Saturday, October 23, 2010

The plot thickens...

It seems that new posts often come when a) I am really sad or forlorn; b) I am really tired and should be sleeping; c) excited about new prospects; d) desirous of sharing new insights; or e) any combination of the above or below. Okay!

Suffice to say, this post falls under the a and b categories. So let's get this over with so I can attempt to sleep tonight.

As most of you know, I have a desire (probably not the best word, but most readily available to my mental capacity at this present moment) to help young people-spiritually, emotionally in their day-to-day, basically in anyway that I can. Well, this year is no different (the cast may change but the plot twists are reused periodically) and I have once again found myself in a position to help.

Plot twist #1-when it comes down to to it, I am not nearly as much fun as I first appear. Allow me to explain: I feel that I am a pretty fun individual and I know how to laugh and have a good time. However, there comes a time in which it is necessary to put aside the need for fun and recognize the need for honor, integrity, and order. Part of this has come from current position, but it has also come from natural maturation that occurs (or at least should occur) as we progress through life and collect various experiences to add to our repertoire. Anyway, people who once found me to be pretty cool will eventually decide I am too much of a morally-minded individual and turn to other sources for a more balanced guidance. Maybe this is a lesson I need to learn-prior to this particular moment I have always placed the blame on the other person. Perhaps I need to think about this more before I come to a conclusion, but certainly something to ponder.

Plot twist #2-people will always let you down. I had a lot more to say but decided to just let it speak for itself.

I may continue this later, but right now I need to get some sleep.

These are our defining moments-what do they mean to you?

David A. Bell

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I Just Can't Get You Off My Mind

There are so many thoughts going through my head, right now. Most of which I can't begin to fathom.

God has revealed a great deal to me and revealed even more how little I know, despite my priding myself on my discernment. I couldn't allow these events to transpire without acknowledging them and addressing them here.

God has been using me a whole lot lately-don't ask me, I don't understand it myself. I have been in situations in which an off the cuff remark has been turned into full fledged conversation and drawn people from places about which I had no idea.

Earlier in the week, Pastor Rob was speaking about Moses and his fear of speaking publicly and saying how he wasn't eloquent and that God should send someone else in his place. Well, God says that he will send Moses' brother Aaron to speak for him; however, if you look through Exodus you will see that at no point does Aaron speak for Moses-Moses is the one who does all the speaking. Well, I was thinking about this and I was like 'surely God knew that Moses was going to be the one who would be speaking, so why offer Aaron?' The more I thought about it, the more I thought that God saw through Moses' front of being afraid to speak and saw that Moses was afraid to be alone and so God sent his brother to be there with him and provide comfort. I hadn't thought about it that way before and I was so thankful for God offering that insight to me-because how many times I have tried to cover the real issues with facades and false fronts. Here lately I have tried to break that down and to be as upfront as I can with people, no matter how blunt I may be.

Well the events of tonight are similar, but also so different; however, I am still working through them, so I won't go into detail yet. I might later, but it is really late right now and I am tired.

These are our defining moments (more than I realize),

David A. Bell

Saturday, July 31, 2010

All that work and what did it get me?

I am a swirling mass of emotions right now-nothing new, right? I am hurt, overjoyed, nervous, tired, sad, scared. I realize that now everything changes. Life kicks into gear-the good times are coming to an end. And yet there will always be that element which does not falter-the piece that has no connection.

It is through that element that I find myself at a loss tonight. On one hand, I am so thankful for the ways in which God has been working in my life. On the other hand, I don't know what to do for the bulk of it. Sometimes, all I can do is listen and offer prayer-I am genuinely pathetic. What am I doing? What am I not doing?-perhaps that is a better question.

Don't let the title fool you-this may have begun as a pity blog, but it is not that now. Through this process of writing and reflection, I have come to a place where I realize the idiocy of it all. If I am doing this for me, of course I will base the results on how it affects me. It begs the question, 'Why did I do it?' I think I am still trying to figure that out exactly, but I am certainly tired of living for myself. I am also tired of living for those who only serve to bleed me dry for their own purpose. Don't confuse this with those who need to be poured into-completely different spectra. Anyway, this is probably sounding like a broken record to most of you-the same old story told with a different pitch. Maybe you're right; but I think each time this comes around I have a new perspective and a deeper knowledge and understanding. There again, maybe not. Perhaps I am doomed to deal with similar problems all of my life-much like an endless waltz, the three beats of turmoil (war), peace, and change (revolution) going on into eternity.

And as I sit here philosophizing, I am reminded of a friend's blog in which he addressed the problem of our society and the fact that we spend too much time talking and reflecting (this is not an attack, merely a means of dialogue) and how it deadens our passion. We spend all of our time talking about doing good, and not actually doing the good we discuss.

I agree that we are not doing enough, but I am not sure the best means of correcting the situation. I can honestly say, I have a desire to help and give of myself. However, I have come to realize that my 'helping' can cause just as much harm as it can benefit.

So what should I do? Sit around and wait until all the elements are perfect and guaranteed success? μὴ γένοιτο!-loosely translated, 'No way!' If I wait around for that, I will never see it-I would be like the servant in Luke 19 who is given a mina but rather than do anything with it, he simply hides it in a handkerchief. God has a lot for me to do and I need to be willing to step up and do that work. But I am not going to stop thinking-it is just such a big part of my nature, I rarely act without thinking.

All I can do is be faithful in the work God has for me and realize that I have a role to play, but I do not have top billing.

Kairos-these are our defining moments,

David A. Bell

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Metaphysic puzzle

So I'm preaching again this weekend. A scary thought, I know.

I can't believe the summer is almost over-soon people will be returning from their various excursions and taking up their old haunt at G-dubb. I am sad to see this summer go-there have been so many amazing moments. Go has been revealing a lot to me and just allowing me to see some awesomeness. But as with all things, this too must come to an end.

But with this chapter closing, another must begin. What does this season hold for my life? I wish I knew. Do I really though? Would I feel better if I had a sneak peek at the events that would soon unfold in my life? Probably not. So I guess I can thank God that I am not aware of my future and that I am given the gift of living each day as its own. There is too much amazingness in this world to let it pass by while focusing too heavily on the future.

