Smeagol is Free!
A hermitudinal view of...stuff...



Reason #44 why Boyce College Rocks: Focus. Last semester's was much bigger, but the one we had last night was pretty cool, too. Thirty or so students gathered in Boyce Chapel at midnight to fast from sleep in order to pray, worship, and focus our hearts on the Lord. I must admit, I had a REALLY hard time staying awake. Last semester, we went on three "prayer walks" around campus, and by the third one near 5 am, Scott and I were praying prayers that went something like this: "'re awesome...yeah......thanks Lord..." and such. Yeah, we laughed at the depth (or lack thereof) of our spiritual-sounding prayers, too :) Before our first prayer walk early this morning, I told him my prayers were going to sound like those from that third prayer walk. He could only grin and and laugh and hope with me that I wouldn't sound too stupid :)

With that in mind, Scott said something that I don't want to forget. After that initial prayer walk, we gathered in Boyce Chapel again, and he shared a thought that had hit him earlier in the night. He reminded us that God's word says the prayers of a righteous man avail much. I am, by God's definition (not mine), a righteous man. Therefore, my prayers avail much. Much. Why was this significant? Sometimes we pray based upon how we feel, not upon the truths of God. Scott urged us to pray with faith, encouraging us with the truth that our prayers would avail much.

I've noticed that my prayer life has been somewhat dry as of late. Why? To be utterly honest, I sometimes don't feel like praying. But feelings shouldn't determine my prayer life; truth should. God is faithful to turn my affections toward Him as I seek Him humbly and desperately in prayer...I have to remember that. Pray for me, that I would be praying. Why? My prayers avail much. So do yours. Remember that.

posted by Bolo | 9:33 PM
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Strong words

I told someone last night that I wouldn't post anything else on the movie. Well...after thinking it over, I think I'm changing my mind on that decision.

I've had some pretty strong words on how I felt the movie depicted the passion (suffering) of Christ. I've told some that I get really mad at other believers when they tell me they thought the beatings were too much, were too graphic, and that they didn't like how they depicted the suffering. In my mind, I feel like yelling at them, "don't you get it? That's the whole point! We can't handle our sin! That's part of what's being put on display, the price of our sin!" It's one thing if someone tells me they simply can't handle gore by nature, or perhaps doesn't want the movie to have a hold on their worship on the Lord, or if they have issues with the second commandment and the movie. That, I understand.

*Sigh*...don't get me wrong...I'm not trying to fire spiritual missiles toward anyone. In fact, thinking about this scares me a great deal, because the issue does get me more than just a little upset. I see my reaction, and I know I'm treading dangerous emotional and spiritual ground on my part. Perhaps I need to clarify myself...that, I believe, would help.

When I look at my sin, I realize two things. First, sin is horrible. Looking into my heart and at the life God has blessed me with, I realize that sin always has and will continue to ravage my soul, until I am completely free of my sinful flesh. Second, sin is more horrible than I could ever comprehend, more offensive toward the Lord than I'll ever know. With that in mind, when I think of the passion of Christ, I think of His passion being directly proportionate to the offense of sin. Now, when someone tells me that they didn't like what was being depicted because they thought it was too horrible, that the depiction was worse than it should have been, I respond by saying that I totally disagree. Quite frankly, I think the actual suffering was worse than was depicted, physically but especially spiritually.

I don't need anyone to coddle me and tell me my sins aren't as bad as they are, that the effects of my sins aren't as bad as I think they are. I do a good enough job of it every moment of every day, and I hate it. That's the truth, and the truth hurts.

One more thing. I said above that part of what was being put on display in the movie (and 2,000 years ago) was the price of our sins. What else was shown? God's If you're telling me that you think it was too much, I would conclude you're telling me God's character is too much to handle...and I would say you're right. But is the proper response to such despair to turn away from Him, or to embrace Him?

In my passion, be compassionate. It's hard for me to remember the truth of that statement, but I must...and I pray for God's grace in reminding me. If I've sounded too critical and harsh, I apologize. Yet I don't apologize for the conviction in my heart; I see my Lord in such tiny ways as it is, and it angers me that others would shy away from embracing Him with all that they are.

posted by Bolo | 1:27 PM
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The Movie

What got to me wasn't the blood. It wasn't the mockery, either. Nor was it the anguish in Jim Caviezel's eyes (actually just his left eye, since the right one got hit pretty early on and was closed for most of the movie).

During the portrayal of Peter locking eyes with Christ after the third denial, I shed several tears, thinking upon the times I've read through that passage in Luke (the only one of the four gospels that says Jesus looked at Peter) and felt the taunting guilt of my own denials and broken promises along with the overwhelming peace of Christ's humble, merciful love. But that wasn't what got to me.

When they showed how the Roman soldiers would have mocked and spat upon Christ during his beatings, I wanted to get up and hit someone. But I didn't. And you know what? That wasn't what got to me.

I kept thinking about the various arguments and conversations this would spawn on campus. Is the second commandment being broken? Is the evangelism aspect legitimate if theirs no real Gospel presentation? Why did or why didn't people see it? I had to fight those thoughts from my head while watching it. But still, that wasn't what got to me.

The silence as we all filed out of the theater was deafening. No one said a word. All communication was limited to hand jestures and head nods. A few ladies across the aisle were wiping away tears, but all faces wore the same expression. What was that expression? Sadness...sobriety...pain...humility. In all seriousness, it was the silence that got to me. The silence spoke volumes.

I thought about it as I went home, wondering what that silence meant. I didn't really understand it then, nor have I found meaning in it in the hours since. The only thing I can conclude is that each person was, for two hours, put face to face with a very sobering reality, a very painful reality. What they thought I can only imagine.

I told Leeman today that after watching the movie, I had a distinct yearning for more, but not from the movie. The pain they portrayed Christ as having gone through was tremendous; the mental anguish, the physical suffering, all of it was enough to shut an entire theater up in utter silence. But what they did not and could not possibly have portrayed was the spiritual suffering. The holiness of God is an undefinable thing, and his wrath is terrible beyond comprehension. I told Jonathan that I was reminded of how the Old Testament tabernacle is portrayed in the New Testament as but a copy, a representation of the spiritual tabernacle. In a sense, perhaps Christ's physical suffering was but a copy, a representation of His spiritaul suffering. So in a sense, I felt frustrated by not being able to even begin to see and appreciate the spiritual suffering of Christ, yet comforted in knowing that God is being gracious in not showing me how horrible that suffering was. Should I see it all, I think I would go mad.

Do you know why I would go mad? Because that's how horrible my sin is. The suffering and death of Christ was the only thing that could atone for the horrors of my sin. When we see Jim Caviezel on screen, we should be reminded of our sins, we should be reminded that it was our sins that nailed Him there, that caused Him spiritual suffering beyond our comprehension. Yet we shouldn't need Jim Caviezel or Mel Gibson to remind us; it's there in God's word. We're horrible. Our sins our horrible. The suffering of Christ? It had to be that horrible.

posted by Bolo | 9:46 AM
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Oh my goodness, I'm tired. Good tired, that is. Not a nasty Burning in the Eyeballs Tired, mind you, but a good sort of I Played Four Different Sports Yesterday Tired. Well, that's not entirely true; my eyeballs are a little dry and achy, but that part is minor. The order of the day for yesterday? Volleyball, Basketball, Wallyball (remember that one?), and Ultimate. We played Ultimate on the Josephus Bowl last night, and I got the frisbee thrown right into my nose from five yards away. It wouldn't have been so bad if it the throw was meant to go just ten yards or so, but Robbie meant to throw it the length of the field. The worst part? We lost the game.

Which reminds me. When Mon asked me how volleyball went the other week, I told her it was great...we played well, and we won every game. She chided me, saying "winning isn't the only thing." I then reminded her of her pouting when Notre Dame loses a football game. My, my, she sported a sheepish grin after that ;)

posted by Bolo | 9:25 AM
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L33t Verbs

Quick random geekness: you know you've "made it" when either you or your product or standard/protocol are switched from noun or proper-noun usage to verb or adverb usage. Think about it. You've moved beyond an adjective existence, and achieved geekdom immortality. :)

Photoshop it...

