Here and Now

costa ricaAll we really have, is that moment that’s happening now. Right here, right now. The promise of growing old and having a lifetime of memories to look back on, for some, is an empty, unrelentingly cruel lie. A systematic elimination of memory after memory slowly erodes into a great void for that person who desperately WANTS to remember but simply can’t. For friends and family of those searching for remnants of a past life, it can be just as cruel if not crueller as you slowly watch as a lifetime of memories is simply erased from a person’s data base.

So again, what we have is that which is right in front of us, here and now. It’s so easy, to get caught up in the busyness of life and forget to enjoy the moments of life as they happen. How great a gift is each of our lives, that we should so easily forget how precious it really is – with all its ups and downs – the ebb and flow of emotions as we travel this journey, that is our life.

I can tell you now, that I would have taken a greater risk and asked Suzy to attend the 8th grade dance with me. At the time, I thought she hung the moon. I did get to have one dance with her, which, I obviously still remember today. I would look to enjoy more of the moments that at the time, I too easily let escape by for being fearful of failure. That truly is my only regret – that I let fear of failing dictate, way too often, how I pursued life. I would love to go back and fail often in so many grand and wonderful ways! I realize now that those and any failures too come only help to make the successes that much greater when I experience them!

I would’ve love to spend more time taking in those incredible moments with family. The family gatherings at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas truly hold special memories I will hopefully, always be able to treasure. Vacations taken from Myrtle Beach to Cherokee to Daytona Beach and Gatlinburg, TN. Moments in life that were great but I didn’t take them fully in, enjoying that moment for all it was worth. It was only has cousins, uncles and aunts begin to pass away that I fully begin to treasure those fleeting moments that had passed way too fast.

I definitely would have taken more time to enjoy my wife and kids in the early days of our marriage. I would make sure that I set and kept my priorities in order to ensure that I never missed any of their special here and now moments! I know that at the time, I really did make an effort to be there and to enjoy all the moments of raising a family had to offer. But even so, I know there are so many times I wasn’t able to fully engage in the moment, taking it all in and simply living in that here and now. Distractions in our life can rob us of so many moments if we allow them too.

Enjoy the here and now and all the different emotions it can bring. To be sad, to cry, to laugh, to be filled with joy or pride, the experience of a great failure or the exhilaration of great triumph. All of these are to be experienced – the life, our journey we travel is to be lived moment by moment. Enjoy it all, taking it all in. We are each promised nothing but what we have right in front of us – this moment – here and now. Don’t waste it! Life is a precious gift so my prayer for all of us is that we would live each and every moment – HERE AND NOW!

Peace and thanks for reading!

Scott

Life Lesson Series – Laugh Often

Christmas 2011Laughter truly is the greatest remedy – it cures almost anything, even if it’s only for a short time. I heard someone say “laughter bounces away all the dirt”. If you think about it, that genuinely describes what happens when you laugh. Everything that is pent up inside of you emotionally is released when you experience the physical act of laughing. It’s an instant release of stress that’s bottled up inside of you. Even if it’s nothing more than an instant  of unbridled relief, laughter can release a mountain of built up stress.

By my nature I’m pretty laid back which I count as a huge blessing. Not that I’m not intense or have moments where I feel like I may explode but for the most part, I’m able to keep a pretty even temperament about things. Right or wrong the only time I really tend to get keyed up is when I am competing at something. I hate to lose…at anything. Sports and the like as always been the one area where I know I tend to take myself too seriously. And I must admit I’m not looking to change this character fault or strength, depending on how you look at it.

I think that in general though, we tend to take ourselves to seriously which prohibits us from laughing more. A quick example of this would be – you’re heading down 85 south to the Falcons game and you are running behind so you feel your anxiety rising. As you make it off the exit to turn right you find yourself behind someone who has suddenly decided that maybe they should turn left, there just not sure yet which way to go. Now be honest, at this point, we all know that person has no right to be driving an operated vehicle, especially with us being late for kickoff.

