"All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, 'Look! This is something new'? It was already here, long ago; it was here before our time." Ecclesiastes 1:8-10 (NIV)
One of my earliest memories is from a time when my family lived in Winter Park, Florida. I was young enough to remember being taken from my crib, probably by my sister, Geraldine, in the darkness of a summer's night. The house was literally shaking, but I sensed no fear from my older siblings or parents as we joined them in the back yard. All eyes were turned skyward as a thunderous roar filled our ears. I remember that the darkness was lanced by a bright white plume of fire as it propelled what was either one of the last Gemini, or first of the Apollo rockets as it pierced the clouds on its way to the vast nothingness that was space. Politics notwithstanding, it was just one more of the small steps that humanity took in its quest for one of mankind's greatest achievements, "our" journey to the moon.
But I wasn't hooked yet.
That same year, the world was treated to two of the most momentous events in all of recorded history. It was 1966, and humanity was blessed with the introduction of both Batman, the original TV series, and Star Trek, The Original Series! Naturally, I was enamored with the idea that one day, I would become The Batman!
Little did I realize how important Star Trek would become to me later in life.
"as when a hungry person dreams of eating, but awakens hungry still; as when a thirsty person dreams of drinking, but awakens faint and thirsty still." Isaiah 28:8 (NIV)
Then, in July of 1969, what was probably the greatest historical event that I will ever experience happened when Astronaut, meaning "star voyager", Neil Alden Armstrong, stepped from the ladder of his Apollo 11 spacecraft, "Eagle", onto the surface of Earth's closest celestial neighbor, the Moon. I watched what seemed like magic happening on my family's 25", black and white, console television as network anchor Walter Cronkite narrated the event, and all my aspirations of becoming the purple tight wearing, crime fighting, caped crusader fell by the wayside. In that moment, I transferred my ambitions to following in the footsteps of the men who would blaze humankinds trail into outer space. After all, there were lots of astronauts, but there was, and would only ever be one Batman!
As I grew, reality set in and I was forced into the realization that astronauts weren't as numerous as I believed, based as my expectations were on TV shows like Star Trek, Lost in Space, Space 1999 and the like. So, over the coming years, I adjusted my goals accordingly to ones more attainable. There were, in no particular order; Speed Racer, the six-million-dollar man, a jet test pilot (undoubtedly influenced by Colonel Steve Austin), an astronomer, a fighter pilot, a helicopter pilot, a nuclear physicist, a nuclear engineer, and a police officer. I'm sure there were others but give me a break … it was a long, long … long time ago. My dad always told me that I should become a lawyer because I enjoyed arguing (I prefer the term "debating" myself) so much, but that was never an option that I was interested in. During my senior year in High school, I set my sights on a career in the military. But a chronic weight problem soon nixed that idea.
"Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen to me and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare." Isaiah 55:2 (NIV)
After high school, I tried college for a while, but it proved too much of a burden for me as I also entered the workforce, quickly finding myself in some kind of management position beginning with a position as an assistant manager with Pic' n' Pay Shoes. From there I went into the restaurant business, following in the footsteps of my father and older brother.
I was not feeling at all fulfilled.
So many of my youthful fantasies seemed reasonable life courses for me to follow. But, one by one, they all crumbled into oblivion as my life unfolded. I would end up settling for the most mundane of existences imaginable (to me) of serving others, which, now that I think about it, was as honorable a pursuit as any of the others that I aspired to.
Throughout it all, my most persistent aspiration was to become a writer. I can remember that, starting in my single digits, I was always carrying around a notebook, scribbling lines of dialogue and setting scenes in the worlds of the novels that I would one day write. This was the one ambition that I would never shake.
But … why?
"Now, to each one, the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good." 1 Corinthians 12:7 (NIV)
Each of us has been given by God at least one, or probably more, gifts. One of mine has always been writing. As meager as it may be, it makes me feel good about myself when I write something that speaks to someone else, especially when the subject is spiritual in nature. I can literally feel the Spirit moving through me as I write even these words that you are reading now. I always get a profound sense of satisfaction from my efforts to paint words on a page for others to enjoy … or even if it's just for my own enjoyment. The reason for this is simple. God gave me this gift. When I use it, I know that He is pleased … whether anyone else enjoys it or not. Because He knows that in my doing this "work" (which is no work at all for me) that I am attempting to honor Him, and I truly believe that he blesses me for my efforts.
So, in closing, I'll ask you a simple question: How do you use your gift(s) to honor Jesus?
"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
This is the place! Now is the time! The battle is on!