I learned how to tie my shoes last week.
At least, I think so. My friend Tiffany had to remind me how on the way to Sunday school when, before entering the door, I tripped on my pump-action L.A. Gear. We are both entering preschool next week, and she still beats me at everything, including, apparently, how to tie shoes. Well, at least my birthday comes first.
I’m now on my way to the sports pavilion where we are gathering to celebrate the life of Daisy Love Merrick, my pastor’s eight-year old daughter who recently went home with Jesus. She was a bastion of Christ-like joy and child-like faith, and there are already thousands of people lined up to honor her. I remember playing board games with Daisy and our families by the fireplace; we never would have guessed she was fighting cancer by that darling way she asked questions, or when she hid an eraser in the house for us to find and giggled when we failed miserably; one does not simply find an eraser in a house if a little girl chooses to hide it from you. One by one, we adults succumbed to our usual fatigue leaving Daisy begging us for “just one more game.”
Now as I approach the sports pavilion, I glance at my shoes which, being tied very nicely, are double-knotted, and laced-through various rivets without any impeding folds. I stop to admire them and smile at a fleeting memory before getting that strange sinking feeling—the kind you get when you realize you forgot to do your homework and are now walking into class: this might be my best accomplishment in life. And I’ve lived much of my life already. I suspect that the next time I blink, my eyes will open as a fifty-year old man. When I was in elementary school, nothing ever came quickly; now time ruthlessly inundates all who overstay their welcome, with half of my life passing before my eyes while blinking.
Now, please don’t mistake this for self-deprecation, but much the opposite. For it’s only by the mercy of God that life is never wasted, and may I, of all people, be so bold as to declare with Wesley, “Tis mercy all, immense and free, for O my God, it found out me!”
Notwithstanding second chances, I still cannot ignore how fast my life was spent, and how much of it was spent on nothing. And all of this reminiscing has revealed a glad and simple truth to me: some live more life in eight years than others do in fifty.
I also wonder if she took the eraser to heaven with her. That would explain a lot.
I want to give you an apology for the unannounced lull in blogging. Some of you got my blog posts in your email several time a week, and I have been dark for a month (maybe more??). To say the least, this season has been tumultuous, though highly enjoyable for me, my family, and my church.
For one, Britt Merrick, has taken a leave of absence as the pastor of vision and preaching at Reality.
This is so that he can completely devote his time and energy towards his daughter, Daisy Love, who is fighting through her third round of cancer in as many years. They have moved to Israel to seek temporary treatment. I love calling this man my pastor, who would put the well-being of his family above any other person, and even more proud of him for raising many people to step in to places of leadership. In this season, I will be filling in for him as the full-time interim pastor for preaching at Reality Santa Barbara. You can hear more of his announcement about this here:
Second, our beloved college ministry, Adorn, will be coming to a close at August 24.
Adorn has been an invigorating, refreshing, Christ-exalting journey, and it has changed my life for the better. You can hear the full explanation behind why we are transitioning during this move of God, and the fruitful testimony of what Christ has accomplished through Adorn in the last few years here:
In addition to these, Brianna and I will be bringing a daughter into the world on August 28!
All of this change is happening at once, and so my blog has taken a sad, but appropriate backseat. I will still continue to break from blogging due to the ongoing transitions, and until I can fully devote myself to writing, posting, researching, studying, and commenting. I am a blogging nerd, and I want to do it well, if at all. Now for the good news (depending on who you are)…
I plan on writing again in mid-September, and with a reinvigorated focus.
For the past few years, this blog has been actively engaged with and focused on Millennials—that generation born between 1980 and 2000—being on mission in Santa Barbara, CA. I have a deepening passion for my generation, and when I come back, you can expect that I will still preach, communicate, and write to them. But I will also be widening the focus of this blog to include the whole church in Santa Barbara, which aligns with my heart to see all generations maturing in their faith together, and gives me a chance to speak more about two things I also love: Christ and His church.
Until then, I am going dark, and I would love your prayers.
In addition to preparing my heart and life for my daughter, wife, Reality, and the transition from Adorn, I will also be prayerfully renewing my focus on the blog content that will again live here, so that when I return in a month, we can hit the ground running for the glory of God and the gladness of his people in him. If you subscribe to the blog, you will know when all of this happens!
Thank you for your readership, dialog, comments, and overall good spirits. I will see you very soon :-)