I may not be exactly where I want to be (both physically and metaphysically), but I am where I need to be, at least for the moment.

Kairos-these are our defining moments,

David A. Bell

Thinking of you
Wherever you are

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Yes, it's been a while. Some might say too long, I would argue that point. Regardless, here I am again.

I recently returned from a week at camp with my youth boys (and a few youth girls, too). It was beyond amazing-honestly, I cannot tell you how awesome it was to see God working in each of our lives.

It was while there that I was introduced to one of my new favorite bands-Reverchon. You should look them up and listen to their music, it is superb. One song in particular which I think struck a chord with all of us in attendance was called "Overtake Me"-it is based on the Romans 7 passage in which Paul discusses the fact that the thing he wants to do, he can't and the thing he doesn't want to do, that he keeps doing. I think one of the main reasons that it resonated with so many of us is because we can all relate to that issue. I know that I certainly can. "I've grown cold, my heart seems lost to the Great I AM, to the hallowed one." No matter how much I may want to do good, I cannot-any good I may have intended only turns to evil and further harms those around me.

Thank the LORD it is not about me. I may never hear of my impact on a person's life, nor be approached for 'saving' their life; I may never experience the amazing growth and maturation of a mentee. But God's got it. Isn't that the most comforting thing you've ever heard? To know that it is not about us! Maybe not to everyone-some may even take issue with my theology here, but I don't care. I can sit and bicker about God's role in our lives, or I can demonstrate His love and compassion. I'm not sure this is coherent or linear, but these are my thoughts right now and I feel like getting them down. So deal with it, :-b

I don't know why I expect to be praised; Jesus never told us that we would be held up and admired as heroes. In fact, as one of my best friends and one of my most favorite people in the world recently told me-'Look at Jesus, all of his closest friends deserted Him and left Him to die. Can you really expect to do better?' Honestly, no I can't.

Kairos-these are our defining moments; let's make them count,

David A. Bell

I have decided to follow Jesus
I have decided to follow Jesus
I have decided to follow Jesus
No turning back
No turning back
No turning back

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

In which the author describes a little bit about his friendships

So I had a conversation with a friend recently concerning relationships and how they play out at Gardner-Webb. Honestly, I didn't do much talking (but I feel that those are the times in which I am most effectively used) and that the person needed someone off of which to bounce some ideas. I was more than willing to be that sounding board for him.

Eventually the conversation turned at a couple of points and I found myself discussing some of my issues with the role of 'best friend' in my life. This may require a little of background, so get ready cause we're diving into David's past for a bit. Make sure you have a good supply of oxygen-there's no coming up for air where we're going.

So when I was younger I attended a Lutheran Elementary/Middle school (basically kindergarten through 8th grade). Well, ever since I could remember my time there I had been best friends with Timmy Snell. David Bell and Timmy Snell-our last names rhymed, so clearly we were destined to be best friends forever. Well for our elementary experience, we were best friends-we had sleepovers, went on adventures and hung out a whole lot. It was pretty awesome to have someone you knew you could rely on (although, I question what exactly i would need someone to rely on when I was so young...). Anyway, once we hit 5th grade, popularity and image became a lot more important. Well, I never got that memo and so I was REALLY, really lame and uncool. Now, I don't this was the only factor, but I feel it was a pretty big chunk of the falling out between Timmy and I. He basically tossed me to the curb and I was left to fend for myself. Luckily, there were some other classmates who I connected with and it wasn't the end of my world, but I never found another best friend character throughout middle school.

Well, high school comes along and to make a long and boring story short-I had no best friend in high school either. There were a couple of people that I grew close to, but no one who I felt was someone I could rely on and turn to in times of trouble. Similar story for my first year at G-Dubb.

However, my sophomore year comes along and I find friends, who I might classify as the closest thing to best friends that I have. Now they weren't perfect and they don't fulfill the complete image I have in my mind of a best friend, but they are definitely people I can rely on and with whom I have shared a WHOLE lot of memories. I think they know who they are-TI4.

We skip ahead a bit to a conversation I was having with someone who I classify as my smartest friend and discussing the issue of a best friend. I pointed to David and Jonathan's relationship (a popular reference for people to use in regards to male friendships) and complained that I wanted a friend who I could trust like David and Jonathan trusted each other (I needed a Jonathan!). Well, my brilliant friend pointed to the fact that David didn't start with the relationship with Jonathan; no, he spent years alone in the fields with the sheep, with just God and the sheep as his company. Before I even try to find someone to be my 'best friend' I need to make sure that God is my real 'best friend' and that my relationship with Him is solidified before I go looking to someone else.

You may not agree with this assessment, you may even think it sounds childish and ridiculous. And that's fine-that's your opinion. However, I have found great comfort in this, but also a great challenge-what is my motivation for the things I do? Is it to further my relationship with God? Or is seeking for meaning from inadequate sources?


"David was the youngest. Now the three oldest followed Saul, but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father's flock at Bethlehem." I Samuel 17:14-15

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Yesterday I was reminded of how blessed I truly am, and yet I still complain about minute details. This is not to say they are insignificant, for in all reality they are very important to me, but that's not much I can do to influence the results-so they become minute.

Job is an amazing individual. Plain and simple; even if you are not religious, you have to admit that Job provides a great example for enduring trials. If you haven't read Job, you should pick it up. But and I think I've given this advice before, you have to be in a "good place"; if you are torn up this book will rip you further. There again maybe that's what it takes-maybe you need to be destroyed so you can be rebuilt into something new.

One of my friends pointed me to the 13th chapter, verse 15 in which Job says that even if God were to kill him, still Job would have faith and hope in Him. I am still in awe of the power of that statement. I have difficulty trusting people in general, but even more so when they give me a reason not to trust them. So the idea of trusting someone even if they 'cause' bad things to happen to you astounds me. I can't do it.

Now, I am a very forgiving person. I always tell people, there will never be a time where I don't love you-I will always love you; I may not like you, but I will always love you. But that's about the only thing they get; from that moment on I will regard them with hesitation-whether they realize it or not.

Job had it all and lost it all. Yet, he remained secure in his faith. That, my friends, is strength.


"Though He slay me, I will hope in Him." Job 13:15

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Jealousy and 'fitting in'. These may be the biggest struggles in my life. I am a thoroughly jealous person and do not really do well with the whole popular thing.

