A Matter of Life and Death  

Posted by Artimus Jones

I died nearly two weeks ago. I have died nearly every day since then. It isn't a physical death. It's dying of a different sort. I think we all view death as being somewhat final, but that is not right. Death doesn't end anything, its just a different, darker, unnatural living.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. He created all the plants, animals, sun, moon, stars, sky, water, land, and man (the all inclusive man). There was no death, only Life. Life unlike what we have ever experienced, yet I believe we are remember it somewhere deep inside us. Echoing faintly from our souls. God looked at all the Life he created and it was good, man was very good. God spoke to man and woman, his crowning achievements, the epitome of Life, and he said "This is all yours, rule it, name it, own it, you have dominion over all, but you cannot eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil". Ok, I paraphrased that a bit, but in essence that is what He said. Then we did the worst thing we could do. We, Man, ate of the Tree forbidden us. That day we Died. It wasn't a physical death, it was dying of a different sort. It was separation. It was not what God intended, it wasn't natural. Adam and Eve and we, their children, continued to live, but we no longer had Life.

When I say I died nearly two weeks ago, I mean I have been separated from the closest thing to Life one can experience on this earth. Until I am reunited with Christ, I cannot imagine anything else on this earth closer to that Life Christ promises me. I had love and love had me. Now it is gone, but I don't believe it is dead. I suppose that means I'm not really dead either, wounded perhaps, but not dead, not really. Hope is keeping me alive.

Now hope is an interesting elixir. Where love brings us the closest we could ever come to Life, hope only keeps us barely alive. If Love is a river, constantly renewing itself, then Hope is a trickle, sustaining but not satisfied. Hope is a bitter elixir; though it keeps you alive, it can make your heart sick. However, I will not stop drinking in Hope, for life in any sort is better than true death.

No, I am not dead. I am merely sick. Love has not seen the last of me.

So for those in the same condition as I, drink in hope until you can again swim in love. And when you are swimming in love, swim in love until you drown in it.


Here's to swimming.  

Posted by Artimus Jones

I think a lot. About all sorts of things. Depending on the day I will think about wondrous things, like just how does your hand work and how cool it is that it actually does work, or how we are able to stand on two not very large flat supports known as feet. It is amazing really. On other days I find myself thinking about my relationship, or my friends, or my seeming continuous lack of money. We all think about things, and as always I have been thinking again.

I decided last night that I need to start writing again. It has been awhile, and while I may not have that many readers rushing to read my new writings, it is still helpful none the less. Well, upon deciding I need to write again I began to think about why I felt this urge, this compulsion to write. While I don't think I have any conclusive mind blowing reasons, I believe fairly strongly that it has to do with my recent lack of motivation. I feel like I have not been fully in God's will.

Often times I will end up in a position where I just coast. Feeling like I am doing a good job. I gathered momentum and now I am able to sit back, relax, and still watch the scenery change. There is a problem with coasting. Eventually you run out of momentum and you come to a stop. Let me tell you, getting moving again after a complete stop is not easy. It would have been better if I just kept working.

I hate swimming. Well, hate is a fairly strong word, but a dislike it. I find it to be a lot of work. This summer I was visiting my girlfriend (sorry all you single ladies) up at her parents lake house. It was a gorgeous sunny day with a lot of wind. I feel so alive when the wind plays through my hair. It is an adventurous feeling. It was a warm day and the lake water was very inviting. So after awhile we decided to go swimming. I got in the water before my lady and it was the perfect temperature. Just a degree or two cooler than a warm bath. So I went out swimming a ways. We decided we would go swim out to the floating dock, about 100 feet away. It was a choppy day on the lake with all the wind, and after we got out about 40 feet we decided it was too difficult to make it against the current. We had worked hard for very little ground, or water. So we turned back. Even with the water now pushing us back to shore, I realized just how difficult that initial swim had been. I was very tired. If I had been in better shape perhaps this wouldn't have been such an issue, but I was really starting to worry if I could make it back. It was all I could do to put one arm in front of the other. I was starting to get this panicky feeling as the waves started to crash over me. It seemed like I wasn't getting any closer to shore. Of course Laura was not aware of these thoughts, I had to look like a man. So I pressed on with what strength I could muster. Finally I made it back with great relief.

That isn't just a random story. I used it to illustrate my point. If I hadn't kept swimming I would have likely drowned. I had to keep going, even when it seemed difficult. So why don't I do that in my spiritual life. It as if I think I have a life vest on and I can just rest a bit until I get moving when in reality as soon as I stop I start to drown spiritually. Its not an easy world. Maybe that's why Paul said he was pressing on to the goal. Pressing on doesn't suggest it is easy or even fun, but it has to be done or death is the only other option.

I still don't like swimming, but I like it better than drowning. Here's to swimming.


Life Changes Again...  

Posted by Artimus Jones

If one day I am able to look back on all my experiences and all my life, I don't think I would be able to honestly say that things went the way I wanted them to. Im not saying that this is a bad thing though. In fact I am hoping that when I look back on my life I will see that things went better (in the long run) then I could have ever planned for myself. After all, its not my life, Im just using it.

The reason I bring this up? No more summer cross country road trip. I was initially disappointed by this. I was really hoping there would be an opportunity for new expreiences and a chance to see some old friends and make some new friends. Life was going to be different and it was going to be good. And it turns out that life is different, and it is good.

The freedom and unexpectedness I was looking forward to in that trip is still happening. Just not the way I expected. Now I am the director of Young Adult Ministry, my business nearly got sued and lost a lot of money, but now we are doing better than could have been expected.
I have become busy in ways I didn't expect to be busy, and in many ways can't help but wonder if this might not be a better option to my summer trip. I am hoping that I will still get the chance to make my trip. Its just that the circumstances will be different.

For now I will just see where God is taking me. Either way, I know it is going to be good. Maybe difficult, maybe not even fun, but good. So stick around. Soon I will give more insight into the way things have been changing, until of course Life Changes Again...