"Remember God, before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken..."
Friday, July 22
running the race
This morning I ran down from our house to the ocean. I like to think that running is a regular occurrence for me, but in reality, it only happens maybe twice a month.
I huffed and puffed down the sidewalk (a little old lady about 100 feet in front of me got out of the way, so I knew I sounded like a steam train coming). I kept my focus on the ocean and ran to it, thinking of:
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." 1 Corinthians 9:24
...and when I reached my goal, I sat on the cliff and stretched sore hamstrings (wasn't there a time when I could touch my toes?) The ocean was mellow, no waves to speak of, and I just prayed and relaxed and thanked God.
But then, distraction. Flies began to land on my legs, tickling my attention away. And then also on the back of my arms, threatening to distract me from quiet communion. I saw the flies as Satan's attacks: those persistent, but not life-threatening, attacks that seem to pester us continually. But I thought of:
"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." - James 4:7
...and I resisted the attacks. I smacked the flies, not out of retribution, but because that was how I should resist them. When I was annoyed by them, I'd miss them, but when I didn't care and just sought to remove them, I'd hit them right on. The key was steadiness, staying founded on God.
And then God whispered that it was time to go, so I got up and once again promised to only listen to His voice, and not the enemy's. I climbed up the rocks, and from higher ground turned to look at the ocean. Despite the water being so calm before, a good-sized wave was coming.
It hit the rocks below me, and splashed the spot where I was sitting a minute before. Two more waves in the set followed, and they basically wiped clean the area where I was sitting with an explosion of water, one after the other.
"I will exalt you, O LORD,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
O LORD my God, I called to you for help
and you healed me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the grave;
you spared me from going down into the pit."
- Psalm 30:1-3
"He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand."
- Psalm 40:2
So my lesson from God today is that:
- He is my foundation
- The enemy can only pester me
- Obedience means listening, then doing immediately, not later
And this will fuel my life, because:
"...God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." - 2 Corinthians 9:8
"...he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." - Philippians 1:6b
Monday, March 22
up to the cross
Our church has a knack for doing something new every week. You never really know what to expect. It is, however, always a pleasant surprise.
We approached the cross, one at a time from two directions. It stood about 8 feet tall, covered neatly in white paper. The band played an endless melody, singing, "Jesus, Friend forever..." and "You are my King". Each one of us knelt to take a brush, dipped in red paint, and put our names on the cross, acknowledging His death for us, our sins hanging on the cross. We then went to take communion, breaking the matzo bread and dipping it in grape juice, remembering Jesus.
It was a powerful ritual. On its own, it was powerful, but even more so because we just don't experience any meaningful rituals on a regular basis. I'm a ritualless American. There is always a palpable discomfort when our church embarks on another experiment in worship. In fact, the more discomfort at first, the more powerful the experience.
Noncomformist that I am, however, I dipped my thumb in the red paint to put my thumb print on the cross, like a criminal disclosing his identity with a fingerprint. I took on too much paint, though, and as I walked away from the cross towards the communion table, I felt the paint dripping in my hands. Back at my seat, after taking communion, I looked at my left hand. It was like seeing the hand of a murderer after the crime, covered in blood.
My hand had done the deed. I was guilty! And the simultaneous feeling of embarassment that I had paint all over me, along with the symbolism of having Jesus' blood on my hands, all mixed with the gratitude and humility I felt after taking communion -- it was a little overwhelming.
The paint's gone, but the culpability is still there. It is an amazing concept to know that the same Jesus who died on the cross went to that cross willingly for us.
Thursday, January 22
more jungle tales
My friend Deenanath has written me again about his continuing tales of life in India. After reading this, read his last entry here.
Oh call it what you will, wander lust, an insatiable need for adventure, a juvenile need for thrill seeking or just plain boredom. I don't know what it was that drove me out the door of my peaceful ivory tower but there I was kit bag slung over my shoulder, umbrella in hand, back on the foot path. Heading? Unknown. Be prepared I told myself. Always expect the unexpected. Yet somehow the strange and menacing sound that hit my eardrums, as I made my way along the rain soaked trail, jolted me like a shot gun blast. It came in three short sharp bursts. Oddly familiar; at the time not identifiable. I rounded the bend, umbrella at the ready. There directly in front of me was a tethered goat. Obviously the source of the baahs. The goat looked directly at me, I sensed an urgency about the beast, as though something was wrong. Was it trying to warn me of impending danger? Why was it trying tied to that coconut tree?