So, for the past few weeks, I have been sending a few of my friends Bible verses through text messages. Now this is as much for me as it is for them (in fact, it is probably more for me than for them). This is all well and good, yeah? but what is the effective ends of this? Does it inspire the recipients to reflect on the passage and take time to think about the Word? Is it just one more wave in a sea of endless texts, one that is quickly forgotten/ignored as life goes on?

Is there more I should be doing? Would it be effectual for me to do anything else? or would it also just be ignored? I don't know. Clearly. But I have been thinking lately about whether I am making a difference or not. I spoke with one of my Grad friends and she assured me that I was most certainly making a difference-although in a different manner than I was thinking. This was eye-opening for me! I had become so focused on the future and on certain aspects of my life, that I was absolutely neglecting other portions of who I am and what I do. It was nice to hear the affirmation, but even better to be reminded that I need to live here and now and not get bogged down by Satan's ploys.

Really, it all comes down to my focus. If my focus is not on God, then how can I know the path He is calling me to follow? Sure, I can guess and grope around in the dark, but I've never really been the kind of person to go into something unprepared and lost. Why should my life be any different? I am tired of letting my emotions change as often as the time; though all the world desert me, still my God loves me.

Later, gator


“What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.” -Albert Pine

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Reflections from Easter break

So people have been asking about my blog lately-so I figured I could give you guys something.

Have you ever just cared so much for the well-being of another person that you were willing to give up everything you had in order to better their life? I imagine parents feel this for their children (I say 'imagine' because not being a parent, I can't say for sure). I know this is how God feels for us.

A lot of you will probably find this ridiculous, but I find myself caring far greater about other people and their welfare than my own. I always envisioned my death being a means of salvation for someone else in some form or other. I often look for ways to serve-lead by example; demonstrate my love through service.

There are thousands of opportunities for us to live as examples. But we don't always take them-sometimes, we purposely avoid them. We want to be seen as cool, rather than be a good model. Sometimes, we convince ourselves if we can just get an in, then we can change them through those actions. And maybe we can-I don't know, I clearly don't hold all the answers despite what some may believe.

Anyway, I have recently been thinking about taking some steps to help someone in need. Idk why I am writing this in the blog, I mean you don't know the person or the situation, but I guess it is comforting to know that I have spoken about it-it makes it more real to me. But it may not happen anyway, who knows? Regardless, this person will continue to be in my prayers and I ask that you guys keep me in your prayers concerning this.

I know it's not much and it's kind of random/scattered, but it's my blog so get over it :-P

Later, gator


"Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his for his friends." John 15:13

Friday, March 5, 2010

Role Models

Why am I writing this blog? Mostly it is as a means of finding clarity within my thoughts. Also, it is a way of working through issues that I am dealing with, as well as those I see prevalent throughout my community. There again, I write so that you will read it and reflect on it; find some nugget hidden deep within it and find something of value (intrinsic or otherwise).

As most of you know, I am an avid fan of Star Wars-probably not the biggest fan, but perhaps the biggest fan I know (Trey is probably up there, too). Well, I am reading a book from the series 'Legacy of the Force' and it brings up a great deal of questions for me. Right now, there is a thirteen year-old boy who has come face to face with death-he is responsible for killing two people, one armed and the other unarmed. He is also a Jedi, sworn to defend and promote peace-yet, he is being used to propagate war and destruction. All because he idolizes his older cousin, who is also a Jedi.

Has this ever happened to you? Allowing yourself to fall deeper and deeper into an unsavory position all because of idolization of another individual? I know that I have gone down this road; I was young and impressionable and didn't want to lose the perceived connection I had with the person. For this reason (as well as others), I find that I am a huge advocate for mentors and positive role models for young adults. There are too many bad influences in today's society to simply ignore these formative years. Most of you know my strong commitment to discipleship and my desire to see good Christian examples stand up and help guide their younger peers.

It is so easy to get lost in the glitz and glamour of the world and to ignore the less flashy life we lead. But don't give up on your example-even if you see no results, don't throw in the towel. You may be planting a seed that someone else will harvest; it may seem thankless at times, but remember those who receive accolades here on earth have have gotten their share.

I would like to close with these two things: 1)I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to invest in someone else and to pour into their life when they needed an example like you; 2)I want to thank all those who have poured into my life and helped me to be the man I am today-flawed, though I be; fallible, though I be-God still uses me.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Where, o death, is your sting? Where, o death, is your victory?

I have experienced quite a lot of death in the past year(ish). It is definitely something I would rather not have to deal with, but as people always say, death is a part of life. So in this post I am going to walk through some of the pain that I have concerning death and losing loved ones. Hopefully, it will help.

I lost two of my grandparents before I could really remember much-my mom's mom and my dad's dad. I never knew my maternal grandmother and all the memories I have of my paternal grandfather come from pictures. I recently found out this past Christmas that I was actually in England when my paternal grandfather died and I could have seen him before he died, but my aunts/uncles didn't want us to be there and get upset. I was really upset to hear that I could have been there in my grandfather's last moments, but I was kept away. I guess that is kind of the story of all of my family deaths.

My maternal grandfather died when I was still young-maybe ten, I'm not really sure. He died in England, while my family was in Florida. I was young and asked whether it was mom's dad or dad's dad-I couldn't remember. Well, this upset my mom and my older brother snapped at me-that is probably the most vivid part of my memory of my maternal grandfather's death. I didn't go to the funeral service or memorial or anything-I had school and things to take care of in the states, but my mom went. I guess I am kind of curious now as to how it went, I wasn't then.

Intermittent throughout the rest of my adolescence were deaths, but they were friends of my parents and it didn't really affect me. I was till under the impression that I was invincible and that death wasn't likely to happen to me.