So what’s our response when we happen to be the other driver. My kids and wife have always taken great pleasure in letting me know when I’m the other driver. They’ll laugh or snicker but not too much as to upset me. Those are the moments you just have to laugh at yourself and move on. Come to think of it, some of the best times we have had as a family has been in our cars, driving to or from somewhere. Music and laughing has always been a staple of any trip taken by the Dorsey clan.

If you are ever fortunate enough to partake of dinner at our house (and your all welcome to do so), with all six of us there, just know that everything is fair game. Say something that doesn’t sound right or try to embellish a story a little and you will get called on it. My absolute favorite memories and what I miss most with the kids being gone now, are those dinners and family game night. We always allowed everyone the opportunity to speak and tell their story of the day. We would have nights where you would have to make up a story on the fly.

As the kids got older we took this game on the road, especially at Christmas time. As the kids and I would be waiting on Lisa to peruse through the mall stores, we would sit outside in the commons area and tell stories about the other people in the mall. “See that older couple over there? His name is Bill and that’s his wife Gladys, they just arrived in town to celebrate Christmas with their son’s family and realized they needed one more gift for their grandson”. The kids would come up with some great stories.

Now that they’re adults we will still revert back to our “make believe” sessions from time to time and it’s still just as much fun as it was back when. They have also refined the art of keeping each other, along with their mom and me, humble. I count it a great blessing that even now as they’re each making their own way in this world, that our kids not only still like to hang with us old folks but schedule time to do just that. We all love hanging out and doing things with other people but we are just as content when it’s only us.

Life is serious business. With the ebb and flow of getting through the daily grind, it’s easy to forget the joys and happiness of life. My prayer is that you refuse to let that happen. To always remember your blessings in the midst of the trials and tribulations. Reflect on the good times and let memories wash away the grime and always, always look forward to how you can make some new ones.

Peace and thanks for reading!!

Scott

Life Lesson Series – Music and Dancing

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This may be the most personal post I have in this series of Life Lessons and I probably won’t do justice to how important these two things have been to our family over the years. I’m sure most of my kids will weigh in on this post and I really hope they do.

The little side slow above is just a slight representation of what it was like growing up in the Dorsey household over the years. A tradition that was gratefully handed down from my parents to me. I have always loved music and dancing. My parents grew up during the hay day of Rock n Roll, so conversely, I grew up with Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, MOTOWN and countless others as the soundtrack to my childhood.

During middle and high school, their preference shifted more to easy listening and country music. Meanwhile, I started to discover everything from Funk, Disco, Heavy Metal and my favorite, Southern Rock. Through the early 80’s Pop Music was an eclectic array of varying styles and sounds. I contend that the late 70’s through the mid 80’s was the single greatest time for music.

In high school, I had everything imaginable in my room to play music through my state of the art – Atlanta Falcons headphones. I had a Pioneer Home Stereo with cd player, turntable, cassette deck and 8-track player. If your under the age of 30, just ask you’re parents what those things were – also ask them about the Commodore 64. For music on the go, I had one of the biggest boom-boxes around but sadly that was stolen on graduation trip to Panama City in 84. Anyway, I digress.

Lisa and I married young, 19 for her and 22 for me. Kids came early and often for us as we had 4 over the next 5 years. Over the years, as the kids have grown and are each now living their separate lives. There are a handful of things that were and continue make up the fabric our family. These are books, board games, movies, charades, music and dancing!! We all have a love for each of these things as they have been a source; at different times; of inspiration, comfort, escape, challenge, knowledge, and great fun!! Really, great fun!!

The fondest and most memories I have of our time together as a family revolves around music and dancing. The kids and I over the years put on a countless number of shows and all of us are renowned for our ability to play any Air instrument, broom or mop you can find! And singing, let’s just say we sounded every bit as good as Taylor Swift on her best day.

