Tag Archives: weddings

Life Is A Highway And I’m Lost!

Of all the songs to have stuck in my head, “Life is a Highway,” sung first by Tom Cochrane, was the last song I’d have asked to be echoing in my brain.

I mean, yes, “life’s like a road you travel on.” I’ll accept that tired metaphor, but I’ll curse the lyrics, “Life is a highway and I’m gonna drive it all night long.”

But last Friday as I was on my way to a wedding I didn’t want to drive the road all night long.  I’d set out a good hour before the start of the ceremony, which should’ve given me plenty of time, as mapquest told me the drive would only take a little over half-an-hour.

With my directions printed out and in the seat next to me (I haven’t buckled yet and bought a smart phone), I headed south on Santa Fe Blvd, taking the old trail the Indians and Cowboys used to travel from Denver to Santa Fe, New Mexico, towards the little train stop community of Larkspur, CO.  Fortunately the road was free of horses and wagons, but unfortunately it was raining hard, slowing the traffic down just enough to make me worry.  Time was slipping by.  The wedding was at 5pm and I was pushing 4:45.  All I wanted to do was make to the wedding on time.

Sadly, as I reached Castle Rock, a town noted for the rock on the east side of town that looks like a, you guessed it, castle, I missed my turn.  Maybe it was because of the rain, but I am man enough to admit it, I was just absolutely turned around on my way to Crooked Willow Farms.

I was frustrated and lost.  Why hadn’t I asked some of my friends who I knew were going to the wedding to carpool?  Too late now, I though as I zipped around Castle Rock.

Sometimes when you are lost, okay, sometimes when I am lost I lose all self-respect and ask for directions.

I flicked on my blinker and pulled off the failed road I’d been driving, and stopped at the closest gas station to ask for directions.  “Okay, take your first left, then take a right on Founders, and then a left on 85.  Oh and get off on exit 184,” said the gas station clerk in a fast Asian dialect.  Time was ticking and so I didn’t ask her to clarify.

I should have.  If life is truly a highway and you don’t want to drive it all night long, always ask for clarification.

Back in the Honda Civic, I took my first left into a Wal-Mart parking lot.  Wait, I was lost, again!  What she didn’t say, was I needed to get on Interstate I-25 and then take my first left.  So, I turned around and merged onto 1-25 going south.  Instantly I realized I was going the wrong way.  If she wanted me to exit the highway at 184, then mile marker 179 sure was the wrong way.

Stuck on the highway, all night long! I don’t want to drive it, all night long!  Worried I wouldn’t be able to exit until Colorado Springs, which would’ve taken me an extra twenty miles away from my final destination, I started beating on the wheel.  “Get me off this stinking highway,” screamed.  I wanted to exit immediately, but I was stuck on my course, the guard rails blocking any attempt to ditch the road.

In a moment of clarity I realized, Larkspur is south of Castle Rock.  I wasn’t going the wrong way, I was just on a different road. But then I realized I didn’t have directions to the wedding from I-25 and I wasn’t sure when the exit for Larkspur would show itself.

It was already 5:20 and I felt demoralized.  I was going to ride this rainy road all night long.

By now I was cursing the fact I don’t have an iPhone.  I was screaming at the highway for not letting me exit so I could check my bearings.  And then, at mile marker 174 I saw an exit and took it.

The man at the Yogi Bear Jellystone mountain biking tour shop looked at me sympathetically and said, “Get back on to I-25 and go south one more mile.  Exit at 173 and you’re in Larkspur.  Now for Crooked Willow Farms take a right at Fox Road under the railroad and then curve around to Perry Road.  You’ll find your destination on your right.”

Larkspur was so close!  As I turned off into the little town, very late and rain still pouring down, I felt at ease.  I turned right onto Perry.  Wait, wasn’t Fox Road supposed to come first?  I crossed over the rail road and kept driving.

And then I saw the sign.  Hannah And Dave’s Wedding This Way!

I was on the wrong road, but it led me to the wedding anyway.  As I parked my car and snuck up to the outdoor venue I realized it didn’t matter that I was late.  This night wasn’t about me.  It was about my friends, and heck they were busy saying their vows, they wouldn’t notice my tardiness.

Even though it rained through the rest of the ceremony, the wedding and reception were fantastic.  And It dried up in time for me to dance like a mad man.  As I drove home, safely and without any detours, I started thinking about how life is really like a highway.