Perhaps the hardest death I have experienced happened last January. Last year was my first year in the School of Divinity and my very first class in Graduate School was New Testament I with Dr. Goodman. I had heard a lot of horror stories from students about difficult the class was going to be and ho hard I would have to work just to get even a B. The limited experience I had in encounters with Dr. Goodman, he just seemed to have an unbelievable presence and it was clear that this man knew what he was talking about; I was more than a little intimidated. So when I first walked into class, I spent the first class worried to death that I was going to fail the class or else say something stupid and be made a fool in front of this genius of a man. Well as the year went on, I was not so stressed about this class and I actually fell in love with Dr. Goodman’s teaching style and his overflowing wealth of knowledge. I never dreaded getting up at 7 on Monday mornings and I was always eager to hear what new mind-shattering information Dr. Goodman had to tell us that day. It was easily my favorite class that semester. In fact, I was upset when I heard that Dr. Goodman would be taking a sabbatical and would not be teaching in the Spring-I wanted to take as many classes as I could with this man! Almost everyday before class started, Dr. Goodman would read a selection from a sermon or piece written by Frederick Buechner and I couldn’t get enough of what this man had to say; sometimes I felt that he was speaking directly to me. For my birthday, a friend of mine bought me a collection of Buechner’s work as a daily devotional-it was amazing! And I was so excited to tell Dr. Goodman about it; however, my birthday was during exams and I never found time between studying for and taking exams and dealing with my residents in my building to go and talk to Dr. Goodman about it. No problem, I would catch one day when he came in next semester.
The next semester started and life, as always was stressful at the beginning of the semester, so once again I did not have much free time. And then I received a phone call on January thirteenth from Meagan Allen asking if I had heard about Dr. Goodman. I said no and asked what happened. She told me that he had had a heart attack; I asked if he was ok. She said no, and that he had died. I just broke down.
Granted I had not known Dr. Goodman as much as some of the other students and faculty, but in the small amount of time in which I knew him, he had had a huge impact on my life and I couldn’t believe he had died. I would never get another opportunity to tell him how much I loved his class or the fact that I was reading Buechner. Death was a foreign concept to me; I had lost grandparents, but I was too young to really remember their deaths. I went to class that day numb, not sure what to expect from the faculty or the students. When I got there, there wasn’t the usual bustle, instead everyone sat silently-not sure what to do. Dr. Canoy came in and gave some detail about how it happened and told us about a memorial service at 1 in the chapel. Then he told us we could leave and left himself. I didn’t know what to do; I was too stunned to just get up and leave. So I just sat in my seat and started crying. Claire Torrence was sitting beside me and offered me a tissue and we just sat there crying for I don’t know how long. Eventually I gathered myself enough to get up and walk back to my room; however, I knew I couldn’t sit in my room by myself, so I went to lunch in the cafeteria. Probably not the best idea, as I said before people can usually tell when something is wrong and so I spent my time in the cafeteria crying to my friends when they asked what was up. After lunch I went over to the chapel and found a seat next to a friend and once again started crying as people began sharing their stories about Dr. Goodman. I don’t think I have ever cried more in my life than I did that day. Death is not something I like to deal with, especially when it is premature.
When I had gotten over the initial grief of Dr. Goodman’s death (which lasted a number of days), I shifted to anger. It is very difficult to find comfort in God when you are experiencing so much pain and hurt. I was angry at the fact that people didn’t care; that they lived their lives as if nothing had happened. I was angry that we were starting up classes again so quickly, without giving students and faculty time to collect themselves. I was angry with every Sunday School answer that people gave me about death and how Dr. Goodman was in a better place, or my favorite ‘God must have needed him more than we did’. But most of all I was angry at God; angry that he took someone who I really admired and sought to learn from, angry that he had taken him when he was still young leaving behind a wife and two growing boys. I was angry that God wouldn’t answer my questions that I continued to raise before Him. I was so angry that I stopped talking with God; if he wasn’t going to talk to me, why should I bother talking to Him? Not only that but if I did have a good day, I felt guilty because I felt like I should be constantly mourning the loss of Dr. Goodman. I felt like no one understood what I was going through and so I kept it all inside, showing outwardly that I was upset, but choosing not to reveal what was going on and my anger about Dr. Goodman’s death.
Somehow I made it day by day (don’t ask me how, for the most part I don’t remember the specifics of those days) and managed to go on with life. However, I never let go of that anger and almost hatred that I held for God. Each week dragged by with friends constantly asking me how I was and me shrugging it off and saying I was just having a bad day and that everything would be ok. It wasn’t until Dr. Qualls asked to sit down and have lunch together that I realized how impossible it was for me to come to terms with this event if I didn’t turn to God. The more I ignored Him and went out of my way to be angry at Him, the less I would be able to heal and find comfort. After lunch, I decided it was time to talk to God again. I went to Dover Chapel and went into the prayer room just to the left as you enter. I grabbed a Bible and just opened it; it was one of those devotional bibles that have sections devoted to various topics. The page I opened to spoke about God answering if we seek after Him, referencing the verses in Matthew about knocking, etc. Well, I do not believe in coincidence, so I knew there was some importance to this, so I got on my knees and just began pouring out to God, asking my questions and seeking some comfort. Well, a few hours passed (it didn’t feel like I had been there that long) and even though I didn’t have the answers to my questions, I did have an overwhelming feeling of comfort-something I hadn’t felt in a very long time.

Even as I write this now, I find tears coming to my eyes, every time I think about it, I can't help but feel the pain and sorrow that surrounded me during that time.

Well, a few months down the road, my paternal grandmother was not doing well. She was dealing with broken bones that would never heal, as well as memory loss. She couldn't recognize her children or grandchildren. Once again, I was not able to visit her before she died in April. Not only that, but I was away from my family. I was torn apart. I broke down a lot during this time, especially to one particular friend (of whom I am greatly appreciative) and didn't want to be around people. However, I will say that if I had not experienced the death earlier in the year-I don't know how I would have handled it when my grandmother died. I did not get to go the funeral service, however, it was recorded on a tape and my family and I listened to it over the summer. It still hurts, but I refuse to fall into despair.

Death hurts. Period. It is never easy to lose someone you love and be expected to go about things normally. My advice is to take the time to grieve; find someone you can cry to, scream to, pray with, take comfort from. But most importantly, don't turn from God-it doesn't remove the hurt and only furthers the feelings of isolation. "It is in those moments, my son, when I carried you."

In memory of all the loved ones lost,


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

When Peace like a river attendeth my way....

