Archives For heart

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At the outset, let me just state that I loved The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Now let me tell you why:

The movie opens on Walter, alone, in his apartment, dressed for work, futzing around on social media. More specifically, he’s trying to work up the courage to send a “wink” to a coworker on eHarmony. He finally does, and… it doesn’t work. He can’t send the “wink.”

This begins one of the movie’s funnier subplots (it’s no spoiler to say that this involves Patton Oswalt, as he’s listed in the credits. You’ll just have to watch and find out how the whole eHarmony subplot is resolved). In fact, because I’m something of a literature nerd, this is but one instance of a Chekhov’s gun in the film. Chekhov’s gun, for the uninitiated, is a rule established by dramatist Anton Chekhov stating that one cannot introduce a gun in the first act that is not used later on.

There are numerous instances of this technique on display in Walter Mitty–none of which actually involve a gun. (If you see it, pay attention to: the aforementioned eHarmony subplot, a piano, a skateboard sequence, and a wallet). I bring this up because there is nothing wasted in this movie–the storytelling is tight, and focused. Within that framework, Ben Stiller has crafted a motion picture filled with great whimsy and flights of fancy. It is simultaneously grounded, and yet has its head in the clouds.

What a difference, say, from his 90’s era film, Reality Bites. In watching it, one gets the sense that, yes, reality can bite, but this is no reason to lose heart. In its opening sequence, in drab apartment, inside an even drabber building, that wistful tone is expertly portrayed: Walter is altogether too close to being a man who has lost heart. But it is upon arriving at work that day, when he learns of his company’s impending demise, that his journey begins. In storytelling terms, this is the inciting incident: the catalyst by which a character is forced to act. Walter’s is two-fold:

First, his company is reorganizing, and its next issue will be its last;

Second, a photographer with whom he has closely worked for sixteen years, has sent  negatives, stating that number 25 is his best work ever, and represents “the quintessence of life.”

Thing is, this negative is missing. Helping Walter track it down are his associate, Hernando, and a coworker named Cheryl.

Thus begins Walter’s journey. What begins as a quest for excellence becomes so much more. Walter thinks he is on a trip to find a photographer, but really he’s on a quest to get his heart back.

Isn’t that the same path we’re all on? We want to reclaim our hearts. We know there’s more to life, but have somehow lost it upon the way. On his way, Walter transitions from imaging himself to be a hero to actually being a hero.

He goes from existing to living, from surviving to thriving.

There are potholes on the way, the  temptation to lose heart arises again, but he digs deep, and gets the job done.

And if Walter can, so can I.

So can you.

So go see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. You’ll be glad you did.

Newly Shorn

randomlychad  —  April 2, 2013 — 2 Comments

Down deep the rabbit hole
Our love has gone
Chasing fleeting things
On airy wings
Oh what went wrong?

Deep is our delving
Beneath soaring mountains high
Weight’s constricting, no room to sigh
Pressure’s building
We’re buried alive

Your love’s a war hammer
My heart like fine glass
Fly shards like gossamer
I’m shattered, my lass

Broken heart somehow yet beating?
For instead of retreating
In that needy beast newly shorn
A life is quickened, transformed

And love is reborn.

Not So Different

randomlychad  —  January 22, 2013 — Leave a comment

The way you look at me
With those eyes
I can’t stand it

You think you look through me,
But look closer:
See the heart in me

It’s not so different
From the one in you

Not so very different at all.

A Renewed Focus

randomlychad  —  September 20, 2012 — 18 Comments

'Just Write' photo (c) 2011, Sean MacEntee - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Yesterday was hard for me. Those of you that create content for a living, or for love, know the twin demons of doubt and fear which follow hard on the heels of a renewed resolve. You may, or may not, know that I’m working on a book. But… who am I to write a book? Who will read it? Who’s my “tribe?” How do I do that, and still maintain this blog?

Despite plumbing the depths of my heart and soul, stats–and comments–are down here. If I get to the end of the manuscript, polish it up, who’s going to read it? I don’t have a huge following. This is very much a niche blog. But I feel like I’ve been putting forth a lot of effort not only sharing my heart, but also trying to cajole people into reading it–without a lot of feedback (don’t get me wrong–I have received some nice notes of encouragement). Maybe I’m trying too hard, putting too much of myself into a blog?

