Reflections

#reflections…

My life has been one big quest for truth. Scientific truth filled my younger days, with dreams of astrophysics, exploration, pulsars, and black holes. Kepler, Newton, Einstein, Hawking, Cousteau, Armstrong.

More recently, it has been spiritual and theological truth. Tozer, Manning, Apostle Paul, Chandler, Craig, Turek. Call me crazy, but I don’t think it’s small minded to believe in absolute truth, and I don’t believe that science and theology conflict. They can’t. But that’s not my point today.

My point is that through my pursuit I recently realized that I have been forgetting another truth-pursuit…internal truth. Once again, internal truth doesn’t conflict with science or theology…it can’t. But they all must be integrated and consistent. Unity of the mind, heart, and spirit are vital to a life of meaning, purpose, peace, and contentment.

As I walked by the lake this morning and yesterday, I reflected on the disconnect that comes all too easily. I reflected on how easy it is to comfort others with #truth while ignoring the direct application to one’s own life. We’re prone to lift others up with words of comfort and affirmation while allowing our inner critic to feed our heads with insults and put downs. So this journey is a quest to unite the voices by allowing the inner dialogue to reflect the outer. To allow myself to hear and apply the words and vision I so often share with others. This may be the most challenging quest yet. But what a beautiful and glorious journey it will be.

 

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Life through the Glass

Glass Wall

The view from my glass wall

As I browse the internet, I see article after article lamenting the fact that people are missing out on life because they’re too busy snapping pictures. There are videos demonstrating people missing relationships and experiences because they are too busy obsessing over their phone. Yes, those articles and videos make some good points. Relationships matter. Life is meant to be lived, so live it. Or as I always say…  Have adventures. Tell stories. My story is different.

My Canon SX50 HS came wrapped in pretty paper on Christmas morning of 2012. Instead of isolation, though, owning a camera with 50x zoom has driven me more deeply into adventure. It has connected me not only with LIFE but with OTHERS. It helps me to tell the stories.

The first week I owned that camera, I found myself taking my boys on long hikes. We explored. Sure, a better father than me might have already doing this. I wasn’t. Until I got that camera. That glass had power that went way beyond magnification. We started having adventures again. Together. We went places we hadn’t been before. We saw things that most people don’t see. And we took others along when we could.

Instead of undermining relationships, the camera has built new bridges. Although it might be hard to imagine now, on Christmas Day 2012 I could identify about 3 different types of bird. But 50x zoom has a way of making birds pretty interesting. My dad has always been a birder for a long time, though. My fascination has given us a new common ground to tread together. I can send him pictures and he’ll help me ID them. When we get together, we enjoy spending the day outdoors hunting birds together. Exploring the world while having fun together.

Oh, and the joy of a new-found perspective! Periodically seeing life through a new lens has altered the way I see life even when the camera isn’t around. I notice light in ways I hadn’t before. The sun shining through the fog. Rays reflecting off a cloud after the sun has already set. The golden hour. A dragonfly or a bee. My son points out things he notices, too, like a frozen drop of dew on a blade of grass. There is beauty everywhere. Just owning this magical looking glass helps me to slow down and notice.

Not just experiencing life…the camera has helped to cope with life at times. When the dog died, a photo walk was a great excuse to get out and get moving. Quietly meandering along the river provided time and space to process the loss. It’s also been a catalyst for sunset photo walks with my sweetie…a great way to carving out time to spend with each other.

Rather than separating us from our experiences, pictures capture those incredible moments in time and allow us to relive them again and again.

"Dad"

“Dad”

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe my kids won’t remember what I look like in their memories. They’ll only remember me with a glass wall in front of my face. That guy that always was around documenting life but never living it. I don’t think so, though. I’ve seen and appreciated more sunsets and sunrises with the camera than I ever did without. I’ve noticed more beauty in this world, which has a way of changing not only perspective, but outlook on life. A side-effect of this looking glass has been joy. Contentment. Satisfaction. Connectedness. It has opened up the world of this introvert to a innumerable new relationships. Looking through this glass has led to adventure…not just for me but for the kids. We’re all having adventures and telling stories. It’s beautiful.

Just Start

StartI’ve heard it said, “The days are long but the years are short”. One year ago I stepped into an experiment. It was a call to do more, be more, and pursue a dream. I’m a dreamer. Hidden underneath my quiet exterior is a risk taker. I dove in.

But what can happen in a year?

Community. More than anything, this year has been about relationships. A side-effect of the experiment has been the “Tulsa 5 Club.” We meet every Friday morning at 5AM at the Village Inn on Harvard Avenue. We’re all pursuing personal goals and dreams. Encouragement helps. Even more, though, we’re community. We’re family. Tears of laughter and tears of sorrow have been shared over bacon and coffee. Just yesterday I posted “I love us” to them and I meant it more deeply than even I expected. I look around the table and there’s not a single person I wouldn’t take a bullet for. I believe in them, I believe in their dreams, and I believe in their futures. I believe they will change the world for the better, and I’m honored and humbled that they let me hang with them. And we’re not exclusive. As new people join us, they are immediately welcomed in like long lost family.StrongerCoffee5

Oh, but it gets better. We wrote and published a book. Who does that? Well, the Tulsa 5 Club did. Then we organized and hosted a conference. It was a life-changing gathering of visionaries…sharing dreams and feeding off each others’ passion. It was energizing. We’re already looking forward to the next one.

Personally, I’ve always been a bit…unfocused…when dreaming. My initial “Risk” was obedience. That sounds pretty odd, but it’s true. You can read more about it here. The journey led me to some unexpected places. My walk with God has always led me on adventures into the unknown that far surpass my own vision.

IMG_0183So I wrote. And I finished. I invested in others. I took pictures. I taught. I went on a mission trip. We brought a kiddo into our family. We watched her leave 9 months later.

Basically, I had adventures. Then I told stories.

Over the entire year I struggled to define “my thing.” My twitter bio used to say “Defies classification and cannot be stereotyped.” Here I was…trying to classify myself. Trying to find the right box to put myself in. I continued to pursue. I continued to attempt to obey. I discovered I don’t have a box-shaped life.

Then I spoke. I presented at our conference. Between the presentation prep and then soaking in the other extraordinary speakers, the fog lifted. The answer is “YES.” All that. All those things…the community, writing, photography, adventures, and–most important–obedience…they all combine into “me.” It’s something that I can share with the world.

Now one year in, I’ve found clarity. I’ve got a mission. Dare I say…I’ve got a brand?

Have adventures. Tell stories.

That’s my life. That’s my story.

Tell Stores

Have adventures. Tell stories.