I know you won't wait, no one ever listens to me, but you're only doing yourself a disservice if you read this on any other day of the week.
Paul Miller recently sent Jerms and I an e-mail letting us know that his son John is looking for work as a graphic designer. I guess he figured that since we're both in HR/recruitment, there would be a chance that we could get his son some play on his resume. Anyway, his extremely talented son set up a website, sort of an e-resume, which I spent way too much time reading through this morning. Below is a commentary he wrote in his "Mondays" column (which I adore):
Waking up for on a Monday morning is like trying to pump yourself up for a root canal.
When I was in college in my freshman year I took three classes in a row: one at 8:30, 9:30, and a 10:30. I had to do it that way because I was a loser freshman and had no choice. By the time I got to my 10:30 class I would sit in the middle of the front row, right in front of the professor, to scare myself into staying awake.
I was fast asleep 15 minutes into his lecture each day. Somehow I managed to get a C in the class. When I got the grade a bubble image of Cookie Monster came into my head singing, "C is for cookie, that's good enough for me," over and over again.
My senior year at Calvin I worked as a Graphic Designer at the Acton Institute, a conservative think tank, in Grand Rapids. I would roll out of bed, put on my suit and tie, drive downtown, take the elevator to my floor, and go into the bathroom. I would stare at myself trying to imagine it was noon and I was wide awake with tons of energy.
I was trying to pump myself up for my first human to human encounter of the day.
To this day, waking up, and thinking nice thoughts about people is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Ask any of my roommates if "Morning John" is pleasant to be around.
One morning one of my roommates said to me, "John, if you wake up, and realize that everyone is a jerk, most likely, your the jerk."
Martin Luther called his body "brother ass." There are the things he wants to do (like being nice on a Monday morning) and there are the things that his body does like it or not (like being a jerk on a Monday morning).
I was reading Blue like Jazz this weekend. Don has a great chapter on what's wrong with the world and his conclusion is right on the money. He describes himself protesting President Bush holding up a sign about a social justice issue coming to realize that his sign is totally wrong and stupid. The sign should have read: I'm the problem.
Then he quotes this beautiful poem by C.S. Lewis:
All this flashy rhetoric about loving you
I never had a selfless thought since I was born
I am mercenary and self seeking through and through;
I want God, you, and all my friends to serve my turn
Peace, reassurance, and pleasure are the goals I seek
I can not craw one inch outside my proper skin
I talk of love - scholar's parrot may talk Greek -
But self imprisoned always end where I begin
My roommate is right. The hardest part about Monday morning isn't my job, my family, or my responsibilities, it's me.
Could you imagine a world where we all knew the basic fundamental truth that what's wrong with the world isn't that other guy, but that it's me? That I'm the one that needs to change?
I think that's why I'm so attracted to Jesus. He's the only one I've ever met who can't relate to this disease, yet he's the most powerful and gentle voice on the topic.
It takes me a while to realize this truth. And in that small moment when I do, all I really want to do with an already crappy Monday is crawl back into bed and wait for Tuesday. When I realize this fundamental truth about how broken I am, how can any one of us get up and face the day?
Have you ever been out on a date and you know the other person isn't really interested in you but they are just being polite? Not that that has ever happened to me, but I hear it's a pretty horrible feeling. My roommate told me.
Have you ever been on a date with someone way out of your league, and yet they, by some freak of nature, are totally into you? Not that that has ever happened to any of us, but I hear it's a pretty good feeling.
That's how I feel about Jesus. I'm late. I'm grumpy. By accident, he overheard me yelling at the cab driver. I didn't iron my shirt. The skinny part of my tie is sticking out from under the fat part. And I just wish I could disappear into the floor boards or hit the reset button and try again. It worked in Mario Brothers.
And each time, to my utter surprise, Jesus sits across from me so excited to have my company that I forget about my wrinkled t-shirt and just talk about my day, my struggles, and my desires.
And he speaks back: words of life, words that have power to help me with my horrible disease.
And instead of going home and hitting the reset button he helps me iron my shirt and try and love someone other than myself that day. It's the most beautiful thing.