I got paid to work on plastic again yesterday, but for a different part.  It is very strange after fabricating parts out of solid blocks of steel.  It’s a lot touchier to take the rough edges off.  I spent the day playing with razor blades, trying to be gentle, and writing the start of The Song of Lagrandil book 4 on my breaks.  I finally found a characteristic introduction that I enjoy, and having fun is worthwhile, but it is clearly going a lot moreSafehold than I had planned, much faster.  My current character is clocking in to the story at 22,500 kph (Mach 6 or so) without ever breaking the sound barrier.  Whee for ballistics and math.

***

As a personal treat I got to hear from Peter Rood, who is producing the audio book of Pushing Back.  He let me know that the fellowship e-mails actually matter.  It’s also nice to know that I’m doing something that is a little different and matters.

***

Today I reversed a long-standing position of mine through serendipity.  I got really burned out on youth work after 8 years and 5000+ kids.  I saw so many bright and promising young lives… and the 80% dropout rate from Christianity in college meant that I saw so many tragedies, both in my own family and outside of them, that I couldn’t take it any more.  It was a big reason I stopped doing outdoor ministries, in fact.  The kids that I had worked hardest with for half a decade had joined camp, and the priorities were drunkenness and partying whenever kids weren’t present.  I was crushed and defeated.

But I bumped into a young man on Twitter because he comments all the time on the same theological issues I do in Lutheran Bible Study circles, and I frequently hear the same sort of self-attacking crap come out of his mouth that used to come out of mine.  (Until, when… What day is it?)  And unsurprisingly I am even more unwilling to let him get attacked emotionally than I am myself.  So… He’s off to college, and started to feel down on himself on day three… and I figured: He’s a grown-up (sort of), and I know all the steps of this beat-myself-up dance, and hell… I’ll try to encourage when I can.

Even though the odds aren’t good that he’ll make it 2 years.  And even though I told myself I wasn’t going to throw good energy after bad trying to encourage kids any more.  (I’m almost 40.  If you’re under 25, you’re a kid.)  He reminds me too much of who I was at his age, and he looks too much like my best friend in High School, for me to really regret it.  This one seems worth the effort.  Plus he lives like 2000 miles away, so it’s pretty much zero-risk.  Who knows… I know from my old youth group kids that it turned out to be sort of nice to have someone NOT parents to talk to aftr teh first semester or so of college.  Sheesh the conversations I ended up having…  Even if it is just countering bombs Satan has dropped on my head because I’ve been blown up enough to learn to dodge, I’ll try that.  Results totally in God’s hands.

***

My God thought for the day has been about love.  The first thought I had to share, I actually had at the communion rail at church:
I get so bent out of shape about what part of their lives others will and will not share with me.  And sure… that hurts.

But it is not worth comparing to the Everything that Christ has given me, chief of sinners.

***

Along those lines, I took the 5 love languages test today. 

http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/singles/

 Here are my results.  NONE of these are going to be surprises to those who have hugged, rough-housed, done martial arts, sat next to me and red, cuddled, etc.  The others also make total sense.  Here are my scores 0-12 and what they mean.  (Anyone who has asked me about birthday presents will also not be surprised.)  But… it’s useful in the “How does someone go about loving this monk-dude anyway?)

Your Scores

10 Physical Touch
8 Quality Time
7 Words of Affirmation
5 Acts of Service
0 Receiving Gifts

Physical Touch

A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, and thoughtful touches on the arm—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive. Appropriate and timely touches communicate warmth, safety, and love to you.

Quality Time

In Quality Time, nothing says “I love you” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes you feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed activities, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Whether itʼs spending uninterrupted time talking with someone else or doing activities together, you deepen your connection with others through sharing time.

Words of Affirmation

Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important— hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten. You thrive on hearing kind and encouraging words that build you up.

Acts of Service

Can helping with homework really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most wants to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter. When others serve you out of love (and not obligation), you feel truly valued and loved.

Receiving Gifts

Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures. Gifts are heartfelt symbols to you of someone else’s love and affection for you.

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