Friday, December 30, 2005


The few days I said I'd wait before posting turned into just two. For some reason I feel obligated. Call it a rhythm, call it tradition, but here it is: My end of the year post.

There will be no top fives or tens like there were last year. I just didn't pay enough attention to one or two different things in order to package it up neatly. Consider this a stream-of-consciousness-year-in-review.

Early in the year I set out to write a book. I got the Introduction and two chapters written. I then got intimidated and bored so I stopped there. But I still wrote and wrote. I had no clue how much I wrote until I decided to give some friends, as a Christmas gift, a bound copy of all the things I've written this year-- blogs, sermons, other writings for church, and just random things. It ended up being over 300 pages. I actually had to cut some out in order to afford the binding. The lesson? Like Ann Lamott encourages, write just a little every day and it adds up.

Next year I'll be taking another bit of advice from Lamott-- I'm joining a writing group. An acquaintance of mine and I got to talking and we decided we'd like to form a group of people to read and critique our stuff. This scares me, but excites me. We'll see where that takes me.

Spring was normal. Not much out of the ordinary. In fact, that was the strangest thing about it, it's normalcy. I can't think of a single thing to say about the spring.

Summer started my season of goodbyes. My friend Tim and his (then) fiance' Isabel decided they would move to Germany to work at a church after they got married in August. I met Tim in the fall of '02 and his friendship became my lifeline through a weird and unstable time of my life and with other friends. We were kindred spirits and, above all else, we simply enjoyed each others company. I was in his wedding in August and it was a wonderful time. I miss him dearly.

It was also late spring/early summer that Jason and Christy began to talk with the CBF about working with them. After several options and changes they ended up being selected to serve in France. In late June I attended their commissioning service in Grapevine and said goodbye to them for the next five months. Those five months were wonderful and life giving to me. Especially meaningful was the time I got to spend with Jason on our road trip in August. They finally left in November and it's weird because it still feels like they are here. But I also miss them terribly.

Is it even necessary for me to mention the next goodbye? Kyle's death has been the most significant and horrible event of my life. The most important thing I've ever done was speak about him at his funeral. The most significant person in my life was Kyle. The "Kyle Event," from our meeting over five years ago to our lunches and conversations and the wonderful silent moments he and Jen and I had at their place after the kids were asleep to our trip to the Cowboy game to playing MarioKart with Ben while everyone else worked at the garage sale to the emails and crude jokes to the nightmare of that morning at the end of October, all of it will run through my veins and orient my life in ways presently unknown from now until the end. Too dramatic an observation? Perhaps. But I believe it.

On to art...

I think I'm becoming that person who can be cool by saying he doesn't watch a lot of television? There's a bit of self righteous pride that comes with saying that, and I'm becoming proud. Actually, there's just nothing good on. I scanned for hours all year and all I found was Gray's Anatomy. I'm hooked. It's soap opery and perhaps a bit unrealistic, but I love it. And it has that quality that every highbrow critic loves to use to describe things with-- Nuance. Seriously, I'm rooting for both Merdith AND Mrs. Doctor Shephard in their battle for Dr. Shephards love. I can't make up my mind, so I want both of them to have him.

The only other thing I watch is an old show that I discovered this year in reruns-- Everybody Loves Raymond.

On the movie front only two things stand out. The first was Narnia, which was the first of it's kind of movies that I actually enjoyed and was moved by and, to be honest, stayed awake in. It was great.

The other was Elizabethtown, a movie that will probably be nominated for the Razzies, those awards given out during Oscar week for really bad movies. Critics hated this, as did a lot of "regular people." But I loved it. I cried in it... No, I wept. I watched the movie the week before Kyle's death. We talked about it and I told him what I told you, that it was emotionally sappy and manipulative, but it was something I decided to give myself over to it. He said he understood and that he'd like to see it as well. I told him I'd love to see it again, so we planned on making a time for it the next week. We never got that chance. Regardless, I went and saw it again by myself. Literally, by myself. I was the only person in the theater. It was one of the most meaningful movie-watching-experiences I've ever had. Spiritual, if you will. At one point during the credits I had my left hand in my pocket, the other in the air. Just like Kyle.

As far as music goes, there's also two things I'd like to talk about. But first things first... When are people going to stop pretending that Kanye West is the most brilliant mind since Einstein? I pretended for a bit, and decided that I was just following the crowd. (And as unconvincing as many of you will perceive this to be, it had nothing to do with his Bush-hates-blacks comment.) I honestly don't see the big deal.

And on a side note to the Kanye side note, here's my next prediction-- one that I've shared before. 2006 will be the year people start pretending that they've listened to George Jones forever, like 2005 was for Johnny Cash and 2004 was for Ray Charles and Loretta Lynn?

There was lots of music this year, but only two albums were significant in my world. The first was the David Crowder Band's "A Collision." I hesitated even mentioning it, because my proximity to the group and the fact that they lead worship at my church makes it impossible for me to be objective until I realized that there is little room for objectivity when it comes to art.

El Mol, in our wonderful visit a few weeks ago waxed eloquent and true about how the minds and spirits of great artists work on a different plane from the rest of us-- how they are tuned to a different reality, and that sometimes their music is very prophetic. I know this gets into weird territory, and I don't want to assume things that aren't there, but don't tell me you haven't thought about it.

U2's album "All that you can't leave Behind" was released in October of 2000, yet it seems as if it was written as the soundtrack to our September 11, 2001 lives.

Rosanne Cash released her album "Rules of Travel" in March of 2003. On the album was a duet she did with her dad titled "September, When it comes." One of the most powerful lines ever to pass through my ears was from that song: "When the shadows lengthen/ And burn away the past/ I will fly me like an angel to/ a place where I can rest/ When winds begin I'll let you in/ September when it comes." Johnny Cash died on September 12, 2003.

"A Collision" is an album about life and death and, above all else, God's divinity running head on with our humanity and causing a collision in which one thing lies as the wreckage-- the ancient hope of Christianity, that the largest monster of them all, death itself, stands no chance against the Resurrected One. This album has sustained me and made it possible for me to have faith during the most difficult time of my life. Besides that, it's one of the most creative works of music ever written. And that's my objective opinion on that.

The other album is one that I mentioned briefly in another post, and the one I'm listening to right now-- Gary Allan's "Tough All Over," which has been chosen by both USA Today and Blender magazine as one of the best of the year. This guy has evidently been around for a few years now singing songs that I knew while not knowing who sang them. Then on a whim I purchased this album and realized I had something that most of my friends usually find long before I do-- a gem of a record that no one else is listening to. Allan's wife committed suicide last year, leaving him a single father to three young kids. He hesitated recording stuff about his pain but then realized that he wanted an artistic documentation of his life at this present moment. I can't even begin to tell you how resonant this album is. Musically Gary Allan is part of the California Country-Music heritage that gave the world Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakum. If you have a broken heart and want to listen to something that sounds like your insides, buy this album. Then go buy a bottle of Jack* and spend the evening by yourself or with a friend, and just let life suck. Listening to this album reminds me that when your life is falling apart the most healing thing you can do is to stop pretending that it isn't falling apart.

(*Drink Responsibly :))

This was not a year where I read a whole lot, like in previous years. Through the summer I picked through some nonfiction-- Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink" and "The Tipping Point," and of course Kyle's (Re)Understanding Prayer. The most significant read of the year was one that was published several years ago and, like Crowder's CD, seemed to be written for my post-October 30 life, Leif Enger's "Peace Like a River." This novel completes the trifecta of the best books of the past season of my life, joining "The Poisonwood Bible" and "The Kite Runner" as a book that affects all of my thoughts and actions on a daily basis. The story is good but takes you to a place you never expected to be, reading one of the most beautiful chapters ever penned by human hands.

2004 was the year I started running, but 2005 was the year I started to enjoy running. For a while I've wanted to write a post about losing weight and the psychological implications of growing up fat, but it has proven to be the hardest thing I've ever tried to get out. I'm hoping to get it finished soon (I have several incomplete drafts.) But I'll give you the bare minimum. In February of 2004 I weighed 285 lbs. Today I weigh 201. I feel great and am proud of myself and am actually planning on running a half-marathon in March and a full one in July. (The full one is more so I can go to Seattle and see Blake and Karla.)

This was also the year I came to terms with having a bald head and stopped trying to grow my hair long to cover up the blank spaces. I'm totally exposed. In the midst of it all, I've been told I look like Kevin Spacey. I can handle that.
So here I am, a day before the last day of the year-- wanting you to know who I am and the things I've liked and disliked about the past 12 months. This year I've learned by experience what I talked about in previous years, that life is about knowing and loving God, about being together with people you share life with, about laughing and praying and not taking yourself too seriously but about taking some things more seriously and, ultimately, about living life to the fullest which, to me, means tasting every ounce of flavor, every ounce of friendship, every ounce of life. Because it is most definitely a gift.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I'm sitting here trying to think of something to write. I have tons of ideas and no ideas all at the same time. It's time for my second annual best of the year post, but after everything that has happened, it just doesn't seem right.

Isn't it interesting the way we all say that? "After everything that has happened..." Only one thing happened. How did that one thing turn into everything? I guess when everything is wrapped in one thing then one thing becomes everything.

The other reason it doesn't seem right is that I haven't read a lot or listened to anything different than what I listened to last year. I think "Peace Like a River" is the only novel I finished all year. (Surely there was another.) Beyond that just bits and pieces here and there.

I could be wrong, maybe I read a lot and listened to a lot and lead a stimulated life, but my memory of things pre-October 30 is spotty.

