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That Damn Wardrobe…

Once upon a time…  We lived in the most magical place…  And it was called Community…

No… I’m not talking about the same thing our friend Webster describes.  That is a pale imitation of what I’m talking about…

And I’m also not talking about that TV show starring Joel McHale… Although that Community was great in a totally different way…

I’m talking about something totally  OTHER here… It’s really hard to define, so let me just give you some examples…

Community is BACK DECK time…  It looks a little different in each season…  Currently, we’re deep into Fire-pit Season for instance…  But some common threads never change…  Relaxing with your closest friends… Unwinding about your week with people that know your heart & your soul…  Losing track of time & finding the kids passed out in the playroom…

Community is having a medical emergency that sidelines one of you in the hospital for a few weeks and your kids think it’s the greatest thing in the world… Because from their point of view, it just looks like endless sleepovers with their besties…

Community is crashing your friends house at 10pm… in your PJ’s…  Because you were both bored & couldn’t sleep…

Community is knowing each other deeply & being known deeply… And choosing to overlook the faults & flaws and love each other anyway…

Community is having mentors that so easily seem to guide you along the most difficult paths of life. Community is having younger people that you have earned the privilege to mentor yourself, even though you doubt your own worthiness to do so.

Community is encouraging each other as we run this race… Be it about work or parenting or dreams or faith…  It’s equal parts building each other up YET ALSO KNOWING that “fixing” isn’t always the priority, but instead simply sitting in the struggle together is what is needed…

Once upon a time lasted about 4 years for us the first time…  3 years the second time…  And life has been almost intolerable outside of those periods ever since…


I was recently sharing some of these thoughts with a new friend & he said… “It was like you were living in Narnia…  and now you’re not…”

Holy Cow Batman!…  That guy just crushed it and barely even knows me!  I mean, honestly… That’s about the most accurate description of how life felt both at the time & ever since.  Life in Deep Community felt like about the closest thing to Eden we get to enjoy on this side of the divide.

And all the moments in between and since, feels JUST LIKE the Penvensie children did trapped here in the “real world”.  Having had a taste of Narnia, the children were unable to accept life “as we know it” here.


Once Upon a Time… Or Narnia as it should be known… Fell apart both times for multiple reasons.  Someone moves… something tragic occurs or nearly occurs…  And The Ring is broken… No wait, that’s Tolkien, not C.S. Lewis… Anyway, things happen an POOF… Narnia is gone.

And I have been so angry about that at some level…  On some level, I’ve cursed at that Wardrobe for ever letting me in… And I’ve cursed at that Wardrobe for kicking me out… And I’ve cursed at that Wardrobe for not letting me back in…  I’m not proud about any of that… Just being honest…

Being in Narnia felt as right as anything has ever felt right in my entire life.  It was life as close to as it was meant to be as we’ll ever experience here on Earth.


So where dear reader does that leave us?…  Well…  I’m a far better person for ever having been to Narnia…  That needs to be recognized.  Also, it has left me with a deep longing that has been positive in two ways…  1)  I have a much greater appreciation of the times I do get with my friends from Narnia.  Its not much time these days, but when we can make it happen, we drink it in deeply.  2)  I’m resolved to fight for it.  While so many circumstances have shifted since our time in Narnia, I know what is at stake.  We are not meant to run this race alone.  In fact, we are opposed in so many ways, its nearly impossible to do so alone.  And so we fight to find our fellow Narnians here in this world.