These thoughts and more raced through my head as I stood, shocked still as stone. Could it be bait, a sacrificial lamb for a tiger? I?d read that not so long ago fierce jungle cats stalked these forest at will. Was there a Keralan hunter close by armed, alert and ready to slay a man-eater? The goat repeated his communiqué. I looked right, then left , the left right behind. Nothing. For one eternal moment an eerie silence hung in the air. I attended to the air, nay sniffing it, hoping perhaps some long dormant, primeval knowledge would rise from the depths of my gene pool and assist me.
Suddenly, I heard a trampling: rocks sliding, small twigs breaking. No doubt about it something was coming and coming fast. Closer and closer. I caught a bright flash of color out of the corner of my eye. A moment later a women dressed in a red sari appeared. She went quickly over to the goat and untied it, looking me over head to toe in the process. I gave her a sheepish smile.
"Good morning," she replied.
The goats demeanor changed dramatically. Now, calmed by the woman's presence, it munched some greenery in a rather nonchalant manner. The two headed back in the direction from whence she came. Neither looked back and soon disappeared from view.
I resumed my trek, albeit gripping my umbrella a tad tighter. Always expect the unexpected I chanted silently. Keep in mind, this is not the Capitola Shopping Mall, and you're not out stalking a fresh box of Cinnabons. "This ain't no party this ain't no disco this ain't no fooling around".
Happy New Year, Chinese style.
Monday, January 19
words without conversation
A conversation I overheard in the locker room at the gym the other day:
"Hey Big J!"
"Rosster! What's up!"
"You know, another day."
"Yep, another day, another half a dollar."
"Out to rake it in, huh?"
"You know, doin' what I can."
"I bet! Better spread it around though!"
"You got it!"
"All right then, see ya around J.R.!"
"You bet big Steve."
Was anything actually said between these two guys? Was there a meaningful subtext to this conversation at all? Something between the lines that I missed? Or was it just catch phrases, clichés, and meaningless colloquialisms?
I wanted to say, "Whoa, whoa whoa. Do you guys have families? Aspirations for the future? Heartaches and worries? Talk!"
But I knew that their conversations most likely never went any deeper than this. I get easily annoyed by small talk. I know there is a certain degree of banter that needs to happen as a matter of conversational etiquette before you can get to the meat and potatoes, and I know the locker room is hardly the place for confessionals, but I wonder if either of those guys felt closer after having jabbered back and forth.
The crazy thing is that the names they greeted each other with are different than the ones they used as they left. Now, I figure that "Big J" could also be "R.J.", and "big Steve" could have the last name "Ross" and thus be a Rosster, but I also have this suspicion that maybe they didn't know each others' names at all and just made some up.
Some other phrases that need to be eradicated from America so that we can have meaningful dialogue:
"Workin' hard or hardly working?"
"Hey, holdin' that wall up?"
"Same old same old!"
"You know it!"
"Yeah, same here, I know what ya mean!"
"Welp, hang in there!"
Any of these are the conversational equivalent of saying, "I couldn't care less about getting to know you any better or being vulnerable in any way whatsoever, so let's just get this conversation over with and walk away chuckling."
Know any more? Feel free to add your own here.
Saturday, January 3
"OBEY MY BUMPER STICKER"
This was easily the best bumper sticker I've ever seen, and a great commentary on the entire subculture of bumper stickers.
Have you noticed that every bumper sticker contains some sort of command, or some sort of black-and-white definition leaving no room for ambiguity? Some place the driver of the car into a very specific category, as though they can never escape their assigned niche as long as they remain within the vehicle. Most, though, insist you bow to their will and conform!
I've often considered starting a bumper sticker blog, where I take a picture of a bumper sticker and post it daily. I just might start on it this year (it has probably been done before anyway). I myself have no stickers on my bumper -- I like to remain uncategorized. It gives me a sort of vehicular freedom that is otherwise hard to find in America. We love our bumper stickers!
