Lately when I have been reading the Old Testament a pattern  has stuck out to me that I had never really noticed before.

Can I be honest with you? I’m sure that I can.

I kind of hate reading the Old Testament. I know, I know, it’s all God’s word and I’m supposed to devour every single letter.

But the fact remains I am so culturally removed from the original writing of these words I know that so much of it is lost on me. When the temple and all the treasures are being described or the seemingly endless genealogies are going on…and on…and on… Or the different descriptions of sacrifices and who gave which offering at such and such an amount. And then there’s the different types of offerings (grains, absolutions, etc.) It all goes right over my head and quite frankly I find it all…well…boring at best, completely irrelevant at worst.

Pray for me, maybe I’ll get better. At least I’m honest.

The pattern I noticed was every time God stepped in to save His people He would command them to do something in order to remember it. Whether it was to build a memorial or create a specific yearly festival there was always some activity to remember what happened.

Why did He do this?

I’m glad you asked. It’s because we all have terrible memories. It’s an offshoot of living a linear experience. We only live in the now. We don’t have anything else available to us. Simply the now.

Ever since I've moved to Illinois I've noticed the pattern in my own life. The summers are so great here that you completely forget the long hard cold winters. And the winters are so brutal here you forget everything. Everything is cold, frozen and bitter. All the trees look dead. You forget that just a few months ago everything was green and growing. Everything was alive and thriving and in just a few months it will be again.

In our experiential linear reality we can only see what’s directly in front of our eyes. Life is hard. I hate my job. I’m struggling financially. It feels like God has forgotten me.

…It feels like God has forgotten me…

This is why it is so important in our own lives to set up monuments. It’s important to remember those traditions that say “remember”.

Remember when God came through for you. Remember when that unexpected check came in the mail and it totally met all of your needs and then some. Remember when you were so full of life and joy that you felt like you were about to burst.

Remember when everything was green and growing…it will be again.

Winters can be long. They can be dark and feel like they last forever. But they will end.

Every winter has its end. Spring will come again if you can last through these bitter cold months. The sun will rise on you again just as it has in the past. 

You just need to remember.

"I think I'm going to start blogging again." I said to her over our morning coffee date. 

"That's good!" she replied because she's awesome and supportive. "Why'd you quit in the first place?"

It was a valid question that I hadn't even asked myself yet. The fact was I was frustrated that I had worked so hard on every post. Prayerfully considering every word. Searching my soul for hope and truth. Dredging the mud and mire of my heart hoping to produce good art. 

And my last post had a grand total of 30 views.

I was just frustrated that no one seemed to be paying attention to what I felt was solid writing.  I was frustrated that other blogs that I had deemed inferior got thousands of views and that blogger received sponsors and book deals and launched a lucrative writing career. While I felt like just another useless voice in the crowd. 

So I quit.

Feel free to judge me if you like. I'm judging myself. This is a confession of sorts. I'm showing you my weakness and letting you decide what you want to do with it. Denounce me as an insincere jerk or relate with my honesty. Either way I'm cool with it.

After I had expressed these frustrations to my wife she looked at me for a moment, making sure my selfish rant was over and she asked me one of those questions that I hate and love because they mean more than what they seem on the surface:

"Well, what's your point in blogging? Because if it's to help and encourage people then you're already doing that..."

One of the reasons I love her is that she said the positive and left the accusation unsaid. ...if your point is becoming known, if it's getting a book deal and ignoring the people that read and need encouragement...then you're missing the point.

The problem was that I had caught the western disease of wanting so desperately to be a hero. I had confused being "known" with being good. I felt this pressure to do "great things" for God and when I tried and failed it felt like I must be a bad writer or God doesn't love me enough to use me to reach a massive audience. This crooked way of thinking had permeated my cells. Confusing being known/popular/famous with being good/talented/loved.

I recognized that grossness in myself and so in reaction I stopped blogging for a few months more. I had to try to suck the poison out. I have always known that a humble life lived before God isn't a bad life...I just had to kill that western cancer that told me otherwise everyday.

There is a difference between being a hero and being a saint.

"We want to be heroes, we don’t really want to be saints. The difference between the heroic vision and the saintly vision is a fundamentally different way of viewing the purpose of life." 
 -Brian Zahnd

So as I sit down to write online again I have to ask myself: What's the point?

My hope is to spread hope. To remind folks that feel less than perfect, that probably won't step inside of a church that they are not alone. I try and fail everyday. Sometimes the most saintly action is getting back up and trying again.

I hope to connect with a loving Creator by trying to create...and reminding others that they can too.
Even if it's just to an audience of One.

Sorry if that was corny. Here's an intelligent quote about the difference between heroes and saints. Thanks for reading.

“For the hero the meaning of life is honor. For the saint the meaning of life is love. For the hero the goal of living is self-fulfillment, the achievement of personal excellence, and the recognition and admiration that making a signal contribution to one’s society through one’s achievements carries with it. For the saint, life does not so much have a goal, as a purpose, for which each human being is responsible, and that purpose is love, and the bonds of concern and care that responsibility for one’s fellow human beings carry with it. These two paradigms, the hero and the saint, and the way of life that descends from each, are really two fundamentally distinct and genuinely different visions of human society as a whole, and even of what it means to be a human being. They are two distinct and different ways of asking the question of the meaning of life.”
-Francis J. Ambrosio, Philosophy, Religion and the Meaning of Life