Wednesday, April 28, 2004

The computer is... not healthy...
Yes, a pop, and a little whirrr... and ye old desk weight is just that... I think my motherboard died. I go to visit the computer doctor this evening. Thank God for good friends that fix computers :^)
For those of you who were wondering, I'm not ignoring my comments... well actually I am just a little ;^). I realized that to a very real extent I was responding out of my extreme sleep deprivation and stress, and this is never good. Thus I have taken a break from the current discussion for a time. Perhaps I'll bring it up again when I have time, perhaps not. NBP, you are right, I shouldn't have reacted thus and for this I apologize. David, I appreciate your concern, and do certainly agree that friends can have lively discussions- though I would suggest that "lively" need not include the accusatory spirit I kept on detecting (again, I blame this on my own state of mind rather than any immaturity on your part). Obviously I don't think I violated the 2nd commandment (though the real issue here is a discussion of theonomy, not the ten commandments or "the passion"- a subject I have neither the energy nor time to debate right now). To qualm any fears, I am not now, nor have I ever begin "worshipping the actor", and to the contrary of some of the posts, my faith is as strong as it ever was- ludicrous as it may seem to you, watching a film is not going to make me fall away or lose my faith or any other horrible disastrous end. lol. Again, I appreciate your concern. And yes, I did know that the film was based on catholic visions- I didn't go see the film for the purposes of getting a better understanding, I went so that I could talk semi intelligently about it when asked. And yes, I think the Catholic influence was very evident- though generally speaking I found the events to be accurately depicted. Subject closed :^D. No I'm not sorry I brought it up.
God continues to be so gracious, here it is at the end of my first year of vet school. It's been intense yes, but I feel like I have grown more in grace and my relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ than I ever have, and for His faithfulness I am grateful- even though the changes were difficult to adapt to at times. Finals are still looming, though I feel better prepared today than I did at the beginning of last week, there is still however much work to do- perseverance. Yes.
Time to get ready for pathology lab.
Grace and peace my friends,
Ben

Thursday, April 22, 2004

So I finally went to see the Passion of the Christ...

