Category: love and chocolate


If you’re married, then probably every day there is at least one thing that happens that makes you just smile and know why you married that particular person.

But on some days the thing is more obvious and the smile is much bigger.

i have had a bit of a history with airport dressing-up ever since i was greeted in the Durban airport by two of my friends [and two of their friends] in full-on Teletubby costumes many years ago and you can read more about that over hereSince then we’ve seen Hare Krishnas and photoshopped heads onto pregnant bodies and a lot more.

This year when we flew back to Oakland for a month’s visit and camp speak we were greeted by our former housemate, Aaron Ruff, in the full-on Hello Kitty suit that HE HAD MADE for Halloween:

kitty

Yes, that is a giant paper mache head. Only thing is Aaron misjudged the time it might take us to get through customs and so he was stuck in that thing – scared he’s have it off when we came through – for a whopping two to three hours. Can you say sweatfest?

Anyways, this week Aaron and his wife Sarah were coming to South Africa and so naturally we had to return the favour. But how do you beat Hello Kitty? Okay, you can’t, let’s be honest, but how can you make a valiant attempt?

ENTER PIRATE BEE MAN AND TRANCE GIRL

The irony of me, as a good mate reminded me this week, is that i hate dressing up for parties, but give me an airport… and so we tried to crowd source and store source and it was Christmas and we weren’t finding anything and then finally in the dying moments of the day before we managed a combination of Majash Dress-up box vibes [cos everyone should have a dress-up box] and Improv Meg Industrial theatre human bee suit [which i discovered was for someone at least half a person smaller than me]

i came up with the idea for Name Signs and used my Heart Radio name and outsourced the other [thankx Wayne Eaves] and we ended up looking like this:

There is nothing quite like your wife shouting, “Testicle!” at passing by strangers who have just stepped off a plane for forty-five minutes straight. Or even better was when she was calling out to guys passing by, “Hugh Jass?” and i was desperately hoping they could see the sign in my hands [i was more than half blind from hair and eye-patch in that costume]

At one point tbV turned to me and said, “Hey, we should come and do this every week, even when we’re not meeting people here.”

And that was the moment i knew that i had married a good one.

walrusbrettandval

[For a growing list of Highlight moments from my life, click here]

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Today we celebrate the Marriage of my best mate Rob Lloyd and his wife Nicky.

We continue to mourn the loss of a dear friend, a husband, a brother, a son, a mentor, a pastor, a worship leader, an ultimate frisbee player, a model of generosity, a voice of reason and hope and faith and so much more. Continue reading

nixrob

i miss my friend.

i know his wife Nicky misses him more.

And some of you probably don’t miss him at all.

And that’s okay. Continue reading

You go away on a houseboat for a week, come back home, turn on your computer and it’s like a paint factory sneezed all over Facebook.

fbrainbow

Or something like that. Actually the graphic on my buddy Steve Heineman’s page expressed it best:

rainbow

And i think enough has been said from either side of the rainbow for me to need to add anything specifically about that, although i definitely have some deep sadness for some of the christian response which seemed significantly compassion-free in places.

i did, however, respond with this line, which i hope people on both sides of the spectrum will seriously consider:

May whoever ends up being proven right not lose their rightness in the way that they respond and relate to whoever is proven wrong.

As a follower of Jesus i don’t know that we will know the absolute answer about whether or not we were right or wrong in the particular stance we took on this until one day when we are standing in front of God. But i’m pretty convinced that whether or not we responded in love will be quite obvious. And i’m fairly confident that God is less likely to be focusing on “You said it was okay to be gay” or “You said it was not okay to be gay” and more concerned with, “How well did you love those who thought differently to you?”

Cos that’s the greatest command, right? Love. Not good theology. And that is not saying that good theology is not worth pursuing and putting time and energy and effort into getting as right as we can. But it is saying that it is crucial that we major in love.

After all,

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

So, whether you agree or disagree or continue to wrestle with how you feel and what you think or believe, at least be kind. Can we all do that? Is it possible to disagree with someone and love them at the same time? i feel like Jesus was big on that.

I was thirty-five when I tied the proverbial knot and so had attended many marriages and yet this one continues to stand head and shoulders above the rest.

Not simply because it was my marriage, which no doubt adds its own weight of bias, but I imagine regardless of whose ceremony I was attending that day, I would have still been blown away.

Purple-haired, black suited, I waited nervously for my bride to arrive.

Upon receiving word that she had arrived, I grabbed my djembe drum, sat centre stage and began a simple drumming beat.

SLAP SLAP BOOM

SLAP SLAP BOOM

drumpre

The beat and rhythm resonates out from the front where I am sitting and emanates through the amphitheatre shaped room and suddenly everyone’s attention is on me.

Then Gavin, whose drums we are using, joins me and establishes a base beat that is informed by my rhythm and which will give direction and form to everyone else.

SLAP SLAP BOOM

SLAP BOOM BOOM

drumhands

Suddenly three more drums come to play as my three best men, sitting together in the front row, join in to this beat which is now starting to build.

SLAP SLAP BOOM

SLAP SLAP BOOM

drumdunc

My younger sister who is one of my best friends and two other women who are spread around the room take up the beat. Eight drums playing in unison. Singing together. Daring each other on.

SLAP SLAP BOOM

SLAP BOOM BOOM

drumtblur

One more. And then another. Two from the back row. One from the edge of the left hand side. Another from somewhere near the front. The beat has become like a hungry beast that is slowly striding around all areas of the room, picking up pace and strength and rhythm. Suddenly there are 18 drums in total pounding out this ever present beat.

SLAP SLAP BOOM

SLAP SLAP BOOM

The anticipation is growing. The emotion is overwhelming. We all know the moment is soon. The drums tell us so. Any moment now my beautiful bride is going to burst in from the back of the room and slowly make her way down the aisle to me.