Hey there blogging world! So it has recently come to my attention that apparently people talk about my blog-that is very strange for me. Really this is a means of me working through some stuff in my life and occasionally providing inspiration or to encourage thought. So when I see that people are genuinely interested in what I say, it kind of baffles me. So thanks for reading and I hope you know you can talk to me in person if you have any questions, etc.

So I have found peace recently. If you have been reading my blog you know that I was going through some hurt here lately. Let me clear something up-there is no one particular person or incident which lead to that blog post. I was having a really bad night and needed to vent-and when those kinds of nights happen, I blog about it, get over it and find peace with God's help. So for those who were wondering, yes, I am doing much better and I am actually quite happy right now.

No matter how much stuff I've got going on in my life, whenever I get the opportunity to work with youth, my life just seems to fall into place and those stresses seem to disappear. I don't know, helping/mentoring people is kind of a means of recharging for me and so I really enjoy it.

Peace is not contingent on my surroundings or the people in my life, so there is no reason I should let them influence my own peace.

Later, gator


Saturday, February 20, 2010

With Kind of a Heavy Heart...

A while back, I wrote about encouragement and my desire to be an encouraging person. Well, while speaking with some people today, they referred to me as an encourager, saying that I have been encouraging them, etc. That was possibly the highlight of my day. Does that make me an egotistical person? Probably. But it meant so much to me to know that I am making an impact and affecting lives here on campus.

There again, we are not called to seek earthly rewards and so I shouldn't seek after those kinds of recognition. I don't know. I am fairly insecure and so I kind of desire those words of affirmation. So yeah it was nice to hear.

I am hurting. A lot. Like a lot, a lot. I am hurting from a change in my life; I am hurting for the problems that others are facing; I am hurting because I don't see people anymore. I am crying out in pain-to no one. The people who I wish would listen either don't understand or don't care. They are so focused on themselves that they can't hear what I am going through. They expect me to be able to listen to them (without fully addressing the real issue(s)) and give advice/guidance on a situation I don't fully comprehend-nor do I think they are willing to heed my advice (not that they necessarily should). I am hurt that people say that can come to me, yet when they need to talk about something-it seems they go to everyone but me. Even people they don't really know-seeking counsel there and completely blowing me off. I am hurt by the duplicity that I seen so rampant on this campus and on this Earth.

I am hurt by the changes I see taking place. I am full of hurt. That hurt is not going anywhere because the people who can help me, won't; and the people who want to help, can't. There is one other person I know I could rely on for support and help, but that person is so overloaded right now, there is no way (s)he would be able to help.

I was told today that I don't have a lot on my plate and can't understand why other people who do have a lot can't make time. Maybe they were right, but I know what it is like to be overloaded and yet I was still able to make time for those friends who needed me. So don't tell me you don't have time-if something/someone is important to you, you will make time.

Life sucks,


Thursday, February 18, 2010

I'll be there for you, when the rain starts to fall. I'll be there for you, like I been there before.

I came to a depressing realization the other day. I imagine you are probably curious what that realization was (well, even if you aren't I'm gonna expound on it anyway-feel free to stop reading if you don't care to know). I was walking along the quad and thinking about friendships and former students of GWU, yada yada. Well, as I thinking about this, I was like, "Man, I wish friendships were like they were on TV. The friends of 'Friends' were great friends for all those years," That's when the realization hit me-"but even after ten years those friends went their separate ways and started lives apart from one another."

Even the sparkling Hollywood version of friendship comes to an end, what hope is there for us average Americans? I don't know. As most of you know I am sort of a 'friendship junkie', I need my fix of people if I am to make it through. My absolute biggest fear is to be alone and have no friends.

"Don't worry, David, you're never alone if you have Jesus!" Well, thanks. That makes it all better. But seriously, I am so glad that Jesus is a part of my life and I know that in times of sadness and loneliness I can turn to Him, but I like to have other people here on Earth with whom I can talk.

But I guess the silver lining is, that just because friends leave, it doesn't mean they have to depart from your life. Case in point, my friend Spaz. I haven't seen her in like 4 years, but we still have conversations and talk (not nearly as much as we should, or I would like).

So I guess friendships don't have to end, as long as you are willing to put forth the effort to keep the friendship alive.

Later, gator


p.s. I didn't realize how many people on campus are fans of 'Kingdom Hearts'. Go figure

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Life in the Mushroom Kingdom

You must be Mario, cause you just got 1up'd. It is a cute phrase which refers back to the Super Mario Bros. video game franchise and the times in which you're character would get an extra life. But that's the ultimate goal of life, right? To assert your opinions/views/achievements as better than someone else's and to essentially one-up them.

Life is a competition-you either win or lose, there are no ties. How does one win this game, you ask? Why, by belittling others and positioning yourself at the forefront- "unless you're the lead dog, the view never changes." In order to validate ourselves, we need to push others underneath us(perhaps even 'under the bus') and use them as stepping stones to prominence.

Well, I wish it didn't have to be like that. I am kind of a polar opposite when it comes to competitive spirit-at some times, I am competitive beyond reason and at other points I couldn't care less whether I win or lose. "But competition is good, it helps us separate the wheat from the chaff."-Really? I guess that's true, especially if you view people as chaff. If you view certain people as less important, than it is only natural that you would want them to be tossed aside.

This is a prevalent factor in church. Different denominations who don't get along; churches of the same denomination who argue and bicker because one uses NIV while the other uses NASB. Congregations fighting over 'new recruits' in order to insure that there sanctuary is more full than the church next door.

It's also in our daily lives. Friends tearing down another in order to demonstrate their excellence in that particular facet of life. Classmates ragging on you because you scored lower than they did on a test. Parents constantly comparing their children to one another and to themselves. Coworkers flaunting their achievements in front of your boss and painstakingly detailing your own shortcomings.

Does any of this sound familiar? If not, count yourself blessed. If yes, count yourself blessed. Blessed that you have endured and come through that time with who you are still intact. If you are currently in that time and the darkness seems too great; please don't give up-I know it sucks and it hurts. I know that everyday you feel beaten and bruised-like your next step could be your last. It isn't fair. I know. I'm sorry. Really all I can say to you is to echo what Chris Rice wrote in one of his songs:
"Sometimes the way is lonely and steep and filled with pain; so if your sky is dark and pours the rain-then cry to Jesus, cry to Jesus, cry to Jesus and live."