The evening was a cool one, the gentle early spring breeze playing lightly with the new bright green leaves on the trees outside my house, darkened by the recent rain. But I didn’t notice. I bustled around the house, having just spoken with my mum about my financial woes (end of the semester is always fun for a student on a financial aid budget). I must admit I was feeling mildly annoyed with God… the One who said that He’d provide all my needs… to say the least it’s been tight lately. Yes I know I was being silly, so much like the Israelites am I… recipient of so many blessings, yet so quick to complain and question when a new trial comes up. I was mildly peeved, tearing through my desk drawers and pant pockets, searching for the 10 dollar bill I was almost certain I had somewhere.
I had been invited to see a showing of Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ” at the local theatre… and the show was to start at 7. Heather said she’d come pick me up about ten till, so I was hurrying so as to be ready by then. I didn’t find the money by the time Heather came, and I almost decided not to go… but for some reason I felt like I needed to. So checkbook in hand and a not so good attitude in heart, I ran out the door- slamming it needlessly. We went into the theatre and took our seats in arguably the smallest room in the place… there were only 4 other people besides the three of us. We were joking around, as usual, discussing what other people had thought of the film, why it was this, why it was that… you know the debates that have occurred. Suddenly the lights dimmed as the previews for the next blockbusters and the advertisements for the advertising space ceased… the show had begun. What took place in the next 2 and ½ hours is difficult for me to describe… by the time Jesus had been carried off to the temple from the garden I noticed tears in Heather’s eyes. I thought that I’d not be so affected. I’d rather not talk so much about the rest. I wept.
I thought back to when I was very young, how my mom and dad had so painstakingly taught us about God, and His Son. Although I’m sure I’d heard the message many times, when I was five years old I gave my heart to the Lord Jesus and believed Him to be who my mama said He was. I grew, and we attended church, my parents continued to teach me to seek the Lord with my whole heart, to lean not to my own understanding, to refer to the verse oft quoted by my dad for as long as I can remember. When I was older I drifted some… becoming like many young people raised in Christian homes, rather complacent, and taking that gift that I’d received so very much for granted.
I was jolted from my reverie by the screams of the actor portraying my Lord as the cat o’nine tails tore jagged clefts in his flesh… I felt my throat tighten. My thoughts skipped ahead a few years, to my departure from home to enter the university… I though of those dark years… my faith almost faltered… I thought of how I had denied the faith of my youth… how I had almost turned my back on the One my parents had said was the meaning of life. I felt the hot tears come again to my eyes. I thought of how deep I had sunk, how far I had run… then the flashback of Jesus writing in the sand as the accusers of the guilty woman stood on with stones in hand, I cried again as he raised the woman to her feet- her condemners gone. I thought of how far the Lord has brought me in the last two years… since He became real to me… since I had accepted His hand and began the long journey out of agnosticism. The film continued and so did my thoughts… I watched with horror as they slowly murdered Him… as you and I slowly murdered Him… we all gasped as the nails were driven… at the gut wrenchingly horrid thud of the cross falling into the hole prepared for it… as He looked up to heaven and asked His Father to forgive them. I stared quietly as He died.
Suddenly the film was over… the lights came on, the credits were rolling. I got up with the last scene of the risen Lord walking from the open tomb emblazoned on my mind… even now it still lingers. As we walked out into the clear Iowa night air we were all completely silent beneath the vast array of God's handiwork… there was nothing to say that would fully do justice to what we were all thinking. We rode home, mumbling goodnight as we parted company… all of us with our own thoughts… none of us particularly wanting to interact with anyone.
I half stumbled over Charlie as I entered my darkened house and hit my knees… I didn't bother to get up... I started thinking of the earlier flashback to Peter… so zealous… yet denying his Lord. I was ashamed of myself, for complaining, for doubting, for the times I’d compromised… the times I'd skirted the subject when I could have said something... the times I’d denied Him by my silence. I cried.
As I asked His forgiveness for my failures, for my errors, and expressed my gratitude again as best I could during this time of acute cognizance of what my Lord had and has done… I felt a new peace sweep over my being as I was reminded again by the Holy Spirit of the love that drew Christ to His sacrifice… the love that would not let me go. I felt clean and new inside as I looked up from the couch I’d crashed face down on… I owe Him everything.

"Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new." -II Corinthians 5:17

"He paid a debt He did not owe, I owed a debt I could not pay…"

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Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Discount Electric Wheelchairs??? Where do they get some of these ads?! I just happened to notice two for wheelchairs in the header of this page... so much for site specific advertising- LOL.
Hail Caesar, we who are about to die salute you Finals are coming... Like a bomb shell whistling through the air towards the entrenched soldiers, like the mournful shriek and terrifying rumble of the oncoming train to the ears of the distressed damsel tied to the tracks ... Impending, though not yet present... Approaching, but not yet upon us. Run for your lives!!!!!!!!!

Ok... Drama is now over. I'm truly not horribly worried about finals, I've kept up pretty good on my studies (good grief, if I were paid to study I'd not be concerned about my mounting debt load). I will admit that this will be a very intense week and a half before my finals week- the schedule is a bit daunting: Histophysiology on Monday (my birthday :^) ), Immunology and Pathology on Tuesday, Gross Comparative Morphology is on Wednesday, and Neurobiology and Case Studies II is on Thursday. Most everything is comprehensive. It should be fun. ... Yes that was a sarcastic statement. I was trying to come up with something interesting to write about, but it seems like I've been rather devoid of inspiration these last few weeks... Perhaps it's because I've been using all my neurons for other things. The sleep deprivation can't help any either. I did get home this weekend, for several reasons. First, I needed to exchange my van for my truck since the van needed new wheel bearings and I needed the truck to haul a headgate back (that I bought from a classmate and friend of mine). I also needed to ultrasound our cow, Mrs. T- who...... is to be a mother again. Lol... Providing everything works right- I found an amniotic vesicle in the right uterine horn about 5 to 7 mm in diameter- which is indicative of a 25 to 30 day pregnancy- and the day I checked her was day 29 post AI (I did that the last day of spring break). At any rate... as long as she doesn't resorb the embryo, we should be in good shape. I'll check her again in May when I head home for the summer.

