. “I didn’t want to read it because it was one of those Christian fads, but then I read it… and it changed my life,” almost any young Christian I know. (Not a direct quote… but close enough.)
Truth be told, I haven’t read the book either. I do own an audio book copy and have listened to it while keeping busy in the kitchen. I think it’s what kept my company while making Christmas candy last year, and it was great while stirring the pot of molten sugar waiting for it to register at the soft ball stage for fudge. I digress.
Although I haven’t read Blue Like Jazz, I did add Miller’s blog to my blog reader. I liked what I was reading. It was conversational. It was readable. It was relatable. He was a human being and was living a real life. I appreciated his writing, his talent and his willingness to share. I thought if I liked his writing, then I most likely would like his speaking. So I searched and waited, missed a few opportunities, then the time had come to hear him speak.
I was making my annual pilgrimage to the National Youth Workers Convention in Los Angles and he was the speaker during one of the General Sessions. I was excited. I sat next to one of my best friends. We laughed. We learned about story. We laughed some more. All-in-all… I was not disappointed. Now came the time to buy his new book.
I found myself sitting in the DMV several times and reading his book. There were moments which I laughed out loud, and people looked at me with annoyance. There were moments that were sad, and I secretly wiped a tear from the corner of my eye. And then there were moments when I was just pissed off.
At first I was puzzled by this. How can this happen? How can a book, that I am reading while sitting in the DMV, take me to such an emotional place where I am truly pissed off? I closed the book and sat in the waiting area. Finally my number was called, I stuffed the book in my bad and didn’t give it a second thought.
I began to think about story and my life. I realized that I have lived many stories, and have many, many more to live. I was blessed with sharing the last moments of my dad’s life with him. I was young, stubborn and independent when I ventured out into the real world on my own at the tender age of 19. I discovered within myself the desire and drive to continue my education. I learned to stop talking, and listen for God’s voice. I have discovered a deep need for relationships and passion. And a lot more.
So I was pissed off, but I got over it… rather quickly too. But there were reasons why I felt that way and I think it is related to an unsettling restlessness that I have had stewing inside me for a long time. It’s not a rebellion against God, but it’s meeting God on His terms and in His place. It’s a breaking down of all my junk and sifting through the muck to get to the place He wants me to be. Some would say that this is it, that this is the answer that everyone is looking for. That I have gotten to the place God wants me to be and now it’s time to enter into a season of contentment.
Nope, it’s not. If anything, this is just the beginning. Sure, I am content in my relationship with God and where He has brought me and the journey to get here. But I am not done, and neither is He. By no means have I reached the end of my story… so, what’s the next chapter?