A Letter

Dear God,

Yesterday at church I was helping out on the parking team and I watched a girl get out of her Infinity and walk into church wearing her TOMS shoes. The girl is probably a really sweet girl with a much bigger heart than mine but for a moment she was the object of my own self-aggrandizement. I patted myself on the back, not because I don’t have an Infinity (I can’t afford it) or a pair of TOMS (I look like a clown in TOMS), but because I don’t want them.

Then I realized that I don’t want a new house either, my 600 square-foot apartment will be just swell, thank you very much. I realized I don’t want a limitless gift card to the Nike and J. Crew outlets or a lifetime supply of Southern Tide or Vineyard Vines shirts. I realized I don’t need a new iPhone, in fact, God, I don’t even want a new iPhone.

I realized that as much as I would love to watch Oklahoma State go 12-0 in football some year and play for a title, it’s not that important in the grand scheme of things.

God, you made some really intelligent people who created this thing called the iPad. Apparently it makes Bible-reading much easier, but I don’t want one.

I got to thinking about it and I don’t really think sports are all that important either, which implies that fantasy sports are even less important. I realized I love sports, but sports don’t love me, and sports don’t actually matter eternally.

Oh, one more sports note, thank you for making that tract of land us humans named “Augusta” but I guess it’s not really that wonderful, you know, relatively speaking.

I realized that I don’t really want to be wealthy someday, or famous, or even moderately well-known. I don’t really care about those things. They’re vices, mostly. I don’t have much desire for power or what our depraved culture labels “success” for my marriage or family.

I realized that all I have any yearning for is you and my community of family and friends. I patted myself on the back a few more times at church last night for all these realizations. I’m so holy.

After I realized all that, I realized something else:

Every word I speak and action I take…
Every Tweet I proclaim and ‘like’ I click…
Every email I send and website I visit…
Every magazine I read and meal I eat…
Every phone call I make and conversation I have…
Every TV show I watch and thought I think…
Every single day I live, my life…

Says something vastly different from what I wrote above.

We’re worlds apart, you and me. Thank you for relentlessly shattering me with your grace.

Your son,
Kyle

P.S. Thanks for my wife Jen, she’s pretty cool. And she’s always reminding me of how unworthy I am before you. Do you think you could maybe, you know, get her to be a little less sweet about it though, it makes getting mad at her pretty hard. Thanks.

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To Have a Friend

Moving to a new city proves to be more challenging in some areas than others. I’ve decided which supermarket I like best, I know how to get to my favorite thrift stores, and can even go most places without a map. Our apartment is shaping up, the days are proving to be much less mundane, and I’m starting to feel more at home all the time. However, we keep coming back to this one tiny issue: We really only have a few friends here.

When we left Stillwater, we were in the middle of everything. I worked for a church, which connected me immediately to 150 volunteers, 9 staff members, their volunteers, and every person who came through our doors on a weekend. Kyle had great community within his work. Our weeks would usually be full of softball or basketball games, coffee with friends, evenings at the church, or great conversation with roommates over dinner and wine. And while we knew a few people coming into this great city, it still provides a stark contrast to the fellowship and friendship we had in our recent past. Here’s a synopsis of our friend making so far:

–       We see a fun looking couple on the street walking their dog. One of us says, “Ooh they look really cool.” The other agrees.

–       We drive by an old woman working in her garden. I say, “Oh Kyle I bet she’s so sweet. I want to be friends with her.” She keeps digging. We keep driving.

–       We shake hands with people sitting next to us at church. But only on the weeks they make us. We make eye contact, sit back down, and one of us says, “They look like a fun couple to hang out with.” The other nods. End of discussion.

–       One week at church Kyle leaves to use restroom. Comes back with fly open. Negates everyone who sat close to us that week as possible future friends.

–       The next week we arrive at church and I realize I’ve forgotten to brush my teeth. Knocks out another 10-12 fun looking couples. Almost literally. No discussion that week.

And the list goes on. We find ourselves surrounded by possible community and fellowship everywhere, and yet it seems very out of reach. So we continue to play “I Spy” with unsuspecting Dallas residents while we wait for small groups to start at church in September. And hope that none of them sat by us for examples 4 or 5.

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