A diller, a dollar, a ten o'clock scholar...
Yesterday was interesting... We had a thunderstorm here, and I suffered from hypersomnia due to acute chronometrical dysphonia associated with undulatory electrical stimuli. (I slept in too late because my alarm clock didn't go off because of the power outage ;^) ). Thus, I didn't go to my first class.... Pause for everyone to gasp in horror... Thank you. Turns out to be a good thing I didn't walk in late... Dr. H (teaching bovine and equine reproductive physiology and theriogenology right now) finally got fed up with people walking in late to class and had quite a fit with anyone late that morning. Now normally I am never late for class, I think my house could be on fire and I'd still run to get to class on time... Enter this morning. Call it sleep deprivation, call it laziness, call it "Ben should move the alarm clock farther away from the bed so he can't subconsciously hit the snooze button too many times"... I was almost late for class. I know Dr. H pretty well, and he most certainly knows me... Who should I run into as I'm making my head long dash for the class room? You guessed it... Dr. H. Well, I've now got less than a minute to traverse the length of the mausoleum (affectionately named thus I assure you ;^) )... And Dr. H wants to visit. Yes... The same man who was VERY upset at people being late yesterday... Now I'm going to be late if he doesn't let me GET TO CLASS. Oh the irony...

Maybe I should get another alarm clock.
Off to path lab.

~Ben

Monday, April 19, 2004

Yes, I am here... I will post more soon- have a lot to talk about... I've just been incredibly busy.

I've not forgotten about this place ;^).

~Ben

Friday, April 09, 2004

Happy Easter!
He is Risen. I'm off to a friend's farm for the weekend where I'll celebrate the resurrection of our Lord with his family. I hope you all have a blessed and meaningful weekend as we think back to what God has done.
Grace and peace,
Ben

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

There are good days ahead...

