...but sometimes something happens that you can't not post about.
I live in western Kentucky, a fairly rural area populated by good people. Among these people are two of my best friends, whom I went to college with.
This past saturday they were joined in holy matrimony in Elizabethtown, KY. Elizabethtown (or E-Town, as most from around here like to call it) is located in Hardin county, Kentucky, just a few miles south of Louisville. It's not far from Mammoth Cave. The counties of Hardin, Muhlenberg, Grayson, and Butler and the surrounding area have been called Paradise by the people who have lived there for a very long time.
With the dense forests, warm summers, and the Green River nearby, the area very nearly is a natural paradise. And so, I went there to my best friend's wedding. A wedding in Paradise.
As I left Paducah, KY the weather was nice but it was an overcast sky. Not the best conditions for an outdoor wedding. So as I drove, I asked the Lord to see to good weather for my friends on their wedding day.
By the time I got to E-Town, there wasn't a cloud in the sky as far as you could see. The sky was that deep ocean blue, the kind of blue that you don't often see. However, all that seemed dim next to the glory of the bride, when the procession started.
It was a lot of pomp and ceremony, and it was a good thing. When all that was over, once again I got to spend time with two of the best people I've ever met. Friends like these are hard to come by. Often, many of us stop and wonder, to what lengths would we go to to help our friends. How much would we really sacrifice? I can honestly say that there is nothing in this world I would not do for either of these two. If either needed something, there is no force, neither in heaven nor on Earth, that could stop me from doing what needed to be done. This is what true friendship really is. I started learning about true friendship a long time ago, but today I know that I have arrived, that I finally understand what it really means. I learned this on a nice saturday afternoon at a wedding in Paradise.
You know, I suppose all that is really sappy and it's not really my style (not really my friend's style either. He's the kind of guy that if he's talking he's always saying something hilarious) but I suppose there is a time and place for everything.
As I look at my two friends, I know without any doubt that God really did mean for them to be together, and so long as both of them keep the Lord at the center of their marriage, it shall not fail.
I'm not really sure what the point of this post was supposed to be. It was such a beautiful and joyful thing that I just couldn't hold it in. I had to tell someone!
So, ya know, I just thought I'd use the 'net and tell everybody.
It's on days like these that you know, life really is good.
Now with all the heavy stuff over, I am now returning to my generally snarky and moderately funny self.
Just in case you guys are interested (which you're probably not) my dad is good friends with John Prine's cousin. John Prine sings a song called 'Paradise' (you can get a sample by following the link) about that area of Kentucky. It's bluegrass music, so it might not be your thing. I'm more of a hard rock guy myself, but I still appreciate that particular song.
Between my new temp job, and finding a permanent job, and several other things I've got going on, I don't really have time operate a blog. I will still occasionally post on Freerepublic, if any of you are gluttons for that much punishment. But for now, this blog is officialy shutdown. I may pick it up again at a later date, when I have the time do it right. Until then, I'm restricting myself the occasional Freerepublic post and commenting on other fine blogs.
You know, I sit around an analyze the news, world events, and the like. And I generally come up with some pretty good insights on that kind of stuff. But it seems like I can never get it into a blog post. I'm just not good at it!
It's rather frustrating, because I know I have some natural skill with words. In fact, I have taken up writing fiction recently (a rather odd hobby for a computer scientist, I would say), and am working on the first three chapters of a science fiction novel. They're early rough drafts, but they're already getting good reviews from my reviewers.
Anyway, I just thought I should explain myself. Some days I have sparks of creativity and come with some great stuff. Other times are more like these past two months. A whole lot of nothing.
You just have to know that US intelligence agents are absolutely having a field day in Syria right now.
A lot of things happen behind the scenes that we don't see, but sometimes you can piece some of it together by paying close attention. It's obvious to me that someone is leaning pretty hard on Syria, and I'm almost certain it's the US. Seeing how they have been supporting terrorists against us and are probably in possession of some or all of Saddam's biochemical weapons, they have made themselves an enormous target.
At this point, no one can sensibly argue that ousting Saddam Hussein would not reduce terrorism. We removed him (and whatever the MSM may say, he was supporting terrorists, especially palestinian terrorists) and caused Qadaffi to cave, and now we've got Syria on the ropes. That only leaves Iran and Saudi Arabia. We keep this up and we are going to completely put terrorism out of business.
That name perhaps lists one of the greatest tragedies of western culture.
Not sure what really brought this thought on, and I know it's kind of old news. The people of Eastern Europe have always been very refined, and unusually sensible and pragmatic, despite constantly living under some kind of war or oppression.
Sarajevo was one of the most beautiful cities on the earth, before they blew it up. It was also a center of that unique slavic culture that many people around the world came to experience. It just seems a terrible shame that the West let that treasure go so easily.
I've only met a very few eastern european people, but most of them (but not all) have been good, respectable people. Whatever faults they may or may not have, they haven't done anything to deserve what has happened to their homes and cities.
This day of the year always leaves me feeling a bit...odd. I have never done well with the ladies, so this day often makes me a bit uncomfortable. Sometimes I feel I have been left out in the cold by everyone else.
On the other hand, the longer I have to wait to find that true love, all the sweeter it shall be when I find it.
Now, I had better just quit typing, or this is going to get really sappy.
I will try to have something kinda sorta half-way interesting within the week. It's been tough the past month though. Had the flu, then a sinus infection, I haven't been sleeping well or very much and I have to decide what to do about my job situation.
...you know, those kinds of posts where the author talks about his personal life that you skip over as quickly as possible? Yeah one of those.