I may wait a few days before I write anything else. I need to read a little and be with people and run a little and live a little more. I guess there's nothing for me to write about if all I do is write.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

It's lonely around here.

Hey, if you're in town for New Years Eve, and even if you are not and want to be, Tom and I are having a party over here on Austin Avenue.

I need you here. This is me yelling into the canyon, "Hell-Oh! Anybody there?"

Monday, December 26, 2005

From a Concerned Citizen...


Dear U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology,

I was initially pissed when I read that you'd be extending 2005 by one second. I mean, who the hell do you think you are? As far as 2005 is concerned, and I think my friends would agree with me, I want out. But you come along and tell us we have to stay in it for a whole other second? I planned on writing you a long hate letter filled with threats and obscenities. But then I decided that, since it is the holidays, I should cut you some slack. I guess if there's anything I've learned from this year it's that creation (that's what we call the stuff you Science People observe,) doesn't always behave the way we want it to and that adjustments should be made here and there. So for the decision to keep this year in play for a bit longer, I forgive you.

But hold on a second, you won't escape this letter completely unscathed. Yes, I forgive you for adding the second to the year, but would it have hurt you so bad to put it somewhere else? I know it's just a second. In the grand scheme of things it's a fraction of a blip on a small puzzle piece of time. But in our lives, a second is powerful. I could have used that second somewhere else.

Earlier in the year Kyle came over for a lunch of Fajita Quesadillas I had prepared. We met for lunch about once a week and occasionally had it over at my place. Normally we'd just catch up. Talk about the kids, his sermon, my work, what we were reading. This particular time the conversation seemed to be sweeter than normal. We both talked about God and how difficult prayer can be with all the years of deconstruction and cynicism rolling around in our minds. We talked about who we are and where we are going and, in the end, about how blessed we were to be where we were. If he didn't have a 1:00 meeting we would have probably talked for hours. But he had to go. But before he left, he looked at his watch and said that he should get going. We then sat in silence for a few moments, reflecting. I thought about how blessed I was to have such a good friend. I'm not sure what he was thinking at that time, but I'd like to believe he was thinking the same thing. But then he had to go. That extra second would have been perfect right then and there.

After my birthday dinner in September we all came over to my place for ice cream and peach cobbler. We sat around the table and talked and laughed and enjoyed each other's company. At one point toward the end of the evening Kyle and I got up to go to the kitchen to get a refill at the same time. With everyone else in the other room telling stories, he put his glass down and spread his arms open wide, inviting me for a hug and saying in his high-pitched laughter voice "Happy Birthday!" It was a strong embrace punctuated with a question from Kyle..."You know I love you, don't you?"

How about then, U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, why couldn't you have put that extra second there?

If you went to his funeral you would have heard me tell about the last time I saw him. In Sunday School I looked over and saw him peaking around the corner, trying to get Jen and/or my attention. When I looked at him he gave his giggle and disappeared around the corner. I would have given everything I had to you, all of it, if you would have placed that second then and there. You probably took the day off that Sunday morning, leaving me with less time than I needed.

But all that is a done deal and you have to live with the consequences. If adding the second to the end of the year is your penance, then so be it. I've learned that I can use it. It's more potent than it was before and I'll use every nanosecond of that extra second doing what David suggested at the funeral, allowing gratitude to defeat grief. For one second I'll say "Thank You."

And then I'll be out of this year, and you, U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, won't be able to do a thing about it.

Craig Nash

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Before Christmas...

If I've learned anything from Calvary Baptist Church and Phillip Yancey and the Bible is that Christmas is not, as I once expected, for the jolly alone. You look at the book of Luke and you see the Christmas story is full of people who probably didn't smile very much. Remember Herod's decree? Yeah, during the time of the birth of Jesus, little boys were being killed left and right. Remember Simeon? He was old and probably died soon after seeing Jesus for the first time, but not before he told Mary that the child would cause a sword to pierce her own soul.

All the Who's down in Whoville don't want to be hearin' this shit. But it be true, yo.

Not quite sure where the gangster talk came from, but it seemed appropriate.

I'm happy it's Christmas, but mainly because I get a couple of days off. I haven't been in a little baby Jesus mood lately. I'm looking for the Jesus on the White Horse slaying the enemy, Death Itself. The Book of Revelation Jesus is who I'm praying for.

I guess that's what Simeon and Zacharias and the Shepherds and every other Jew in the story was praying for, but they got the baby. As I support the money machine by working retail and experiencing unhappy people during this season and reflect on what it means to follow Christ in the midst of everything, I can't help but think how beautiful that is. Everyone wants the perfect gift, the perfect job, the perfect life. We want our team to win and our bellies to be full and smiles to be painted on our face but, in the end, we get the baby.

We get to claim Mary's song, that God is mighty and holy and has done great things and that his mercy is on those who fear him. He has exalted the lowly, put down the mighty. They get the power, we get the Baby.

That's good enough for me.

Everyone else is away, so it's time I be away as well. I'll get up early tomorrow morning and head to work. Straight from work I'll head to East Texas. My weekend looks like this: Tomorrow night-- Huge Nash Family Christmas in Kilgore, TX. I rarely go to these large family gatherings, but I want to start. I have a large family who know each other while I live my life in Waco. I'll try to get to know them a little over good food tomororrow night.

After that I'll head to my good friends the Herrings/Slatons/Antals in Lindale to spend Christmas Eve, as I do every year. On Sunday morning I'll head to Chandler for Christmas breakfast with my immediate family, then to church. I'll be back in Waco Sunday evening.

It's been a rough and rocky year. Heaven and Hell, Sweet and Sour, Rocky I and Rocky V, all wrapped into twelve months. I guess I'll spend next week reflecting on the year.

So here's my honest last paragraph. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas weekend. Think about me, I'm thinking about you. Know that there's power int he weakness of the Baby and that victory comes in the end, but we have to wait. Love the journey, love each other but most importantly, Love God. Seriously, he loves you. Embrace beauty, (it's as simple as smiling at a good song.) Live life to the fullest. (This may mean feeling sad and grim, but feeling sad and grim FULLY.) But most importantly, know that I love you all. Especially the ones of you that I know.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Fists in the Air...

"Who has not found the heaven below
Will fail of it above.
God's residence is next to mine,
His furniture is love."

-- Emily Dickinson

His aunt died on Friday, which meant he had to be in Jacksonville on Monday for the funeral. Since I was scheduled to work on Monday, this meant we would have to take separate cars to Dallas. I didn't want this to happen for two reasons. One, my car was doing funny things and I was afraid I wouldn't make it to Bellmead without it falling apart. And two, getting to spend time with Kyle was one of the reasons I got him the Monday night Cowboys-Redskins tickets for his birthday in the first place. So I rescheduled work to allow me to drive to East Texas on Sunday evening with him. He would drop me off in Chandler to stay with my parents, then we'd meet up in Tyler on Monday afternoon to drive to Dallas for the game.

When he picked me up he had his Giddy Face on. He snickered that he had a surprise for me. He pulled out a copy of the Crowder Band's CD that wasn't to be released for two more weeks. Two years earlier, he and I drove around Waco listening to an early copy of "Illuminate," so this brought back memories. He skipped around to the songs he liked the most and he just laughed and laughed. If you remember, Kyle had two laughs. One was for when things were funny. The other was when something was so unbelievably good that he just had to express his disbelief through laughter. I was extremely impressed with the album. He was extremely moved.

When the album was over we talked about family. He and I talked about a lot of stuff over the years, but when we shared stories of our family and what it meant to us and how the disfunctionality has shaped who we are (for good and bad) we hit our stride, we connected on deep levels.

Of course, we also spoke of the love of both of our lives, his kids. At one point along the way he commented on how hard it is raising three young kids, how he was glad to be away from them for a little bit, but how now, after only being away from them for a couple of hours he already missed them so much.

He dropped me off, saying he'd call me the next day when he was on his way back to Tyler. We ended up meeting at the Starbucks in Tyler. He called me to tell me he was on his way and to order him a Grande Nonfat Vanilla Latte while he stops to get gas. (It is weird the random things I remember.) When he picked me up he made this comment: "Dude, we are in Tyler-- TOGETHER!" Kyle grew up in Tyler, I grew up going to Tyler, we spent the better part of five years talking about Tyler and it's places and people that we both knew. And we were now in Tyler together. It really was a special time.

On I-20 to Dallas he pulled out another CD and asked that I not judge him too harshly. It was Kelly Clarkson. I assured him there would be no judging coming from my half of the car and that if he were not in the car I'd be "getting loud." Numerous are the times I told him I "got loud" when a certain song came on the radio, and he cracked up every time. Everyone should have that one thing they say or do to a friend that will guarantee a laugh every time. That was mine.

We were earlier than expected so we decided to head up Central Expressway to eat at Blue Mesa Grill, one of his favorite restaurants. Here we talked about Tequila because we both enjoyed the famous Blue Mesa Blue Margarita, featuring Patron Blue Tequila. He said Scott thinks its the best and so he does to and I made a mental note to myself that for Christmas that year I would buy him a big bottle of the stuff. (I tear up a little every time I drive by the liquor store.)

We had plenty of time. The game started at 8:00, we left Blue Mesa at 6:45. It took us 20 minutes for us to get within 2 miles of Texas Stadium. Kyle giggled when we drove over the hill and saw the stadium shimmering in the distance. (I use "shimmer" lightly. It is Texas stadium, mind you.)

We then stopped. Deadlock. No problem, we still have about an hour. We can almost touch the stadium. Should be no problem.