SLAP SLAP BOOM

SLAP BOOM BOOM

drummike

But time passes, and the beat is allowed to grow. To surge and move and create and invite. Every single person in the chapel is now completely caught up in this sound, this music, this invitation. Call to marriage.

SLAPP SLAP BOOM

SLAP SLAP BOOM

I am struggling to hold back the emotion. The day itself brings enough of its own, but now with this wild beast of percussive engagement pounding at my heart, my mind, my emotions, it feels like everything is about to let loose. And still the rhythm grows.

SLAP SLAP BOOM

SLAP BOOM BOOM

drumwide

Was it two minutes or maybe ten? It is hard to tell any more. All that I know is the beat has taken us all prisoner and is holding us in its mesmerising grasp, readying us for that moment which is imminent. The moment that surely must be about to happen.

SLAP SLAP BOOM

SLAP SLAP BOOM

And she arrives.

valarrive

Those without drums rise to their feet, but the drum beast is not finished yet. Surging in rhythm as the father walks her down to the front, towards me. And then says his final goodbye. The beautiful Valerie has made her entrance, and my blown awayness has a new source, and her being next to me has sucked all of the power out of the beat of the drums.

SLAP BOOM

The moment has arrived.

beatoni know people may think i’m biased, but that remains by far the best opening to any wedding i have ever been a part of and it is great to be reminded of it as we head towards our 6th anniversary – 11 July – which incidentally we will be spending celebrating the marriage of two of our good friends MJ and Ash and so i thought i would get this gem out a little earlier as that weekend there will be a huge focus on them.

[Marriage takes a lot of work and i have been privileged to share a whole bunch of different thoughts, ideas and stories from a number of different friends of ours who are in good marriages, and you can see a lot of those over here]

Every now and then i will post a status on Facebook or the Twitterer that starts with the words ‘Sometimes love looks like…’

Which will then go on to mention something [large or small] that my wife, tbV [the beautiful Val, yes folks the ‘b’ does not stand for ‘lovely’!] has done for me as a way of celebrating her more publicly.

The latest one looked a little something like this:

Sometimes love is walking into your bedroom two hours before you go watch the new Avengers movie with your wife and friend and finding a Hulk and Black Widow suit layed out on the bed ready to go…

Because largely of this:

HulkAndBlackWidow

Black Widow and the Hulk

The best part of it for me was that she thought it up spontaneously on the day at work and then went to find a place she could hire marvel suits from. And when i walked into our bedroom two hours before the film, both costumes were laid out on the bed without a word being said.

We don’t typically dress up as Marvel superheroes and go out in public. But this ended up being a hugely fun night with our buddy Regan and we made a whole lot of peoples’ days at Blue Route Mall [and in the car on the way there] including the two [grown-up] people who asked to have their photo taken with me [possibly not so much the Kauai lady who refused to come out of the back initially].

A couple of points from this:

# We need stories – fun, crazy, inspirational, risky, weird, touching – every now and then just step out of the ordinary and create a story that you can hold on to for the rest of your lives – one that you do with someone you really love or even a group of people as it becomes your story…

# Take time to celebrate the people in your life. No-one wants to hear gushy ‘my wife is the best wife in the world’ statements all over your social media every day, but just every now and then highlight a person you care about – your person, a good friend, family member – with a public one liner every now and then you can really make someone’s day. Or moment. Or hour.

# People are always watching [especially if your face is pastelled green and you are wearing a Hulk suit] – that argument you are having on someone else’s wall on Facebook, that blog comment you are pouring your heart into, that piece of paper you are casually tossing out of your car window, the way you look at and speak to the beggar lying in the street… there is almost always an audience and you will often not know who they are – which is why we are called to live well because we are constantly mentoring or discipling people by our attitudes, our words, and our actions, even though we didn’t particularly choose to.

Often i will be engaging with someone on Facebook or in the comments section of my blog and it seems obvious to everyone that this person’s mind is not going to change and people are urging me to stop engaging because it’s a waste of time. And largely i agree. But my response is always that my engagement is not primarily about them – there are always more people watching and not commenting who will hopefully [on a good day] see my attitude and way of dealing with the person or else be taking in the words of the argument and be chewing on those – it is seldom about the actual person in a situation where you can see they are not likely to change – so i still give them the opportunity to change, but more often than not it’s because i know people are watching. This might be something helpful to them.

# And lastly there is that well-known saying – ‘Always be yourself, unless you can be the Hulk, and then be the Hulk.’ 

What story are you going to be a part of this week? And who are you going to celebrate out loud?

[And now for today’s prompt. Love poems are a staple of the poetry scene. But because so many love poems have been written, there are lots of clichés. Fill your poems with robins and hearts and flowers, and you’ll sound more like a greeting card than a bard. So today, I challenge you to write a “loveless” love poem. Don’t use the word love! And avoid the flowers and rainbows.]

word unspoken

the unwashable grease stains beneath his nails
still there after countless washings
from that time he drove out to rescue you, midnight last week
and changed your tyre at the drop of a hat

his favourite jeans relegated to the back of the cupboard
displaying the splotches of paint he couldn’t hold at bay
as he ‘just dropped by’ that saturday morning
when you and some friends who never showed up were going to paint your wall

the old cellphone he pulls out to text his parents
to let them know he is going to be late
looks pitiful and ancient when held against your new gleaming smartphone
the one he quietly handed to you, when yours had slipped
and smashed its screen upon the floor

his face, after you have left the room
the edges of his mouth, shortly after you smile at him
the lingering he does at events that you attend
all speak a thousand times the word that he cannot

[For day 5’s challenge which involved a reworked Emily Dickinson poem, click here]

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