You're right, I must be Mario. But, honestly, I'm ok with that. For now.

Psalm 43:5 -"Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God."

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

No Power of Hell, No Scheme of Man

I think the night was best summed up by my friend, Adam (Barnes), "It's interesting how many Freshmen there were." A little back story, you ask? Certainly:

Tonight, like most Tuesdays, played host to the Verge (for those who have followed my blog for a while (or go to G-Dubb) you know what this is, for newcomers: it is a student-led/driven/focused worship experience) and it was particularly student-led as Neal provided a time in which students could go up and share something in their lives that demonstrated God's working/provision. Well as can be expected there were quite of number of stories shared tonight and, as Adam said, a good deal of the stories came from Freshmen.

At first, I was really excited! Here are some amazing young men and women of God willing to stand up and share their faith/testimony/struggles/whatever. I'm telling you there is a revival stirring on campus and like each year there are two paths down which this revival can travel-genuine revival/renewal or driving the community further into the depths and weakening the body of Christ.

That second path is where my second reaction leads to-if it is only the underclassmen/freshmen/new students who are one fire and participatory, this revival will fail. It must be a campus wide event! It cannot be particular to one group or class-we must all join together and support each other; for if this is a revival, you better believe that satan will try to throw everything he can at us to distract and try to separate us and prevent this revival/renewal.

So why am I saying all of this? Basically, I am calling everyone to pray for the campus and the revival that is stirring. Tell people who you can count on to pray to be in prayer for this, come to prayer meetings before the Verge, take time to sit in the prayer room at 2 in the morning and offer a quick prayer. In addition, live your faith-don't be afraid to stand up for what you believe in and to proclaim it from the rooftops! Don't let this fire that has begun inside of us to flicker out-let it burn wildly and fervently, engulfing your entire life and being.

But perhaps most important of all-find a group that you can rely on for support. I can attest to the positive impact that a good support group can have on your spiritual walk. We are called to communal life and while we can never fill the void in our lives with human relationships, they do allow us a means of surviving day to day life. As the author of Hebrews notes, "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Heb 10:25)The devil is gonna try to attack us and we are much easier targets when we are alone and isolated.

All this to say, please don't let the fire that I feel on this campus be extinguished because of apathy or lethargy. I'll leave you with this quote:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others."
A Return to Love - Marianne Williamson


Life is what you make of it

Job is a pretty remarkable guy. Even when all has been taken from him and he has been inflicted with skin problems and tormented he still remains faithful to God. Even when his friends turn against him and tell him it is clear that he is at fault and living in sin, he does not lose sight. I can't say whether or not I would have that kind of strength. I would like to think that I do, but honestly, I think/feel deep down that I do not.

I am heavily dependent upon relationships, something I am perhaps trying to wean myself off of (maybe, maybe not). This dependence was made clear once again today at lunch-I won't go into detail because the details are not important to the story-just suffice to say that I need friends. However, there are some relationships that I have tried to make peace about and be ok with where it is. Yet, it seems every time I come close to finding peace about it, the wound is reopened and I am expected to be fine with it. I feel a little like Job (man, how self-pitying does that sound?) in this regard; no matter how much I want the wound to heal and for me to move on with my life, for some reason I am not meant to move on. There must be a reason why I am unable to just put it behind me. I don't know if any of that makes sense but that's how I feel right now.

Anyway, like Job I will do my best to maintain focus on God and His provision in my life. There are lots of things I would love to be different in my life-some things made to happen more expediently, others taken completely from my life. But hey, I figure God knows what I can handle and so these things are happening for a reason. Sometimes I just wish I could affect certain areas of my life more acutely and effectively. Oh well, c'est la vie.

I know I didn't say that much in this post, but I might post again later. Who knows? I just wanted to say something-so here it is.

I'm thankful that people don't hold their first impressions of me against me.

Later, gator


Monday, February 1, 2010

Friendship cheesecake

Hey guys! Tonight was an interesting night, one that would not have been possible had it not been for the snow that is still covering most of GWU's campus. So I guess the snow is ok. Anyway, I had dinner at my friend Heather's apt, along with Brittany, Brad and Krystal. It was a whole lot of fun-I really enjoyed the food and we had friendship cheesecake (which was AMAZING!).

My favorite part of the whole experience: I turn to Heather and ask, "Did you get the cheesecake mix from Wal-Mart?" The looks at me, points to her closet and says, "It came from in there." I couldn't help but laugh out loud. I thought she meant that it had been when she moved into the Apartment-last August-and so I was like, "How old is this?" Brittany says, "Too late now, you're eating it." Then Heather cleared it up and said that she had bought it, just not today with some of the other things she had bought.

It is those little misunderstandings that convince me each day that my life is amazing.

Later, gator


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"I hate it!....but I don't."-Adam Velez

I enjoy soap operas. I enjoy the over the top acting, the hyperbolic characterizations, and even the sudden 'resurrection of lost twin' plot twists. Now I don't watch soap operas religiously; in fact, I really only watch them for a few minutes while in the cafeteria or while running on the treadmill at the gym. But once I start to watch, it is difficult to turn away from them.

I have recently come to the realization that my life is a soap opera. Definitely not as remarkable as 'Passions' or even as engaging as 'The Young and the Restless', but a soap opera nonetheless. There are people who stab others in the back for seemingly no reason; factions who split and come to loathe one another. Heck, there is even the occasional sex scandal. Honestly, part of me thoroughly enjoys the dramatics of it all (mostly the fact that I can sit back and laugh at the improbability of it all), while another part of me cannot stand any part of it-it is a thin line I walk.

I am tired of the secrets, the lies, the duplicity, the back-stabbing, the mistrust, the exclusion, the deception and (perhaps most of all) the pretending that everything is ok, when it is not. Don't insult me and lie to my face when I know there is something going on. If you don't want to talk about it, that's one thing (a thing which I think is stupid-find somebody to talk to about it if it's not me), but don't try to convince you are ok when there is clearly pain and hurt in your life-I am not oblivious.