Minutes went by. We both slowly began to tense up. Listening to the pregame show on the radio didn't help because they kept announcing the minutes to kickoff and it seemed like a countdown to a bomb going off in the car. "45 minutes to Kickoff." We had moved about 20 yards when, "30 minutes to kickoff." 25,20, 15 minute warnings were said and Kyle made the frustrated comment that the traffic was a complete, what was the word he used? "Cluster" was the first word, I can't seem to remember the second.

At the 10 minute warning we began to move a little, but we still were not going to make it. I told him I was prepared to run, if he was. "You mean just get out of the car right here and run?!" He said it as if he knew how ridiculous it sounded, but that there might be a 30% chance he would do it. I informed him I was not suggesting he abandon his car. I was ready to run when we finally got parked.

We finally made it to the place where we pay for parking, then we were pointed where to go. When we parked, it was frenzy. Kyle: "You have the tickets?" Me: "Yes." Both of us broke out into a sprint.

It was the run of my life. We were weaving in and out of crowds of people, jumping over barricades, running down hills. I kid you not, the Chariots of Fire theme rattled from inside Texas Stadium. It was as if the entire city of Dallas was cheering us on.

For the most part, Kyle stayed with me. His soccer lungs could have stood a faster pace, but he made sure he didn't get too far ahead of me.

We made it to the gate, gave our tickets, and ran all the way around the ramps. The noise from inside was approaching its peak. The teams were taking the field. We found our section, ran up the ramp, down the steps to our seats, completely out of breath.

We were in our seats five seconds, I am not kidding, five seconds, and then kickoff occurred. I looked over to Kyle and there he was.

Smile on his face.
Hands in the form of fists, thrust above his head.

I felt at that moment the way we all felt every time we were with him. I was in the presence of life. Extreme vitality.

At that moment, and at this moment, there is not a place I'd rather be and a person I'd rather be with than standing there in Texas Stadium with Kyle Lake, me out of breath, he with his fists in the air.

Sound of Crickets...

The time of year has officially arrived when not only is everyone gone from Waco, everyone also takes a break from their computer. I didn't realize how dependent I was on keeping up with everyone from their blogs until the past couple of days. A lot can be said about how we relate to each other through screens better now than in person and how electronic communication has taken the place of face-to-face meetings. I'm sure there are tons of horrible, armeggedon-inducing aspects of this, but there are good things as well. I feel connected to so many more people now.

At the same time, though, I feel lonelier when people are gone.

Oh, well.

Last night I got a call from my good ol' ETBU friend Casey O'Dell who is in town for the Holidays (Christmas,) from her new home in The Netherlands. I'm off to have breakfast with her.


Saturday, December 17, 2005


There actually are customers that make my job enjoyable. Vicki Turner is one of them.

Somewhere in her 70's-80's, Mrs. Turner is a tiny little thing that never makes it out of her house without her neatly pressed monotone dress and her thick hair perfectly pulled up into a bun and dyed jet black, which is also the color of her painted on eyebrows. She looks like an elderly china doll.

Do you remember Kathy Bates' character in "Titanic?" Rich lady who knew what poor felt like and never let money get to her head? White Trash poor lady becomes White Trash rich lady, and everyone loved both pre- and post-money Kathy Bates? That's Vicki Turner.

"Listen Hun," or "Listen sweetie," are the first words out of Mrs. Turner's mouth when she speaks with me over the phone. She will then ask if we have some obscure book in the store and, if not, if we could order it. She is never disappointed when we don't have something, because she knows we can't have everything, as some customers believe. She knows we will order it and there is not a chance that she will NOT get by the store later on.

Either her or her husband comes by at least once a week. When I open the store in the morning my first task, after deactivating the alarm, is to pull back a New York Times and a Wall Street Journal for the Vicki Turner pile behind the cashier. Included in the stacks are Art books, Novels from every genre and time, obscure Political Philosophy titles, and Playboy, for Mr. Turner. "I get them so he can read the articles. Listen, Hun, I bet you hear that all the time! Articles...please." The Turners spend at least$200 a week, after the Member discount.

I love Vicki Turner.

A few weeks ago she asked if we had any books on "Will & Grace."

"Honey, do you ever watch that show?"
"I watched it for a few seasons. I think it's funny."
"Honey, listen, I tell ya... Those four characters make my life worth living sometimes. Who is your favorite?
"I really like Karen."
(Her laughing) "I KNEW you were going to say that. She's a hoot, isn't she?"
"Yes, ma'am."

She informed me that she started watching the show on Lifetime and has deliberately not watched it in Prime Time because she wants to get caught up.

But last week, in the middle of a busy time, she called and told one of our booksellers, "Listen, child, I have GOT to speak with Craig. Get him on the phone."

It took me a while to get free to answer. When I did...

"Thanks for holding, this is Craig..."
"Listen Hun, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?! Is Stan dead or alive, you've got to tell me!"

She made the mistake of watching Prime Time. On Lifetime during the day she saw Stan's funeral and on NBC at night she saw Karen talking about something Stan had said. I had to explain the (real lame) story about Stan not really being dead.

"Ok, child, well I'm glad I'm not going crazy!"

This is what I like about working with the public: There are some people who know how to be citizens. They are friendly. They frequent Cheers and the Nantucket Airport and the Regal Begal and Al's (formerly Arnold's) and The Max, and they LOVE being out and about. These people know they spend their money for service, but they also spend it for a friendly face and a helpful hand. They care about people and just get it, that being nice really is a virtue to be sought after.

I won't pour a glass for many people outside my circle of friends, but I'll pour one for Vicki Turner. Here's to you, Sweetie!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Bullets Back...

-- So my friends (and yours) Blair and Jordan are blogging. HOORAY!! I simply love Jordan's latest post. (And I'm not just saying that because she's the NBOTB.)

-- Wednesday I drove up to Dallas and hung out with el mol. Man, was that a good time. It was the first time I've sat down with someone and just told Kyle stories. Story after story patched me up ever so slightly. I sure needed that.

-- One thing we lamented was the lack of pictures we had of us with Kyle. I have one. Oh, and there is this one on the UBC site, but I'm eating, (typical.) Do me a favor and take my advice. Go out, get yourself a camera, and take pictures of you with your friends. Guys, this doesn't make you gay. You will want them later.

-- Over the past few days I've looked through numerous photographic essay books at work. National Geographic, Time, Life-- world class pictures. None are as powerful and reaches further down within me as this one.

-- I mentioned in my previous post (which apparently no one read,) was how I bet Gary Allan's new album was best listened to with a little whiskey in the system. Wanting to uphold my blog-journalistic integrity, I decided the only responsible thing would be for me to buy the album and listen to it in such a condition. I am doing that now, and I can say yes, it is true.

-- Met up with Singleton and his buddies at George's tonight for dinner and Big O's. That guy has become one of my favorite people.

-- "Life ain't always beautiful
You think you're on your way
And it's just a dead end road at the end of the day...

No, life ain't always beautiful
But I know I'll be fine
Hey, life ain't always beautiful
But it's a beautiful ride
What a beautiful ride."
Gary Allan-- As heard by Craig.

-- Next up for Craig...sleep. Then work and a run tomorrow afternoon. When I return to the keyboard, I will tell you about Vicki Turner-- my favorite Barnes and Noble customer.

--Hug each other.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Then, Now, and Later...

"Though you're lonely, don't let that fool ya, nobody drinks alone..."
--- Keith Urban

I've always known country music had a penchant for writing songs about loss and death, but come on. This is getting ridiculous. They seem to be everywhere now. Or has it always been like this and I'm just now noticing? In any case, the ire of my first two sentences of this paragraph is in jest. It's actually been good for me to have songs to sing in my car going from here to there. The thing about country music, regardless of whether you listen to it all or if you are one of the millions of young people who have recently discovered Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson and pretend that's all you've been listening to since birth, is what my fellow East Texan LeAnn Womack said at this years CMA's-- "If you listen to music that doesnÂ?t touch you or mean anything to you, listen to Country Music. We have songs that speak to you and songs that will touch you."

It really is about real life.

Below are my reviews for some songs that are out now.

1. Kenny Chesney's "Who You'd Be Today"
Kenny Chesney's childhood best friend died sometime in his late teens, and Chesney has made reference to it several times in his music and videos. I'm not a huge fan of his, but when he mentions this loss in song and in print I become a little more endeared to him. This song speaks of someone dying young and the pain that is felt by those left knowing the span of years should have been filled with new stories of their loved one.

Kyle died at 33, not 16, so a little of the wondering of "Who he'd be today," is irrelevant. He had kids, a career, a life, and a somewhat definite future. When asked in a recent interview "What do you see yourself doing 10 years from now," Kyle responded that he hopes he'd be pastor of UBC.

The thing that gets me every time I hear this song is not the main theme of the pain of wondering, but the pain of loss. The simple phrases "God knows how I miss you," and "knowing no one can take your place," are the words I verbalize daily.

2. Brooks and Dunn's "Believe."

This is really a song more about living than dying, but death is the lyrical impetus that moves you to the point. I don't really have much to say about this one, other than I like it a lot and it reminds me who I am, regardless of who I try to be (and not to be.) I've stopped looking for proof, I believe because I want to and because I've made a conscious choice to. (I wrote about this last year HERE.)

