This is the first draft of what will become a brief bit of prose about nothing in particular. You see, I've lost my muse; an event which ranks amongst the top three lousy things that can happen to a person (along with having your wallet stolen and being stuck in an elevator with a chatty tobacconist).
That last sentence took me four and a half minutes to write. When one has their muse, the sentences roll out like discounts at a General Motors dealership. Without such inspiration, it can take a lifetime to eek out a single clause, leaving you underwhelmed and disappointed upon its arrival, wondering if it was worth the wait—not unlike an OJ Simpson conviction.
Perhaps I lack things to write about. When we first began to address you as missionaries, life was new and exciting. Every day was a fresh adventure. The culture was accosting us from every side, leaving us tickled and bemused. Each week, it seemed, I was off in some new area of Mindanao, living life to the full. Many a time I was left with the challenge of telling you about my day in 1500 words or less. There was so much to say. I could tell you of my treks through rivers, or my tours of federal prisons. I could even dazzle you with tales of woe upon returning from the grocery store. Somehow Bethany and I managed to write 79 blog entries in our first six months here. If you look at the side bar to your right you will see that we have yet to reach that mark in the year since.
Alas, I fear my life has become a bore. No, not a bore, but certainly familiar. I have little time for mountainous journeys or 14 hour inter-provincial bus rides. What am I to write? Shall I regale you with the wonders of a soiled nappy? Perhaps you would like to hear of my 2 hours on the phone this morning? I could paint you a vivid picture of our daily 4am feeding. Dare I risk revealing that life as a missionary can, at times, appear no different from that of the North American suburbanite? Will my audience think less of me when they discover that I spend most of my days, not with the poor, but in board rooms and coffee shops, or at home with a 3 month old baby and a 17 inch notebook computer?
Am I getting things done? Certainly. Am I accomplishing my goals? It would appear so. But surely people expect more. This is supposed to be life on the edge. We're those crazy kids who sold all their possessions and crossed an ocean to bless the poor. Shouldn't we be living in a grass hut at the edge of the jungle somewhere? Instead, you get coffee induced ramblings about a business meeting. There go my hopes for a book deal...
Please understand me. I do not mean to say that having a baby has left me stuck in the city. On the contrary. Bethany has done a masterful job of organizing her homework schedule so that there is time for me to be out and about. What has changed is the way I spend that time. I am currently laying the groundwork for a major expansion of the water project. This requires me to meet with various NGOs and community developers, as we begin to partner together to reach a much larger segment of the Filipino population. I have seen my role change from being a hands-on filter installation guy, to being a big picture guy. I love the big picture and I'm really excited about where we're going, but some days I have a craving for more.
Part of my difficulty is that I'm wired to be creative. My hobbies include music, writing and photography. For some reason I have allowed my creative juices to run dry. I still play on the worship team at church, and I dutifully run for my camera every time Promise is being cute—I'm glad the days of film are behind us, or I'd be putting Mr. Fuji's grand kids through college—but when was the last time I sat and banged on my guitar just for fun? It's been months since I went out on a photo hunt, which is one of my favorite ways to pass the time.
God brought me here to bless the poor, and somehow my current activities are doing just that.
But He also designed me to enjoy Him and worship Him through artistic expression. Perhaps part of my longing for abundant life will be satisfied in a recrudescence of that expression. Often times, I feel closest to God when I am blessing the poor, or when I'm taking a photograph. My current to-do-list may appear lengthy and mildly innocuous, but I could probably find more time for creative things, and I probably should find more time to be with the poor.
Ecclesiastes 3 says there is a season for everything. I guess this is the season for soiled nappies and business meetings. I recognize that I'm still in the opening pages of the wonderful story that God has written for my life, and I truly do enjoy the hours that I spend holding my beautiful Promise. But I won't lie to you, there are days that I am sorely tempted to flip ahead a few chapters to see what kind of mischief He's going to get me into next.
I leave you with a few pics of Birdie on the Jolly Jumper, on loan from Chad and Naomi. It turns out it is very difficult to focus the lens when she is jumping up and down.