Long time no talk. Where have you been? : p Hopefully by now you have realized I discontinued writing my monthly email at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately they were turning into a burden and thus, started lacking in the original intent of their quality and vision. For those who may feel disappointed, rest assured updates will still come your way. However, instead of being on a monthly basis they each will arrive in their due time.
Before the past, which will come before the present, I must speak on today before it’s gone…
Earlier in the day I had to mail a parcel to my dad. In lieu of driving to the post office I decided to walk. Now, I know this was not the most efficient use of my time, but life is not about being efficient, it’s about doing what needs to be done in the moment. And at that moment my soul needed to slow on a beautiful stroll down the sunny street while listening to some Zac Brown Band. I’ll speak more on this later.
In early December of 2014 my mom visited my brother Michael and me for a few weeks. During that time I was able to convince her to go on an 80 mile motorcycle ride with me out to Julian. It was a blast and we each had an epic time. It is always a wonderful moment whenever you are able to share something you love with someone you love. Thank you mom for being brave. Speaking of sharing your passions with the people you love, since I last wrote Michael has accompanied me to the prison several times. He has enjoyed each of his experiences and is beginning to understand the force behind my actions.
For Christmas I traveled up to San Jose to spend time with my dad. I always enjoy spending Christmas in San Jose. “There’s no place like home for the holidays.” One evening while sitting all alone beside the fire place, I took a moment to glance across the empty room. It was then, sitting in the flickering light of the fire, when I dove into an exercise I had never done before. For some reason, as I surveyed the room I began to reflect on each section of the room and tried to remember everything I could that happened in that particular space. It was an incredible exercise which stirred up many emotions. Some were tragic, some were jubilant, but all were appreciated for contributing to the man who sits to write you this letter.
While there have been many things which have happened these past four months and while I have come to many realizations, I will only address the SABBATH PRISON BABY.
Sabbath: Participating in the Sabbath is a spiritual discipline which has been on my heart for a long time now. In the past I have tried to do it and have failed miserably. However, since January I can say I have been pretty good at staying faithful to the discipline…and a discipline it is! For me, participating in a Sabbath means putting aside one day per week (normally Friday) to engage in soul care. Practically that looks like being intentional with plentiful prayer throughout the day while spending several hours reading the Bible, listening to Christian music, taking naps, and finally engaging in activities which are life giving to me. When people ask me what a life giving activity is, I ask them “What is something you would like to do, but don’t have enough time in your day to actually do?” Whatever that may be is what I consider to be a life giving activity. Personally, my current thing has been working on poetry. There has been a particular poem which has been on my heart to write for three years now and I’m finally tackling it! As of today I am half way finish and extremely pleased with it. When it is complete I will be sure to share it with you. The discipline of Sabbath has been great for three main reasons: One, for the rejuvenating aspect it provides my soul. Two, for the stripping of hurry and business from my life. And three, for my increased realization of how much in control God is, or put another way, of how little control I have, and from that knowing I’m not asked to do everything, but only what I can for the day. It’s been wonderful, however in order to make it even possible I give myself plenty of grace and I am not legalistic about it, which I believe is the healthiest approach.
Prison: If I could name the current season of my life it would be “Prison Ministry.” Between being a full time seminary student and spending 20 hours a week at the prison (and doing my Sabbath) my life does not have much wiggle room, but that’s okay because I’m enjoying the ride. Recently I have taken on the role of the prison ministry impact leader at my church. Through that I have been blessed with the opportunity to make known this wonderful ministry to a bunch of people who would have otherwise had no clue. Recently the dean of my school approached me because he wanted to write an article on me and my involvement with prison ministry. To help him write the article I send him a bunch of information, one piece being the attached “Call to Ministry” file. From all of this a classmate created a nice photo (also attached). In short it feels great to be stepping into and growing in the field I am passionate about. Please keep me in prayer.
Baby: Any day now my sister Doreen will be having a baby, thus berthing my first ever nephew/niece. I am VERY excited about this and think it is awesome she has no clue what the sex is. Whatever it may be, I already told Michael to “forget about it, I’m going to be the cool uncle.” : ) I guess we can both be the cool uncles. Man, can you imagine the Buttery brothers being your uncles?
Although it has been a long time, many of you are often in my thoughts. I hope you have been able to see how good life is. You have been and will continue to be in my prayers. Until next time…