Google it...


FTP it...

Blog it...

posted by Bolo | 1:24 PM
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The New Testament Survey II mid-term went ok last night...I know I missed some stuff I should've remembered, but I can live with it. I promise :)

Yesterday, the Lord once again reminded me of how big my mouth is. I said some rather stupid things, things that made me cringe inside. You know what the worst part of it was? My cringing wasn't even for the right reason. I did give think for a bit that I was dishonoring God, but what made me regret my crude and rude comments the most was the fact that they cast a dark shadow on my holy image. O, wretched man that I am!

I did apologize to the one I offended, yet I feel a lack in my soul because I know I simply don't ache over the ways I still sin toward the Lord. The depth of the agony my sin causes Him? I gloss over it, content to make myself shine despite the rotting underneath. And boy, how I love to shine.

posted by Bolo | 12:50 PM
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Spring Chicken Soup and Sandwich Isles

I really should be studying right now. Obviously, I'm not :) But there's a bunch of random thoughts in my head today, some deep, some not so deep, I'll allow myself a bit of...expression. Here, as follows, is but part of the strange stuff leaking from my head this afternoon.

Sometimes when I look in the mirror in the morning, I scare myself. It's kind of like going out on the proverbial First Date, going to the bathroom, realizing your fly has been down the entire time, and feeling the impending doom of your First Date also becoming Last Date. My tan (or lack thereof) on the other hand, can at least be fixed...or so I keep telling myself. Spring just won't come soon enough...*sigh*...

Why is it that I feel so...well...helpless? Listening to people tell me that they feel numb...unable to weep...unable to's made me wish all the more that I could take away their hurts. It's made me wish all the more that I could be the one with their hurts. At the very least, it's made me wish all the more that I could understand their hurts...because I can't...and I wish I could.

On a related note, Leeman told me that's why it's so important to teach and preach the sovereignty of God to people before they are put into situations of suffering. People don't find God's sovereign grace nearly so sweet as when they've already been rejoicing in it. Job was able to do so, perhaps because he'd already found joy in God's sovereignty. Do you find joy in God? Do you find joy in suffering? Do you find joy in God's suffering? We're supposed to. God does.

Life here has become much more comfortable. By comfortable, I mean I find myself belonging here, and not feeling like some Elf caught in a mine with Dwarves (sorry...Tolkien Geekdom surfaced just then). The flipside, of course, is that my comfort can be dangerous. Perhaps that's why there's so much pain that I've heard of...maybe what God is doing is keeping me aware of my frailties, of my inability to handle pain. Perphaps He's preparing me for when I must suffer in the same way others are. Oh, that I might be counted worthy to suffer!

posted by Bolo | 4:18 PM
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Same smell, different f... :)

As I ran around last night with Scott before Boyce's Coffee House, getting coffee pots and French Presses set up along with hauling rugs and couches around, our conversation turned toward the way people act. More specifically, we spoke of a couple people we know fairly decently, and how they don't seem to be very "serious" or "grave" people. When I say that, I mean...well...they almost always seem to be joking, or close to it. One of the things I told Scott is that I usually associate that with lack of spiritual maturity. I think perhaps that's because the more and more I get to know the Lord, the more and more serious and grave I feel I become. That's not to say that I'm a stuck-up, constipated Christian. Quite the opposite :) It's just that the joy I experience becomes a deeper, much more serious matter, because I realize the ways my faith is even more deeply rooted in Christ, and therefore savoring Him becomes a much more serious matter.

