Butterfly wings and hurricanes

Have you ever felt the beat of a butterfly’s wings? Have you held one in your hand and watched it as it flutters? Have you watched them on a spring day as you walk through a park flying all around. Have you ever felt the beat of their wings? They are beautiful creatures. Small. Graceful.

What if I told you there was amazing power hidden in their wings? That the beat of a butterfly’s wings could cause a hurricane? It sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

There was a theory proposed many years ago that stated that a Butterfly’s wing beat in Africa could cause a hurricane in San Francisco. Their wings can start a chain reaction and cause huge effects. Have you ever felt the beat of a butterfly’s wings? Are you sure?

It was the fall of 1997. I had just moved to Edmond Oklahoma, a sophomore at the University of Central Oklahoma. I came to study singing…I was going to be an Opera singer. Yes. It’s true. (I am glad that is not where I ended up…) When I got to campus I started attending the Baptist Student Union. I knew I needed to meet people, and am very thankful I soon met a cool guy named Matt.

Matt was a couple of years older than me. He was a college student, but also a college pastor at a good sized church in Oklahoma City. He invited me to a Singles Bible Study at his church and I was happy to come along. Over the next several months I got to spend time with Matt and learned that he was an excellent minister. He loved people. He loved getting to be a help in people’s lives. Working at the church was not his first career choice initially. He originally wanted to be a chef.

On April fool’s day in 1998 I was at the church with Matt and he introduced me briefly to a girl named Marixa. They were friends and she politely told me hi, and then talked with him for a few and went on.

Over the next few months Matt planned out different trips that the college group took. Marixa and I both went on the trips that Matt organized. We “noticed” each other on the first trip. We started dating after the second trip. A few months later we were engaged and a few months after we were married. 1998 was 17 years ago.

Since then Marixa and I have had a son and are building our family still. We were able to introduce two friends who came to our wedding to each other. They have been married now for 18 years. They have two beautiful girls.

My question is this: what if Matt had chosen to be a chef? Would I have made it to church on April fool’s day? Would I have had the chance to meet the woman who has been my best friend through thick and thin? I don’t know the answer to that, but I believe things would have been very different.

It is interesting though. What Matt did was seemingly small at the time. I was only one person in his ministry. He was a cool dude who did amazing work. He befriended me, invited me, provided a ride to church, mentored me…it is all small stuff in retrospect, but it made a huge difference in my life.

Life is like that through. If we look at it from high above, human interaction is like a tapestry. What we do weaves in and out with others. We touch each other’s lives in far reaching and impactful ways. A small thing for us can become a huge piece of someone else’s life. Think about your life. What was small at the beginning that is now huge?

What we do everyday matters. Every interaction. Everything. You never know when what you do will set of a chain reaction of awesome for someone else.

To my original question, have you ever felt the beat of a butterfly’s wings? I have. I hope you have felt it too. Maybe you feel its gentle flutter now, here in this moment.

The first chapter in the story

It was a warm April day. The birds were chirping. The sun was shining. You might say it was perfect. I pulled up to the church, ready to volunteer. I met the college leader in the parking lot. As we walked into the building it happened. I saw her. I remember it clearly. She was beautiful. She was walking our way. The college pastor introduced us. I said hello and she told me her name and then went on her way. I didn’t know that was a moment that would forever change my life, but it was April Fools day. I thought I hadn’t made an impression. In a month and a half it will have been 22 years since that day. She is reading to our son right now. It was the best April Fools day ever.

On conversing with strangers

I love people. I love talking to people. Finding out about them. I love starting conversations that matter…conversations that let people know that they matter.

I have found that some of the best conversations that I have had are because I was trying to show an act of kindness to the other person. If someone can sense that you care, they are much more willing to open up into conversation. They will definitely be glad that you talked to them.

         I went through the line of a restaurant at lunch a couple of days ago. The lady running the register looked like she had had a rough day. You know the look I am referring to. She had had it rough and needed a break.

         As I got to the counter, she covered her mouth and let out a big yawn. I could tell that this would be a good opportunity to brighten her day. As she looked back at me, I smiled from ear to ear and said, “It is only noon. You must have started early and haven’t caught a break.” She smiled back at me. Her spirit lifted just a bit.

         What I said was not spectacular, but it was purposeful. I validated that she was a hard worker and that she had been doing her job. Someone had noticed. Someone cared. By smiling at her and showing her sincerity, I filled a need that she had.

So, the question is: When you talk to people, what do they need? It may be a laugh. It may be encouragement. They may just need someone else to acknowledge that they are there and important enough to speak to. People all around us need our contact. This has to become second nature. I don’t walk around all the time looking at different people wondering, what do they need? That would make me weird. I do care about people. I do want the best for people. Because of that, I try my best to be a good conversationalist. If I fill a need they have, good.

Trusting to jump

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; 
   don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; 
   he’s the one who will keep you on track. – Proverbs 3:5-6 (The Message)

I love being a dad. Playing with my boy is one of the coolest things ever. I get to see life through the his eyes. I get to marvel at things just like he does. That included freaking out a little bit when he started climbing the furniture. We knew it was coming, but it still took us by surprise when he would yell across the house for help because he had climbed up on his changing table and couldn’t get down. That seems like forever ago.

