Monday, April 27, 2009

긍지는 가을의 앞에 파괴와 거만한 정신의 앞에 간다.

긍지는 가을의 앞에 파괴와 거만한 정신의 앞에 간다. This is, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." The Korean version. Or as Nacho would say it, "Why have you given me the desire to wrestle and then made me such a stinky warrior? Have I focused too much on my boots, and on my fame and my stretchy pants?" Actually, I believe it was a set-up.

Okay, karate test time. I never feel ready. The Grandmaster always tells me that of course I'm ready. And I always flub up. But this was supreme.

I reviewed my self-defense tactics, both versions. I reviewed my forms. I reviewed my terms and history. I reviewed my tactical approach to sparring, which I always stink at since we never do it in morning class. (My sparring motto is: "old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill"- usually that works...) I've taken all meds and puffed. I'm good to go.

We arrive and line up by rank on the floor. The Gm announces that I am the high-ranking belt, which makes me proud. THE SET-UP! I'm in the high belt position, front right with the rest of the class behind me. This should work to my advantage, allowing me to set the pace to postpone an asthma attack. Good deal.

About 2 feet in front of me are 3 stacks of boards. 2 feet behind me is a green belt. 2 feet to my right is a line of seated students who are not testing. I feel like I'm in a telephone booth. He gives the command to start forms, and I knock some of the boards cattywhompus. Then, on turning in my first form, I find that all the little buggers behind me have raced off at 80 mph and are somewhere five steps ahead of us. The whole front line is now in chaos and Mrs. Bigbelt steps out. “What happened?” “Confused, sir.” Brilliant.

I'm not sure I finished any form correctly or completely, as the rest of the time seemed like "a nightmare covered in molasses." That's how Scott Hamilton described Nicole Bobek's Olympic performance to "Zorba the Greek" when she skated on her butt for a good part of the time. She gave the term sit-spin a whole new meaning. She was given the nickname Boom-boom Bobek by a local news commentator. The Gm sidelines us in disgust and then invites the purple and white belts to show us up. (Summon your eagle powers!)

Time for board breaks. He asks 2 people to hold my board over my head and horizontally. Break with a jump-front-snap kick. Obviously he forgot the moratorium he placed on old people doing aerial moves, so obviously I haven't done this in a while. I start jumping and snapping to practice, and he says, "No, run and then kick." My brain becomes busy collecting images of my life to flash before my eyes, so I can’t think out how to pace it off. I just walk up to it, jump, kick, and then from a prone position on the floor I can see that, yes, the board is broken. Come what may, it needed to break or I would have willed myself to die on the carpet. Just beam me up now.

Next up: No touch sparring with a lovely young lady... I last for almost the whole time before the asthma kicks in. I step out yet again, and he assigns some little kid to take my place. There I am on the sideline again, watching.

Now the finale! Put on your sparring gear! As if I’m not enough of a freak already. I just bought new sparring stuff, because my old chest protector had a place for boobs. Wonderwoman meets Madonna. The new chest protector pads all around (bulky) and laces up in back like Scarlett O'Hara's corset. On goes the headgear with mask and shin/foot protectors. (Everyone else is wearing just a lightweight flat front affair and no facemask.) I have never worn this stuff once, let alone sparred in it. As I walk from the back of the room to the floor I'm humming Darth Vader's theme from Star Wars. The older people chuckle. I'm sure everyone wants to be me. And yes, this was public humiliation.

I stand in front of my reflection in the mirror and wait. Darth Vader meets Frosty the Snowman. Plump. What am I doin’ here? "Eagle powers, come to me. Please!!" I bow to my partner, a 13-year-old sweetie of a girl, tall and stout. The Gm shouts and she starts pummeling me like Smokin' Joe Frazier. She beat the stuffin’ outa me. Gm finally stops her to remind her only 30% power to the body and 10-15 to the head. “Have some respect!” he says. “For the elderly,” I finish in my head. I finally got some licks in but I felt like I was in a sumo suit. (Those eggs were a lie!)

This is the night that would never end. So, to those of you who were kind enough to pray for me, thanks. I have truly tasted humiliation. And I didn't even wear my stretchy pants.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

At home, outside the box

Wow. What a sad season. So many people have died over the last few weeks that it's mind boggling. You never know what a day will bring. Our eyes tell us that this is all there is. Strangely, what we see is just a fleeting speck of reality. The real and everlasting life is outside the box. I'm so glad Jesus told us what's outside the box, or the thought of death would be terrifying. But, that is where home is. Today we celebrated the "home-going" of Larry Walker.