Typically, the concerts would ultimately give way to an in-home edition of American Bandstand or Soul Train dance party. As a dad, I always took great pleasure watching my kids participate in their various sporting events and such, but honestly, my absolute favorite memories with my kids are those nights where as a family, we would simply play games, talk about books, watch a movie or put on one of our concert/dance parties.

Nowadays, we don’t get the opportunity, to take part in concerts or play many games but we do make time to play charades when given the chance, take in a movie or two. Books and music however, are still very much a part of our daily lives as we constantly compare notes on the latest authors, books we are reading or the latest artists and their music we’ve discovered.

Music, out of all these things is one thing that really binds us together. Not too many conversations will pass by where music doesn’t come up – whether we are sharing stories about the latest concert, latest trip or just the latest album we bought. I really am thankful for music and the part it has played in our family’s history over the years. Early on we use to travel quite a bit, taking various trips to see Grandparents, Siblings and cousins all across the southeast and midwest.

During these trips we would listen to all types of music from different genres. As a result the kids were exposed to everything from bluegrass, rock, metal, jazz, big band, orchestra, pop and of course, country music. They have all developed their own favorite genres and preferences. The cool thing about this for me, is that they are now exposing me to all types of music…most of which, I really enjoy.

After reading this I realized I have not really expressed a direct “life lesson” so here it is – especially for those of you with young kids. Whatever it is, find something that allows you the opportunity to make a connection with your kids. And dads, I encourage you to not be wallflowers, but rather, be active participants in all the activities in and around your house. I promise you, you will not find anything more rewarding than creating memories with your children!!

Peace and thanks for reading!!

South Africa Revisited

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I thought I would take the time and try to put a wrap on my recent South Africa trip. I have not been the same person since that trip and my hope is that I never again, take for granted, this incredible life that I have been given. Before South Africa I was doing just that – taking my life for granted.

I had been struggling for some time trying to figure out what was next for my life. Recently, the youngest of our 4 kids has begun his first chapter into adulthood, leaving his mother and I with an empty house for the first time in a long, long time. I think when parents become empty nesters, there is a natural tendency to reevaluate life and make sure you are on the right path. Looking at all the aspects of my life I started asking one question – was I content with? my marriage? my kids? my job? my friends? Generally speaking, I answered each of those questions with an affirmative, yes but yet I still found myself, well, restless. I was missing something. What? What was I missing?

One of the questions I asked myself was “Am I content in my walk with Jesus”? The answer was easy, yes, I was content. I pray everyday, study most days, and my job affords me the opportunity to minister to people throughout the week, so yea, I felt pretty content. Still, I couldn’t shake the restlessness. Then a question came to me that I wasn’t expecting – “Was Jesus content with His walk with me”? Honestly…..I tried to ignore the question for a couple of days and was doing ok until we took off on our first leg of our journey to South Africa. Let me tell you, 15 hours is an incredibly long time when trying to ignore something so prevalent in your mind.

Do you remember the very first line from Rick Warren’s – A Purpose Driven Life? I do. The first line is “It’s not about you”. That kept coming back to my mind time and again during that flight as I read scripture, prayed and studied. I tried watching a couple of movies, the names of which both escape me as I write this. I would love to tell you that I had a great epiphany on the flight and God revealed everything to me but that is not what happened. But He did begin to show me areas of my thought that were skewed during my time in South Africa. And on several occasions I felt the full presence of God for the first time in a long time!

One revelation I experienced and shared with you earlier was a moment I had while standing on a sand dune. As I looked one way, I was awed by the Indian Ocean, the coast line, as wave after wave ascended on the shore and then looking inland, being able to see the various mountain ranges that circle the city of Cape Town was simply overwhelming to my soul. God’s creative beauty on display for all to see. Just incredible. Then in the same instance as we looked on what is called the Cape Flats and the 6 to 8 million people that inhabit this area, God impressed on me that I had missed the beauty found in His creation of people. All people, each one uniquely created by Him.