I have never done very well with relationships. In fact, I'm terrible at it.
That being said, some stuff has changed over the past few months. For a while, I simply decided that there wasn't a snowball's chance in hell that I'd ever date a girl, much less marry one. While this thought left me feeling a bit depressed, I eventually succeeded in pushing it out of my mind and not worrying about it. Marriage isn't, after all, the ultimate experience of life. And I came to the conclusion that if God wanted me to be single, that would be just fine with me. I had my plan in place, and all was well.
I certainly didn't count on turning into the King of Sappiness.
Over the past 9 months I have become so terribly sappy about everything. Most guys favorite part of the movie Spiderman 2 was when Spidey did some of his cool acrobatics or something like that. But me? No. The best part of that movie for me was when Peter told MJ how he really felt about her.
And it's not just that. My best friend, who has been in love with a girl for nearly a year, finally got the opportunity to take her out. Good Lord, I was beside myself. I was happier about that than he was, I think.
As it turns out, there is a softer side of me that I didn't even know about, and it has taken up home in a most unusual person. My social sense doesn't do the romantic thing very well. I'm far better suited to biting sarcasm and jokes that are funny only because they are extraordinarily stupid.
Now, I am convinced that there someone out there whom I could make the happiest woman in the world. On the other hand, I'm not great catch. It turns out I do have a heart. I'm just not sure anybody actually wants it, at least in that way.
So, there is only one thing I can do. I have set my eyes upon the Lord, and I moving towards Him. If someone happens to be walking the same path beside me, then perhaps she can make the journey with me. If not, then so be it.
All that I am will eventually be broken and poured like wine. I can either be broken by the world, or I can be poured out for Jesus. Being poured out for Jesus usually hurts, but even so, I have found it to be a good thing for all areas of my life.
Even this one.
Had to take care of some stuff at lunch today. I probably won't get anything overly meaningful up until later tonight. My temp job is eating me up and due to other things happening, I'm not entirely in my right mind today. Significant posting to be delayed until later tonight.
Sorry for the long silence. I know it loses me readers, but the schedule with 11 hour work days and trying to find permanent employment has been rather taxing. I'm going to try to get some new stuff up at lunch time though.
Even in a time of war, we still remember some of the things that make America a great nation.
It's impossible to get hard figures yet, but various private charities including Doctors Without Borders, Catholic Relief Services, and the Salvation Army are getting donations for aid to the tsunami victims in staggering amounts. Americans are freely giving of their wealth to people who are in dire need. The Bible says in James 1:27 that "Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit the orphans and widows in their distress..."
The Bible also says in 2 Corinthians 9:6 that "he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully."
A nation that truly cares about people will unzip its ordinarily tight purse strings and help a hurting neighbor, and we have been a part of that. So today, no matter what anyone might say, we can stand tall and hold our heads high, secure in the knowledge that we have done the right thing.
Seeing how I also graduated this fall, my parents and family pretty much went all out on me for Christmas. Mom replaced my computer, dad purchased me a very nice digital camera, a new desk, and a photo inkjet printer to go with the camera. My grandma bought me a nice Thompson Chain-Reference study Bible (New American Standard version). That's pretty cool I think.
I am all for giving gifts on Christmas Day. Yet I find that many people in this country have totally forgotten why we do it. We have gift giving, we have Christmas parties, we have an enormous rigmarole when this one day of the year comes around.
Gift-giving is not what this holiday is about. It is a long, and honorable tradition, one I think we should keep.
This holiday really isn't about family either. The gatherings, the eating of way too much at Christmas dinner is a great thing. Spending time with family is one of things we all should do more but our work-a-holic American culture often prevents us from having as much family time as we ought. Christmas, however, is not centered around eating too much food with mom, dad, and the grandparents.
Now it came about in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census should be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all were proceeding to register for the census, everyone to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register, along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. And it came about that while they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them at the inn. And in the same region there were some shephards staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger." And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." Luke 2:1-14 (New American Standard Bible)
That's what this holiday is about. One man, who was also the El Shaddai, the Lord God Almighty, is what this holiday is about. Man and God for all time: Jesus Christ.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16 (New American Standard Bible)
Jesus came to this world in totally humility. Even stepping down from heaven into the richest man's mansion would've been an incredibly drop for Him. He went further than that. He was born into one of the poorest families in the world. He was laid in a manger with the animals.
He taught us to not only love our friends, but our enemies. He taught us that by faith, nothing will be impossible for us. He was religious, going to the temple on the sabbath always and keeping God's Law.
These however, pale in comparison to what he did on the cross.
Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a (B)tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our [b]griefs He Himself (H)bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for (K)our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. Isaiah 53:1-6 (New American Standard Bible)
Jesus knew he was to die for crimes he did not commit. But he went willingly. In the Garden of Gethsemane he prayed to the Father that His will would be done. He was scourged, made to carry his own cross to Golgotha, and was crucified next to thieves. Even in his moment of terrible pain, he ministered to the thieves next to him.
You know what's great about this whole thing. Right here, after Jesus was crucified, is where the story would have ended for most people. But not for Him. On the third day, God raised Him from the dead and sin and evil's hold in our lives was broken forever.
God gave us the ultimate Christmas gift. His Son, as a sacrifice for sin, that all may have everlasting life.
So this year, I wish to do something a little different and I challenge you all to do it with me. Every year we all think about what gifts we are receving. This year, I want to ask God what I can do for Him that would bring a smile to His face. It's the least I can do for one so generous as the Lord.