Listen, you don’t really know just how close I came to shuttering this blog. Fortunately, I have a very wise wife, and some great friends who talked me down from the edge.

My wife told me:

“Growing in Christ is the most important thing. Maybe you should focus on your book and leave it in God’s hands. It’s hard to focus on work, blogging, your book, family, church, small group, classes, chores and family time.”

My friend Jim had this to say:

“Don’t kill something GREAT. You blog is NOT like other blogs. I FIRMLY believe Christ is using your blog, but also has BIGGER better things in store.”

My friend Tor said this:

“Personally, I think you may be taking a drastic step “by driving a stake” in the heart of your blog. The simple fact that you’re stressing about being in God’s will is a fairly good indication that you’re not too far from it – His grace will help cover the delta. As far as blogging, have you considered a 30 or 60-day sabbatical to focus only on your book? That might be an option. For what it’s worth, I took TWO months off from writing this summer with the birth of our boy thanks to the generous guest posts of writers like you. I felt renewed. That might be an option to consider.”

Thing is, it’s not just a blog to me–it’s a passion project. It just seems that a lot of energy goes into promoting, promoting, promoting, when instead it could be used for creating, creating, creating. I mean I get it: it’s a noisy world, full of a cacophony of voices. “Everybody wants to rule the world,” right?

Well, I don’t. Despite being my blog, I don’t want it to be about me, but rather about Jesus, and the message he’s given me. Because you see, I’m willing to let all die–this dream of writing–for him, for his sake. Yes, I understand he grants us the desires of our hearts, but I don’t want to be in the place where I’m desiring my dreams more than I desire him. Because I don’t care anymore about being known, but to know him.

That said, I know my gift and my calling, and feel like he wants me to use it. But it’s not about me; rather it’s about him, and the message he’s given. The liberty I’ve found in him that’s freely available to all. If he wills, that is what I wish to be about–because there such peace, freedom, and healing in him.

This doesn’t mean that other topics won’t, from time-to-time, come up. There will be periodic book reviews, and author interviews. I haven’t lost my passion for writing; rather, it’s been renewed. And I want to excise the distractions that detract from my mission. Which means I will still write, but I may do so less frequently here. And I refuse to give any more time, or thought, to stats, comments, etc. My words will connect with whomever God wills.

And that will be enough.

I want to thank you for coming on the journey with me thus far. Let us look forward together to what lies ahead.

In the end, let’s just say that after years of being “random” I’ve found my focus, and like a compass it points to True North.

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PS Look forward to an exciting new project coming from my friend, Jim Woods in the coming weeks. It promises to bring a #WritingRevolution. You heard it here first.

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Beyond the heat, there are hazards to living in the desert. There is, of course, ample sunshine, but a great lack of rain.

Growth requires both sunshine and rain.

Some plants are able to dig down deep, find underground aquifers. Others wither. Water is key. Desert places would be uninhabitable without it.

The desert, expectant as it is–so deeply, desperately–in need of rain, is a dangerous place for it.

For rain.

You see, the hot sun beats down, bakes the ground, so that when the storms come, that dry crust can’t receive the life-giving blessings that the water promises.
Through “fiery trial” it has become impermeable.

The rainfall, having nowhere to go, runs along the path of least resistance.

This is a flashflood.

(And it’s dangerous not only to the flora and fauna, but to people as well. Every year there are stories of people trapped in deluges).

Like the desert ground, are our hearts not often like this as well? Hardened by the fiery trials of life, we can’t receive what He’s pouring out. Or maybe we do ask for God to move, to send the rain? But are then not receptive when it comes in a time, place, way not of our choosing.

Instead we grumble and complain.

Like the desert, our hearts–through hardness, indifference, or selfishness–are not open to receive what He wants to give.

We forget that life does not come on our terms, but rather on those of a Sovereign who shares His glory with no man.

How can you humble yourself today to receive His life-giving rain?