Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Change is in the air. I’ve felt a new breeze blowing gently, questioning my heart a few times. Then it turned into a whirlwind.

It all started with a simple question some weeks back, “Where do you hope to be five years from now?” Then I had a delightful conversation with a friend who shared her beautiful goals for the future. As I listened, my heart just went out to lost dreams and forsaken paths and undreamed-of beginnings. Basically, my heart longed to say the same beautiful things, but I seemed void of such visions. It was as though I had conquered a mountain, and now just sat there, done. Not knowing where to look next. Not sure I wanted to move.

Yet so often I have been hounded by this overwhelming desire for adventure! Something radically new or maybe just some new challenge would be fun. That is in my nature, always wanting to learn new things. Yet often I need some encouragement to get started. I need someone there beside me to say, “You can do it! I have faith in you. I’ll show you how.”

This May 9th marked a year since graduation from Steubenville. What a fantastic year it has been! I see many dreams have already come true in all that I’ve explored these 12 months, but there are still places to go. Am I living the life I have imagined? Now it’s time to start thinking and re-evaluating my short-term and long-term goals. Scary. Exciting.

I don’t have real answers yet. My mind is muddled with thoughts and ambitions. All I know is that this kind of re-visioning is a must for whenever we reach that bend in the road. I’m near the bend right now. Something is changing in the landscape, but I can’t quite make out what is ahead. Throughout college years, it seemed my short-term and long-term goals were always before me, guiding me. There was always next semester, next summer, next year, and “after graduation.” Each period held infinite possibilities for growth. To each I can recount some significant change.

Now out in the “real world,” we must build our own goals and shape our future. Life isn’t tidied into boxes or chunks of time, like college semesters. Life seems endless. It’s harder to focus. Harder to define. Harder to know the beginning, and the end.

Turning Water into Wine

All of a sudden nothing is right. My pants are too long or else they’re too tight. My hair won’t be tamed under my fingers in the humid weather. My face is pale.

What has caused such discontent? Why do I scream out? Why do I shed an interior tear that I am not more beautiful, more successful, more perfect, just more?

I don’t generally indulge in sweet drinks, like sodas, juices, cocktails, or coffee. I drink mostly water. The water is good, but sometimes I feel a thirst for wine.

Lord, it was at the wedding at Cana that the young lovers “ran out of wine.” What was that wine? Was it love? Was it prayer? Was it intimacy? Was it unity? There are so many things we run short of in our lives: patience, a sense of direction, hope, passion for what we do, physical health, friends, money, faith, and on and on. How often I run short of that wine in my relationship with Christ.

Yet, You offer the assurance that even when the wine runs out, You can turn water into wine. After all, You created the water. Your mother Mary noticed the need at the wedding at Cana. So she summoned you, “Look, son, they have no wine.” How compassionately she spoke those words. Her empathy was matched with confidence in the Lord and in what he could do. She knew He could provide.

At the mother’s bidding, Jesus requested the jars to be filled with water. Then, performing his first miracle, he changed the water to the finest, most delicate and intoxicating, fragrant wine!

“You have saved the best for last!” cried the headwaiter after he’d tasted it.

How good God is. God offers us the assurance that the best is yet to come.

“Do YOU believe the future is bigger than your past?” asked Matthew Kelly, inspirational speaker and author in his talk “Called to Joy.” Amazing talk. We must believe that the future is always bigger than the past. If you don’t, then what’s the point of pressing on? What’s the point of living for tomorrow?

The wine that never runs out is here, the Blood of Christ, poured out and so freely given to us. All who drink of it shall live. Christ’s first miracle was to quench the thirst of the guests at the wedding ceremony. Christ’s last miracle before he died was to quench the thirst of all humanity. As He said, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant. It will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26:28).

And my thirst, however great it may be, is answered by God’s greater thirst for me. He feels it much more intensely than any of us, and he expressed that longing when he hung on the cross. His cry to a fallen humanity: “I THIRST” (John 19:28).

Maybe by the same miracles, I can trust him to turn the water in my life into wine. The mundane and ordinary and even my poverty into rich drink and food that will sustain me.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Strive to be that open book

Am I the book on the shelf that stays stubbornly shut, collecting dust, and whose treasures are hidden? Or am I the open book, lying on someone's lap, my pages turning, story unfolding, crinkled with love? Strive to be that open book.

At times, I am both the book and the nimble scribe. I cannot divorce writing from life nor life from writing. The act of writing to a writer is always more than a career. It’s always more than just what you do. It’s who you are and how you perceive meaning in life. That is why a writer says, “It is my vocation.”

The scribe is the story-teller, the thinker, the narrator, and the writer in me. The book is you and me and all of us characters who collide in the plot somehow. We are seekers and we are finders. Like an open book, our lives are meant to be read and witnessed as stories to others.