september 11th...

oh yes, one floridian’s plans for september 11th have gotten a lot of press coverage lately. and i am not going to add to that insanity by linking to any of it. 

because in my never humble opinion, the problem with that “christian’s” plans for september the 11th is that it is way too easy.

because he plans to burn.

burning is easy. isn’t it? light a match. put it next to something flammable and VOILA, fire. really, we have been doing it for thousands of years. even the youngest boy scouts learn how to set a fire. then they learn what the results of that fire are... because something winds up in ashes. and if the wind catches it just right, lots more things than you ever intended wind up in ashes.

so what will i, also a “christian”, be doing tomorrow? something harder than burning. i will be building. the same kindling that burns is also used to build. the same Bible that he reads tells me to use my faith to build.

so i will be doing the buddy walk for the down syndrome association of tallahassee. and i will link to that event.

Transient

you see our friends and neighbors, the tomans, have a daughter, claire (pictured above), with down syndrome. and claire rides to school with us everyday. she loves me in a way that far surpasses the way anyone other than Jesus has ever loved me. she thinks i am a rock star because i sing a song to her every morning with the day of the week in it. it isn’t a really clever song and i don’t sing it that well but she cheers for it so loudly that at times i feel like justin beiber must feel.

so tomorrow morning we walk in the buddy walk to build relationships with our neighbors. we walk to build a bridge of understanding, of community, of education, of support for those who know and love people with down syndrome. i walk because i want tomorrow to be a day of hope. a day when the sound of laughter is louder than the sound of burning timbers.

why build? it is harder. it requires getting up early on a saturday. of getting sweaty through working and walking and talking. it takes WAY more time than burning. and WAY more energy. and the results... well, not as quick as burning. not as certain. 

how do i know?

well,  i have burned way too many things in my life. i have taken the easy route and just burned things up with my words, my actions, my revenge, my selfishness, my need to be RIGHT and HEARD and do it MY WAY. i have seen the collateral damage. i have felt the flames and they have even turned and burned me and scarred me even when i thought i was doing something to make someone else hurt and feel the pain. i have smelled the smoke in my hair and in my clothes. i have singed my nostrils and burned off my eyebrows. i have been downright pyromaniacal. and it was easy. fast. certain. resolute. 

oh yes, i know how to burn.

so on september 11th, i will choose to build. in such a small small way that i wonder if anyone will ever see any results from it. but i choose the joy of hard work. the joy of walking hand in hand with friends, family, and strangers. the building of one brick at a time. one log. one board. one nail. one window. one door.

do i write all this because i think i am “better” than that other floridian. nope. just worried for him. worried that this might singe his eyebrows off before it is all said and done. worried because i know that pyromania is addictive and fire spreads.

perhaps i am a bit wiser. i have been shown a “better way”. by someone who liked to build. because He is a Carpenter. you should see what he can do with two boards and some nails (yeah, that one might have been over the top). but He might just be able to tell us a thing or two about how to build...

 1 corinthians 12:31 - 13: 13
And now I will show you the most excellent way.
If I speak in the tongues  of men and of angels, but have not love, 
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, 
and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, 
but have not love, I gain nothing.
 Love is patient, love is kind. 
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 
it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. 
But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; 
where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 
For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. 
When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. 
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. 
But the greatest of these is love.

if you want to make a donation to our team, i am sure you can click here and do that... (our team name is the TOMANATORS. isn’t that a GREAT name? i wouldn’t walk unless our team had a cool name like that...) 

so please figure out how you can BUILD something tomorrow. something small. or something HUGE (but just don’t show me up, that would make me mad). build something that will last long after the smoke clears...