So often, we attempt to take care of our problems ourselves-I don't know why, maybe it is all ever see on TV or experience in life. Maybe it's a fear of the possible pain that could come from opening up to someone. But I think the most likely answer is the fear of rejection or judgement from that person. Most people don't care-it's the truth. So when you try to open up to them, they don't know how to handle it or what to do-they don't even know how to listen. Nobody likes to feel that they are not being listened to, so they just don't talk about what is going on.

For me, the most frustrating thing is the fact that I want to listen and I want to be there for people, but it is rare when a person will open up to me about a situation and allow me to sit with them. Sometimes, I just want to scream, "You don't have to go through this alone! Let me in, let me help! I may not be able to do much, but I can at least share some of the weight with you." Often, people will mention that something is going on, but they will not divulge any more information, saying they'll "be ok".

As I write this, I am reminded of a song by The Pretenders, redone by Carrie Underwood and featured on the show Glee called 'I'll Stand by you'. For a long time now, I have looked for someone to offer to stand by me and help through those dark times; in part God has filled this role in my life both with His presence and by sending select people who I know I can rely on. People I would never have thought to turn to for support. And I guess, I kind of want to feel needed or significant-to know that people can turn to me when they are hurting or need support. But as one of my good friends says, "You can't want more for a person, than they want for themselves."

I realize how hypocritical this will probably sound to most of you, noting how I do not readily open up about my own hurt-and I have been sitting here for a while trying to justify this, but I can't. I simply know that God has given me an ability and a desire to listen and I want to be able to make use of these things the best that I can.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lanch Party

This evening I joined one of my friends on an adventure, an adventure to the number 8 rated Gamestop in the country. You see there was a new video game (Mass Effect 2) that was to be released at Midnight and my friend was eager to own it. Well, none of our other friends wanted to accompany him to this "Launch Party" and I wasn't really doing anything-so I said yeah I would go. Little did I know what my night would hold for me.

When I arrived it was like returning to a world I had once abandoned. I heard the conversations from the other customers and recognized the general idea of what they talking about, but did not understand the specific details. I remember a time when I was as involved in video games as these people were-so absorbed in the world that I prided myself in every minute piece of knowledge that I could parade in front of my friends.

Honestly, though, it did not instill within me a desire to return to that life; I am not the person I was in high school and even in college. However, I know that if I wanted to, I could easily fall back into that group and become a fanatic once again.

It was a weird night, but an enjoyable one, don't get me wrong. My favorite part was when I was told that if I attempted to take a poster that another customer wanted I would be stabbed and left to die-hilarious...

I am thankful for the great memories I have playing video games.

Later, gator


p.s. The title of this post is a reference to an episode of 'The Office', did you catch it?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Missed Opportunities

So when I sat down to write this blog I had no idea what I was going to talk about. But as I looked through my 'reading list' of other blogs, I came across one written by my friend Amy in which she quotes a prayer of Dr. Goodman. Suffice to say, my eyes are no longer dry. Well, I wanted to post that prayer as well, so here it is:

"May the Lord bless you and keep you,
may the Lord make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you.
May God give you the grace never to sell yourself short.
May God give you the grace to risk
something big for something good.
And may God give you the grace to remember that
the world now is too dangerous for anything but truth,
and too small for anything but love.
May God take your minds and think through them;
may God take your lips and speak through them,
and may God take your hearts and set them on fire.
Through our Father, through his Son,
and through the Holy Spirit.
Go in peace and be blessed.
You are Christ's, church. Amen."

-Dr. Daniel E. Goodman, Jan 4, 2009

So much of who I am and what I believe today has been shaped and informed by this man and I never got the opportunity to thank him for that, or even tell him how much he influenced me. I feel part of me will always regret that.

Tell someone how important they are to you, you never know when it will be your last opportunity.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

"When I am down and, oh, my soul so weary; when troubles come and my heart burdened be..."

"I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth." -Psalm 121:1-2

I have been thinking about these verses for a few days now and then last night at Zoar, John spoke on this Psalm and suggested that we meditate for a few minutes on the verse and see what struck us. So, I am going to share some of my thoughts on this verse with you guys.

Here is the whole Psalm:
"I lift up my eyes to the hills-where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip-He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you-the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm-he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." -Psalm 121

The first thing that stuck out in my mind was in verse 3 when the Psalmist says that "He who watches over you will not slumber"-I know that I sometimes forget that; that God doesn't sleep, that He is always there for us, watching over us. There are times that I feel that I am not as efficient as I could be because I can't handle every situation that arises, whether it be because I am tired or exhausted or whatever. But I find it a huge comfort to know that God never experiences fatigue and that He will never turn me away, saying He is too tired to deal with me today.

Next was this idea about the sun and moon not harming us. I think this stuck out because of its obscurity-I have never really thought about the sun (and certainly not the moon) causing me harm. What I drew from this was the idea that God is protecting us even from those things which seem innocent and unlikely to cause harm. There are lots of things in our world which seem innocuous, but actually present a great danger; for example, a simple word spoken to a friend. It seems innocent enough, just an off the cuff remark to someone and yet that comment gets spread around and changed and that simple comment can tear relationships apart. So for me, it is comforting to know that God will be there for me, even when I think I know best and jump headfirst into trouble.

Finally, in the last verse when the Psalmist comments that the Lord watches our coming and going. For me it is nice to know that God is there when I come and when I go; once again He doesn't leave me nor forsake me.

So yeah, I had been thinking about the first two verses even before John spoke about I think it is God calling out to me. I have not been as devoted in my relationship with Him as I should be and I know that He is calling out to me, seeking to reconnect and invigorate our relationship.

I am thankful that God is always seeking after me, even when I lose sight of Him.

Later, gator


Sunday, January 10, 2010

"Do you ever get the feeling you were meant to do something extraordinary?"

I wanted to post something today, let you guys know that I am alive and well in good ol' BS. It is nothing profound, so don't expect your mind to be blown.

I am not going to lie, sometimes (times like now) I sit in front of my computer debating what to write about. I will write an entire paragraph and decide it isn't good enough, so I'll erase the whole thing. I am afraid of appearing ignorant or simple when I write these blogs-I respect you guys and value your opinion, so I don't want you guys to see me in a weak position or to expose my faults to you.

So, as I write these blogs, it is constantly running through my head what people will think as they read. But you know what? I just feel like talking tonight, so that's what this blog is going to be: some of my ramblings.