3. Gary Allan's "Best I Ever Had."

This song rattles my insides. It is by far the most deeply moving of all the songs I'm listening to right now. Gary Allan was always that guy that you knew his songs, but you had no idea who sang them. Before his "Tough All Over" album he was the singer that had the gritty voice and sang cute little ditties like "Nothing on but the Radio," and "Songs About Rain." And then last year his wifecommittedd suicide and left him a single father and a broken heart. Great artists take the whole of their lives and put it out there for people to feel, and Allan has done that here. Of course, I honestly wish this song wasn't so good, because of the pain that caused it, but I'm glad he recorded it. I imagine there was at least a small amount of whiskey in his system when he recorded this, and it is best listened to in the same manner.

Of course it feels weird singing "You're only the best I ever had" knowing he's speaking of his wife, but anyone wanting to personalize it knows it's not too far a stretch when singing it because, seriously, was there a better person in the world than Kyle?

"And it might take some time to patch me up inside
but I can't take it so I, I run away and hide
And I might find in time that you were always right
You're always right.
So you sailed away into a grey sky morning
Now, I'm here to stay, love can be so boring
Was it what you wanted?
Could it be I'm haunted?"

4. Brad Paisley's "When I Get Where I'm Going."

Brad Paisley is the guy you knew in high school who everyone loved because he was so silly and witty, but no one really took seriously because they thought that was all there was to him. But the ones close to him knew different. If you weren't close to him, you are now in your thirties realizing that you missed his point. His simple, dry wit was trying to draw you into a deeper reality that says we are really here to know God in the most basic of ways, to learn to be with each other and to laugh at ourselves a little. If there ever was a Kyle Lake of country music, Brad Paisley is it.

When I hear the first few lines of this song, I'm initially repelled because I don't want to hear a Circus with Candy Corn version of heaven right now. There are other things about the song that makes mequeasyy, like Paisley's insistence that we not cry for him when he leaves. Come on Brad, I don't even know you but if you were to die I'd probably cry at least a little. It would not be healthy for your family not to cry at your passing.

But there are a couple of things that redeem the song. Like Kenny Chesney, Brad's lost a giant in his life, his grandfather. It was his granddad that bought him his first guitar and who gave him lessons and who is the reason he is who he is today. This is the first time this has been mentioned in one of his songs, and it is very heartfelt.

At the beginning, when you are about ready to give up on this song about heaven, something happens. Someone joins in harmony for the chorus and you realize Brad has enlisted one of the closest things we have to an angelic voice here on earth to help him out-- Dolly Parton. Dolly's presence takes me from being someone listening to a song to being a five year old kid again in a rural Baptist Church and actually FEELING for the first time that there is something beyond me and beyond all this I can touch and see.

I'm not sure what I think about heaven, which is what makes me hesitate with this song, but I love listening to it nevertheless. There are some wonderful phrases... "I'll leave my heart wide open, I will love and have no fear..." "all these questions I can't answer, so much work left to do..." "...I will shed the sins and struggles I have carried all these years..." and the one that makes me cry "...I will tell him how I've missed him, every minute since he left."

I was in a mood this morning and I watched the video for this, which made me break down. Check it out, I think you may enjoy it.


Here's to grieving well.

God, I miss him.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Change...

I'm notoriously illiterate when it comes to computers. It's a miracle I was even able to create this blog. Any changes I have ever made were done either by Ben and Jason, years ago. They showed me what to do in both instances, but I've forgotten. Occasionally I'll tinker with it, but I made a decision a while back to keep the look pretty much the same. Since I've been using this template for so long, I'm not sure how to do things that should be easy, like posting a link to my archives. I apolgize for that.

As you can see, I did change my right side. I got rid of the "Listening to..." and "Reading..." section since a.) If I'm reading or listening to something great I'll tell you and b.) I never update it. (Although I AM still listening to Miranda Lambert. Check that girl out if you have a chance.)

I've also added the links to a lot of blogs of friends and acquaintances. As you can see, I have a great need to please people. I just kept adding and adding. If I've left you out, please don't not like me.

And if anyone can tell me how to do archives, please do. But I won't give you my password. Yes, Jason, especially you.

Gah!! I can't believe you did that!!

Random Again...

I've found myself with the rarest of occurances for a retail manager, two days off in a row. After staying up late just thinking last night, I slept in this morning later than I have since college, 10:00. I felt like a bum, but didn't do much about it. Ended up spending the rest of the morning and early afternoon scanning blogs and watching about a second of every channel on cable. I finally got myself out, went to visit the gravesite, then to the gym. I've decided I'm running that Bearathon in March if I can get myself in shape. I'm up to five miles a day now, so we'll see.

Tomorrow I will wake up early (6ish,) go run, then come home and watch the boys for about an hour while Jen runs errands. After that I'm heading to Dallas just to get away. I'll probably try to do all my shopping in Hillsboro (my goal: 15 minutes.) Later in the day I'm meeting up with El Mol. for a libation or two. So many people have meant so much to me for the past few weeks, but I'm kind of at a time when I just want to be around people that loved Kyle as much as I did. I've talked before about the fear of losing memories. Sometimes I deliberately try to conjure up a memory so I don't forget, but it's impossible. I need context. All that to say, I'm looking forward to beer and Kyle talk.

Afterwards I'll probably end up staying with my college roommate, then back to the grind on Thursday.

Been thinking a lot about UBC. I have nothing new to say, but I dug up this old post. It was written around the time D.A. Carson wrote his book on the Emerging church which encouraged a lot of critique and then caused a lot of us to get our panties in a wad and blogs were written and everyone was talking about emerging churches. Funny thing is, most people sitting in "Emergent" churches didn't know they were emergent. They were just going to church. They found a place to worship, to be real, to love and be loved, period. That was enough for me then, and it is what I cling to now.

Dear 1:00 A.M. on a Weeknight,

I'd almost forgotten what a lonely, dark time you could be. Screw you for reminding me.


Monday, December 12, 2005

Come and Cheer...

Singing about Israel in lowly exile here packs a bigger punch when the people you follow Emmanuel with are together in a place not their own. I know what we were taught, church is the people not the place, but please... It's the place also.

And I've never sang "Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death's dark shadows put to flight" with the same intensity as I did yesterday. I've heard or sung that song for the past 31 years, and just now felt and meant the words. I'm serious people, I meant it.

Yesterday after hearing words from the Godfather, UBC dispersed to grieve, and to grieve well. Some participated in the annual Jingle Bowl, the last Sunday afternoon football game of the year. Some were in Tracey's kitchen making sweet stuff that is sitting in my kitchen right now, calling my name.

I went to Calvary. (The church, not the hill.) As you know, that's where I go on the Sunday morning after Thanksgiving, since we have evening service on that day. At that service they always announce a thing they do every year for those who have lost loved ones over the past year. I always thought that was special. This year, it was for me.

So I went, and of course I cried, but most of all I allowed the memory of Kyle to wash over me.

I've noticed that when you are grieving a world of shit can occur within a two second span of time.

Toward the end of the service we were invited to take our candles to one of four stations to be lit by a church leader and to be prayed for. I took mine to Julie, the pastor of Calvary, who was also a friend of Kyle's. She took me in her arms and asked "Craig, are we lighting this candle for Kyle?"

Within two seconds, this answer went through my mind: (Sound of disbelief at her question...) "No, this isn't for Kyle. What are you talking about? Kyle's not dead."

And then the past six weeks all came flooding back and I was paralyzed. "Yes," is all I could get out.

After she prayed and cried with me I sat down and the same thing happened. It sounds cliche', but it's true-- I felt I was in a dream. I told myself "I'm in a service set aside to grieve over the ones we have lost and, I'm here grieving the death of who? Kyle? No...Fucking...Way."

Screw Israel, I need Emmanuel right here in Waco, TX with me.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

This morning was great. McLaren preached, we were together, but man, was it cold or what?

I think it was wonderful that people who have read McLaren finally got to hear him speak. I wonder how many people were disappointed. The great thing about listening to him is that he doesn't dazzle, as you would expect the leader of a serious movement. He is not what you read about in leadership books. He is a pastor. I like that.

Well, I'm off to work when my pants finish drying. Holidays are in full force at Barnes and Noble.

Whoever made up the saying "There is no such thing as a stupid question," has never worked retail during the holidays. Here are some samplings of conversations me and my fellow booksellers have had over the past two weeks...

--Woman holding Ann Rice's "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt" walks up to bookseller and says "Do y'all have that new Ann Rice book about Jesus?"

-- Customer walks up to me holding a paperback copy of Alexandar McCall Smith's "Sunday Philosophy Club" and says "This isn't a paperback, what do you call it?"

-- Woman walks up to me with a copy of a book titled "The Polar Bear Mysteries" and says "Why is this titled this?" I say, "I've never read it, I'm not sure." She says "So you can't look in it and find out?" I read the first page and find out there is a cat named Polar Bear and tell her. She says "Why is the cat named Polar Bear?"

-- Lady: I want that Medical Terminology Book.
Me: Ma'am, we have a lot of Medical Terminology books.
Lady hands me a sheet of paper with a phone number on it and asks if I can call to find out which one she needs. I call, the lady on the other end says any Medical Dictionary will do. I take the customer to the section and show her Medical Dictionaries and she asks, "Which one is the best?" I say "Would you like for me to look through them all to find out?" I thought I said it sarcastically enough for her to get the hint, but evidently not. She says "Would you mind?" I grab two of them, look at them and say "Well, this one looks more general and this one looks more specific." She says "What do you mean 'general' and 'specific.'

And this lady will be working for my doctor someday.