The most important lesson I learned during my trip is that I had made God too small, I had limited Him in my life by trying to make Him fit into something I could understand, relate to. Since returning, there have been a myriad of different events, situations and circumstances that have allowed me to see God with new eyes. I am just beginning to understand that I need to see my life through the eyes of Jesus. Jesus wants to have a relationship with me! To see me live a life that is fulfilled. To be content no matter the circumstance. In order for this to happen, I must release my selfish desires and allow Him to be Lord and Master over ALL of my life.

So, with all respect to Mr. Warren. I think we need to understand that it is about us in one sense and that is – we must choose what we are going to do with Christ today? tomorrow? and every day that follows.

Lastly, here is a clip of a song that is one of the most honest songs I have ever heard. I heard it for the first time about 3 weeks before I left for South Africa. Below the clip are the lyrics to the song. This is my worship song for now. It reminds of how great God truly is and that I will never understand the depths of Jesus’ love for me.

What Do I Know of Holy – Addison Road

I made You promises a thousand times
I tried to hear from Heaven
But I talked the whole time
I think I made You too small
I never feared You at all No
If You touched my face would I know You?
Looked into my eyes could I behold You?

(CHORUS)
What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

I guess I thought that I had figured You out
I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about
How You were mighty to save
Those were only empty words on a page
Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be
The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees

(CHORUS)

(CHORUS 2)

What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of wounds that will heal my shame?
And a God who gave life “its” name?
What do I know of Holy?
Of the One who the angels praise?
All creation knows Your name
On earth and heaven above
What do I know of this love?

(CHORUS)
What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of Holy?

People are just people – 11/8/12

As we got into the teaching time with the students, you could sense their excitement in having new people come to share with them. As I looked around the room, all of them had their bibles out and were on the front edge of their seats and all eyes looking forward. Initially I was nervous as I opened up our study time but that quickly vanished as we read some scripture and I begin speaking about what we had just read. It was such a pleasure to be up in front of these guys as you could just tell they were trying to soak up every word and being very attentive. With this group it was very easy to stand and speak about the things of God.

After my piece, I turned it over to Jimmie and he led the rest of our study time and truly did a phenomenal job in the short time he had to extol his wisdom. Faith Bradbury joined Jimmie for a short segment and talked to the kids about different ways to share the story of Jesus. As she was leading this time, you could see the kids really come to life as this is what is near and dear to all of them. Unlike most Christians that I know here in the states and including myself, we don’t always seem to have the same drive, desire to tell others about the good news of Christ.

When you talk to these kids, there is a common thread intertwined within each of them. Although each have experienced turbulent childhoods they choose not to dwell there. When you talk to them individually, you can see that most of them come from a very dark time in their past – it’s in their eyes, their voice and you can just feel it but then, like a switch, as they begin talking about God, Jesus and Bridge 4 Hope, you see all the darkness, the pain just fade away and you realize there is an entirely different person standing in front of you.

This is what they haven’t forgotten – that when all seemed hopeless or that no one seemed to care, they were able to find hope and know that someone did love and care about them through Jesus Christ. And they understand, that there are countless others within their family, community, Cape Town, and across the world that feel the same way they did, so they take every opportunity that comes to tell others about Christ. They live Matthew 28:18-20 as they go about their daily routine of life.

After lunch, we all gathered back in the classroom to get our assignments from Asanda before heading out into the community to talk, listen, pray and tell others about Jesus. The excitement expressed by everyone was palpable as their was an expectation that good things were about to happen. My partners were two of the most incredible young ladies I have ever met – Abongile and Bomikazi. I was about to learn a lesson in what trust, courage and boldness really looks like and see, for the first time in a long time, how God can change lives if we would just be willing to live Matthew 28:18-20.

