thirty five

Twenty years ago I chose to memorize John Masefield’s Sea Fever for an assignment in school. I’m fairly confident my choice was based on how easy I perceived the poem would be, rather than any desire to be near the sea. I can picture myself reciting each line to my patient teacher, but otherwise it hadn’t made much of an impression on me.

2016 was rough, but I was able to leave a part of my past in the past forever, finally. My debt. Specifically my student loans. I finally became debt free last year and it is an amazing feeling. Payday is a celebration now instead of a painful reminder of past obligations which were carelessly signed for. I learned a lot from debt, and I am glad to move on to a new teacher.

To celebrate my financial freedom, and my Dad’s retirement, our family went on a vacation to New Zealand. Honestly it felt like going home. A lot has changed during the six years since my last visit, but what hasn’t changed is the way and pace of life. I can’t really explain it, so I won’t try; you’ll just have to experience it yourself. ☺

Now that we’re back, my family can’t stop talking about NZ to everyone who will listen, much like I did (and still do). They get it now; what I was so excited about, and why I’m still trying to find my way back.

Texas has been a good home to me, but it isn’t home. It’s just one of many, not the first; just the place I’ve lived the longest, which is hardly the best criteria for establishing one’s home. It’s much too flat here, and much too dry here. I was born between the mountains and the sea.

I saw a poem hanging on the wall of our beachfront apartment in Ahipara, NZ. The name and the author weren’t familiar to me, but the first line was all I needed to jog my memory. Twenty years later and I finally understand.

 

 


Sea Fever by John Masefield

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

thirty four

I am very much out of the habit of writing. Ideas swarm around my head but they rarely escape in any coherent pattern, only making sense within the walls of my own mind. I intended to write more last year, but it didn’t happen. This is my annual birthday post, which guarantees at least one post this year 🙂

This year, my word to chew on is courage. As with each word and each year, only God knows what this will mean for me in 2016, but by the end of each year I am always able to look back and see how fitting it was. Last year was wait which definitely proved to be an exercise in faith. Courage, I foresee, will be as well.

Courage isn’t something I generally think of until I’m aware that I’m lacking it. My heart is weak, my spirit is down, I’ve lost my nerve, I’m losing faith, I’m losing hope. This is my daily life. Am I going down the right path? Am I pursuing the right interests? Or am I just wasting my time? I become overwhelmed by the future—what I can’t see, what I don’t know, what I haven’t received yet. I quickly become discouraged which doesn’t lead to good things. I start to dwell on these things too long. In an effort to get going again—to see progress on my dreams, goals, life—temptations, or ‘quick fixes’ become more appealing. Before long, sin is born and the promises of God become distant and blurry.

Jesus knows. He knows we are prone to losing heart. He knows we do not possess the strength to do what we are called to do on our own. He knows, and he doesn’t condemn us, He encourages us.

He also prays for us.

“‘Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.’”
— Luke 22:31

I’ve got a lot of thoughts swimming around my head, and I hope to write them down soon. Feel free to hold me accountable 🙂

State of Things

I started a new job in July of 2015 moving from Houston back to my home town of Killeen. Essentially I went from being ‘a’ Web Developer at the University of Houston to being ‘the’ Web Developer at Texas A&M–Central Texas. While it is a much smaller university, my responsibilities have grown both in depth and breadth so it has been a great challenge for me, which I am enjoying.

I’ve also had  a few opportunities to preach at my church last year, the audio can be found here if you’re interested.

Wait for the Lord (Psalm 62)

Through the Sea (Psalm 77)

Other than that, I’ve still got a few really, really big things I’m praying and waiting for God on. Big, scary, life-changing hopes and dreams that only He could bring about. Hopefully I will be able to share more this year 🙂