"Why hello there young man"... the prematurely old man sat interestedly up in bed to shake my hand as I approached the side of the hospital bed, seemingly enormous in relation to the diminutive patient. The bed was positioned in the old trailer house beside several large windows in the living room, allowing Jim to look out and see the day from the vantage point of his deck. The morning was young yet, the birds singing in the clear Alabama air as the sun beamed down on the budding trees of the awakening city. Jim was still in the white gown he had passed the night in, sleeping when he could, but this could not keep him from enjoying the gift of my visit. I hadn't seen Jim for almost a year, and although I had heard he was failing, I wasn't aware just how far he had fallen. I sat down in the chair next to Jim's bed and chatted with him for a while. "How've ya been doin Ben?" he slurred with a smile, I strained to make out the words... "I'm a little down of late... but one day at a time... one day at a time". I laughed in spite of myself as I agreed with him- he smiled as his daughter came in behind me to see if he needed anything. I got up to give them some privacy as Jim needed to "use the washroom", though he could not leave the bed... I walked into the adjacent room and looked around at the relics of a life gone by. A gun cabinet with several fine old specimens bearing witness to happier times, fall duck hunts, camouflage, and long walks through the woods. An old motorized wheel chair sits unused in the corner... It's previous inhabitant long beyond it's help. I swallowed back a lump in my throat as I turned at the sound of Jim's voice... "You like my guns there?" He asked with obvious pride in his voice, I responded quickly that indeed I did, I didn't need to be in the room with him to see the smile on his face. At his daughter's cue, I re-entered the room to be again at Jim's side, I faked past my ignorance as I began talking to him about the firearms. He became animated, telling me stories of where each gun came from, the trips they'd been on while using them. How this child learned to shoot on that gun, and that daughter got her first deer with this gun... he went on, looking off into the distance as his eyes misted over while talking of the "good old days"... how the Lord had been good to him, so many memories. We talked about hunting, about family, about what's important... We talked as though there were still many deer seasons ahead, many trails to hike, many springs to feel the warmth of the new sun on our shoulders as we walked beneath the cloudless sky. I remember when I first met Jim, years ago when he still could drive his big red dodge pickup truck, traveling around with his wife, just enjoying their later years together. Jim was never a big man, though if his character and attitude and zest for living were the only measurement he'd be a giant. I remember when I and my brothers were visiting to help my uncle build a deck, Jim was right there "supervising", until he'd get tired enough to need to go back and sit down. I remember the tender love in Jim's eyes when his granddaughters would come near, the spark of humor that was always present, the love for His Lord that had grown so strong in his later years. Suddenly I was taken back to reality, and the fact that I needed to go, my time to visit was short, and I had more people to see in the time I was allotted. I held Jim's hand for a moment as I bid him goodbye, "Good luck and God bless", he said with conviction... "come back and see us some time... there are good days ahead". I smiled as I agreed with him and walked out the door as he watched me out the window. As I felt the fresh spring breeze and the sun on my shoulders I thought again about the indomitability of the human spirit liberated by grace, the limitless joy of a man who in spite of the unfairness of life, faced each day with an attitude brought about by a faith in the One who cares most. I smiled to myself as I walked on, indeed Jim, there are good days ahead. ~Jim Robinson passed from this earth to the embrace of his Saviour on the afternoon of April 5th, 2004 after a long and courageous battle with cancer. He left a loving wife, several children (including my Aunt Tina, who is married to my Uncle Sam, my mom's brother), and grandchildren, and countless others influenced and inspired by his life. We have no guarentees friends, no promises of tomorrow. Are you ready? If you haven't already, trust the One who can make you free... as Jim is today.

Grace and peace,
Ben

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Thursday, April 01, 2004

Studying... not so much...
My intentions truly were good to begin with.
Even though it had been a super long day with a difficult immunology exam and monotonous instructors droning on while the day was gorgeous outside and pathology lab lasted very long and the instructor tried to tear me apart in front of the class because I said fatty change instead of fatty accumulation (though I'm pretty sure it was fatty change and not fatty accumulation... semantics- sigh) and I realized that I was supposed to make a main dish for the Christian Vet Fellowship potluck at 5:30 when I realized the potluck was at 6:30 so I hurried and made Italian meatballs with oregano and basil cream sauce and was nominated to be president of the CVF at Iowa State CVM (which I have accepted... now to see who votes for me ;^) ), and even though I had to make about a zillion copies of my review materials for anatomy for friends (actually it ended up being about 360 pages)..... (pause while Ben gasps for breath)...... I still met up with my buddy Zac to study anatomy tonight. Yes. I am such a good vet student (the appropriate response from the audience at this point is to begin laughing hysterically).
(you may stop laughing now). It all would have gone very well had Zac not brought up the subject of sustainable agriculture, which got us talking about family farmers, which led to discussion of some of my business ideas and dreams, culminating in a very good conversation regarding the philosophical chasm separating agriculture based on a philosophy of western industrialism and one based on a philosophy of Christian agrarianism (which I think is more biblical and definitely preferable). It was fun, and come to think of it I do think we both needed the mental respite.
You may have noticed that Apricotpie is still down... I have no idea what has become of it.
Well... I think it's time to turn off my Bach CD (Bouree of the Orchestral suite No. 1 in C major) even though I love it, and put "ye old desk weight" to sleep... yes it is definitely time for sleep.
Grace and peace my friends,
Ben