But that's where I come to a little bit of a crossroads. I'm me, not some other person. I don't know how they experience God, and how they respond to Him. I can't really relate to that in the way I would hope I would, and so I'm faced with a problem: I must learn to respect and even rejoice in the ways that God has made others, lest I become judgmental and blind to the glories of God.'s something that's fresh and vivid in my head, and as Pastor Brad says, it's those last twelve inches between our heads and our hearts that make all the difference.

posted by Bolo | 4:03 PM
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Exodus 33:4-5 reads, "When the poeple heard this sad word, they went into mourning, and none of them put on his ornaments. For the LORD had said to Moses, 'Say to the sons of Israel, 'You are an obstinate people; should I go up in your midst for one moment, I would destroy you. Now therefore, put off your ornaments from you, that I may know what I shall do with you.''"

You are an obstinate people; should I go up in your midst for one moment, I would destroy you. God said this to the Israelites after they just finished committing one of the most famous corporate sins in biblical history: the creation and worship of the golden calf. (I mean, who hasn't seen Charlton Heston throwing down the two stone tablets every Easter?) They were, for the moment, appropriately penitent. Yet what makes me pause and cringe is that their penitence was just that: for the moment. Momentary penitence, momentary repentance, is far too familiar a theme in my own life.

You are an obstinate people; should I go up in your midst for one moment, I would destroy you. It's sobering to realize that although God said this to the Israelites just after the golden calf episode, He could have said this to them at any point in time. He could have said this as He led them out of Egypt, or even to Moses as they spoke together "face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend." (33:11) He could say this to us, and He would be perfectly in the right. Even in our most perfect obedience, this statement from God holds true, because our sin is that horrible. Yeah...if God were to come into my midst, I'd pretty much be toast.

But I'm not. I'm alive, I'm not facing God's destruction, and I never ever will. When God reminds me that I'm disobedient, He's reminding me of my sinful nature, and that there's no way I'll ever really be obedient to Him. He's reminding me that the sins I commit are just the manifestation of the state of my flesh, and no matter how good I am, I should still be toast when He comes into my midst. But...I'm not.

It's amazing to think of God's mercy when I look at Moses and the Israelites. One of the things I've been thinking about lately is how sinners will be sinners. It's easy for Christians to look around and be angry with not only the actions of "sinners," but also of other Christians. But why is it all that surprising? Sinful flesh is prone to sin, is it not? What's surprising to me, as I read through scripture, is how patient God is. You are an obstinate people; should I go up in your midst for one moment, I would destroy you. How merciful God is. You are an obstinate people; should I go up in your midst for one moment, I would destroy you. How deeply loving God is. You are an obstinate people; should I go up in your midst for one moment, I would destroy you. How holy God is. You are an obstinate people; should I go up in your midst for one moment, I would destroy you.

You are an obstinate people; should I go up in your midst for one moment, I would destroy you. You know what makes me smile about that? When God said that, He wasn't saying that He would never gift us with His presence. No, He was hinting at a time when He could come into our presence freely, when the work of Christ on the cross would allow Him to clothe His Holy Spirit with us. It's amazing that God would want to do that with an obstinate people :)

posted by Bolo | 1:19 PM
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Sunday night, I asked Kayla, my ten year-old niece, how her Valentine's Day had been. She replied by saying that she'd had a "very painful Valentine's Day." My immediate thought? You're TEN YEARS OLD! You're not allowed to have PAINFUL Valentine's Days! Fortunately, wisdom prevailed, and I didn't voice my thoughts. She said she had an outer ear ache something or other, and it was so bad that she couldn't even eat hard foods. Very painful indeed.

I asked Kyle, my eight year-old nephew, if he'd been reading his bible. He said he was. I then asked him what he'd been reading. I got a long silence, followed by, "ummm...some stuff I already knew, and some stuff I didn't already know." I asked him what he'd read that he hadn't already know. I got a long silence, followed by "ummm...I forget." So I asked him what he'd read that he had already known. I got a long silence, followed by "ummm...I forget. Oh, when God helped the people walk through the sea." At least he's reading his bible!

When I was talking to Kason (the three year-old nephew), I would ask him yes or no questions. I constantly heard Steph in the background saying, "Uncle John can't see you nod your head! You have to say, 'yes!'" Aaaahhh, I miss those kids :)

posted by Bolo | 12:02 PM
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"He ain't heavy, he's my brother!"

