Category Archives: StreetLights on a Saturday night

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for…

StreetLights On A Saturday Night original post January 29th, 2019. I am asking unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks based on the experiences of the last year.

A few days after posting this last year, I had a heart attack. It was mild and I received two stents. However, last year’s health challenges didn’t end there. I ended up hospitalized 6 times last year for a variety of issues including the myocardial infarction, septicemia, other infections, a third stent, and neck surgery to finish out the year. I also continued to battle depression. All this to say the journey continues and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It’s cliche’ but true. Would it surprise you to know my faith in God, my connection to Jesus is even stronger?

This Sunday at Broadway Baptist Church, our Sr. Pastor, Ryon Price will be giving a sermon entitled, “What Are You Looking For?” As Pastor Ryon writes, “that is the title of the sermon but also the words Jesus asks to the first disciples to follow him. Oh, but the irony. The one who is asking the question is Himself its answer. He is what and who they are looking for, though they do not yet know it. All they know now is that they are looking for something, and they still haven’t found it, but they’ve been told by John to look the way of Jesus.
 
Sunday’s sermon will be about Jesus. It will be about our search and our longing for him. It will be about how, in Augustine’s words, “our hearts are restless until they find rest in [Him].”
 
I ask that you pray for Sunday. Somebody will surely show up looking for something, though they may know not what or who. Pray for me. Pray for them. Pray I can be like John the Baptist in the story and point them the way to the one who both has us asking and also is the answer.”

I would like to invite everyone to join us this Sunday at Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth. We are all on this journey together. Don’t worry about the Baptist part of Broadway Baptist Church. You don’t have to be Baptist to join us and find other seekers/searchers. Come get a spiritual recharge!

http://broadwaybc.org/
305 W. Broadway, Fort Worth, Texas 76104
Service begins at 1050am. Come early and join a Sunday School group at 925am

Now for the original post. Learning of this weekend’s (January 19, 2020 at 1050am) sermon reminded me of it…

A very significant milestone quietly passed by unnoticed over the weekend. When I realized it, I reviewed my recent trips to find out, Saturday night I gave Uber/Lyft ride number 5,000.

It turns out, that 5,000th ride was given to a woman name Lauren from Chicago. She has been living in Dallas for 6 months. She was just getting back from the frigid windy city. We talked about the differences between the two cities. We talked about Chicago style pizza. We talked about movies, careers, and we talked about a shared passion for music. Perfect strangers, but connected in this grand journey of life, of humanity.
We talked about kindness. We lamented the shortfall. And, we both pledged to keep making more.

This unexpected and awe inspiring path of 2 and a half years, 150,000 miles, and 5,000 rides has changed my outlook on life, on faith, profoundly. I am forever grateful. God has certainly continued to remind me of the importance of this path, and given me the grace to survive the struggles along the way.

Even with a profound sense of purpose, I wonder, I ache, I question. Even with this incredible sense of joy and peace, I hurt, I cry. Even with God’s steady hand, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.

But I now know, that is an eternal search. And, that is how it is supposed to be.
To question, to challenge, to become more enlightened, all throughout the universe. We will forever be connected. We must, therefore live our lives in purposeful kindness, and love.

Music has been a steadfast companion all my life. I am fond of saying life is better with a soundtrack. But, music is so much more. It tells our stories. It gives us perspective. It stirs the adventure and curiosity in us all.

Bruce Springsteen introduced U2 into the Rocknroll Hall of Fame in 2005. Two musical entities that have done just that; stir emotion, curiosity, and tell our story so well.

Bono, at one the 25th Anniversary Rock&Roll Hall Of Fame concerts, said this…

“I’m thinking here in Rock&Roll’s great cathedral, that is Madison Square Garden, thinking in this moment about all the pilgrims, all the pioneers that got us all here. The saints and the heretics, the poets and the punks, that now make up the hall of fame. Its a dangerous thing, this business of building idols. But at least Rock&Roll is not, at its best, about worshiping sacred cows. It’s about the thousands of voices gathered in one great unwashed congregation, like tonight. For alot of us here, Rock&Roll just means one word, liberation; political, sexual, spiritual. Liberation.”

To which Bruce Springsteen replied, “Let’s have some fun with that!”

And they began to sing together.

I like this quote because it isn’t just relevant to musicians. It is all of us. It’s life’s journey.

Plus, U2 and The Boss together is frickin awesome!

As I prepare for whatever God has planned next for me, this song reminds me that we are all searching. Perhaps, I’ll take a drive down Thunder Road, and see what lies ahead.

Where will you go? What will you look for?

Will you be kind along your journey?