But have you ever seriously read a bumper sticker, considered its message ("Vote for Hector!"), and then thought, "gosh, that's a really convincing argument, I think I will vote for Hector!" Probably not.
It takes a much more well-constructed argument -- an in-depth white paper or at least an oft-repeated 30-second TV commercial, for example -- to really turn people's opinions around on a subject and get them to your way of thinking. A bumper sticker just isn't going to do it.
And there is the ever-present obstacle within people that they have been exercising since just before puberty: we don't like to obey.
Most decisions we make come with some kind of justification that allows us to skirt obedience. Speed limits, for example. Who consistently drives under the speed limit? More often, we see the sign that says 55 MPH and we take that to mean that we should drive at least 55 MPH, and can gracefully exceed that by 5 to 10 miles per hour. I once got a ticket for driving 35 in a 25 zone, and most people think that's ridiculous. Hey, I wasn't really breaking the law, not in a dangerous way, and besides, I had my reasons for driving 35, right?
But obedience can be a beautiful kind of dance. If I were to drive 25 in that 25 zone, and so did everyone else, then think of the implications. No more cops watching everyone's speed, because they'd know we were obeying. No more competition in the lanes, weaving back and forth to jockey a slightly better position that really yields no advantage at all. It would be a graceful ballet on the freeways, everyone carefully driving conscientiously, allowing others to merge. My theory is that there'd even be no traffic if we could obey completely. And it would benefit us in a million ways: less taxes to pay for cops waiting to pull people over, less accidents, less headaches, less road rage. Ahh....
Not that I'm really seeking some kind of auto utopia; the point is, obedience is beautiful for the obedient and the obeyed.
The lie that has been told to us, and well established, is that obedience is a negative. You must less than someone else if you obey them. You give up your rights, your honor, and your pride. In a nutshell, if you obey, you are obviously not in charge, and therefore not as powerful. And of course, power equals status equals success.
The mysterious truth is that obedience is empowering, pleasing and satisfying for everyone involved. It is especially apparent in the relationship between creator and creation. Here's a few examples.
The gardener in her garden plants a seed. With care, the seed sprouts and eventually becomes a beautiful apple tree. This pleases the gardener. It also is good for the seed, for its life has been extended by being obedient to the will of the gardener, which is for it to grow. It benefits everyone around it, because they get the apples it produces, whose seeds create more trees. But the seed must follow the will of the gardener, planted in the spot where the gardener chose, watered as the gardener sees fit, and tended and pruned by an expert hand. If the seed could resist any of these actions, it would be detrimental.
When a composer writes a song, and the song obeys his will, the song is beautiful, and it pleases the composer.
When a painter puts oil on the canvas, and it obeys her brushstrokes, the paint becomes something it could not be on its own: a painting.
When a child listens to a parent, it pleases the parent and is good for the child.
So even if we have been taught not to obey by the world around us, our Creator has urged us to obey him. It's a beautiful and harmonious thing, and bereft of the curses that we're told we'll inherit if we do so. We won't be automatons, mindless and simply waiting on standby for the next command. We'll be truly happy, listening actively for wisdom and guidance from someone who knows better, ready to obey because we love and trust Him.
There is so much pain when we don't obey, and that's the true definition of being "lost". I was born without a map, and I've only been able to eke out a bit of cleverness here and there without God. His omniscience qualifies him as the most reliable source for any need we might have, right?
I've seen this following sentence on paper before, but never on a bumper sticker: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might, and with all your strength." Maybe you'd need too big of a bumper to fit it all on there.
Like all the other bumper stickers, it would carry an imperative within it, a command that we should obey. But the difference is the verb: love. This is the kind of verb that I can obey!
Saturday, December 13
45 minutes in Target today taught me a valuable truth: there's no such thing as the "christmas" spirit.
Sure, there's the Spirit of Christmas -- God, that is -- and this day is supposed to be about celebrating when divinity came to humanity in the most personal, vulnerable way. This first Christmas meant that our reconciliation with God could be possible. That's something to celebrate!
But this pseudo-holiday that we celebrate now on December 25th really isn't about that anymore. That's okay with me; Christians can celebrate the real reason that day, and everyone else can "celebrate the season" of "joy and good cheer" with "family and friends gathered 'round".
