Can I tell you a story?

I’m in a rut. A ditch. A crater (depending on who you ask). Some might even call it a character flaw. I personally think it’s an adorable quirk.

But it’s starting to bother me. Really, I’m noticing it much more lately, and I’m concerned that there may be a medical problem. Do you think there’s a place in your brain that if pressure is applied it makes you do the same crazy thing time and again? Yea … me neither.

So what is this verbal hiccup? “Can I tell you a story?” Yup. That’s the phrase. I start every story with it lately. Of course, it has variations, but the point is always the same. I feel the need to request permission to tell a story.

And I have witnesses. Take for example Kristi, my friend, coworker, and cubicle neighbor. Everyday–and I do mean EV.RY.DAY–I turn to her and say “Can I tell you a funny story?” And about 63% of the time I follow that with a quick “Well, it’s not really that funny.”

Of course she’s gracious and kind and tells me to tell her the story. I do and she laughs. (Only about 27% of the time out of pitty.)

But then the other day, I was in the car with my friends driving back from lunch, and we were talking about awkward moments of holding the door for others or them holding it for you. Literally, we’re ten minutes into this conversation of silly door holding stories, and I pipe up with, “Can I tell you guys an embarrassing story about opening a door?”

Yea, that made me stop and shake my head.

I hope there’s medication for this or we’re all in trouble.

What are your verbal quirks?

Argh! and Guh!

I really believe that sometimes the only response I can have in a moment is Argh and/or Guh. Do you ever hit those situations where you’re completely aware that your brain cannot handle a better, more complete thought than “Guh”?

Yesterday I hit that moment and had that response for more than one reason at the same time.

Let me explain. I’ve recently made a new friend. (Yes, I’m in first grade.) His name is Mark Smeby. (Everyone say hi to Mark.*) Mark is sort of a jack of all trades kind of creative guy. Writing. Acting. Music-ing. So yesterday, we were chit-chatting away about this that and the other, and I mentioned to him how much I enjoyed the preview cd he’d given me of his forth-coming album Pilgrim Man. (Prepare for a Friday Favorite when it releases in September.) Mark has this smooth sound that just puts me in a place of peace with my eyes focused on God. So after I blamed him for getting one of his songs stuck in my head for the last 3 days, he sent me a rough cut of the last song the album: This World.

I listened to it, and pretty much all I could do was say Argh! And then I had a Guh! moment.

It’s such a beautiful song. Great, great lyrics about this world not being our home. So my Argh! moment was really a this-is-so-beautiful moment and I-could-never-do-that-in-a-million-years moment rolled up into one. A bit of jealousy. A bit of “hmmm.”

And then the Guh! hit me. Because I really heard the lyrics, heard the message. “This world is not my home. Just passing through.” And I was forced to ask myself a really rotten and oh-so-necessary question. Am I living like this world, this temporary earth is my home? Or am I living with heaven on my mind and heart? Am I yearning for things of this world or yearning for eternal, heavenly, godly things?

Sometimes, for me, just asking those hard questions gets me moving on a path to consciously living and acting like I should. The Bible is pretty clear about where are hearts and minds need to be focused.

Thanks for the reminder, Mr. Smeby.

*This remark in no way implies that the aforementioned will be joining us on the blog today. But should he stop by, then “Hi, Mark!”