To cap off our anniversary trip, my wife and I watched Dumb and Dumber To. And boy was it ever. Dumb, that is. There were a couple of laugh-out-loud moments (this depends, of course, upon your tolerance for toilet humor), but in my opinion it fell far short of the original. Which is not very far to fall at all, I guess.

Either that, or I’ve grown since the original came out twenty years ago (hint: I was twenty-five then, and I guess what I think is funny has changed). Don’t get me wrong: being a guy, fart jokes can still be funny, but a lot of what was passed off as humor in this movie was cringe-inducing. For instance, the name (spoiler warning) of Kathleen Turner’s character is Frida.

Frida Felcher <--warning unless you know, don't look that up on Urban Dictionary. Trust me on this.

Beyond that, the story was by-and-large a retread of the original:

Road trip? Check.

Homicidal companion? Check.

Girl in peril? Check?

I could go on.

Point being this: unless you're feeling uber nostalgic for the original, don't bother. There aren't even any memorable lines like "So you're saying there's a chance?" here.

Dumb and Dumber To is rated PG-13 for crude humor and language. In my view, it’s time for Harry and Lloyd to fade into the sunset.

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Today my wife and I are celebrating our twenty-fourth wedding anniversary. While it hasn’t all been sunshine and roses, it’s been good. It’s had its ups and downs, its victories, defeats, and disappointments. In short, its been a real relationship–one where it has been safe to know and safe to be known. My wife is a wonderful woman, full of life, love, and forgiveness. And I’ve needed every bit of it. If I were Catholic, and believed in their process of canonization, I would nominate her for sainthood.

I love you, Lisa! You’re my best friend now, forever, and always. I thank God for you everyday.

Happy anniversary!

Had A Hard Year?

randomlychad  —  November 13, 2014 — Leave a comment

Remember Friends, that much beloved ’90’s sitcom which ran for a decade? Remember the theme song?

“When it hasn’t been your day, your month, or even your year?”

Ever had a year like that? Ever had a couple of years like that? Where you go from victory to falling flat on your face? I have.

I went on a spiritual retreat a couple of years ago, and it was both literally, and figuratively, a mountaintop experience. I felt closer to God than I ever had. Apprehended Him as Father–as my Father–in ways I never had before.

That was in Summer.

And then came the Fall.

I thought I was hearing from God about the direction my family and I should go. It seemed that confirmation was around every corner. But my wife, bless her, didn’t see it that way. I wanted something for her she didn’t want for herself.

You all know how well that works out…

Then I found something out about myself which only deepened my confusion, furthered my disillusionment. While in that season of questioning whether I hearing from God, a family member let it slip that I might have been molested as a toddler. Whether it actually happened or not, it’s plausible because other family stories surrounded the purported molester.

If had been thinking clearly, I would have drawn a parallel (understanding that I’m no prophet) between myself myself and Elijah, who suffered through a season of blackest doubt after his greatest victory (over the prophets of Baal). But I wasn’t. Instead, I retreated into myself–feeling maligned, misunderstood, unappreciated.

Instead of investing energies in getting well, getting whole, I engaged in an online correspondence with a woman not my wife. Because it was safe, because there were no stakes. No one to hold me accountable. All the while telling myself that she (my wife) didn’t need to know because there was nothing going on. But the funny thing is that “where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” The looking forward to responses, the refreshing of my inbox, became an addiction to fill the needy beast of affirmation beating in my chest.

I was looking for validation and acceptance, and was willing to accept a substitute. Of course, as is often the case, I made more of this correspondence than did the other party. When it came to an end, it felt like I’d lost a friend.

But it was a friend I’d never really had in the first place.

The lessons here, I think, are these:

1) Setbacks will often follow victories. Be prepared for them. Decide in advance what you’re going to do.

2) There is an enemy of our souls who knows our proclivities, knows how to make the blacks look white, who knows our stories, and how to punch our buttons. It is when we are the weakest that he will pounce (like a roaring lion) the hardest.

3) Take personal responsibility. The enemy can only use what’s been undisclosed to shame and condemn us. Once it’s exposed to the light, once it’s confessed, it’s no longer a weapon in his hands. He has a vested interest in us keeping secrets, telling us that if we tell we’ll be shunned. It’s a risk, but confession is worth it.

How about you? Is there anything festering in your life that you need to confess? You don’t need to do it here, but find someone in your life–a safe person–and let them know. Confession is good for the soul.

Bad At Acquaintances

randomlychad  —  November 13, 2014 — 10 Comments

I don’t know about you, but I’m bad at being acquaintances. Friendships for me are more binary; they are on, or off. You see, I’m generally an introvert; as such, I’ve never had a lot of friends. And the ones I do have mean very much to me.

Probably more than is healthy, to be honest.

As an introvert, I find small talk boring. Much preferred is the diving into the deep, messy stuff of life. I’m finding, however, through age and experience that not everyone is wired like that. That in fact I may have someone in the friend column who has me in their acquaintance column.

We’re at cross purposes, having differing expectations of the relationship. This always makes me sad, and leaves feeling like an outsider. To be blunt, it never fails to catch me off guard. You would think I would have learned by now, but No! It hooks right into the latent abandonment issues bound up in my soul. It’s not true, but it feels like ever since my dad left my family over thirty years ago people are always leaving me.

I feel forgotten, wondering what I did to make them go. I wish it weren’t so, but I get pouty and lash out. Which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts.

Who wants to be around that?

I’m trying to surround myself with healthy community, but it’s hard to let people in, you know? Heck, it’s hard to let God in, to relate to Him. <--Have you been there? Where all of your prayers feel like so much dust flung at an uncaring sky, dissipated by the wind?

That's the place I find myself in. Who am I in relation to:

You
Myself
God

I find my view of Him is still refracted by the prism given me by my earthly daddy. I want to let Him in--all the way in--but I don't know how.

He wants to be more than mere acquaintance. He deserves more. How do I, the man who struggles with frienship, give Him what He longs for?

Have you been there, my friends?

Forgotten How

randomlychad  —  November 13, 2014 — 5 Comments

I think I’ve forgotten how to blog. How to write. Or at least have forgotten what I loved about it in the first place. Sitting here, staring at the blank page, it’s hard to believe this site used to see updates from me five days a week.

How did he do it? That guy that used to be so passionate, so engaged? I he guess he forgot that his work was never about him at all, but was about you–the reader.

He forgot that this was intended to be a place to make you laugh, think, reach for God. Instead, he made it about himself.

But that guy is done. He’s not welcome here anymore. This blog is about you–about what reaches you, blesses you, what challenges you, what makes you tick. Because this writer believes that unless you see yourself reflected back at you in these words you’ll breeze out of here like yesterday’s news.

So what would you like to see written about here?