I asked Scott to pray for me. I felt overwhelmed by the burdens I'd been carrying, and I was desperate for prayer. Those burdens weren't necessarily from the trials of my own journey, but from others I knew, or knew of. It seemed like all at once, I was brought again and again to a place of pain and suffering. A young girl dead, another one on her way there, perhaps wondering if it would be better to already be dead. Friends leaving in the dead of night, hoping that their loved ones would live to see the morning. Other friends not knowing if their lives had meaning any more, doubting their ability to go on. *Sigh*...I told Scott I didn't know how to handle all these burdens. As busy as he's been, I knew he'd pray. More importantly, I knew he cared. All during Dorm Meeting last night, I felt like God was emptying me. I'd been holding on, unable to let go of the hurts that others were going through. Weep with those who weep...bear one another's burdens...weep with those who weep...bear one another's burdens. Yes, I must weep. Yes, I must bear burdens. But how? In Christ.

When I told Jared of the state of my heart, he shared with me what he'd been learning about contentment. Contentment? What does that have to do with suffering, with bearing one another's burdens? Everything. He read to me a prayer on contentment from The Valley of Vision. What struck him was how little the prayer asked for contentment in what we physically have, but rather for contentment in the fact that although we deserve our suffering, we still have unblushing promises in Christ that far exceed our present circumstances. Wow. Whoever prayed that prayer started first from the perspective of his sins, knowing he deserved his current state. It's a totally different way of thinking than what we're taught; the prayer approaches contentment from the perspective of the penitent sinner knowing he's sinful, and knowing that his punishment is just in the Lord's sight. Only then, when he has gazed upon the depths of his sin in the pure and piercing light of God's holiness, only then does he dare look toward the comfort of Christ. I shudder to think of how often I cheaply gain a shallow view of God's grace by glancing quickly upon the horrors of my sins. *Sigh*...far too often.

Now while I am still burdened by the pains of those around me, I am reminded of two things. First, that these burdens aren't really mine to bear, they are Christ's. Second, that the pains we go through are, in a sense, a sweet reminder that we are saved from far, far worse, and are freely given far, far better. How? In Christ. What does this mean for those whose burdens I bear? Well, I won't tell them that they deserve far worse, rest assured of that. What I will do, however, is bear their burdens as best I may, by the grace of God through Christ. And perhaps now it will not be a burden, but a strangely sweet joy as I lay down before the throne of grace and plead with our Father for yet more mercy upon our brothers and sisters, asking that He would draw them nigh as well.

posted by Bolo | 4:39 PM
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A couple of Characters

On our way to the cafeteria, Leeman starts patting his jacket, saying, "oh shoot! You know wha..." Before he finishes, I shake my head and tell him, "yeah yeah yeah...I got your lunch." After we left the cafeteria to go back to his office, I thought about this: If he didn't have our appointment put into his Palm, I'm not so sure he would've remembered. The problem lies in when he does finally lose his Palm. He almost did just that this past Sunday at church, when Jared had to pick it up for him. It's the Leeman Principle :)

During our conversation, he asked me what I perceived my own strengths and weaknesses to be. A good question. Often, I think our perception of ourselves is skewed...we need to aesthetically distance ourselves every now and again, so as not to be so wrapped up in our own perception. Jonathan put it like this: say a military man is highly respected. On the day of battle, he is nervous and scared and unsure and overwhelmed on the inside just like everyone else, but he still charges right into the thick of battle. To everyone else, he appears calm and in control, courageous beyond merit. At the end of the battle, his actions stand head and shoulders above the rest. Was he courageous? Yes. Was he so scared he nearly peed in his pants? Yes. So what's the verdict?

