Confluence…

“Coming together at one central point.”

I’ve been anticipating some sort of confluence in my life for some time now. I think I first read the signs that a confluence was somewhere in the distance last Spring when, as I stared at the calendar that described my life through the early winter, I saw lots and lots of varied activity, a high degree of busyness and a lot experiences to integrate.

Not unlike the bed of a large river that must accommodate the volume of smaller rivers which feed it, these experiences of the last 7 or 8 months were going to come together into some sort of whole.

Actually, now that I begin writing this down, I realize it’s been a year’s worth of smaller rivers flowing into this confluence. Timely then, that we find ourselves at “new year”.

My eldest daughter was married
My youngest daughter turned 16 and immediately began dating
We began a weekly video blog at AC3

Navigated the failure of AC3’s first business venture
Began a new relationship with food (lost 30 pounds)
Began experimenting with food PRODUCTION in my garden
Started construction on a root cellar and Prayer Hut

43 people die in a landslide just a up the river

A dear friend left
Hosted art festival at AC3
Completely revamped benevolence ministry at AC3
Completed a 2 week fast for reconciliation in our town
3 weddings in three months
Was asked to join Chaplain Team
Family vacation at Long Beach
Final ordination interview and ceremony in Missouri
Another wedding + bachelor party
Brenda travels to California
I go on a hike with 5 other guys
Vision Cast
Week long solo hike

I turn 50 and started asking some new questions about myself
Another wedding
Another dear friend leaves
Brenda begins work; preschool opens at AC3
A death
20 days in Africa
A suicide
Multiple murders here in Marysville…

Of course there were other events. The regularly scheduled stuff. And of course these are events as they relate to me, not as they relate to others. If I included all the things that were indirectly significant to my life, the list would get stupid-long.

Besides, this is my blog.

However, there are a couple of events that inexplicably added to the flow. They are indirect events that just intersected with me in ways I cant fully explain:

The Ferguson MO. and New York City “police vs. black people” media circus

The “Affordable Health Care Act” ruse

The release of documents outlining torture perpetrated in my name as an American citizen

The “Hope” Administration begins a new middle east bombing campaign

I begin reading “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand

I guess it was these last few national level events that got me to thinking about Rand’s book. I had read some sort of CliffsNote version of it years ago, but had never taken the 1200 page tome head-on. Facing these larger events drew my thinking to questions of personal responsibility. What role do I play in all this? What am I giving permission to? What does it mean to withdraw from a society you no longer recognize as yours? How do I protect those I love?

…you get the point: There are a lot separate streams flowing into one big river called 2014, and here I am at the confluence.

I focus on “Atlas Shrugged” for two reasons:

1. I began reading it at the end of the year, and so it served as the literary back-drop for this season of evaluation.

2. Being a work primarily of philosophy (propaganda, really) it’s impossible not to compare all of one’s thoughts to the template being laid out before you in the book – because that’s what it was meant to do.

Adding to this confluence is an on-going discussion with my Spiritual Director about anger and strength. Over the last month we’ve been exploring my personal relationship with these concepts; the origin of my views on them, the theological implications, the consequences of misunderstanding them.

This post serves as a piton in the climb to understanding my own anger and my own strength. I have a long way to go to the summit of understanding (if it is even reachable) but I do not wish to fall beyond the point I have already reached.

  • I am angry, and I can’t tell you exactly why.  Many of the events of 2014 (even joyous ones) contained the tinge of anger around the edges.
  • I have always been angry. There are seasons in my life when the anger has been more palpable, more or less focused, given expression, suppressed, Holy or profane…but it seems to have always been there.
  • I have been operating under the belief that anger = bad. I’m not so sure about that anymore, but I’m equally unsure of what it SHOULD look like.
  • Turns out – Jesus dealt with anger. I knew this, but never paid much attention to it.

So – braving the very real danger of making things worse, I decided to add a couple of additional inputs to this confluence: Reading the Gospel of Mark though the “anger” lens, and re-examining my personality type (Enneagram Type 2) also with “anger” in mind…

 

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