The only thing is, they aren't doing that at all.
In the ten minutes I spent navigating through the parking lot of Target trying to find a space, it seemed that everyone else's aggravation and selfishness was spreading like a virus, and somehow I was temporarily immune.
Perhaps it was the fact that all I had to get was a wedding present off our friends' registry and then I could go. Or maybe that there was a spectacular sunset and I had just dropped off my son with his Grandma and could relax my brain for a while. Whatever it was that prepared me, I had a smile on my face, and it looked like I'd be the only one.
Dodging the grumpy drivers with that I-saw-that-space-first determination, heading past the angry fake Santa ringing his bell like a smoke alarm, I went into Target.
It looked grim.
The "greeter" was not happy about greeting. Screaming kids. Moms smacking their children, issuing ultimatums galore ("if you do that one more time..."). Everyone looked drained, pale. Their eyes seemed sunken, and they were not enjoying their shopping experience.
Where was Christmas? Where was the Holiday Spirit? Certainly not in the parking lot, and apparently not here.
I began a game: Who Will Smile First?
Long story short, after 45 minutes of shopping carts bumped into me without apology, children screaming as though tortured, and aisles lacking the merchandise I was seeking, a verdict was arrived at: nobody smiled at all!
Not one. Not the cashier, not the customers, and not the children. I saw one little boy walk up to the CD sample kiosk, where you can listen to samples of tracks, and press the button marked "Baby's Lullaby". He wasn't smiling either, but maybe he was desperately seeking a little peace in the chaos.
Let me fill you in: the TV commercials, the newspaper inserts and the movies will tell you that this is a feel-good time of year, to be with family and friends and have vague feelings of kindness that you can bestow upon and receive from neighbors and strangers. But this just isn't the case. It doesn't exist! It has been marvelously manufactured and marketed to the masses, but it's as mythical as the elves at the North Pole.
If you want peace, go to the Source, go directly to the Source, do not pass Target, do not spend $200.
Wednesday, December 3
I finally have found some time for an entry. Amazing!
Who knows who's even reading this now that I've been away for so long. I certainly wouldn't come back every day if there was nothing to read. So to you loyalists: all right already!
I thought I'd respond to a comment from the entry on Nov. 19th. Not sure if you are someone I know in person or not, but I am definitely a Buddhist-turned-Christian. A recovering Buddhist? A reformed Christian? I don't know what label there is exactly, but whatever you find appropriate, please appropriate it.
When I was Buddhist, I wouldn't label myself a Buddhist, mostly for the reasons that I am careful about claiming a Christian denomination: there aren't many boxes I like to be put inside of, and when I find myself inside one, it is usually not the right shape. There is either to much space to move around in, or more often it is too confining.
Was I a Zen Buddhist or a Tibetan one? Chinese or New Age American? I didn't care, I only knew that I sought authenticity, learned Sanskrit and Pali to understand the scripture, and had no community to speak of. I took monk vows, lived as a monk in Detroit (minus whatever vices I thought would still be necessary), but sought to be true to the letter of the law, or the dharma I should say.
But having a child eliminated any possibility of believing in life in a Buddhist way. My son was the beginning of my conversion, you could say. Because when I saw him, less than an hour old, I realized that one of the fundamental tenets -- "everything without exception arises from the mind" -- was false! My son was not a fact of perception, but a fact unto himself, new to the universe and utterly individual. A unique, created being.
It was a heart decision, not a logical one. In his eyes, I saw a total refute of reincarnation, and a completely brand new creation never seen in the universe before. That ended my beliefs, although my ethics remained the same.
It took two and a half years of non-searching and no study of any kind to prepare me for the mind-blowing, heart-changing experience of meeting Jesus. Not in a church, not from the pages of the bible, not from the gospel preached by a friend, but in a completely unexpected manner.
More real than almost anything I had experienced in reality until that moment. More joy than I had ever felt in all my life combined. More relief than taking the earth off Atlas's shoulders. More love than my parents, lovers and friends, all put together, could ever give me. Simple, profound peace, joy and love, in heart, mind and soul. That was Jesus.
I fell in love.