Back in Castle Rock I’d missed my turn.  I could’ve tried to figure things out on my own, but I decided to stop and ask someone.  That’s being open to letting other’s into my life.  Even more than being open to people, I find I need to be open to God.  Often times in life I get a little lost and all I need to do is stop and ask God for directions.

Even after I messed up the directions again, got on the highway the wrong way and took the wrong road, I still made it to the wedding.  If we trust God he’ll help us reach the correct destination.  No matter if we mess up along the way, he’ll get us back on track if we let him, and then maybe we’ll figure out that life’s not always about us, but the people we’re traveling to see.

So if you ever get lost in life or on the road, you just have to trust the signs, ask for directions, and keep driving all night long.

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Why Funerals Are Better Than Weddings

True confession: Over the past two years I’ve performed 41 weddings. Before every ceremony I remind myself that the word is “wedding” and not “funeral” because I’ve come thisclose to mixing them up more times than I can count.

I’m not sure why my mind confuses the two, perhaps because a wedding is a funeral of sorts—it’s the death of two individuals and the beginning of one shared life.

But if I can be honest, I prefer officiating at funerals over weddings. Hands down.

Please join us  in today’s daily Bible conversation as we explore why funerals are better than weddings.

TODAY’S READING

Ecclesiastes 7:1-12:14
2 Corinthians 7:8-8:15
Psalm 48:1-49:20
Proverbs 22:17-21

INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS

Ecclesiastes 7:1-12:14. Read slowly, because today’s reading is full of gems…

People like me who have struggled with anger would do well to meditate on Ecclesiastes 7:9: “Anger resides in the lap of fools.” The word “lap” literally means “bosom” so the reference to anger implies not only fits of rage but also that low simmering anger no one sees. Anger causes us to do and say things that are out of character with a godly life. “Man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” (James 1:20).

After exploring the meaningless of life, Solomon finally comes to this conclusion of his book: “Fear God and keep his commandments.”

2 Corinthians 7:8-8:15. “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). Godly sorrow over sin brings change. But if we say we’re sorry and we don’t change, it leads to death. How can this be? Habitual sin works like a cancer in our hearts. If you’re a believer, you’ll still go to heaven, but your salvation becomes little more than fire insurance.

Chapter 8 is an excellent explanation of why Christians should be the most generous people in the world. Although Jesus was rich, he became poor so we might become rich. In the same way, because we are rich in spiritual and financial blessings, we should become poor so others might become rich.

Then Paul makes an interesting statement: “Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality” (8:13). I doubt Paul was advocating socialism, but he was advocating sacrificial generosity.

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THE WORD MADE FRESH

At the beginning of Ecclesiastes 7, Solomon offers some advice that nearly knocked me off my chair. Why is it better to go to a house of mourning than a house of feasting and how can a sad face be good for the heart?

I can tell you why I prefer funerals to weddings: at weddings nobody hears a word I say. People in the audience cry about the cute little couple, paying little attention to the hard road ahead of them. In fact, when I meet with couples for their premarital counseling, they’re so blinded by love that they fail to see red flags when they present themselves. So when I tell them “Marriage is hard work,” too many of them have remarked, “We’ve never had a fight.” To which I respond, “Then you aren’t ready to get married.”

Funerals, on the other hand, are firmly planted in the soil of reality. A loved one has died and people are asking ultimate questions like “Why did he have to die?” or “What good can come from suffering?”

Years ago I walked with a dear friend whose brain was being slowly eaten away by brain cancer. A few weeks before he died, he told me what to say at his funeral. So on that sad and glorious day when I stood before a standing room only crowd to honor Lyle’s life, I gave my friend an opportunity to speak from the grave.

And people listened. Boy, did they listen!

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). No one can mourn without a death.

Death is a cold slap in the face that awakens our senses. It brings buried questions to the surface and reminds us of our mortality and of ultimate reality. So in an odd way, death is a purveyor of hope.

Solomon added to his thoughts about mourning: “Anyone who is among the living has hope—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!” (Ecclesiastes 9:4) Our hope is this: while we’re still alive we can learn, we can still grow, we can still change, we can still find redemption in our tragic stories. Death forces us to evaluate our lives.

Not so coincidentally, our reading in Psalm 49 reinforces the message that all of us die. But the good news is this: to those who live for God, we can say “God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself” (Psalm 49:15).

Although I prefer living to dying, through the deaths of others God gives us a multitude of opportunities to explore the meaning of this life.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. What spoke to you in today’s reading?
  2. Does death frighten you? Why?
  3. How has the death of someone else changed you?

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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church with Eugene Scott in Littleton, Colorado.

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