If me & myself three years ago were in a relationship, then who I am now would be kind of a prick to who I was then.
I'm trying to be a better friend.
In the spring season, kasey & I try to join with God's work of making stuff new. When I think about things being made new, I--probably like most people--think about present making way for a deeper, truer, and more beautiful future.
I'm wondering if it's my memories that might be among the stuff in my life that need a new beginning the most.
If you don't know, part of my story involves starting a student-led campus ministry called Catalyst when I was 17 years old.
I've realized-- three years into a liberal arts education that's blown EVERYTHING up-- that I've become really cynical about who I was then. I've noticed myself wanting to name those years with words like 'naive,' 'cliché' and 'emotionalism.'
And maybe that story is right.
Perhaps the frightening thing is that there is, has been, and always will be a naturalistic explanation for the things we call divine.
I mean, I’ve got a perfectly rational and airtight explanation for why my car was struck by lightning. Somebody could pick through the film reels of my life, make empirical observations about my personality, and figure that I was ripe for a 'religious conversion' and that it wasn't something I couldn't 'explain without Jesus' like I loved to say back then.
I don’t know. I mean, damn, couldn’t somebody sort through the events surrounding the campus movement, and reduce us all from a bunch of ragtag characters caught up in a story to a set of personalities prone to emotionalism and religious clichés?
No doubt they could, and no doubt some in fact would.
We (millennials) are pinned down by what is. We know that science has an explanation for stuff. Science makes us into personalities that fit into predisposed behaviors, and we know that's partly true.
But I suppose we're also all haunted by notions of something more. We can't compute it in our equations, but we can't shake the teary-eyed, gut-busting, hope-inspiring song we hear in the other room, either. We're weighted by doubt & despair, lifted all the same by hints of God & beauty.
So I know who I was then three years ago is a personality to be studied & predicted & dissected. But I also know somehow that he's a character in a story to be experienced, loved, and struggled with.
I'm becoming friends with myself three years ago today.
It’s a new thing & an old thing at the same time. But I believe Jesus' work of bringing God's kingdom involves the complete transposition, not just us but also the memories we carry on our backs.
Flawed character? Yep. Naive? Yep, yep. Posting up prideful stuff on facebook about how nobody's following Jesus? Believe it. Slapping on answers to questions he had no business answering? YUP. UH-HUH.
But with what little plot he was given—just a suburban kid with nobody that knew him—he joined with God to make something beautiful. I was a just a character beginning to be caught up in the most beautiful story ever known.
And right now, that's helping me see that I’m somehow still just a character a little more caught up in that beautiful story that Jesus is authoring.
photo credit: the one and only tim hunt. gosh, freshman year of college was great.