J.I. Packer writes in A Quest For Godliness, "The man of God has authority as he bows to divine authority, and the pattern of God's power in him is the baptismal pattern of being supernaturally raised from under burdens that feel like death." I read that last week, and it's stuck with me since. My eyebrows raised, and my mouth mouthed a "wow!" What struck me as profound was the second part of that statement: that the pattern of God's power in our lives is like the baptismal raising of the dead. Only, since we are now alive in Christ, we are continually being supernaturally raised from under burdens that feel like death. Death is no longer victorious. Although we may feel its effects within us...doubt, struggles with the same old sins, fear, weaknesses we know far too well...still, Christ is victorious. Paul urges us in Romans to, by the mercies of God (12:1), be transformed by the renewing of our minds, that we might know what the will of God is (12:2). In doing so, God supernaturally enables us to act accordingly, even though we are faced wtih burdens that feel like death. 1 John 5:3-4 reads, "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith." And what is that faith based upon? Christ. How do we come by it? God's free gift to us, in His mercy.

I've been thinking about these burdens that we face. More specifically, that I myself face. Though they feel like death, they're not the killing stroke. Truth be told, they have no power over me. Psalm 73 reads, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." In Christ, this truth is made full.

Jonathan told me that though the man was fraught with fear, his character was predicated by his actions. His fears did not overcome his convictions. I now ask myself, "what's the verdict on your own character, John?"

posted by Bolo | 11:12 AM
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The Nose

I have a friend. An Italian friend. He sports a rather Italian nose. Think of Pastor Mark Olmos' nose. Or even better, think Vinny from The Wonder Years. Now, put that nose on an Italian face, and you've got Joel Gasparotto. He's quite proud of his nose, to be utterly honest. If he didn't have his face and his personality, his nose would be SOOOO out of place and silly. But on him? Perfect!

Something happened yesterday to bring his nose into a rather humorous light (which therefore cast a large shadow, I might add...*cough*). A few of us (just guys) were sitting around the Patio Room yesterday afternoon. One of us (I'm not saying it was me, I'm not saying it wasn't) cracks a nasty fart. Like, REALLY nasty. Joel, who's sitting right next to the farter (again, I'm not saying it was me, I'm not saying it wasn't), gets up flailing around less than two seconds after the crackage, crying out at the horrific odors now assailing him. Initially, he just moved over a spot or two on the couch. After several more seconds, he gets up and darts across the room to another chair entirely. His shirt is pulled over his prodigious nose, his eyes are watering, and I think he was trying to remove all traces of the aforementioned gas from his previously opened mouth. The poor soul! He asks Mark Hail, who's just sitting there with nary a nasal hair out of place, why he's not affected. Mark responsds by claiming no ability to smell at the moment, and asks Joel if it's really that bad. Joel's incredulous response? "Will you look at this NOSE!?!?"

Aaaahhh...Joel Gasparotto...the one and only :)

posted by Bolo | 9:51 AM
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"What's God teaching you?" That's my favorite question to ask people. It's a little different than asking people, "how are you doing?" or even, "how are you *really* doing?" I think that's because it takes the focus off of ourselves, and refocuses us on where we need to be focused: God. The question awakens us to the fact that it is God alone who enables us to learn and grow, and God alone who does the teaching and growing. It also forces upon our selfish souls the realization that it is God's purpose that is behind His teaching and growing of us, and not our own whimsical ideas of what is best. To put it shortly, our lives are not our own.

I could probably list a bunch of other reasons of why I love that question. But at the root of it all, I love that question for one simple reason: it gives me yet another reason to see and savor God, because through the various answers, I'll see many of the same Godly joys and struggles in the lives of those I care about.

So. What's God teaching you?

posted by Bolo | 11:28 AM
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The Leeman Principle

I told Jonathan last week (or sometime thereabouts) that I'd come to a rather profound realization. Yesterday, I gave it a name. I call it The Leeman Principle. It's quite silly, yet true. It goes like this: The more and more I get to know Jonathan Leeman, the less and less impressed I become with him.

