I am sitting in a restaurant in the place of my birth...or, uh, rather the place of my new birth. Today I was completing a drive from my former home in Franklin, TN to our temporary home this summer with Kasey's parents in Raleigh NC. We have detoured for a few weeks as we finalize housing for our actual move to New Jersey. As I neared Raleigh I felt drawn, somewhat magnetically, to exit and take a drive through Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I have since called my wife and told her I would get to Raleigh later this afternoon and needed some time to think.
For some reason, the whole process of raising funds, finishing ministry, selling a house, finding a new one and preparing to move has swamped my soul a bit. I have struggled in the last few weeks to find my passion as a myriad of details has swirled about me. I have also been a bit distracted reading two technology books - one on the history of the iPod, the other on Google. I guess I was interested in tech history as I once studied to work in the technology field and have kept an interest. Anyway, it has been a bit tough of late to see the forest from the trees so I am thankful for today's detour.
I drove around the campus and looked at dorms I once called home, places I used to party, athletic facilities where I sweat and bleed and paths I walked daily to classes. I saw Phillips Hall where I studied Physics and Sitterson Hall where my love for computer science blossomed so many years ago. Yet the most profound thing I remembered here was meeting Jesus in some quiet places around this campus and having the direction of my life profoundly changed. I ate lunch at a place called Armadillo Grill, a place I visited often during my time here - at least when wrestling was not in season and I could actually eat a little. Smile. I even talked to a homeless guy about Jesus and probably gave him beer money for the day. We used to hang with the Chapel Hill street guys back in the day as well. Sitting there in the tex-mex grill, the classic rock, the smells and the scenery brought me to a place of nostalgia. So many things happened in this town for me. I became a Christian, I met Kasey Monroe (now my wife of 12 years), I grew in my love for truth and intellect ual life and received a calling upon my life that, to my knowledge, God has not in any way revoked.
I am 35 years old and in transition - this can be a tough time for people. I sense this in my soul. At my age you now have a bit of a past, a few memories, and if motivated, you still feel like you have so much left to do. I'm really not sure why I pulled off here in Chapel Hill today, nor why God detoured us to NC for a short season. My conclusion is that I needed to remember, to reflect and contemplate the horizon before us. So I am wandering Chapel Hill today by foot and in my black Mazda 3 hatchback...on my iPod plays the autobiography of Ravi Zacharias recounting his own story as he "walked from East to West." Ravi was good to me during my final days in Chapel Hill as he nourished my mind with a view of Jesus that was satisfying, sincere, and intellectual. I loaded his book on my iPod a few days ago but did not expect to be listening to him in Chapel Hill.
For some strange reason I live with a constant concern of my life not counting for much. The reality is this world and our lives within it are so brief in their passing. What else can we do but try? To be honest I wonder where this present age is heading long term with so many competing views of reality, people with agendas and clashing ideologies clamoring for supremacy. I also find the level of understanding and intellect in the church to be troubling. Yet I am convinced of a few things in this life:
But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. 2 Timothy 1:12
After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, "Do you want to go away as well?" Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God." John 6:66-69
Why am I in Chapel Hill today? Perhaps to remember Jesus and him crucified and his work to save people far from him...Perhaps to remember Jesus, his wisdom and the truth he revealed to the world. For if I have hope it is in him, not in Steve Jobs or the Google Guys as cool as their products may be. For that matter, our hope is not in any others who desire to proclaim themselves saviors of the world...for that title is reserved for the one who created to world, then lived, died and was raised...For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever.