Archive for January, 2014

The Negation of the Negation…?

Posted: January 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

The negation of the negation

When I was in philosophy I waned in and out of consciousness quite regularly. I enjoyed the class overall, but I enjoyed late nights with friends more than early morning with my philosophy professor. There was one lecture however that refuses to leave the accessible knowledge portion of my brain. One lecture that I quite often think about. The topic that day was called “the negation of the negation”. This was a Marxist concept and for all the philosophy majors reading you may be flustered with my dumbed down version of this process but for the sake of this use, leave me be.

The negation of the negation is a process someone of limbo, when someone, or something or some process in life is between two points, it’s both two things and one thing at once. For example, there is this moment in time when a seed, instantly begins to sprout. Yes, it’s slow and steady growth for a sprout, but at some micro second in its existence there is this moment where the seed is no longer a seed, and its also not quite a sprout. On the other end, it’s both a plant (negation of the seed) and a seed (the negation, of that negation, which is a plant) This, this is the negation of the negation. And its’ confusing, but it’s also spectacular. Did I lose anyone? Doesn’t matter, I’ll explain its significance to me shortly.

As many of you (or none of you) may know my wife and I along with our two children decided to leave home recently. We travelled 6000km to a very northern and somewhat remote location in the Canadian Yukon Territories called Carmacks. I can’t say that this decision wasn’t easily come by, neither can I break down the logic and reasoning behind such a grand decision, because for me this decision happened very fast. I can remember the micro second that I decided this was going to happen for me. I call it my ‘negation of the negation moment’. The moment when I realized that where I was, was no longer going to be where I am.
We were sitting by a campfire up at the cottage, my wife and brother and his wife, along with my in-laws, listening to tales of wonder from our friends who just arrived home after 5 years in the Yukon. The flames danced and the stores wandered into the night as we sat posing question after question of this foreign experience. I thought nothing of the tales, just some friends cool experiences and some interesting stories. All of a sudden there’s this line that came up in one of the stories that was similar to: “and our friend, who’s a nurse, just loves it up there, and the Yukon knows how to treat their nurses.” This was that exact moment, awkwardly enough. It wasn’t loaded with firecrackers and glow-sticks, but it was this simple sentence. I leaned in, stopped the conversation and said “wait, sorry, what? Can you explain the nurse part again?”

My wife has been a practicing nurse for 6 years now and loves her job. The two of us instantly connected with the others stare from across the fire. My eyes lit up and I just said “lets go.” That was my negation. My moment. Believe it or not, in that split second I was now in two places. 1) Living here, up at the cottage enjoying a much deserved vacation, and 2) mentally packing and preparing to tell my family we are moving. That’s it for me. That was when I decided this was going to happen. Being cautious and the necessary restraint of our family organization, Megan preceded to bombard our friends with questions real significant, and important questions. I zoned out, I was already moving. Regardless of her caution Megan also never veered from the idea that this was likely our future. I could see through the next few minutes that her demeanor changed, her curiosity was sparked and her thoughts, were very similar to mine (just a tad less aggressive)
We just built a brand new house for our young family with two little girls. We just moved to a new town. I just reached 10 years at work and had great seniority, benefits, vacation. My wife was quite enjoying her hospital stay and just finally made some lifelong close knit friendships that come around every century (As did I). We just bought the cliché new Minivan (that we were very excited about)… and all of a sudden, in a split second, a micro second all of that was gone to me.

We walked into the cottage once our company left for the night and conversation began… There was no hesitation on my part but some positive caution on Megan’s. I just said to her “Megan let’s do it,” and she simply responded with “I know, I think we should.” Much more of our conversation pursued that night, it evolved into process and how things would happen, and what we would need to make it work, but the theme of the night never wavered. That night, in the middle of our lives, we decided to drop our world and leave. My brother and his nurse wife were also just as excited about this possible adventure for both of our families. However, that night I said something to Megan that affected our travel, that Megs completely agreed with. “Regardless of what anyone else says, does, or decides to do, this is our decision. Every step, every decision will be made by you and me alone. We can’t and won’t base this decision on anyone’s expectations, ideas, thoughts, or concerns. This is just you and me, deciding for our family what we are going to do.” From that second on, that line played a major role in our process.

For some this is easy, fun, exciting. For some this is what they do. They adventure, and travel and move. Not me, not ever. I’ve lived within the same 150km of my birth place for my entire 32 years, and expressed many times to many people that I’m not leaving, this is my comfort zone. That was my seed, that is where I was planted. Now I’m sprouting – now I’m growing but what amazes me is what happened between me then and me now… What caused the negation of the negation?
God. Yep, I just went there. God. I tend to see God on a grand scale and less on the micro second decision making scheme of things. I view Him working in big ways in my life and guiding, directing and challenging my life’s direction. I was very satisfied with where God had placed me and where he was using me in my home community and in my local church. Things were quite swell, everything was somewhat going as planned, until that micro second I let God change me.
I was satisfied, completely satisfied (or so I thought). Let me prove it. Two nights before that campfire, before my negation of the negation I was down on the lake front finishing up some last chapters for my book “Raise Your Gloves.” Two nights before I wrote this passage:

“A year before I met Chad and his wife Emily, they chose to begin a life of living on trust more than I would enjoy. My wife and I are ‘home bodies’. We love our placement in life. We love being close to our family, close to our church and close to our friends. I trust that God will leave us here; actually, I really hope He does. It’s comfortable. Chad and Emily have been required to increase their level of trust more than I’d ever want to. Less than a year before we met them, they were living in a different town. They were well established in their local community, they owned a gym and a farm house; they had lots of property and had careers. They were close to where they were raised, and where they wanted to raise their future family. They were within walking distance to their church and their families. At some point, Chad and Emily realized that their current life position didn’t match their plans for Chad’s fighting future. Chad had felt the clear call from God to drop everything — his career, his gym, and his college education. He was asked to leave it all behind and trust that God had greater things.”

That was two days before God took a micro second of time and change my life. It seems crazy to me now. Even siting here in Whitehorse in my mini hotel room (as we train for a few weeks for our community jobs) I’m still amazed I’m here. It is so completely out of my comfort zone. So completely unlike me. But God didn’t care. There’s even more irony behind my story. Most of the youth group at West Park will know my stance (or my previous stance) on short term missions, and even more so, on missions to Africa. To sum it all up quickly I’ll break it down like this: “I don’t want to go”… I. DON’T. WANT. TO. GO! For many reasons that is my position. All the power to those who do go and want that experience. For me… I don’t want to go. I find it funny now, because as I said “I don’t want to go on a two week short terms mission trip to Africa” God was like “okay, then go on a 2 year mission trip to the great white north.” Polar opposites (pardon the pun).
After our long talk in the cottage Megan and I went to prayer, It was simple. We just said “God, we believe this is what you want. Please make that evident.” From that point on, the evidence was clear. I’ve got much to say and much to explain, but for me it all started with that moment in-between where I was, and where I was going to be… that split, micro second. My entire life changed that fast.



Where It all Began

Posted: January 15, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Where It all Began

Apparently I won.