Friday, January 15, 2010

About a friend.

Krystal reminded me to take my camera along when I headed out to the studio Wednesday night, noting that it seemed like there wasn't a whole lot of pottery occurring on this blog lately.  So I took it along with me in hopes of taking an absurd amount of studio pictures - dirty bats, dirty tools, clay-stained floors, our sink, our lights, wheels, stools, stereo - facetious to the Nth degree.

But it seems kinda silly to be talking up my pottery at this point in time.  I think it's kind of sickening how easily we accept bad news, global trajedies, and natural catastrophes - when they don't affect us directly.  As if it some how matters less just because you can't claim any personal effect.  Because it's not about you, it doesn't matter.  And I'm not any more innocent than the next.  For that reason I don't usually try to do much preaching here, regardless the issue.  I try to keep it to pottery.  I try to talk about me.

But I found out yesterday that an old college friend of mine was killed in the earthquake in Haiti this week.  Ben Larson was a year ahead of me at Luther, and he was an unstoppable force of joie de vivre if ever there was one.  I had the joy and priviledge of serving and playing with Ben for three years for our campus student-led worship.  He had a vibrant personality, a perpetual smile; he was quick to laugh or lend a hand.  He was light and salt, and lived with a passion for sharing the love of God with any and all. 

He had a knack for the musical absurd.  If I forget all else, I will never forget that Ben's favorite instrument (after guitar, mandolin, piano, djembe...) was the lid of a Weber grill that had made its way into our music closet, and he would beat that Weber with an unbridled passion, and it was a beautiful complement to our band's sound.  I wouldn't say that Ben and I were particularly close, but we shared common activities, and spent innumerable hours making music and praising God together - and that's a very different, very special sort of closeness. 

It's strange and surreal.  I happened upon Ben at a friend's wedding last fall, but otherwise have not seen him since his graduation, and I couldn't tell you when or if ever I would be seeing him in the future, but I know that a great light has been taken away from this world, and knowing that he is gone forever is a horrible thing.

I am thankful, this week, for the promise of resurrection, for the gift of grace that Ben of all people held so dear.
"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:37-39
And so it's like that, when it hits home.  When it becomes real.  I don't know that I have much more to say about it than that.  Please read more about Ben here.

Breathe with me for a moment.

In talking with Krystal yesterday, it seems like their is an overwhelming outpouring of support from America, for the first time in a long time.  It seems that we're starting to become aware of our place as part of a global community, on all levels.  I don't remember such a rallying of support when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans - our own country.  And I don't think it really has anything to do with politics, or leadership, but perhaps a change in current to the realization that we are incredibly blessed in this country, where even our poor are so rich by any other standard.  Celebrities are no longer talking about helping, but pledging their help.  Brad and Angelina have pledged $1,000,000 to Haiti relief (an equal sum as pledged by multibillion-profit-earning Chase Bank).  Madonna is prepped to donate $250K.  Rock band Third Day has donated $20,000 to World Vision's relief efforts from their own aid fund.  From Chris Martin to Wyclef Jean to Ben Stiller, everyone is championing donations for the charity of choice.

I'm not a wealthy man, and I don't think any of you (my readers) are either.  But wealth has very little to do with the ability to make whatever small difference you can.  We gave what we could to World Vision.  I have friends on Facebook advocating the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, Lutheran World Relief, and OxFam.  For an extensive (by no means exhaustive) list of creditable aid organizations, click here.

That's heavy enough for today, I suppose.  Thank God for the health and safety that you do have.  Pray for all families affected and for the people of Haiti.  Enjoy your weekend.


Anita said...

Well said my son. It doesn't seem right that our lives should continue with the mundane when you watch videos of people, who without any warning, have had their lives turned upside down and are finding loved ones dead in the streets of Haiti. My heart is with you. Thank you for your wise reflections once again.

LutherLaura07 said...

Beautiful. Like your pottery. Like your soul. Like Ben's life. Thanks for sharing your heart and using your site to be light and salt to your readers. Love the suggestion for ways to reach out.