I really want to be an encourager. And to an extent I feel that I am. Maybe. I also want to receive encouragement. I feel that to an extent I am. But there could be more-on both sides. So I am going to try something-I am going to keep a list of all the times that I encourage people, the times I am encouraged, and the times I could have encouraged someone but didn't. I would appreciate it, if when you saw me, you asked how the encouraging was going-kind of a means of keeping me focused, as well as an opportunity to encourage. Part of me feels like this is a huge undertaking, while another part feels it isn't going to be that big of a deal-we'll see, I guess.

I also really want to be a Jedi or a Super Hero. Maybe one day....

I am thankful for mandatory fun-times, that actually turn out to be fun.

Later, gator


Monday, January 4, 2010

'Sometimes, you gotta put your behind in the past.'

Hello, again. Today is my dad's birthday, so I will start this post by wishing him a happy birthday: Happy Birthday Dad!

Ok, so last night my siblings and I (Stephen and Elaine (Alan wasn't here)) were looking through our high school yearbooks. There were a lot of memories contained within those few pages-messages left by friends, pictures speaking 1,000 words, etc. Well, as I looked through these yearbooks, I was hit by a monstrous wave of nostalgia and a deep desire to go back and spend some time as that high school senior/junior and see my friends again.

Today, my brother and I (again it was Stephen, Alan is still not here) watched the movie '17 Again' (coincidence? I think not-as I have said before: there are no coincidences, just small miracles God uses to make people happy (with an addendum) and/or to speak to them). In this movie, Mike O'Donnel wishes he could go back to being a high school senior and relive his 'heyday'. Well, his wish comes true....but I won't spoil the movie for those who haven't seen it, but I enjoyed it.

Well, as I sit here reflecting on these past few days, I can't help but feel a connection to Mike. I, too, wanted to be able to go back and enjoy my high school life; however, one important distinction needs to be made-my high school experience was not as amazing as his seemed to be. In fact, I definitely would not want to relive high school at all. Honestly, I just want to be able to remember those experiences and maybe connect with those friends who I once held a lot closer. I don't know....Sometimes, I just have to sit back and stare amazedly at how God works in my life. It was only a few moments ago, when I saw the connection between the events of last night and today-God is unfathomable. Kind of ironically, as I was walking the neighborhood today, I was contemplating about blogging today and what to write about; well, I decided to talk about '17 Again', but I was going to say that even though I had enjoyed it, it was one of the few movies in which there was no deeper meaning that I found.....wrong again.

'A discerning man keeps wisdom in view, but a fool's eyes wander to the ends of the earth.'-Proverbs 17:24

I am thankful for music.

Later, gator


Sunday, January 3, 2010

"Don't get hung up on meaningless distinctions"

Hey, I know it's been a while, but honestly, you should just be happy that I am even writing this at all. I told you before how horrible I am at writing these kinds of things and following them through. Anyway, my break has been really good and I am kind of sad to see it go, but I know that I will find many other happy moments in the future to come-so I'm not too sad. I hope you all have enjoyed the break as well, some more than others I can suspect.

So as you guys know, I am a pretty big Star Wars fan (and no, it is not my only geek outlet-I have far more) and so this holiday I set the goal to finish the series, The New Jedi Order (partly because my friend Trey(hey, Trey) really wanted me to read further in the series and be able to have conversations with him about this stuff, but also because I have been reading this series for like 6 years or something like....don't judge). Anyway, I will not be able to finish the series because I have 5 books left in the series, but access to the next 2 only. This frustrates me, but alas, there's not much that can be done about it-so I move on.

Well, in these books there is a character named Jacen Solo who has recently suffered the loss of his younger brother, as well as the separation from the rest of his family and friends. To top it off, his galaxy is being invaded by a race of aliens who seek to destroy all the Jedi (of whom he is one) and to change the galaxy to suit their needs.

So he is actually captured by these aliens and placed in a thing called 'The Embrace of Pain'; you can probably guess what it did, but just in case-it basically caused whoever was 'in it' to experience an unbelievable amount of pain, but never to the point of death. And rather than go on to explain it further, I will just say this: he had to learn how to deal with pain and grief.

Now I can't say for sure because, as I said, I have not finished the series, however, I feel that Jacen did not adequately deal with those issues. In fact, I know that he didn't. Pain is there for a reason-to teach you, or stop you from making the same mistake. But Jacen 'learns' to ignore the pain and not let it affect him.

As was made even more clear to me today through a friend, pain/hurt/grief is a very real thing for us as humans, perhaps one of the things that distinguishes us as such. So to completely ignore it and to disregard emotions and feelings is to lose, at the very least, a piece of your humanity. And for Jacen, this will more than likely prove to be far more devastating than for those of us who are not force-sensitive (no matter how much we may wish we were.........)-it will probably lead to the dark side, he may even become more dangerous than his grandfather.

But there is one aspect of the book I was reading (it is "Traitor" in the New Jedi Order by Matthew Stover, in case you were curious) that really caught my attention. There is one point in which Jacen is having a conversation with his dead brother, Anakin (through the force, similar to how Obi-Wan spoke with Luke after he died). Well two times prior to this, Jacen had thought he had heard his brother but it was only a trick used by someone else, saying that the person had used the force to fake his voice. But Anakin says to him, "how do you know? are you sure it was a fake? she was using the force right? how do you know the force wasn't using her?" I couldn't help but feel a connection to God through that exchange. It may seem heretical, but I think sometimes God acts in that way-from our perspective, we think something terrible has happened to us and we feel self-pity and cry out to God, saying 'save me from this terrible thing'. What if that terrible thing is in our lives for a reason; what if God used a great pain in our lives to lead us down a different path? I don't know, it is hard to think of God as someone who would cause pain or suffering, even for the greater good, but I can't help but speculate that that may be part of it. That perhaps in some way the pain/grief that we deal with is just as important to God as the joy that we experience. As one of my friends said, (paraphrased) 'sometimes we just want to wallow in our own self-pity'. But the thing is, no matter how you see it, we can't stay in the pain-we have to get out of it. But we can't forget it; we need to forgive, but never forget-same with pain, we need to move on, but always remember the lesson it taught us.

'Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.' -Psalm 23:4