I've thought about the Walkers. Wanted to e-mail Tina when I found out that Larry was really declining. I just didn't do it. So often I pass up opportunities to show love until it's too late.

Watching their slide show today reminded me of a season that has passed. School functions. Piano recitals. Toothless smiles. Awards ceremonies. The wonderful "patriotic programs". Gethsemane Baptist introduced us to a wonderful group of people that we just don't see any more, but who were such a blessing to our family.

Larry and Tina were the first guests that we entertained in our home on the North side. Elisabeth and Lauren were about 7. We ate spaghetti and Larry told stories that had us in stitches.

I'm sad tonight that Tina will be missing her best friend, and when the girls go back home the empty spot will be so bleak. Larry was such a blessing to so many people that there is a multitude who will be feeling the loss for some time to come.

And I guess I'm grieving tonight for a season passed.
What a joyful season it was. I don't suppose there'll be seasons in heaven. Time only functions in the box. It was a gift. The next season will be a joyful gift also. Eventually, will come the ultimate gift- a home in heaven where Jesus is the light, and we will have a reunion with those who are already home.

I'm kind of homesick for a country
To which I've never been before.
No sad goodbyes will there be spoken
For time won't matter anymore.

Beulah Land, I'm longing for you
And some day on thee I'll stand.
There my home shall be eternal.
Beulah Land -- Sweet Beulah Land

I'm looking now across the river
Where my faith will end in sight.
There's just a few more days to labor.
Then I will take my heavenly flight.

Beulah Land, I'm longing for you
And some day on thee I'll stand.
There my home shall be eternal.
Beulah Land -- Sweet Beulah Land

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Out of the closet

Now it's time for true confessions. I'm a Thespian. This may sound bad, but it's time to come out of the closet. In high school I was inducted into the International Thespian Society, an organization to promote and honor those who excel in theater arts. I know. You can throw a tomato at me .

The whole idea of acting a part is not just to memorize lines and say them at the right time- you need to say the lines as though they are your thoughts.

Years after high school, while doing my quite time at home, it dawned on me. I have memorized scripts that are larger than many sections of scriptures. What if I memorize a passage, a chapter, in the same way that I would prepare for a drama presentation. Run these thoughts through the same process and own them in the same way. I chose Mt 25 (Why? I don't know). I spoke it aloud each day. Memorized to understand. To re-speak, as though they were my thoughts- by God's Holy Spirit.

So many people say they can't memorize, but they memorize stuff all the time. Lyrics to 500 songs. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Nonsense. Baseball stats. The exact scripts of their favorite movies so they can banter back and forth with friends. But they can't commit a passage of scripture to memory and meditate on it as they go through the day?

My friend Helen and I were watching a film on the Roloff Homes for problem boys and girls. Part of the Roloff program for troubled teens was an ambitious Bible memory program to give these kids' minds "a good washing." Helen doesn't do things by halves. She declared, "If those little kids can do it, we can do it."
Great idea, Helen, where should we start? (thinking Ps 23)
John chapter 1.
You mean 1st John.
No, I mean the gospel of John.
That's 53 verses...
Yes, and we say all 53 verses to each other at the end of this month.

Okay, ambitious... but at the end of the month we both had all of John 1, because we're both pretty competitive.

But what a tremendous blessing she gave me by keeping me accountable to learn 13 verses per week, add to each section, and meditate on that wonderful chapter all month. "and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." Wowee!

Such rich treasures I have found where there didn't seem to be anything shiny before. Verses I had passed over before, suddenly popped out in technicolor! New dimension. Communion with God as I try to think His thoughts after Him. A side effect is that occasionally a section will totally blow your mind, and your thoughts go off in all directions like fireworks as they connect with other verses from past chapters. The joy is hard to contain, but at the same time the thoughts are hard to communicate to anyone else because it all gets so BIG.

I highly recommend it. Find a faithful partner. Memorize all of Isaiah 53. Ephesians 1. James 1. The blessings you will own are immense. At the beginning of Revelation, a blessing is pronounced on whoever reads and hears the words of the prophesy of the Revelation, and keeps the things written therein. Imagine the blessing of committing those words to your heart!

Take inventory of the things you have memorized. Facts and phrases and dead words from dead books. The words in God's book are living... alive. They will act upon your heart and mind.

For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ! 1 Co 2:16