Some friend I am, huh? :)

In all seriousness, Jonathan can be a very impressive individual when you meet him. Intelligent, articulate, thoughtful, and in his own quirky way, even charming. Yet, for all those admirable attributes, he'll do things that make you shake your head, rub your eyes to make sure you saw clearly, and question his sanity. Classic example: On the way to the orchestra last year, I'm watching Jonathan attempt to get onto the Interstate. The thing is, he's in the wrong lane. Small problem, right? Wrong. The lane he's in is sporting some very quickly oncoming traffic. You know, it was ever so amusing to watch him try to hop the median to get back into our lane. *Sigh*...I love that dork :)

It's not simply that he does dorky things. Goodness gracious, I'm one of the dorkiest people of all time. But with Jonathan, it's the strange and unexpected conglomeration of such suave class and eloquence with silly seventh-grade awkwardness and airheadedness that causes one to question just how in the world Jonathan became Jonathan. I think that's one of those things that only God truly knows, and God's not telling.

posted by Bolo | 10:12 AM
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Never again. Again.

He never wasted time getting to the story. I was amazed, because Andrew is almost never that blunt and forthright in telling me how bad something went. I didn't prompt him, I didn't even ask him. He just came out and told me that it was...Chuck E. Cheese's Round 2! (You're supposed to gasp right about now. Trust me. Why? Because Round 1 was so horrificly scarring. It was done with the youth of Rolling Fields while Andrew was here. Because of that experience, we gave each other full permission to perform a full-on "gonfunnitwhatchutinkyoudoing!?!?" head slap on the other should either one of us ever walk into a Chuck E. Cheese ever again. Ever. EVER. Unless, of course, we were obliged to do so because some relative of ours tells us we must be there for their son or daughter. Then we'll comply and smile and act like we're having a good time, whilst the other fasts and prays for patience, wisdom, and strength to make it throug the event.) So. Anyway. Where was I? Oh yes. Round 2 (appropriate gasps, please)!

My sister Lisa asked Andrew to help out with YFC's "Report to the People" event. All he would be required to do was watch some kids, high school and middle school. Simple enough, right? Should be. Except, it just wasn't. Andrew ended up doing far more than watching kids, as you'll find out soon enough. He was promised a crew of guys to help unload a van full of ice and drinks. One guy helped him with one load, then bailed, which caused an hour and a half of moving the cargo to where it needed to go, which then caused a $10.50 parking bill. YFC only gave him $3.50 for parking, and he didn't have any cash on him. Doh! Where was the crew? One can only speculate.

After going home, picking up someone else who agreed to help out (a guest staying at the Uchida house, mind you), and making it back to the hotel, the real fun got started. There's a bunch of head-shakers, so I'll be brief. Three adults to watch 100 kids in one main room and two smaller rooms (one for the boy's and one for the girl's, which were SUPPOSED to be off limits to the opposite gender) and a balcony area, having to move all 100 kids at a moment's notice (several times) from the rooms down through a crowded kitchen and into the main hall with the benefit of only one service elevator, one of the people in charge asking Andrew if he could sing Ray Bolt's Thank You (the same song they've sang for the past...oh...since the song has come out, probably), since the four kids who were soloists...well...they were bad, and Andrew later found out they were only asked that day to sing it...doh! He refused to do it, by the way. What else...all 100 or so of the kids being locked out of the rooms (not Andrew's fault), which caused one of the kids to try to gain access to the room by way of the balcony, which then caused hotel security to come out and flood the area, thus scaring the heck out of the kid. Oh, and there weren't enough volunteers (any volunteers, really) at the event, so people were pulled out of the audience to help. Doh!

All through this, Andrew said he could only shake his head, smile, and laugh a little. Sometimes, he laughed a lot. When he related the day's events, I could only shake my head in disbelief. You feel sad for those involved, but after a certain point, you just ask yourself, "do they realize how bad it is?"

He told me that if ever he agreed to help out with an event like that again, I could fly home and slap him upside the head. I promised I would :) When I suggested I'd give some permanence to the tale by blogging it, he said I should - and that I could elaborate as much as I wanted to. Well, the story now being told, I can say with a clear conscience that I kept it very short...there was so much more to it than I related. Was it told to bash on YFC? Not at all. Much good has come of their ministry, and I'm grateful to the Lord for it. Was it told to show the wisdom of Andrew Uchida, who was able to keep his cool and laugh during a day where one thing went wrong after another? No, not that either, although I'm proud of him (but not surprised) for having done so. This is being told, above all, to remind the two of us of the things we'll Never Again do, but will probably end up doing, by God's sovereign hand. Again.

