Jul 14, 2008

I'm Back and Tired

I was surprised when I realized how long it has been since I posted. We have been on "vacation" for about a week and a half. We were up at Heather's parents' house for the July 4 weekend, home for one day so I could go to a Faith Based Non-Profit Roundtable and an Interview with Apple Stores, and then we were at my mom's house for a couple days. Since then we had a kiddie birthday party to go to, got restocked with supplies at home, and had both of our kids vomit all over the beds (theirs once, ours once).

And now I'm back. I hope to return to the more regular blogging, but we'll see. I am supposed to have a second interview with Apple this week, and I'll also be applying for some other stuff and trying to get some delayed Defender projects off the ground.

It has been a rough weekend. Aside from the physical ailments going on at Casa De Staples, I have been mentally worn out. I'm just tired. My good buddy Greg Ramer, in a wonderful post the other day, talked about how he wants to be serious with his faith and really start living more passionately. As I read it, I thought it was great. I was happy for him. But, honestly, I didn't agree. Right now, I am tired. I don't know what it is. It may be fighting for so long, trying to get something started that doesn't seem like it is going to move, wanting to do the right thing and driving myself nuts figuring out what that is. But I am just worn out. Being completely transparent, I just don't want to keep on fighting.

We watch So You Think You Can Dance every summer, now. Heather's sister-in-law Michelle got us hooked a few years ago, and now it is one of our favorite shows. This past week was where they dropped down to the ten dancers who will go on the national tour this year. One of the dancers named Will is spectacular. His a chiseled specimen who can leap and perform. He may be the best dancer they have ever had - mentored by Debbie Allen herself. He was partnered for the last five weeks with a very pretty girl who is not anywhere near as good as him. She dragged them down every time - but he just worked harder and never even one time did anything to complain or demean her. This past week, their second dance was not very good. And one judge said what everyone watching the show was thinking. "You looked tired. You're tired of carrying her. You need a new partner. You're just tired of doing too much." It was a completely truthful comment - and you could see how badly it hurt the girl (probably because she knew it was so true). I sympathized with Will - being tired from doing too much. He was not only dancing for himself, but he was carrying the hopes and dreams of his partner as well. He was trying to do enough for both of them. I'm not carrying someone like that, but I am trying to fight, while carrying the hopes and dreams of my business partners, my family, my friends - all those parents who desperately need and want help. And I'm trying to do all of that while figuring out how to survive today.

If you know me, you know that I desperately want to do what God wants me to do. That isn't an arrogant statement - I didn't say that I always DO what He wants me to. I want to do it, though. Our family has tried to live that way since Heather I got married. That has been very difficult, and draining not just to us - but to others around us. It is hard to feel God leads you into frontier country and then stand there realizing, "Crap, I'm in frontier country. There isn't a Publix for miles out here." It is hard being out there. It is hard trying to build something from scratch, ferreting out ways to make things happen. You fight, and pray, and hope, and then look around and realize you aren't much further than you were months before.

There is no time lapse photography that makes the building zip up out of the barren field. You are actually having to go through the whole mind-numbing, soul-crushing process. Over the vacation, Heather's mom had me read some Oswald Chambers writings. One of them talks about how God always gives you the vision before He gives you the means to accomplish it. He may even give it to you years before anyone is ready for it. But He has to get YOU ready for it. And that requires having you stand in a valley and get beat up, so that you are humble and prepared for the work when it starts. Chambers went on to say that many people quit in that valley - because they get tired of getting beat up. They can't stand the process, so they quit before they ever get to the payoff.

I can understand that feeling. I want things to work NOW. I want to know that we are taken care of for the future before taking on something now. Even the concept of the Apple job stresses me out, because I want to know how that affects Defender long term. How will it play into Heather's Med School plans? Is taking the Apple job a better option because I can transfer to another city if needed? Now, keep in mind this wouldn't happen for FOURTEEN MONTHS!?! But I stress today. I think lately I've been so worried about the long term results of my decisions that I am mentally beating MYSELF up. It is good to look to the future, but worrying about over a year from now is kind of silly.

In Sunday School, we talked about this yesterday. Basically, being tired, I just chatted with the students rather than formulate a "real lesson." (Plus, remember the vomiting the night before - doesn't make for peaceful sleep.) We were talking about Abraham and how God had promised him to be the father of a great people, when he had no kids. And he got tired too. He and his wife got tired of waiting, so they forced matters and he had a kid with his handmaiden. And that much of the world conflict TODAY is due to that decision. I sympathized with Abraham, though. I can understand getting a great promise and then sitting around like God forgot you for years and years. I've been tempted to force the issue myself too. I've wanted to quit. You get tired.

It is probably amusing to read this post after my last post, where I was saying about how we want to do the impossible. What happened between those two? How did I go from wanting to do the impossible to wanting to give up? Thinking about it, I can only see one thing. I took a break. I took my eyes off the goal, let up, sat back and played Wii and swam. I'm not saying vacation is bad - it is very necessary to get breaks once in a while. But for almost two weeks, I had very little pushing me. I didn't touch work - aside from that one meeting. I read sports columns by David Halberstam - read nothing religious at all. And I got distracted. The only news I got regarding my efforts were negative - having to miss an college event I love dearly, not hearing back from people who were supposed to contact us. And it was very easy to get waylaid. All of the struggling caught up with me. And without seeing the reason every day, without being confronted by the purpose for the work, it just became toiling for no purpose. And I got tired, and wanted to quit.

I know this has been a narcissistic post - very whiny. But I need to get that out. Just like when I have something cool bubbling up inside and have to get it out, I also need to get the junky stuff out. It helps me to have clarity. It helps me to identify what I really am going through. Hopefully, it will help to wake me up. I don't want to give up. I want to trust God. I want to serve Him and work hard. It was good for me to wrestle with all of that here - thanks for indulging me. Now, vacation is over. I need to get back to work.

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