Marixa sent me a picture once while I was at work. She came into our bedroom and this boy was scaling the front of our dresser like an expert climber scales a cliff. He must have been two years old. He decided that he wanted the remote control for the TV and nothing was going to deter him from getting it. The remotes were over 5 feet off the ground. I remember it made me laugh.

Along with climbing he started playing a new game: jump and let daddy catch me. He would climb up on a steamer trunk that we had in our living room, make sure I am in position, and the fling himself off of it as best he could. (At that point He hadn’t quite figured out how to jump yet, but throwing himself he had gotten quite good at.)

He did this repeatedly. Climb up, smile, fling himself into my arms, laugh and do it all over again. It was often a highlight of my day because I knew that my son trusted me to catch him. He still knows to this day that his daddy won’t let him fall.

I remember a cruise we went on when he was one. We found ourselves on a beach in Progresso on the Yucatan peninsula in southern Mexico. It was his first trip to the beach. He loved it. He played in the water, ate some sand (gross, but true), and hung out in the water with me and Marixa and our friends who we were traveling with.

I was playing with him in the ocean and began to toss him up into the air. He squealed with delight. The higher I tossed him the harder he laughed. I tossed him up until my shoulders got too tired. He absolutely loved it. Just like later when he would jump off the table, he knew that his daddy would catch him and everything was ok.

The part my boy didn’t know is that his daddy helped control the circumstances. I wouldn’t let him jump to me from just anything because I wanted to ensure that I could catch him. When I tossed him up in the air I made sure not to toss him higher than I could have compensated for on the ground. While he trusts me, I am constantly working to keep and enlarge that trust. I don’t want to let him fall or let him down. It is just not an option.

In the same way, we have a Heavenly Father who is in control of all of the circumstances. The bible tells us that all things work together for the good of those who love God. It doesn’t say that all things are going to be easy, but it does say it works for our good. We have a Father that we can trust. When we trust him and jump to him and he will catch us. He won’t let us fall.

So, why do we have such a hard time trusting him with our lives? Why do we fight so hard to stay in control? I don’t have an answer to those questions, but I do know this: If My boy can trust me to catch him, I can trust God to catch me. He loves me and he wants the best for me. No, jumping is not easy, but trusting is a choice. I don’t have to understand it. If I know God wants me to jump, I choose to trust. I know He will catch me.

Thank you so much for the…

Yesterday I had to do something that I don’t normally do. I had to phone a friend for help. I needed him to take care of something for me. Something that wasn’t his to do. I made the call. He responded. That’s what friends do.

I am so blessed to have friends in my life like this. People that you can call at a moments notice who will help. People who will stand in the gap for you. People who will help you just because you are friends. People who are just as close as family even though you are not related.

So, to those of you who are in this category, thank you so much for the honor of being your friend. You are there for me and I will be there for you. I appreciate you more than I know how to express. I love you more than I know how to say. God blessed me when he brought you into my life.

Thank you for being my friend.

More – Song Lyrics

I have met more than one person who has lost hope. I penned this in an attempt to empathize. Lord help us long before we ever feel this way.

Chorus

There has to be more to this life more than just the struggle to survive. There has to be more from the days I have seen. There has to be more to me.

Verse 1

I’m going 90 miles an hour, the way these days go by leaves you spinning in circles sick from the ride. The faster that I go, the more important things I miss. This can’t go on forever, I can’t keep up like this.

Chorus

There has to be more to this life more than just the struggle to survive. There has to be more from the days I have seen. There has to be more to me.

Verse 2

When you look you see a stranger…my face is just a shell. No one else has noticed, but you know me too well. The light that shone inside me has dwindled to a spark. Who knows how long it will be before it all goes dark?

Chorus

There has to be more to this life more than just the struggle to survive. There has to be more from the days I have seen. There has to be more to me.

Bridge

Can you save me from this ride? Take this fear from me? Can you bring me anything to curb the insanity?

Chorus

There has to be more to this life more than just the struggle to survive. There has to be more from the days I have seen. There has to be more to me.

Anything For You – Song Lyrics

I wrote part of this song for Marixa on her 25th birthday. A few years have passed between then and now and I realized something about the song…I will still do anything for this amazing woman.

I had to give the verses a redo. I thought I knew how I felt about her at 25. Now I know, I have so much deeper to fall…and there is no end in sight.

Verse 1

There are times when I say I love you that three words just aren’t enough to describe what I feel inside and how you mean so much. You are the smile in every morning that sends me on my way. You are the arms there to hold me at the end of the day.

I am so thankful for you.

Chorus

I would do anything, anything for you. I would swim the deepest ocean just to be with you. I would do anything, anything for you. I would climb the highest mountain just to make your dreams come true. Baby, anything for you.

Verse 2

With every day that I spend with you I fall so much deeper in to this wonderful world we’ve made as lovers and as friends. Baby take my hand. Come walk along with me. For all of my days You are the only one I need.

My darling how I love you.

Chorus

I would do anything, anything for you. I would swim the deepest ocean just to be with you. I would do anything, anything for you. I would climb the highest mountain just to make your dreams come true. Baby, anything for you.

Chorus

I would do anything, anything for you. I would swim the deepest ocean just to be with you. I would do anything, anything for you. I would climb the highest mountain just to make your dreams come true. Baby, anything for you.