Learning the Facts of Life

I had a random Union University memory today. A friend of mine mentioned that he had a jamocha shake from Arby’s when it was cold outside, which got me thinking about my own jamocha shake experience. Specifically one.

My dorm room was at the back of the campus. Across the street lived the place that made my drug of choice, the jamocha shake. Plus, the fact that I could literally walk half a block to get one made it all the better.

So I decided one night to get one. Apparently, I didn’t get the memo that they closed. I arrived just in time to be told, “Sorry, we’ve closed for the night. No jamocha shake for you.” Not in those words, but something close to that.

I did get my shake eventually, but I also learned to pay attention to the time more closely.

Today, I had a salted caramel mocha, one of the harbingers of the arrival of Autumn. It’s also one of my favorites. That, the pumpkin spice latte, and the caramel apple cider are the three best reasons to frequent Starbucks in the fall.

For me, fall is a reminder that sometimes it’s good to slow down and savor life. That to-do list never goes away and never gets smaller, but sometimes you find when you leave a few items unchecked, the world actually doesn’t come to a crashing halt. Somehow, life goes on.

It’s better when your life has margins, when you aren’t so jam-packed with busyness that you have no down time. There’s a reason why God made the Sabbath. No one can go all-out for 7 days in a row, week after week, and not burn out and break down.

I personally have never had a problem with going full speed for too long. I like my naps. I like my quality therapy time with my cat Lucy in my lap and some quality TCM programming in front of me.

If all you have time for is one deep breath, take it. Breathe in and breathe out and remember that ultimately it’s not up to you. God’s got this.



Motownphilly Back Again

I don’t know about you, but there are certain songs and albums that take me back to a specific time and place.

For me, one example is Boyz II Men’s Motownphilly, which takes me back to my freshman year at the Deusner 7 (or maybe it was 5) dorm room at Union University in the fine city of Jackson, Tennessee, where (I might add) you can’t go 50 feet without running into either a college or a church.

I’m not the world’s biggest hip-hop fan as a general rule. Not that I have anything against that genre. I just never really have gotten into it.

But there’s something about hearing songs like “End of the Road” and “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” that make me nostalgic.

Sadly, that dorm building is no longer there. It got taken out by the tornadoes that swept through the campus back in 2008. In fact, the last time I was there, I didn’t recognize most of the campus (or the people).

I do remember the first time I set foot on the campus of Union, it was like God was telling me, “This is where I want you. This is your place for the next four years.” It felt like home and the peace I felt was undeniable.

There were some scary and stressful moments when I thought I wouldn’t be able to stay due to finances, but thanks to Stafford loans I managed to graduate four years later.

I made some great friends and great memories that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Sometimes, I think I’d like to get together with some fellow Unionites and reminisce about those days and catch up with what everybody’s doing these days.

I think that should happen soon, preferably in the Nashville area. I might even bring my Boyz II Men CD with me.



Three Reminders for Those of Us Who Need it Tonight


When I was a senior at Union University, my roommates and I used to go dumpster diving. At least I remember the one time. I came away with a worn out baseball glove and a television. I kid you not. I got a television from the dumpster.

When I ceremoniously placed it in my dorm room and plugged it in, lo and behold it worked. It even had a button on it that would turn the images on the screen green. I still don’t know what the purpose of that was.

That rescued television served me well all the rest of my senior year of college. In fact, it worked all the way up until the day I brought it home. Then it became a very heavy and super bulky paper weight.

I sometimes wonder how God puts people and places and things into our lives for a season. Sure, some friends are for life, but those are rare and precious. Most of the people in my life have come for a week, a month, maybe a year or two. I’ve learned not so much to be sorrowful when they’re gone but to celebrate the lessons they taught me.

I was reminded of three things tonight. 1) Jesus is for me, 2) Jesus is with me, and 3) Jesus is in me.

My pastor tonight said that Jesus was the best evidence that God isn’t pursuing you and me because he’s angry, but because He’s desperate for us to save us from our sins and ourselves. I agree with that. Jesus Himself said He came not to condemn the world, but that it might be saved through Him.

I know Jesus is with me. He promised He’d never leave me, abandon me, or forsake me. That’s a promise I’ve found to be true, whether I could feel it or not.

I know Jesus is in me. Sometimes, I find myself saying and doing things that I know could never come from me. At least based on what I’ve said and done the other 98% of the time. I know that’s not me speaking and acting, but Jesus in me.

So remember tonight that Jesus is for you, with you, and in you.