I hope so.

https://youtu.be/XJo6lN6cNm0

#kindness #purposefulkindness #Whatawonderfulworld #hope #peace #love #joy #StreetLights #TheKindnessClub #Grace

Streetlights on a Saturday night

Entropy and the Pursuit of Happiness

1230pm. Under the clouds it looks like 830pm. Gray.

Storm’s rollin’ in. Behind the wheel again. Feels good. Haven’t driven since before the stent went in. Just a short trip. Just down the road. It’s nice to be on the move again.

I can’t recall precisely when the word, entropy entered my brain, but being back in the hospital had me thinking about it more. I am feeling extremely mortal, worn. I have been thinking about its meaning for several days now.

Entropy is a scientific term. There are a few ways to use the word in a scientific context but one way to define entropy in layman’s terms is this:

It is the tendency for energy to spread out. It is the idea that everything in the universe decays as energy is used or transferred.

We are part of that process. We enter this world and grow into adults and then old age; all part of a process that offers less and less ordered energy until we die and become dust. All the while, entropy increasing until all in the universe is nothing. Oh, yeah so one of the scientific laws of energy, of entropy, is that it is irreversible. Meaning, entropy is ever increasing. For example, an egg is boiled. That energy is converted and gone through heat. But we can’t unboil the egg. The theory is that everything in the universe eventually transfers its energy to the great collective until there is no difference in energy anywhere and therefore nothing.

For the record, that’s a long way off. So don’t worry about the planet disintegrating while you are on the morning commute.

The term was invented by a German physicist named Rudolf Clausius in 1850 to describe the amount of heat that must be put into a closed system (an engine) to bring it to a given state. This was during the industrial age. Our internal engines aren’t any different. Over a period of time, they decay, become less efficient. I don’t want to die. But I know I am mortal. And so far as I can tell, no one has figured out how to stop it.

We waste so much of our limited time as ordered energy (human beings) thinking about the past or the future. We waste so much time lamenting the insignificant. From the moment we arrive we are slowly using up our life energy and slowly unravelling. Disease may take us down. Like Clausius and his engine, we occasionally get a replacement part or we just add some hardware, like a stent, or dentures. These modifications may improve our ability to function, but entropy never stops. We continue to transfer our life energy back to the collective, bit by bit, until we are dust.

But this mortality becomes precious. If we were immortal, would we find joy? Knowing we have a limited time makes each moment count. Or at least it should.

Because we believe in more than just scientific theory. Because life is beautiful. Because our essence is to live. This time, this tiny portion of infinite time is important.

We, our bodies, our engines, begin to decline from the moment we are born. This year brings us a number of reminders that nothing on this earth lasts forever. We watched in sorrow as an iconic and beautiful cathedral fell, consumed by fire. But, if you bothered to notice, no one has expressed a loss of faith in God. Entropy, decay, death are all things we can’t escape. Neither can a beautiful structure, even if made with loving hands of a faithful people.

As we get older and closer to that moment when our life energy is scattered back into the collective universe, we often begin to feel less useful, without purpose. We often ask why, when we see a friend or colleague reduced to confusion and unable to care for himself because that well-ordered energy is scattering and the commands of the mind no longer hold sway over the action of the body. Entropy. I can tell you from personal experience that health issues which come earlier than one would expect in life do cause some anguish, anxiety, and depression.On the other hand, much of what I feel I have to offer in service of God and humanity comes from the struggle, not the easy parts of life. When we teach our children, do we not use all of our personal experiences, both good and bad as a guide to help them grow and live to find hope, peace, love, and joy?

Scientifically, we understand entropy in a measurable dynamic. Philosophically, this becomes more intangible. I am a firm believer that science and God are not exclusive or contradictory to one another.

But this slow unraveling, this entropy, is absolutely designed by God. It gives us time. Not eternity, but time. It allows us to struggle so that we may know the beauty of life.. Entropy, thus gives us consequential action and thought, free will.

“Another interesting aspect of entropy is that it makes the process of becoming gradual and rather controlled. If entropy had different nature, the universe might be too unbalanced or violent to sustain life: without the energy transmutating gradually into heat, life and death would become abruptly polar events.”

Now this last little part is a quote from an anonymous nihilist who is also quoted above, mixed with my own core belief in God. So I am not using quotation marks. But a portion of it is not my own. I just swapped out a few words here and there for my personal cosmos cooking.

This life may be burdened with death and suffering in struggle, but without it there wouldn’t be anything to live or dream for. As Nietzsche put it, “it is only up to us to overcome this, what we call the tragedy of mortal life, and re-write our roles in the cosmic play. While the invisible strings of statistics will always be pulling our actions in the large scale, it can never put the lines in our mouths. That we must do ourselves.”