-- Customer on the phone: Do you have the individual Chronicles of Narnia on CD?
Me: Yes, we have boxed sets of all of them as well as each indivudal.
Customer: How much do they run?
Me: Between 25 and 30 dollars, depending on the length.
Customer: What do you mean depending on the length?
Me (refraining from making a penis joke): Well, the shorter ones will be 25, the longer ones 30.
Customer: Oh, that's weird.

And my favorite:
-- Customer: Do you have the Bill O'Reilly for kids book?
Me: Yes sir, let me show you where it is.
I take the customer to the KIDS section, where "O'Reilly for KIDS" is located.
Customer: Why do y'all put his book all the way in the back. (The implication being that we are persecuting conservatives.)
Me: Because the book "O'Reilly for Kids" is located in the kids section, which just happens to be in the back.
Customer: Well, would it hurt you to put the kids section a little closer up?
Me: We could do that, but then we'd have to move current affairs to the back. All his other books are in Current Affairs, so they'd be in the back.
Customer: Well, that would be ok. I wouldn't mind walking back there if that's where the section is.

Oh, for a day when I can speak my mind.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Going Backwards, Gaining Ground...

(Fair Warning: Chronicles of Narnia spoiler contained within.)


A couple of weeks ago I was playing with Avery. In the middle of dolls and Dora the Explorer she stopped, thought for a second, and then said, "I think my Daddy is a baby now." I said, "You do?" To which she replied, "Yeah," and then immediately returned to playing, as if she had just made a random statement about the weather or green peas.

I didn't pursue it. To be honest, it scared me a little. Growing up being taught to fear all things New Age, I secretely wondered if Avery was about to go over to that side. I was prepared for her to say she wanted Santa to bring her a Yanni CD and a Shirley McLain Barbie.

The other night I went with Singleton and Anthony for the midnight showing of The Chronicles of Narnia. It may shock some of you, but I've never actually read the books. I told myself I would before the movie, but I never got around to it. So I saw the movie anyway. I was very pleased. I think I enjoyed it much more now than I would have had it been released seven weeks ago.

All the allegory talk, pretty much right on. A lot of the things I wasn't smart enough to assign their proper place, but I understand where people could see this as a mirror image of the biblical narrative.

Aslan, in explaining his resurrection makes this statement: "When a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards."

Death itself would start working backwards.

As you would expect, the lump formed in my throat. And then a voice from two weeks ago echoed in my mind... "I think my Daddy is a baby now."

If the phenomenon of the resurrection is fulfilled in the eschaton (wow, I've been looking for a place to use that word for years now,) and death itself is reversed, then wouldn't it make sense that the affects of age will also be reversed?

And if the effects of age are reversed, and that is the ideal, then it should not surprise us that Jesus constantly told us, in so many words, "Look to the child! They get it! Be like them!"

I'm no theologian, but with this one, I'll be taught by Avery.

Friday, December 09, 2005


Between Sunday when it happened and the funeral on Tuesday, my cell phone activity soared. It seemed people from every different phase of my life found out and immediately became concerned for me and called to tell me they love me and just to be there on the phone with me for even a second or two. It was so overwhelming and overwhelmingly comforting, that I have actually lost track of everyone I spoke with.

In the midst of all that I was on and off the phone with Jason Edwards for hours. He was in Atlanta (Georgia, in case you were wondering,) visiting Christy's family one last time before they left for France, but really wanted to be here with me. He asked if I wanted him there. My response was something like-- I do, but I don't want you to have to go through all the trouble, and, no, don't, you need to be with your family but, yeah, it would be really good if you were here, but, no, absolutely not, it's too much money for a short notice flight, yeah why don't you come on, no, yes, no. I don't remember everything I said or even what was decided but I remember crying.

For the past few years I have had three very close friends: Tim, Jason, and Kyle. All close to me, just acquaintances with each other. Tim got married and moved to Germany. Jason and Christy have been in the process of moving to France for several months, and have just arrived. People realized over the summer that the fall would be difficult for me, but the implied comforting statement was "Well, at least Kyle is still around."

And then the implication became null and void.

After visitation on Monday I came back home to write the eulogy I gave. Several people came over so when I finished I went into the lving room to be present with them and to allow them to be present with me.

Into the dor came Daniel from Dallas, Blake and Karla from San Marcos, and Jason from Georgia. A weight lifted, and I lost it.

More than he knows, Jason's presence during those days helped keep me keep floating.

His presence in my life for the past, what, 7 years, has meaned more than he will ever comprehend. In Jason I have someone who gets me, whose laughter makes me laugh, and who I miss dearly.

Happy Birthday Jason, and wake up already, breakfast is getting cold.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Now, for a little fun...

-- As you may have noticed, I've spent the past couple of weeks trying to write at least something every day. I generally do this in the evening, after I get back from work or my other assorted evening activities (reading and watching television.) I'm about to work out, head to work, then to a Christmas party and/or Crickets to hang out with friends who are about to be part of the mass holiday exodus out of Waco. Ergo, I post now.

-- Tomorrow I'm heading to the homeland, East Texas. My friend Jason Fortenberry will be in Tyler to see his hometown Newton Eagles play in Rose Stadium for the 2A State Championship. Since it's cold, and I'm off, and I love football in cold weather, I'm going with him. My dad will probably go as well.

-- I'll probably also catch some high school basketball, as the Great East Texas Shootout is going on in Brownsboro.

-- As I've mentioned, pure vanity and narcissism led me to install a site meter a few weeks back. At first I was hypnotized by the different places people who read my blog were from. I'm still fascinated, but now am wondering, "Who are these people?" Soooo, it's roll call time. I want to know who matches up with the following places...

Fort Worth
Wake Forest, North Carolina
Whitehouse, Texas. (This intrigues me most, since it's the closest to Chandler.)
Arlington, TX
New York (I'm guessing either Valerie Targhetta or Rachel Ray.)
Madison, Alabama. (Kevin Charles?)
Wayland, Massachusettes
Brownsville, TX
Princeton, NJ

Everywhere else I've pretty much figured out, but feel free to send a shout out to your hometown peeps if you'd like.

-- I'll try to have a post tomorrow before I leave, since it will be the day of a close friends birth.

-- Stay warm.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Inside Outside...

I fell in love with Christmas in college.

Several years back someone donated, like, a trillion dollars, to the city of Marshall to buy a gazillion little white Christmas lights to be placed in the historic downtown area. An ice skating rink popped up, they started selling hot chocolate and having programs where people from the schools and community organizations would sing Christmas carols and sometimes it would get cold and, you know, it's like all the cool movies where good and pleasant things happen downtown in December surrounded by Christmas and neighbors. George Bailey running through Bedford Falls yelling "Merry Christmas!" Kevin McAlister being reunited with his mom at the end of Home Alone. Stuff like that.

Today it got cold in Waco. Real cold. I was hungry for non-house food and after I realized all the restaurants in close proximity to me closed early due to icy conditions (Michnas and La Fiesta,) I made my way downtown. I sat myself down at Ninfa's, ordered, and proceeded to begin my annual rereading of my now tattered version of Ann Lamott's "Traveling Mercies."

The last few weeks have been a very "Traveling Mercie's" type time for me. If you haven't read it, read it. If you haven't reread it, please do. (Especially if you are in the post-cynic phase.) It really is like good wine (that is, if you like wine.) I don't like wine, but it's the only better-old thing I can think of. I have an autographed copy of the book and it's pages are yellowed and tattered. If I had an autographed copy of any other of my favorite books I would protect it with my dear life. But it's quite appropriate that my copy of Traveling Mercies is yellowed and tattered because Lamott writes for those of us whose faith, and lives, are frayed, coming apart at the seams, held up with the cheap glue of wonderful friends and the grace of God.

When I walked back to my car I noticed the lit Christmas tree in Heritage Square and decided that I would walk through the cold, across the two parking lots, to stand at the tree. Perhaps I was looking for Macauley Culkin, the lonely boy abandoned by his family and weary from being chased by thieves. Maybe I was trying to relive my Marshall years. Maybe I just wanted to walk in the cold, wrapped tight in my leather jacket, to go see a Christmas tree.

As I was walking, freezing my ass off, I remembered the thing I wrote about December in my letter to November, about how it would wrap me in it's arms, strong with sweet melancholy and even sweeter peace. And I realized how true that has become.

About ten years ago I asked my Estonian friends why they drank hot drinks in the summer and cold drinks in the winter. They told me they wondered why American's did the opposite. Something about balance, they said. You drink hot drinks in the summer and cold drinks in the winter so your insides match your outsides. Whatever, I thought. I passed it off as New Agey, animistic residue.

But tonight, walking toward the Christmas tree in empty downtown Waco, it all made perfect sense. I was wrapped in the arms of December, strong with sweet melancholy and even sweeter peace. The peace is a product of the melancholy. It's cold and treacherous outsdie. My insides have also become cold and treacherous. Balance has brought peace.

As has THIS.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

One hand in my pocket, and the other...

Some of us at UBC who grew up Baptist are old enough to have experienced the "Worship Wars." If you need explanation, read on.

Group A thought it would be nice to have drums and guitars with their songs. They also thought it would be nice to sing songs that weren't a hundred years old. Singing new songs also prodded them to raise their hands and/or dance. Group A proceeded to create a theology of worship that supported the use of drums and guitars and new songs that say the same thing over and over. When you create a theology around worship you can pretty much say that people who don't conduct the musical portion of their worship like you do are just not quite in touch with God.

Group B thought drums and guitars and new songs had no place in church. They thought the Saints of Old got it right, thank you very much, and any addition to their contributions is a slap in the face to those who went before us. Group B proceeded to create a theology of worship that rejected the use of drums and guitars and new songs and the raising of hands.

