The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Those of you who are regular attendees of class at the Indiana Jones School of Management will remember an entry placed online about this time last week regarding our church’s youth musical. As stated before, the kids had promised to present me with a gift. They have; as soon as I can get photos of it up here, I will append them to this entry.

When I say photos, I mean the plural. They either bought or made a box [I can’t tell], titled it “Boxed Faith” [the name of our musical], and all proceeded to sign the various sides of it. Inside? Various candy [as I told them, “Like I need that, guys!”], and various shreds of paper, cut with pinking shears, with the word “faith” written upon them.

I will endeavor to get the musical text online at some point tomorrow; I only have an electronic copy at work. I’ve got to re-work it a small amount as well, mainly because it has the names of the kids in our youth group [which you don’t really need to know, dear reader, because they’re not of age and didn’t consent to be here!], as well as stage directions that would mean nothing to you if you didn’t see the work live. I will make that endeavor because, well, maybe it will mean something to one of you who reads it. -shrug-

The parable’s simple, really: a guy graduating from college, insanely busy with his life, too busy for friends, ready to move to his new place. Because of fear about losing what little faith he did have, the main character, Joe, placed his faith in a box. Sounds silly, doesn’t it? I find that many of us have done so at some point in our lives–not faith in the Christian sense, but more faith in the natural laws that seem to govern this world, whether you believe in a God or not. I know it’s especially true for me: a goodly chunk of the title character is living my life for me.

I did not realize this as I was writing it. Sure, I took some pieces of my life–notably my old backpacker guitar, whose tuners have finally given out and won’t hold anymore–and placed them willingly within the words and motions of the play. But as I saw the kids perform it the first time, I realized just how much of myself was in there: the guy too busy for his friends, determined and on a mission to nowheresville; the guy who wants to ignore the easy, Sunday School answers; the guy who has friends and roommates that will stick by him but eventually give up on trying to help him help himself; the guy who has new friends pop into his life and force him to question why he believes what he believes and does what he does.

My gaze returns to the top of my desk, where the “faith box” rests for the moment. Part of me said earlier this evening, “If the kids only knew how much of this was me.” Well, I guess I need to fix that and tell them.

IJSM is my way of working a lot of things out–reference my meta-discussion in terms of the Baconian ideals of reading, conference, and writing. Writing does make an exact man–what I say here is largely immutable. Yes, I can go back through the wonders of Greymatter and re-cast the words in a better light. At times, I am tempted to do so, because my meaning may be missed. In fact, last Sunday night’s journal entry is something I’m tempted to edit, because my frustration at my lack of recognition was petty. However, it was there, and I’m trying not to be overly-guarded in these entries. Why package the unpackageable of Life?

IJSM chronicles my life’s spiritual jouney, with roommate rants and random complaints thrown in for good measure. That’s why I do it, and that’s why you get to see some of the things you do. That’s why I want you to see the “faith box”: because it represents something I’ve done with my life. In putting my calling in a box, I put my faith in that calling right in there with it. In putting some of that faith there, I ended up placing all of it within the corrugated cardboard. For all I cared, it could have been steel. But that box is open, full of faith to be shown to the world through my actions and my musings.

The kids, as well as you, deserve to know how much Boxed Faith was autobiographical. You both mean something to me, even if you aren’t tangible, dear reader. Hopefully seeing what I’m going through will make you think about your own life. I can’t hope to make positive changes within you, because I don’t know your situation…but here’s hoping I can try.

My faith is slowly becoming unpacked. How about yours?