God doesn’t take away people we love. God doesn’t make bad things happen to good people. And, I might add, there are always people worse off than us. God gives us free will and a limited amount of time to use that will. Let us not waste that time. Let us instead, since we are all in this life together, use our will, our strengths, and even our weaknesses for the betterment of humanity. That is the way to life everlasting. That is God’s will. And, that is the only true antithesis to entropy.

See? Science and religion fusion. Boom.

“Life is the noble process which turns suffering into excellence.”

We cannot forsake grief. Instead we must embrace it and allow it to remind us we are alive.

“You should know compared to people on a global scale our kind has had it relatively easy. And here with you there’s always something to look forward to. Our angry heart beats relatively easy”

Jason Isbell


#Kindness#StreetLights#purposefulkindness#Whatawonderfulworld#hope#peace

#joy#love#TheKindnessClub#Grace#StreetLightsonaSaturdayNight

March 11, 2018

StreetLights on a Saturday night…

I began looking for God to show me a sign, a sign he was present and real. I began looking a long time ago; perhaps, when I was twelve or thirteen. We all ask for signs, don’t we? And, quite often we see them. Maybe you ask God to show you a sign regarding a big decision in life. You pray. Then you ask, and sure enough a butterfly appears, or a cricket chirps loudly. Or, maybe a bus honks it’s very loud horn as a car cuts it off right in front of you. BOOM! You just got your sign right?

There is a TV show I am very fond of. I never grow tired of watching each episode. I just love this show. If you don’t know, ask me and I will tell you. But for now I only wish to reference a story once told by a priest in this show. I am paraphrasing but you will get the idea:

‘A man lives on the edge of a river. His friend who is a fireman stops by to give him some alarming news. The river is going to flood and he must move further back, uphill. The man tells his friend, “I believe in God, if the river is going to flood, he will give me a sign.” And, so his friend goes away. Next the town priest comes along and says, “Friend! Come away with us. The river is going to flood! You will be washed away!” The man tells the priest, “I believe in God, he will give me a sign if I need to move. He will save me.” The priest says a prayer with the man and leaves. Sure enough, the waters began to rise. The man’s home started to flood and he climbed to his roof. Along came a helicopter and one of the crew yelled down while dropping a ladder, “Climb the ladder! We are here to rescue you. The flooding will get worse!” The man waived the helicopter off and said if he was truly in harm, God would give him a sign. “I will be fine.” He said, and was suddenly washed away and drowned. When he reached heaven, he asked the Lord, “God, I believed in you. I prayed to you. Why didn’t you give me a sign I was truly in danger? The Lord responded, “I sent you a fireman, a priest, and even a helicopter! How many signs did you need?’

I found my sign a long time ago. Street lights. Every time I see a street light flicker, go out, or come back on as I am passing, I know that is God. Maybe it’s just faulty wiring or an old bulb. But, I prefer to believe it is God letting me know he is there, watching over me. I don’t look to streetlights for answers. I learned early on it doesn’t help. That isn’t the way it works. That would be Easy Street. I don’t speak with any authority here, but in my humble opinion, God will always let us know he is with us if we ask him to. But, it is up to us to choose left or right, up or down, good or bad. If God just gave everything to us every time we asked for it, what would be the point of life? Really! What would be the point?

I am also confident in my belief that regret is a waste of time. To be clear, if I sin or if I do harm, I do regret that action, and often feel sadness or shame. What I mean is I am who I am, and you are who you are, right now, because of each and every decision or action we have experienced in our linear lives. Perhaps my thinking on this will change if we ever learn how to control time. But I doubt it.

In the meantime, I would just like to say thank you. Thank you to each and every person I know and love. Hey, thanks for some of those folks that I am not so crazy about too. Like, that nice lady in the silver Cadillac who failed to yield to the off-ramp traffic (me) and then spouted out a few colorful phrases while also providing SIGN language. I got the message…I love you too, Lady.

We are all struggling. There is always an obstacle, an unpleasant task, a heart crushing loss. There will always be pain, and there will always be sadness. The amazing part is there will also always be hope, peace, love, and joy. There is one very very simple ingredient to life that can bring all of that beauty. Just one little thing that we can share with each other so that together we can feel the warmth and light of God’s love, and love for one another…

Kindness.

Reset your clock peeps.

To LT. Joe and Lena, congratulations on your wedding and good luck in New Mexico.

To Lars, Dude! No, I don’t make money while you have a ten minute conversation with the back door of my car open, one foot in, one foot out. But you did apologize and Lars is a cool name so, it’s all good.

Honorable mention tonight goes to my last rider, Omar. Omar, you sir, are hilarious. For the entire 22 minute trip, I only understood two words while you spoke almost the whole ride. Son, Tequila is for grown-ups. Next time stick to beer.

#Kindness #purposefulkindness #whatawonderfulworld