Going door to door is so far out of my comfort zone and is something I have rarely taken part in when given the chance in the past. As we walked to the community I was reminded of my prayer, that I would be open to follow and commit to whatever God wanted me to do, so here it is, something I wouldn’t choose to do but hey, were here, so let’s do this. As we approached the first house, I realized that I wasn’t really nervous, I was curious to see what would unfold. AB and Bom showed no nervousness, fear or even apprehension as they stuck their head in the first door and asked if it was ok to come in.

As I watched Bom engage the young lady in conversation, I was struck by the confidence she had and then noticed that AB was right behind her looking just as confident and ready to speak if need be. No tracks, no phamplets, just two people wanting to share a conversation with the folks they had just met. Although they were speaking in a language unfamiliar to me, I was amazed at how much of the conversation I was able to follow. As the conversation was winding down, AB asked a simple question – “do you know about Jesus?”. And although they said they did, they didn’t want to talk about it so Bom asked if it would be ok if we prayed for them and if there was anything specific we could pray for on their behalf.

I watched in amazement as house after house, these two ladies would engage the people in conversation and as they talked with them, I was able to watch their faces and noticed how intently focused they were on the task at hand. Nothing else mattered except what was before them and the desire they had to help people make a connection to Jesus.

Making our way from house to house, God was impressing on me on just how beautiful His creation of people truly is. 4 weeks later and I can still recall each and everyone that I met that afternoon. Seeing people through God’s eyes means that you see them through LOVE! And as I met these wonderful people, I saw beauty in each of them and my sole desire for each of them was that they would be open to hear about Christ and to know that He truly is somebody that loves and cares about them.

For AB and Bom, they had no idea of the impact they made on my life that day. They reminded me that day that I have no excuses for not sharing my story of what Christ has done in my life. To see how boldly, and courageously these young women were at their sharing their faith, renewed a sense of urgency within me and empowered me to know that God is faithful and that His word never returns void.

Not sure if I have 1 or 2 more posts left about our trip to South Africa but will definitely wrap up by week’s end.

A True Worship Experience – 11/8

OK – so where were we? Sorry for the delay between posts but I promise to finish out this series this week.

After sleeping just an hour I was expecting to be in for a long day but as Jimmie and I made our way over to Empire Cafe, I was feeling really good and wide awake. I mentioned it before but it’s worth repeating – Empire Cafe is one of the bests cafe’s I have ever been in and it provided the perfect start to our mornings in Cape Town. As we ordered our drinks, we revisited our discussion from the night before and discussed our anticipation of what they day would bring.

For me, I had an expectation that this trip was going to be a special time for me – in what capacity, I had no clue but I was geeked up for this trip for well over a month. So, as I was drinking my 2nd cup of coffee americano, I found myself praying that I would just be open to experience the day with no preconceptions but simply enjoy the moment and allow it to be whatever it was to be. The plan was for us to leave our place by 8:30 so we could be at Beautiful Gate by 9:00am. That was the plan anyway..

We were unable to take the short route do to a road closing and what should have taken 20 minutes or so, ended up taking almost an hour for us to arrive. Typically, being 5 minutes late to anywhere really drives me nuts and here we were, almost 30 minutes late but everything was cool. Just excited to get the day rolling. As we made our way through the complex, we were just talking about this and that as we entered the building where we would be meeting with the Epic students. There is no way to describe what we heard as we begun ascending the stairs to the classroom, except it  sounded heavenly.

The students start their mornings with  a time of worship, to give thanks and honor God with song, prayer and yes, a little dancing. As we approached, the building was filled with music – soulful, straight to the heart type of music and as I entered the room and looked around, I was amazed to find that there were no instruments. The beautiful singing by these young people was so incredible, that really, it sounded like music but no, it was just their voices creating this wonderful experience.

What really got me, as we took part in this experience is how freely they expressed their worship. Outside of the three or four folks we had met the day before, we had not yet met any of the other students. It was so refreshing to see a group of people fully engaged and enjoying a truly marvelous time of worship. No one was concerned with what anyone else was doing, they were giving themselves over to the moment; this moment, this opportunity to offer their praise and worship back to their creator, their savior. This was the first of what would be two days of life changing events that took place within me.