And of course, I read the bible, I learn Greek and Hebrew, I discuss theology with friends, and that's all neat stuff that feeds my mind. But nothing can change the way my heart is now, new and clean and transformed into a beautiful thing that can recognize divinity. Life became alive at the moment I met Jesus, and has not dwindled in its spark. God is and has been infinitely faithful to me in every aspect, and I strive to be faithful to Him. To be His servant.
As His servant, I see no need to put a name to this blog, because I want people to think I could be anybody. God's servants are everywhere -- and not just those ones with the little metal fish on the back of their cars or the WWJD bracelets. I want to be anonymous and see my God made famous instead of me. I want to shine and when asked why I'm shining, I point to Him as the source and reason.
Wednesday, November 19
a good idea
During our IM conversation just now, my wife said:
Have I ever told you about my plan to buy an island somewhere and send certain celebrities there to be resocialized? So far on the list are Kid Rock, Eminem, Britney Spears and Christian Aguilara, with the recent addition of Kelly Osborne. Actually, there will be two separate islands with lots of hungry sharks in between to make absolutely sure they cannot reproduce during their resocialization.I had just told her about the recent news on Michael Jackson. She's a wise woman.
At the rental car place a couple weeks ago, I was waiting for my car to show up, and struck up a conversation with the guy working there, Joaquim. We talked about the regular stuff, but I hate small talk, so I worked in the subject of God.
"Are you a Christian?" Joaquim asked.
I said yes, and it was like our conversation was now allowed to start over in the right key. He smiled and shook my hand and said, "I'm a Christian poet." Then he started plugging away on the rental car computer and said, "just a second, I'd like to read you something."
Another man walked in the office, a guy waiting for his rental Jaguar to show up. Joaquim asked if he was a Christian, and the guy kind of squirmed a little and said, well, yeah.
"Would you like to hear some Christian poetry, sir?"
And then Joaquim read us this poem, right there in the rental car office.
'It's time to give 'til it hurts to those in need
Stay away from materialism, envy and greed
Time to make right the wrongs by way of justification
It's time to appreciate life, time for celebration
It's time to hug one another and time for forgiveness
Time to stop playing church and be about my Father's business
It's time to lift up holy hands and lay them on the sick and afflicted
it's time to use the talents God gave us because He made us gifted
It's time to let the Holy Spirit reign it's time to be used
It's time for tithes and offerings and time to pay dues
It's time to do today the things you said you would 5 years ago
it's time to stop holding grudges, time to just let it go
It's time to read the word, it's time for Jesus Christ
It's time to stop acting defeated because He already paid the price
It's time to give a helping hand time to make a stand
It's time to carry a picture of Jesus around ask the world, "do you know this Man?"
It's time to let go of pride it's time for humility
It's time to honor the Father above with our whole ability
It's time for intercession and yes it's time for prayer
It's time to stop talking behind each other's back when they are not there
It's time to go ye therefore and teach all nations
It's time to bring others to church, give an invitation
It's time to visit those locked up in incarceration
It's time to get involved time for participation
It's time to worship together, time for communion
Jesus is coming back y'all and I mean soon and very soon and
It's time to see the King in all of His glory
It's time to tell of the virgin birth, he died, rose again
It's time to tell the whole story
It's time for closure and time to end this poem
It's time to shout "Hallelujah!" for those of us who know Him
It's time to pay attention and heed God's call
It's time to get our house in order, it's about that time y'all'
-- Joaquim "The Dream"
Sunday, November 16
A well-done website complements Michael D. O'Brien's work. I came across this randomly, and love it. Here's a link to his Byzantine style works.
It is really a shame that so much art has been lost, or unpursued, in the Protestant churches. Simply step into any Orthodox church, surrounded by the icons and imagery, and you will be overwhelmed if you've been accustomed to a dry, First Baptist of Somewhere experience. It is wonderful to see artists pouring their hearts out to God via the brush, or the pencil, or weaving a tapestry. Our local church has recently dedicated herself to the arts, and stuff like O'Brien's inspires me to contribute whatever I can to the effort.
among the others
The drive from our house down south, to Laguna Beach, was long. Arduous, even, as we slogged through LA traffic. The only hope was in the goal, seeing family from long past. It proved to be worth it, but nine hours in the car wears your skin thin, and traffic is sandpaper on raw nerves.