Groups A and B separated from each other and formed their own churches. FBC Group A: Drums, Guitars, new songs, raised hands. FBC Group B: Piano, Organ, old songs, hands in pockets.

I've heard reports from places far off that the war is still being fought. Some have not heard that we are weary of fighting and they continued to wage their battles.

We fight no more.

We sit in a church with people from both FBC's (and those who have never experienced the "B,") and we wonder who is sitting by us.

Don't pretend you don't want to look. We all do.

When I was a soldier in the army of FBC Group B I had this tug-of-war going on within me concerning a hypothetical situation. If I raised my hands in worship and, in the process, poked someone in the eye, should I immediately apologize? If I kept singing the new non-hymn worship chorus (for the 8th time) was I less spiritual because I wasn't being nice to the person whose eye was hurting?

On the other hand, if I stopped my singing to apologize, was I less spiritual because I wasn't giving God my full attention?

I'm telling you people, it was a serious Dark Night of the Soul going on within me concerning the hypothetical poking-my-neighbor-in-the-eye during worship situation. I could have lost my faith during that time.

Kyle: One hand in his pocket, one hand raised, but only during the crescendo. The raised hand was his right one. He sat by the aisle, no one was to his right, so the hypothetical poking-of-the-eye was never an issue with him.

I know because I sat by him and Jen, but I also know because I look.

I'm a looker.

Yes, we are alone with God, but we are alone with God together. We are together alone with God. We are alone with each other and with God. We believe our lives are worship. People say that all the time. "Everything in life is worship." Well, I look you in the eye during other life experiences, why not when we sing?

Sunday was magical. Tori stole the words right out of my heart.

We've all laughed so hard we cried. But usually the crying is a result of the humor. Have you ever laughed out of pure joy and cried out of pure sorrow-- simultaneously? I did that Sunday. It only lasted about two seconds. It was quite the experience.

I looked around, saw who and Who I was alone with, and with gratitude thanked God that the war is over. The scars remain, but the war is over.
(Cory, thanks for the inspiration.)

Monday, December 05, 2005

A bit of Kyle's humor...

Thought I'd share this with you. It's an email he sent me before his first book came out. Since a more tame version of his bio made it to the final cut, I thought you might enjoy what he originally wrote...

From : Kyle Lake
Sent : Wednesday, July 28, 2004 4:23 AM
To : "Craig Nash"
Subject : should i go with this or no?

This is for my book bio. Should I go with this or play it safe?

Kyle Lake is the pastor of University Baptist Church in Waco, TX—the home church of the David Crowder Band. UBC is one of the pioneer churches that was specifically birthed to vocalize the desires and values of emerging generations (besides that, the church also houses some of the greatest masterminds the world has ever known who are constantly scheming plans for world domination). Kyle graduated from Truett Theological Seminary, currently participates in the Emergent Village, and in his free time campaigns for a cat-free society. He and his wife have 3 kids--currently none of whom can be taken into public places.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I have a lot of things kicking around my head that I want to write about this week, but I wanted to take today to tell everyone how much it means to me that you take the time to read what I have to write. Even though I may have pretended it to be the case at the beginning, I've never been one who believed my blog was 100% me journaling my thoughts and 0% me caring what you thought or if you read. If I cared not about what you thought I would not post my thoughts on the WORLDwideweb. So yeah, just wanted to say thanks. It means a lot to have people come up to me and tell me that something I wrote touched them.

Here's something I'm dealing with, though. A great wave of guilt comes over me when I think about writing something, or even doing something, that has nothing to do with Kyle. Woltersforf said it in his book, and I feel it: My greatest fear is forgetting. Forgetting his face, forgetting his laugh, his grin, and most of all, forgotting my stories of him. So when I have the inclination to write about something else, like the two High School football playoff games I went to this weekend, I get afraid that people will wonder what the problem is with me. I also fear you will stop reading.

I have no clue why I threw that out to you, just wanted you to be aware.

Last thing-- If you haven't read "Peace Like a River," please do. There is a chapter toward the end of the book that is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read.

Inspired by 3 beers, 1 La Fiesta Margarita, a Cigar, and Friends (old and new)...

Sometimes I have hope
For no real reason at all
Save the memories

Friday, December 02, 2005

A funny memory...

I've been laughing to myself thinking about this all week.

One of the running jokes Kyle and I had between each other was that when we were in a crowd we would be on the lookout for people who resembled minor celebrities. Whichever of us would spot the victim first would turn to the other and ask, "What is (insert name of minor celebrity) doing in Waco?" It became a competition of who could find them first.

A few years ago we were at Jack and Jana Parker's wedding, sitting next to each other. Jack, being in the David Crowder Band, rubs shoulders with many big shots in the collegiate evangelical subculture. Louie Giglio was in the service, which was officiated by Voddie Baucham. Somewhere in the middle of the service Kyle pointed to a guy running a camera who was short, stocky, and balding, leaned over to me and whispered, "I know why Voddie Baucham is here, and can understand why Giglio would be here, but why is Tony Campolo the cameraman?"

He then tickled me and I was laughing throughout the rest of the service.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Another Letter...


Dear November,

You really think you are Hot Shit, don't you? Capturing and having your way with me while my defenses were down?

Listen, I've got news for you. Your days are numbered. In a few minutes you will be out of my life forever. I've got to tell you, I'm happy for your demise.

I know you'd like for me to share my wrath with your predecessor, October. But I'm dealing with you and you alone right now. I'll get around to October soon enough, don't you worry your pretty little self. October, while being evil enough, at least had the brains to get out of town quickly after it committed it's crime.

But you stuck around. You tried to confuse me. You inflicted minor, but constant, pain. In your grip I was stuck with the dilemma between moving on and standing still. Your days lured me in with a false sense that the sun may just rise, and then you brought the darkness on. Man, how you brought the darkness.

But didn't you see my feet keep moving? Did you think you would cripple me? While you plotted your vile scheme, I refused to become a cliche'. True, I'll never be the same. Normal will never be back, because my normal was so tied up into his presence. But don't get too excited. I made a decision that ten years down the road I will not be one who it is said of "His life made a downward spiral after that..."

You take yourself so seriously. A week ago I thought you were one to be reckoned with. One I feared. Tonight, though, me and my friends laughed you away. You have become a joke washed away with good beer and a Love from Above that we dished out tonight with hugs and smiles and tears.

December will treat us better. Oh, it'll be dark and scary in it's own way, but we have become the ancient shepherds. December will usher us into the realization that The Almighty has looked upon us with favor. I'll cry a lot. I'll fret and I'll fear, but December will wrap me in it's arms, strong with sweet melancholy and even sweeter peace.

You won't be forgotten, but you will be finished. You are no longer worth my time.



Monday, November 28, 2005

A Letter...

Dear Meredith, Izzy, O'Malley, Christina, Alex, and the rest of the fictional characters on Grey's Anatomy,

Some would choose to look down on you because you are all so pretty and have a lot of sex and jobs that ensure financial independence. While I wouldn't necessarily choose your lives, I don't condemn you for them either. And I most assuredly do not envy you.

Your days are brimming full with the potential of death. It's in your hands and flows through the wires of your pagers and phones. You look people in the eyes and say the most dreadful words. "I'm sorry..."

You do have one advantage over us, though. Somewhere someone outside of your world is flipping through an extensive CD collection looking for the perfect song to translate your pain into a language I, the viewer, can understand.

When I stood in the room with him, there was no music. Never in my life has so much of my surroundings disappeared into nothingness, leaving just me and my grief and the body of my friend. My breath was taken away. I was stabbed. I drowned.

But no music.

In the corrider I escaped to and in the private stairwell and at the ranch that night I felt trapped, ambushed. Without a soundtrack.

But I can't be too hard on you. You do have to deal with the fate of us nonfictional characters-- You bear the burden everyday of those watching you forgetting about your pain. When your drama is over I don't think about you for another week. Maybe that is best. Sometimes having all eyes on you can be kind of stressful.

I'll give you your space, if you give me mine.

I guess that's all I have to say right now. Keep doing what you are doing. Whether you acknowledge it or not, God uses you. So be diligent and do not grow weary. There's a song I'm listening to right now by this guy named Rich Mullins. I'd like to share the lyrics with you. It relaxes me. It reminds me that God is in control, but not in the same way people who say "God is in control," mean. But that is another story altogether. Maybe sometime later I'll go into that deeper. In the meantime, here are the words. Go buy the album. You have the money...


I see the morning moving over the hills
I can see the shadows on the western side
And all those illusions that I had
They just vanish in Your light
I can feel the warmth of morning on my face
Though the chill in the night still hangs in the air
Though the storm had tossed me
'Til I thought I'd nearly lost my way

And now the night is fading and the storm is past
And everything that could be shaken was shaken
And all that remains is all I ever really had

What I'd have settled for
You've blown so far away
What You brought me to
I thought I could not reach
And I came so close to giving up
But You never did give up on me
I see the morning moving over the hills
I feel the rush of life here where the darkness broke
And I am in You and You're in me
Here where the winds of Heaven blow

And now the night is fading
And the storm is through
And everything You sent to shake me
From my dreams they come to wake me
In the love I find in You
And now the morning comes
And everything that really matters
Become the wings You send to gather me
To my home
To my home
I'm going home

Sunday, November 27, 2005


When I finished reading the Advent thing tonight I sat down on the pew and a wave of tears came out of nowhere. It was at that point that I realized something that had never occured to me before: Any time I preached or wrote something or did absolutely anything on stage at church, I could care less what anyone thought about it. Except for one person-- Kyle. I realize how messed up that is, or was, but that's the dealio. I craved his approval. We all did.