Hey, look on the bright side. At least I'll get to fly home :)

posted by Bolo | 8:03 PM
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Me: Yeah, I'm still at school, and it's snowing right now...we're supposed to get a couple inches tonight.

My Mom: you have a way to get home?

Me: Nope, I'll probably end up staying on campus.

Mom: Do you have somewhere to sleep?

Me: Well, I can find somewhere outside where it's warm. The heaters usually give off a pretty good amount of heat, and I'm pretty sure I can find a bench near one so I don't have to lie down in the snow.

Mom: Are you going to be ok, outside like that?

Me: Yeah, I mean, I can just bundle up with the clothes I shouldn't be too bad.

Jared in the background, voice muffled: Mom! Don't listen to him! He's staying with me tonight in my apartment!

Mom: Who's that?

Me: Oh, it's just my friend Jared...he's goofing around.

Mom: Oh, ok. Well, stay warm. I'll ask the Lord to keep you safe and warm.

Me: Ok, thanks...I'll tell Mon to call you.

That's roughly how the conversation went last Thursday night...Mon's birthday, the same night where Little John and I pushed Jared's car in the snow. When I told Andrew about it Saturday night/Sunday morning, we laughed long and hard, then agreed that our mothers are definitely cut from the same cloth. While he was on vacation here, his mom was telling him not too long ago that his grandmother (her mom) was complaining about how long it took to rewind DVD's. The thing is, Andrew's mom was telling him this so he could offer advice to his grandmother on how to speed up the rewinding process. Hehehehe :)

Mon scolded me the next day. The night it snowed, I called her right after my conversation with mom, to let her know that mom was waiting for her call. Of course, mom told Mon that I was sleeping outside at school. Try as she might, Mon couldn't convince mom that I wasn't sleeping outside, and that I would definitely have someone that would grab me and put me on a couch, at the very least. I know, I know...I'm horrible. Mon said, "you're wasting a prayer warrior's prayers!" Dang it. She always says stuff like that to appeal to my conscience. Dave and I still get a good laugh from it, though :)

It would not be fair for Andrew and I to claim our mothers are far too much alike and only bring up those qualities which make us tease them. Other than a good, hearty laugh every now and again, we've both been blessed by them through their prayers. I've told people before that what makes me a little scared about my mother dying is not the fact that she'll be gone, it's that she won't be praying for me. I won't be able to call her and vent, I won't be able to hear her pray over me, I won't be able to hear her wisdom. My mom has an inner strength about her; sometimes, she's so ditzy, I wonder if she isn't really some blonde caucasian woman trapped in a Japanese woman's body. Yet, I'm awed at what God has brought her through. If Dr. Draper is "The Man That Not Even God Can Kill," (something like 4 heart attacks, a stroke or two, two bum knees, and more) then my mom is close behind. What amazes me is that she stopped living for herself long ago...she lives for the joy of serving God, and serving others. Living in a body so wracked by pain and weakness, and a mind constantly battling depression and doubt, her life isn't one that's "fun." Still, she delights in waking up each and morning and praying for her children. How she does it, I don't know. One thing I do know: she is blessed by the fact that her son now returns her prayers. I think Andrew's mom is much the same in that respect. Both our mothers find delight in knowing their prayers have borne fruit; beautiful, majestic, sweet fruit, rooted in soil tilled by their faithful supplication, watered by their tears, nourished through their love. Yes, our mothers are very much alike.

One other thing - my mom *really* likes Andrew. She's always baking a cake for used to be just for his birthday. Now it's just for whatever. Hmmm...I don't get a cake...maybe that's 'cause I'm always lying to her...hehehehe :)

posted by Bolo | 1:19 PM
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