Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Warrior Children

So, yesterday, I was conducting some business at the United States Consulate in Frankfurt. As I was on duty, I wore my Army Combat Uniform. Sometimes I feel like I shouldn't wear the uniform when I go into the city like that. I don't want to draw sniper fire. OK, this isn't Baghdad. But it still seems out of place. After being checked through security we were ushered upstairs to the appropriate waiting room to conduct our business. There were already numerous other people of varying nationalities and languages waiting to do business with the US Government, including a mom with three young boys. They seemed to be Americans but spoke German pretty fluently. At one point, as I walked by the table where the boys were coloring, a piece of paper fell to the floor. I picked it up and handed it to one of the boys, saying "here you go, young man". He just stared at me, seemingly in awe. Really, he was staring at my unusual attire, the modern combat patterned uniform that represents the might of the US Army. I soon sat back down in my chair, but noticed the boys continued to chatter and glance over at me. Finally the mom grabbed one of the boys by the hand and walked over to me. She said her son, who was about five, wanted to ask me a question. His little brothers, quick to follow, peered around Mom's legs. He asked me, in German accented English, "do you have a helmet?'. Yes, of course I have a helmet I told him. "Do you have a sword?" he then queried me. Well, yes, I guess I do, I replied. "Will you fight a dragon?" he slowly mouthed. I smiled and asked him if he wanted to fight a dragon. He simply responded that he wanted to be a Knight, too. And, that he would fight dragons.

Man, I was floored by that encounter. For such a long time I have felt emasculated and defeated, because of some of the poor choices I made in my past. I know that my Savior has taken that past from me. He has defeated my dragons. But, I also know there are many more dragons to slay. I am getting back on my feet. I am back in training. There still exists, however, this foreboding of great failure in so many regards. Uniquely, the inquisitiveness and awe expressed from the innocence of that tender young warrior child have inspired me to continue my mission. To never quit or accept defeat. I'm grateful for the friends who have picked me up, faithful to the ethos of never leaving a fallen comrade. I'm thankful for my Lord for inspiring me to press on toward the goal, through the faith of a child.

Can we boast we have done anything to be accepted? No, our acquittal is not based on deeds, but faith!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Spiritual Aspects of Auto Repair

Strange day in the automotive world for me today. Showed up at Auspuff Stein (The German version of Midas Mufflers) at 0730. They didn't open until 0800. So I waited and listened to iPod songs with Joe. The front of my car has been squeaking when I turn the wheels. Kind of like a "raaaaeehh, reeeh, raaaeh" sound. After dropping the car off, we went to the bakery and then back to my house where we made coffee and skipped work. At 1100 I talked to the mechanic and he said the problem was the support arm or something on the left side. Not the struts as I had suspected. I'm not a mechanic. He also advised I should have the wheel bearings repacked. He wanted over 500 Euro. I almost gagged. I'm not doing that, I said to myself. I picked up the car and drove away. The squeak was gone and I didn't pay 500 Euro. Hmmm. So I took it to the auto inspection station since I need to re-register the old green Mercedes. As I drove it into the inspection bay the driver's side headlight went out. Automatic failure. What the??? Then they gigged me for all this oil residue on the bottom of the car. Well, come on, its a1983 car with the same motor. Of course it's going to leak. So, I drove away to get a light bulb and the headlight started working again! OK. So, now I need to take the car to a wash bay to try to clean all the oil off. I'm not replacing the head gaskets or anything like that. There is no way you can stop every leak in a 25 year old car. The driver's seat in my green machine is so caved in (I suspect the previous owner, before the previous owner because I knew the previous owners, but the previous owners before them might have weighed like 452 pounds or something. Because that seat is warn out and it sort of rocks around when you shift your weight), I am starting to get lower back pain. That may, of course, be from all the snowboard falls I have taken though. I would like to buy a new car, like a Toyota Tacoma or Jeep Cherokee, but that seems like sin. Then I went back to work, and enlisted a future Soldier into the Army. And now it is 2104 in the evening. I had lentil and barley soup for dinner. I wrote some letters. Alicia Keys is singing something about how everything means nothing, if she ain't got me. I'm going to go to bed and finish reading BLUE LIKE JAZZ, by Donald Miller (I recommend it). Jesus loves me this I know. God moves in all things, including automotive repair. And, like, that's life on a Wednesday in January.