Just one more thing…  Narnia wasn’t meant to be the final destination…  Perhaps that is why it has proved to be so elusive over the years…

At the end of Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Reepicheep leaves Narnia & enters Aslan’s Country…

dawn-treader-reepicheep-sails-to-aslans-country

You see, there is a place even better than Narnia…  And The King is far too kind to allow us to settle for anything less…

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Baxter’s Story – My Unit (Part 6)

From a February 2016 Facebook Note…  See all the earlier entries for the back story…


Life is hard… But you don’t need me to tell you that… If you need a reminder, just take a trip to your local Walmart… Indeed, life is hard and to try to do it alone is next to impossible. For one, we weren’t meant to do life alone. Look no further than the way Jesus lived. He spent the most critical years of his life with The Twelve. Sure, there were others around too… Quite a few of them at times… But when the stakes got really high, he turned to his inner circle: Peter, James, & John. When he went in to raise Jairus’ daughter from the dead (Mark 5)… At the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17)… In Gethsemane, when the stakes were at their highest (Mark 14)… Each time, he pulled his closest, most trusted friends in for support. I believe this was more than just a coincidence or a biblical factoid. I believe it was meant to model something for us.

Since the day Baxter died, I knew at some point, I’d have to approach the other family to nail down exactly where we go from here. Lots of things were promised in the drama of that Sunday, but a few days had passed now and you just never know how time changes things. I set up the meeting for Thursday Evening… And I made sure I contacted my unit…

The picture above shows nine guys that fight as a unit. They’ve all got a job to do. And they’ve all got each others back. Lots of good Christian books have been written on the Band of Brothers concept. I could recommend a few if you’re interested. But I’m mostly interested in giving you a live action example of how this thing works in the trenches.

For starters, my unit is not all that big. Far less than nine… The key to this thing is that each man has to know the story of the other. ALL OF IT!… Yes, even the things you don’t like to admit to yourself… They have to know all of it because in order to watch your back effectively, they have to know what traps you’re blind to. And they have to be willing to call you on your own B.S. Because at some point, you will try to gloss over something out of embarrassment or self-preservation or whatever…

And know this… It is not easy!… I have failed my guys at times… Didn’t pick up on some things here… Couldn’t put the pieces together there… That sucks the absolute worst. But we keep going & fighting for each other because the alternative is we all get caught in the crossfire.

So as this Thursday evening meeting approached, I knew I was going to need them. I almost waited too late too… One of those things where you meant to do it all day long, but you keep getting pulled in other directions at work. I’m not proud to say that I gave them all of TEN MINUTES NOTICE that this meeting was about to go down & I needed them to cover it in prayer. But that’s the thing… My unit already knew what I was going through & was on high alert. 10 minutes of notice was at least 8 minutes more than they needed… They’re THAT good… So this meeting that could’ve gone sideways so easily… Well simply put… God showed up!… My unit delivered…

The other family right out of the gate, volunteered to cover our costs with the breeder for another King Charles Spaniel puppy this spring. See Baxter’s Story – Part 3 for a refresher on that not small fee. They literally had a check to the breeder the next day.
Next, they confirmed that they’d had the two attacking dogs put down and all of the grief & anguish that caused them. Obviously, they loved their dogs. But they wouldn’t ignore what had happened to Baxter.

As the conversation continued, I could see & feel their torment over what had happened. They re-counted bits & pieces of what had happened that day from their perspective. I got really choked up at one point and the dad… a former Marine… said in his own words… “Hey… I’ve cried like a B- over this thing”. Then we all got choked up for a few minutes.

The best moment though, was when the son… the one trying to get the small dog that day to go for a walk with Baxter & R… came into the room. I was able to look right into his eyes and say “It’s not your fault….” “We don’t blame you…” “It was just a tragic thing that happened, but its not your fault…”

In my experience, its not all that often that we get to breech the lines of the spiritual realm to see or feel the warfare that goes on there. But this was one of those moments… I could literally see the weight lift off of him… And by weight, I mean it was almost like whatever attack he was under spiritually just… STOPPED!… He was smiling again & out the door to Tae Kwon Do with his brother & sister.

Yep… My unit is THAT GOOD!…

I pray you’ve got you’re own unit to support you. If you don’t, please reconsider how you’re approaching life. Find some trustworthy… godly souls, open a bottle of wine, & get to know each others story. That’s where it starts… God makes beautiful things happen from there!…


Continue on to Part 7 here

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