At the first service in Truett we read through Kyle's God in the Movies sermon for "Garden State." Most people cried the most when Kyle's conclusion was read. I cried the most during a clip from the movie. Zach Braff and Natalie Portman are burying her hamster and they are supposed to say something nice about the dead. Portman's character made the comment "I hope you liked me."

And I lost it there. From second one I wanted Kyle to like me. Everyone did. Now I'm stuck with the (probably emotionally unhealthy) question-- what do I do now for validation.

Isn't that what we are all looking for? Oprah said it the other day. (I don't watch Oprah much, but I was home and she was on-- don't judge me.) She recognized several years back that all people really want is validation. I think that's one of the simplest truths about human behavior I know now.

I hope he liked me. I know he did. But that didn't stop my need for validation.

One more thing, somewhat related to the previous comments. That site meter I installed has messed with my head. I check it about three times a day to see how many people are reading my blog. It really is quite narcissistic. I need your validation. But at the same time, the more people read the more pressure I feel to write cool stuff. I'll probably screw up a lot, but I still hope you keep reading.

Last night I watched CMT Crossroads (I've talked about it before.) The musical choice wasn't my favorite-- it was Lionel Ritchie and Kenny Rogers, but their banter between songs was amazing. They had wonderful conversations about songwriting. Ritchie said that years ago he brought a song he had written to a producer. The song had a lot of pretty words, metaphors and similes galore. The producer said it was crap. The producer then asked him what he was trying to say with all of this. When Ritchie told him, the producer said "Then write that."

That's what I'm going to try to do more of. When I try to be cool I usually fail miserably.

I'm going to try and steal a play from Blake's playbook and write about my friends in the next few weeks.

Last thing.... the site meter tells me there's a lot of people form Kilgore, Gladewater, and Longview reading along. These scare me the most, because it increases the chances that members of my family are reading. For most people, honesty becomes more difficult around family, and I try to be as honest as possible. So, all that to say-- by any chance are there other Nash's and Reed's reading along?


(This is a thing I wrote for our Advent service tonight. A couple of people have asked for it, so I thought I'd just post it. Sometimes when I cut and paste from word, it gets a little messed up. So please excuse the apparent typos.)


Sometime around the beginning of October our culture places its collective foot on the accelerator and pushes down hard. It wants to get to Christmas as fast as possible.

Advent is us putting our foot on the brakes.

Advent is about waiting. Waiting with pregnant anticipation.

Advent is us looking around and seeing who we are, where we are, and what we need….and waiting.

Advent is us looking around and seeing who we are. We are many things. Above all else we are children of, followers of, lovers of…God.

Advent is us looking around and seeing where we are. Many of us are in the land of despair, of grief, of sorrow.

Advent is us looking around and seeing what we need. We need to be rescued. Rescued from the land of despair, grief, and sorrow.

During the time of Advent we look back, and remember. We remember a time and a people…our people…who were in need of rescue…and who were rescued. The Song of Zechariah: “He set the power of salvation in the center of our lives, and in the very house of David his servant, Just as he promised long ago through the preaching of his holy prophets: Deliverance from our enemies and every hateful hand; Mercy to our fathers, as he remembers to do what he said he'd do, What he swore to our father Abraham-- a clean rescue from the enemy camp, So we can worship him without a care in the world, made holy before him as long as we live.

During the time of Advent we look forward, in anticipation of our future deliverance and take heart. The words of John: “I saw Heaven and earth new-created. Gone the first Heaven, gone the first earth, gone the sea. I saw Holy Jerusalem, new-created, descending resplendent out of Heaven, as ready for God as a bride for her husband. I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: "Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They're his people, he's their God. He'll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good--tears gone, crying gone, pain gone--all the first order of things gone." The Enthroned continued, "Look! I'm making everything new. Write it all down--each word dependable and accurate." Then he said, "It's happened. I'm A to Z. I'm the Beginning, I'm the Conclusion. From Water-of-Life Well I give freely to the thirsty. Conquerors inherit all this. I'll be God to them, they'll be sons and daughters to me.”

As the people of long ago, we wait. We wait for a child. For a king. For rescue. For love, hope, peace, and joy, we wait. With enormous expectation, we wait.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Death is the worst, but by no means the only form of loss.

Of all the people who have reached out to comfort me over the past few weeks, only a handful know the scope of my Autumn of Loss.

I'm pretty much an open book. It's not hard to get to know me. Of course there are things underneath the surface that remain hidden, but everyone contains multitudes. I am not unique in that regard. But for the most part I'm a pretty simple person. I want to be happy. I want to know God. I want you to like me. That's basically it. And that makes me a person who makes friends fairly easily.

As I get older I realize who I am and who I'm not. I'm not a social butterfly. I'm not someone who inspires action among the masses.

I am someone you'd want to watch "Ed" with. I am a fan of friendships that breathe life into my soul by virtue of their simplicity and vulnerability.

I chose three.
In August, one took his bride to Germany.
In October, the feet of one became jubilant.
Tomorrow, another leaves.

Those few that know how deep this cuts don't say anything, but I know they know. They are the ones with the most tender looks, the most understanding hugs. They refuse to try and make things better with their words. They know that suggesting "replacements" is just salt in the wound.

I'll just let this taper off right..... here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Today, I post twice...

I've got to say something...

I LOVE Y'ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Being Known...

David, being better with words than most people in the world, put it well-- it really is a beautiful cemetery. He has two large trees on either side of him. One has a perfect indentation for sitting and talking to him. It's actually quite comfortable. And if you haven't been there yet, the rumors are true-- It's across the street from a playground. With a soccer field on the other side. Can you believe it?

And it's just off of LaSalle. LaSalle! Other than Franklin, LaSalle is probably the ugliest major street in Waco. Then you make a turn off of 5th, and you are surrounded by beauty. The night his dad mentioned a beautiful cemetery right off LaSalle, I thought he was probably mistaken. The only beautiful thing off LaSalle is University Parks and University Parks is only beautiful because it takes you to I-35 and away from Waco.

I realize the subjectivity and improvability of this statement, but I just have to make it. Today may have been the most beautiful day ever in the history of Waco, TX. Sun. Seventy Five degrees. Not a cloud in the sky. Cool breeze. Colorful.

I visited him today. It was the first time I went without crying. It was also the first time I went without sharing him with someone else. His is a popular sight.

Being close friends with Kyle the pastor, I knew I had to share him with others. I didn't mind. I knew the joy he brought to everyone. Usually when I drive up to see him now, I'll wait back a little if someone else is with him.

I don't say much. He knows.
He says nothing. He doesn't need to.

Ours was one of those special gift-of-a-friendships. One that, unfortunately, most people don't have. One where I never had to know what he thought about me. I knew. He told me.

Go, and do likewise. Spend Thanksgiving telling your family and friends how much you love them. Pour it on lavishly. Be embarrassing. Be foolish.

Live life to the fullest.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Something to Read...

So I've become kind of a connoisseur of books on grief these days. I never knew how plentiful they are, and I work in a bookstore.

One that has really meant a lot to me is "Lament for a Son," written by Nicholas Wolterstorff. It's a little book that has his short reflections after the death of his son at age 25 in a mountain climbing accident. Wolterstorff has given words to my pain. If you're home for Thanksgiving and have some free time, you should grab you a copy.

Here's something from it...

"Someone said to Claire, 'I hope you're learning to live at peace with Eric's death.'

Peace, shalom, salaam. Shalom is the fullness of life in all dimensions. Shalom is dwelling in justice and delight with God, with neighbor, with oneself, in nature. Death is shalom's mortal enemy. Death is demonic. We cannot live at peace with death.

When the writer of Revelation spoke of the coming of the day of shalom, he did not say that on that day we would live at peace with death. He said that on that day 'There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'

I shall try to keep the wound from healing, in recognition of our living still in the old order of things. I shall try to keep it from healing, in solidarity with those who sit beside me on humanity's mourning bench."

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Losing my Illusion...

On the day it happened I was working in Children's Church. I had the little kids-- the boys and a two year old girl. I was teaching the lesson of the baby Moses on flannel board. Remember those things? They still capture kids attention, decades after they caught mine. (I use the word "teach" loosely. I was mainly trying to narrate the story while the boys made the characters do what they wanted them to do.)

The music from the sanctuary stopped abruptly. I didn't think much of it.

A few seconds later the mother of the little girl came in. She said she wanted to be with her daughter. Someone was electrocuted.

A few weeks earlier a cover fell off one the ceiling lights, almost hitting someone in the crowd. It was harmless, just a piece of plastic.

I told myself this fell into that category.

Then others came into the nursery. Jamie told me it was Kyle.

All I could do was return to the flannel board to finish the story. I was afraid. I told God to let my fear be my prayer. I said that over and over. Let my fear be my prayer.

Much of the rest is a blur. Someone came in and said they were taking him to the hospital. Jen wanted me to take the kids home. I pulled the car around the back, loaded them up, and headed to their house.

Let my fear be my prayer.

Somewhere in the midst of getting the kids out, the story was being passed around that he still had a pulse.

Let my fear be my prayer. He still has a pulse. Let my fear be my prayer.

He didn't have a pulse, but that's what I was told so that's what I was going to believe.

After being home for a few moments many people came over to help out. Tracey got a call. She called me outside. I saw her face and knew.

Meg rode with me to the hospital. Tracey hadn't said anything. I knew. But still, she hadn't said anything.

