I was standing at the counter at Hemet-Ryan airport paying for gas when my cell phone rang. The number had a 909 prefix and, not paying attention to the rest of the number, I assumed it was my sister as she lives in Alta Loma. Suddenly there's a voice saying it's Curt. Momentarily confused I wondered why my brother Kurt was calling me from the 909 area code when he was supposes to be in Canada driving a truck full of horses to support his wife and child (and the one on the way!)
Stop the tape, rewind. Let me explain. No. Let me sum up.
My sister once married a guy named Curt. Her brother (and mine) is named Kurt as well. Different spelling. Which made it fun for me to steal and paraphrase a line from Bob Newhart; "Hi! I'm Eric and this is my brother Kurt and my other brother Curt!"
Start the tape.
Curt had Googled himself (you've all done it...don't deny it!) and found his name in my Blog. Odd, I hadn't recalled using his full name in my Blog but a quick Google search myself revealed that I had. My bad. I try not to use full names. Knowing I still lived in Redding it was only a matter of time and a couple of phone calls to locate me...or at least my cell phone.
I hadn't spoken with Curt in over 5 years. He and my sister had a bit of a falling out some years back. Curt made some poor choices and in the end, he and my sister divorced. Curt went through the "long, dark, tea-time of the soul" and, like me, was hoping the light at the end of the tunnel wasn't the lamp from an oncoming train. So I really didn't know what to make of the phone call. I knew from other friends in So Cal that he had called them; reaching out in a sort of way. It could have had something to do with the fact that the last time I talked to him I was rather blunt or as my wife would say, not very sociable. Let's just say Curt's behaviour left a rather bad taste in my mouth. And in the mouth's of everyone in the family. So I was a bit surprised to hear from him.
His manner of speech was laced with words straight from the thesaurus. But Curt always spoke that way. If it wasn't for that, I truly wouldn't have recognized him based on his voice alone. He even commented that I sounded different. Of course we both realized that we had gotten older...40-ish-something! ;)
Curt did say something both on the phone and in a subsequent email. That I was brilliant.
Brilliant is not an adjective that is usually associated with me. Me and brilliant are not usually used in the same sentence unless it is used sarcastically accompanied by eye rolling.
I'm not brilliant by any means. I am simply a man. Flawed. Selfish. Desperately searching for a way to keep even keeled. I have stripped away all of what I've learned and boiled it down to this...
Without Christ, I am nothing. I hold onto the fact that I am His and He holds me in His hands. I could argue the faith, spout the party line, have the right answer at the right time. I could present a man who had it dialed in. And it was all a facade. My house of theological, religious cards was just that....a house of cards. And it fell like houses of cards are wont to do.
You see, I tried everything that came down the pike. All the books, all the programs, all the steps. Anything that promised a "closer walk with Thee". It was crap. It was a replacement for the real thing. It was like drinking RC Cola instead of Coke. (Nothing wrong with RC Cola, especially those of you in the south!) Now I am having to rediscover what it means to be a Child of God all over again. The pisser is, I'm doing this in my 40's instead of my 20's or 30's. Fortunately God is a patient God, a loving God, a gracious God and particularly, a merciful God. Fortunately He allows us the free will to discover things rather than shoving them down our throats.
So, if that's what it takes to be "brilliant"; airing my struggles, my failures, my despair, my triumphs and my discoveries (some of which many of you have already discovered!), then I guess I am brilliant.
Nah...not brilliant. Just human. Flawed and forgiven. Learning to find Jesus' grace in everything. Learning all over that it's Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura, Solely Jesus.
Curt, I hope that makes sense. Remember, this is a place for ramblings!