Joy – it’s definition – the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires. This time in worship was nothing short of pure joy as all of us gave ourselves over to the moment – giving thanks, through prayer, singing and dancing. I had to ask myself in that moment, how often had I cheated myself out of this feeling before, because I was more concerned about what others might think, instead of focusing on worshiping my creator, my savior?

I will cover more about Wednesday in the next post but I will end with this – as soon as we got back to the lodge where were staying, I went and grabbed my Ipod shuffle, put on my headphones and pulled up my worship playlist and Matt Redman’s “10,000 Reasons” was the first song I heard. You can listen to it here. May I never again allow my worship to be influenced by what’s around me!!

Peace and thanks for reading!!

Meeting New Friends – 11/7/12

Three weeks ago I got my first opportunity to meet some incredible people and begin what I am sure will be lifelong friendships with all of them.

As we made our way into the township of Philipi, Terry wanted to give us the opportunity to taste some of the local cuisine. We stopped and had lunch at a place called Mzoli’s butchery. It is a meat lover’s paradise where you can choose anything from chicken, lamb, strips of beef and all kinds of sausages. When you walk into Mzoli’s, there is a front counter area where you select the meat you want to eat. They put your choices on a big platter, you pay for the meat and then take your platter to the back area where there is one of the biggest grills I have ever seen. It looks like something you would see at any SEC tailgaiting venue on Saturday afternoons. They use some kind of secret marinate for all their meat. What’s in the sauce? I have no idea but I will tell you, it is the best barbecue I have ever had – period.

After lunch, we finally made our way to Beautiful Gate. Beautiful Gate is a ministry that looks after the care and well-being of vulnerable children in the Lower Cross Roads area of Cape Town. Beautiful Gate has allowed Bridge 4 Hope to utilize some of their buildings in order for them to perform their ministry – which focuses on kids 18 to 28. You can learn more about both by clicking here – Beautiful Gate or Bridge4Hope.

The first person I was introduced to was Zimkhitha Mlata (Zimmie). This girl has one of the biggest and most infectious smiles I have ever seen. Have you ever met someone that instantly fills you with joy? Zimmie is like that, with her smile and unassuming nature, she simply exudes joy as she speaks and tells her story. Even though we didn’t have a lot of time to hear her complete story she was able to share enough to know that she has had to overcome a lot to get to where she is today.

We also had the opportunity to meet Thembelani, a young man, who like Zimmie has had to overcome a lot in his short life. There is no bitterness within him and although he hasn’t forgot about his past, his focus is on what lies ahead. His heart is to help make a difference in as many lives as he can going forward. To share with others, that there is hope and there is no obstacle that can’t be overcome.

Finally, we met Abongile, Bomikazi and Cheri as they played host and served us tea and biscuits. Again, 3 incredible young ladies, each with a humble spirit, bright smile and great stories to tell. I will share more about Abongile and Bomikazi in a later post but for now, I will just say – about all of these folks, is that it was so refreshing to see young people with such a hunger to learn and know Christ more intimately with each passing day. And then want to turn and share what they have learned with others!

As we pulled out of Beautiful Gate, I was so thankful that God had allowed me to come to South Africa. On this first day, I had the opportunity to see the beauty of God’s creation as I looked upon the ocean and mountains while being reminded to see the beauty in God’s greatest creation – His people. I had been given the incredible opportunity to meet some of these wonderful people and instantly form a lasting bond with each of them. And although they understood that the people from America were coming to share with and teach them – I knew and understood in that moment, that it was me (us), that would be the ones that would learn far more from them!!

Last thought – How much richer would my life be if I would simply take the time and be intentional about getting to know new people? I pray that God would open doors and that I would be bold and courageous enough to step out and do just that in the months ahead.

Peace and thanks for reading