Being far apart from my person made me half a person, and the temptation was to cast the cause of pain onto any scapegoat who wandered by. Unfortunately, in Laguna Beach, there are many targets, because my favorite targets are the rich. I don't know why, but I have come to realize that I am very prejudiced against those who wear their money in all its forms.
Why does it bother me when a huge SUV parks diagonally across two handicapped spots and the sole human inside pops out, engine still running, adorned in thick makeup, tiny legs, and overly stuffed boobs? I don't know why. I mean, there are all kinds of reasons where I want to proclaim justice -- for the handicapped, for the environment, for the money that could have been spent better -- but when you really get down to it, there's nothing in that act that hurts me personally, and my first reaction should be to pray for them, not shake my head and get annoyed.
But I do. At least, it's my first reaction, and I have been striving to have a second reaction that is a little more compassionate.
Maybe I was overwhelmed by too many of these artificial people. Some of them seemed to be the hybrid result of humans mating with money. Artificial bodies, artificial laughter, and artificial comfort. They are safe in well-insulated bubbles constructed of social blinders and self-worship. These are the things that my gut resonates, and it has been a hard road for me to travel to find common ground with them.
It is not the abundance of money that bothers me. It is the way it is wielded. It is the superiority complex that propels them on high heels like permanent pedestals, so they are always higher than you are wherever they may be. They seem completely disconnected from reality and the common ways we communicate.
So I look for common ground. I remind myself that at thei hermetically sealed homes, even they have family photo albums filled with treasures. They have people they cannot bear to be apart from for more than a day. They have memories of their first kiss, and their secret dreams, and the names that the other kids called them when they were in junior high. They were created by a loving God, and are held in an esteem no higher or lower than my own. They've had broken hearts and lost keepsakes, and they have wrestled with questions about God, and considered taking their own lives. No matter who they are, they have bled, and cried, and laughed, and loved.
It is hard to remember all these commonalities when I am faced with the incongruity of their physical artifice blocking the honest heart inside of them. When they bark questions at me like, "why can't my cell phone get any reception here?" without any greeting, and then ignore my answer with their eyes and ears. When they do not see me -- or worse, when they attempt a kind of flirtation in a way they must have learned from some TV show. When they seem more dishonesty than honesty, and their stretched faces challenge you to guess what they might have looked like without the surgery. It is hard to remember there are carefully created human hearts inside those designer clothes, and that a peacock plucked is a much smaller, more vulnerable bird.
I like to pretend I am more complex than I really am. But when faced with a little dishonesty, I long to run back to my simple mountain home, and my simple life, with a loving wife I can trust completely, and a son who has a heart of gold. Peace, quiet, and clean air. Dinner at the same time, and bedtime by 10:30. It's a life that cannot tolerate dishonesty, because the air is too clear to hide it.
But I must remember there is more commonality with the money-people than I might admit, because not only do we share a capacity for good, but I could easily be just like them if it weren't for God saving me. And my flesh confirms this all too often: that I can be a man addicted to the world if I turn my eyes too far from the lamp that lights my path.
Careful. Steady. Compassion. Perseverance. Not to judge, but to love. Not to hurt, but to heal.
Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious -- if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Saturday, November 15
too far apart
So, in an attempt to stretch my blogging muscles, I'll recount a few hither and thithers of the last week or so.
My mom visited us for a week, and there was much adventure. I don't often realize how humdrummingly simple our lives at home are until something like this comes up. The highlight of the trip, as far as hubbub goes, was the drive down south to visit family we hadn't seen in too long a time. Me, my son, and my mom -- and my wife and I didn't see each other for two and a half days, which is two days longer than we've ever been apart.
Sentiment runs deep in my family, although some of us attempt to cover it up with a dry, sarcastic wit. There is really no one in our family who can survive as a single person -- we need our significant others. Being apart from my wife stretched me too thin, and I felt like half a person, although surrounded by other dear family. No one, or ones, can replace her presence. As Ogden Nash wrote:
"Near and far, near and far,
And even though some folks said absence makes the heart grows fonder, my wife and I agreed that we didn't need absence to make our hearts any fonder at a greater rate than they already grow at.
I am happy where you are.
Likewise I have never learnt
How to be it where you aren't."
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