Better Story

At this moment, at 1:54 am on a Saturday, I wish God was telling a different story. I wish he would have called me into his office before he gave this life the green light; I would have shut the whole series down before the pilot episode.

I’m tired. Just tired. Of the pain and pulling and tugging and tearing and weeping and wishing and caving and crying.

Struggle. I’m tired of struggle.

Perhaps wanting things to be easier sounds like a cop-out. Maybe it sounds like I don’t want to work hard. That I think good things should just be handed to me. Well, it is a little of that, truth be told, but it’s also that I just want more moments of peace and clarity and contentment and they don’t seem to come.

I know it’s not just me. I see every person wrapped in self doubt and insecurity. People that have dreams and can’t make them happen. People who are abused. Rejected. Run-down.

There is a thought that flashes through my mind when I hop on this train. It usually hits me about now … what if this is hell? What if this is eternal separation from God?

God feels like something we all want, but can’t reach. We want things to be better, but we know this is as good as it gets. I call out to God, but the phone is disconnected or I forgot to pay my bill or something.

Don’t get me wrong, we, the human race, we are resilient. We laugh when all we have is taken from us. We sing through the loss of life. We create. We adapt. We love.

But the struggle is still there.

Every night, I ask God for a new tomorrow. For an event that will change my life in a radical way. A peace that transcends all understanding. A paradigm shift.

But so far, it hasn’t happened.

Then, I think of stories of a New Heaven coming down and resting here on earth. I think of God wiping away every tear and abolishing death from every grave. I think of an end to every sadness. An end to hate. An end to struggle.

I want you to make sense of my struggle, because it has cost me my joy almost every day and my life almost every night.

I am upset with you, God, that you knew how bad this life would hurt me and you pushed me in without my consent anyway.

You expect so many things from me everyday. I’m just letting you know, that now, I expect some things from you.

-TS

Dear Peyton

Peyton Manning was a great quarterback. One of the greatest of all time, but I don’t want to talk about his athletic abilities. I want to talk about his commitment to writing letters.

Recently I saw a video (included below) and it contains letters that Peyton wrote to his friends, teammates, coaches, parents, siblings, and fans. To say that the video moved me would be an understatement. It is a beautiful testament to one man’s thoughtfulness and love.

It got me thinking; about legacy and other things we leave behind. I want to start writing handwritten notes to the people I love and folks I want to encourage. I want to become synonymous with a kind gesture like Peyton has.

I’ve asked my friend Stephen to hold me accountable to writing letters and for the first few weeks it wasn’t going so well. But tonight, I wrote my first one. It’s to my sister and it’s simple. I don’t want to put any pressure on myself to write perfect quips, but instead, understand that it must come from my heart.

How can you show people love?

What talents or gifts can you share?

I intend to answer these questions with paper and a pen.

Jordan

Hemingway said, “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.” Right now, mine is this: Jordan Pieniazek loved people well. He loved his wife. He loved his children. He loved his friends. He loved folks he’d just met. He loved people that others felt were hard to love and he made it look easy, effortless even. It was, and still is, such an active love, one that Jordan seemed to drape over you like a warm blanket. When you left being with him, the love he showed you would not fade, it would carry on into the car and remain during the ride home. I feel fortunate that I got a chance to see this love. To feel this love. To hear this love ring out of one incredible man. When I think of him, I will think of his encouragement and his kind words. What a joy it was to feel like you were exactly the person he wanted to be with. There was never a feeling like he had somewhere more important with more interesting people. Instead, you felt the very rare sensation that you were “it”. I imagine that being in the presence of God is quite a similar feeling. I hope that I can love my children and my future wife with the same sweetness, purity and fullness. I hope that I can speak as he did about his children; like they were treasures worthy of utmost protection. I am one of so many that feel impacted by the way he lived his life. What a wave can be caused by rock such as this. Until we meet again!