As we approached the hospital I told myself that if I stayed in the car, it wouldn't have to be true.

Let my fear be my prayer. He still has a pulse. If I stay in the car, it wouldn't have to be true. Let my fear be my prayer.

I got out of the car.

Tonight was our Thanksgiving Love Feast. A lot of people have been writing very moving and raw and wonderful things about looking for him. (Like HERE.)

Tonight I caught myself laughing at something, then turning my head to look for him.

I was looking for him.

I wished at that moment I was still in the car holding on to my illusion that he still had a pulse and that God would hear my prayer.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

What I Want You To Know...

During those two days many people I haven't seen in quite a while came up to me, offered a hug and their condolences, and then said "I keep up with you through your blog."


I suspected I had a readership of 8-10, but apparently I was wrong. So, out of pure, unadulterated vanity, I installed a site meter.

Wow. There are a lot of you's out there.

Here's me using your attention for what I hope is good:

You obviously spend at least a moderate amount of time on the internet, which is good. We need to be informed. Many of you have run across this guy named "Paul Proctor," and have peppered Emergent blogs with your ire towards him.

Do me a favor. Stop. Let this be the last time you consider responding to this guy. I know this is hard, but try to let this be the last time you even give him another inch of your thought space. Mr. Proctor thinks he's right, thinks he has God on his side. He (and his readers) thought that before Kyle died, they'll probably be thinking that up until their own deaths. I know people like this. (I grew up in East Texas, remember?) They operate in their own angry universe and have created for themselves a shell of protection (their literal-and-furious interpretation of Scripture) that shields them from things like common sense and the Love of Jesus.

Becoming angry at this guy and trying to reason with him is not living, and it's definitely not living well.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got two turkeys to make.

Friday, November 18, 2005


The past few days have gotten cold here in Central Texas. I've started wearing the leather jacket he gave me back in January, when Jen made him clean out his closet to get rid of stuff he no longer wore.

I'll never be half as cool as he was wearing that jacket.
I'll never be half as warm wearing anything else.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Don't be fooled by what some people think they know about us. At UBC, we are Jesus People.

About once every few months Kyle would get emails from well meaning Defenders of the Faith who had traveled to see the church where David Crowder leads worship. (Usually their journey began in College Station, but that's neither here nor there.) They all had many words. They only needed six... "Where was Jesus in your service?"

Their laser-like mind walked into our building with one goal in sight, to hear the word "Jesus," and the accompanying pretty Jesus-words... "Blood", "salvation", "God's-fame", and the most necessary to our generation of Christian consumers, "God's Glory."

They left the building without being able to check the words off their list, so they carried out assumptions about us that they felt free to share with others as fact.

Yesterday we had our last Wednesday night service for the year at Truett's Great Hall. I walked in with Josh and Lindsay, who had me over to their apartment beforehand for dinner. I spoke with Tracey for a second, hugged Matt, sat down next to Amanda, and the service started. Ben made a few announcements about where we'd be for the next few meetings and about Thanksgiving Love feast. We sang some songs (about Jesus,) watched a Nooma video and listened to Ben talk about Ecclesiastes. We prayed (to God, in Jesus' name) then dismissed.

At the end of the service I realized that for the first time in two weeks the name "Kyle" was never mentioned. Not once.

If you were in the service and told me we have forgotten about Kyle because his name was never mentioned, I'd look you in the eye and call you a damn fool. Did you not feel it, thick as a sweater? Did you not see the tears? The laughter? When we looked into each others eyes did you not see what we were thinking, communicating to each other? When Thanksgiving Lovefeast was mentioned, was it not evident that hearts and souls were aching with the realization that this year, yes, this year is the first time we get together and tell God "thank you" for giving us a life that is no longer with us?

I can cheapen anyone's name by saying it over and over. Modern day Christian songsmiths make a fortune doing that.

I'd rather you know why we gather without even mentioning it. I'd rather you hear us sing "Every ocean, every sea, every river, every stream, every blade of grass will sing," and instinctively know Why we sing and from Where our song comes. If you need clarification, stick around a bit. Put your checklist away, eat some turkey with us, and you'll find out soon enough.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


In the past I've heard people talk about the numbness. The disbelief. In the past I thought I knew what they were talking about, but I had no idea.

Before October 30 I assumed the numbness associated with grief was a sort of walking nothingness. An emptiness characterized by something being taken away. But it seems that the only thing taken away has been Kyle. And in his place is not nothing...It's something. It's like a dense chunk of metallic matter that cannot be removed from any of my moments. It's in my pockets. It's on my shoulder.

Emptiness is not nothing. It's something. It's something large and impenetrable.

And it makes me ask questions that there are no answers for.

How do I live in a world without Kyle?
When I'm really excited about something, who will I call?
What does Craig at 32...45...73, experiencing life, love, marriage, kids, changes, hilarious times, sad times... do without Kyle?
When is it ok to cry again? When will I stop feeling the something that is nothing?

Yeah, I feel the numbness alright. And it's a damn bitch if you ask me.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Yesterday was the first day I felt comfortable saying "Good" whenever anyone would ask the obligatory-in-Texas-greeting "How are you?" The first few days people didn't ask, because they saw my eyes. About a week later they asked hesitantly, and I would reply either "Ok" or "I'm hanging in there." But yesterday I said "Good" and meant it.

There is fear that comes with saying I am doing well. Because I am not, of course, doing totally well. I am injured. I am empty. But I do have Jason here with me. Christy will be here later today. Today is Sunday, so n a couple of hours I'll see all the people that make me smile and laugh and know that we will get through this.

The other night at our retreat we went through one of those cool ancient-postmodern-whatever labrynths. I was reminded of Jesus feeling forsaken. Of being hurt and left alone. I was reminded that my faith is in a God that allows us to feel hurt and left alone but who never hurts us or leaves us alone.

So, yeah, "good" is an appropriate word.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Friday Morning...

I hadn't cried in two days until I was reading through Kyle's emails for last nights posts. I then went to bed at 7:30 and cried until I fell asleep. Woke up 10 minutes ago-- at 7:00 a.m.

As I said, mornings aren't bad. Mornings give me hope.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

What We Lose...

On Blake's recommendation, I started to read C.S. Lewis' "A Grief Observed" today. It's basically his journal of what it was like grieving over the death of his wife. Truth rings louder in the book than it would have two weeks ago.

Lewis stated that one of his greatest fears is of forgetting, and when I read that I gave a hearty "Amen." I've got pictures and memories and other people to remind me, but I'm terrified to death of forgetting Kyle's voice and laugh and facial expressions.

The people we made fun of the most were the people who most thought they had it together. We used to mimick those people.

I kept many of the emails he sent, and I'm glad. A couple of weeks ago I asked him to critique my preaching. In the midst of his reply he said...

"At this point in the conversation, I'd probably go into a long discourse on how that very difference lies at the heart of postmodernism but you probably wouldn't get it so I'll save that for my smarter friends."

While talking about an exercise of Scripture reading practiced by Ignatius, he wrote this...

"And yes, Ignatius was from the 16th century, not the 15th. You
were probably thinking 15th."

Those are some of the things I miss.

I started this post wanting to tell about Kyle's humor and how I'll miss it more than anything. In doing so I perused dozens of emails and realized there are things I will miss ten times more. They are the short emails. The one's that read, simply...

From : Kyle Lake
Sent : Wednesday, June 8, 2005 1:57 PM
To : "Craig Nash"
Subject : reading


Hey--I've just now begun reading the David Sedaris book you got me about 8 years ago--Me Talk Pretty One Day. Let the reading begin!


From : Kyle Lake
Sent : Tuesday, March 8, 2005 3:51 AM
To : "Craig Nash"


hey dude--what's up?

down here in Houston doing Birkman training...I'm absolutely loving this stuff (so far)
I'll fill you in more when I get back. Very fascinating stuff.


And the one I'll miss the most, that came almost every Monday morning...

From : Kyle Lake
Sent : Wednesday, August 25, 2004 3:17 AM
To : "Craig Nash"


What's happening with ya this week?

That's what tears me up inside.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

100 Feet Up...

(I don't really want to write anything. But anytime I experienced significant things in my life, Kyle would always tell me to write it down. So I'll try it a little at a time.)


It seems like the back collar of my shirt was lifted up by God's gigantic hands that Sunday and I was placed a mile in the air, feet on a tightrope stretched before me, and told to walk.

I could fall to the left into my grief where there was pain and anguish that led to good thoughts of a life well lived. Or I could fall to the right into thoughts of a life well lived that eventually led to pain and anguish at what I have lost. Either way I fell I ended up there and then somewhere else.

On Sunday I tricked myself into thinking the hard part was over, and then Monday came. Monday morning was ok. In fact, all the mornings have seemed ok. I think it's because I generally worked in the mornings and Kyle always worked in the mornings and our friendship took a break during the A.M. (In fact, Kyle used to do sermon work at Barnes and Noble in the mornings and Common Grounds in the afternoons. He went full time at Common Grounds when I started working at BN, just so he could get work done.) Mornings my mind was on one thing, his on another, and we had very little contact.

Monday afternoon, though, the night came. A needed word on the phone from a friend sent me spiraling down, off the tightrope, into the dark. I got home, went to bed at 8:00 (aided by liquid sleep,) and didn't get up until 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday.

I have to remind myself that I am not the only one walking up here. There are others who grieve as much as me. I need to reach over and help them balance.

Or, perhaps, I need to remind them, as I have been reminded, that in this balancing act, a Net has been provided.