all but one

“All desires but one can fail. The only desire that is infallibly fulfilled is the desire to be loved by God. We cannot desire this efficaciously without at the same time desiring to love Him, and the desire to love Him is a desire that cannot fail. Merely by desiring to love Him, we are beginning to do that which we desire. Freedom is perfect when no other love can impede our desire to love God.” -Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island

one giant leap

You should have seen it! Nathan (our 18 month old) can jump! For Christmas, I bought the boys some little glow in the dark planets that stick to the wall. I placed them just below the ceiling in the boy’s bedroom. Nathan has had his eye on them for several days now. Tonight he went for it! He got right under those planets, he wound up his arms, and he jumped as high as he could. I’d say his vertical leap is a good 1 centimeter. I’m thinking of getting him a basketball.

the imperfection of life

“If we are too anxious to find absolute perfection in created things we cease to look for perfection where alone it can be found: in God. The secret of the imperfection of all things, of their inconsistancy, their fragility, their falling into nothingness, is that they are only a shadowy expression of the one Being from Whom they receive their being.

If we are too eager to have everything, we will almost certainly miss even the one thing we need. Happiness consists in finding out precisely what the “one thing necessary” may be, in our lives, and in gladly relinquishing all the rest.”

-Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island, chapter 7

a night out of ten thousand

Recently I read “Treasure Island” by Robert Louise Stevenson for the first time. Whoa. I’m looking forward to reading it to our boys when they get older. One part of the story that gripped me the most was when Jim Hawkins sneaks away from his camp, discovers the ship (the Hispaniola), and decides to risk his life to cut the ship away from anchorage. Leaving his camp of companions was foolish and brave. Going for the Hispaniola alone was just crazy. But his spirit was resolute.

“Down I sat to wait for darkness, and made a hearty meal of biscuit. It was a night out of ten thousand for my purpose. The fog had now buried all heaven. As the last rays of daylight dwindled and disappeared, absolute blackness settled down on Treasure Island.”

It was his time. The opportunity found Jim, and he was willing to risk his life. There could be no better time. I can imagine the adrenaline, the uncertainty, the fear, and the determination that he must have felt.

So I was inspired. I’m looking for that “night out of ten thousand.” What opportunities are finding me?


Did you know there are 69 McDonald’s in Hungary with 3700 employees? In Budapest, there are 36 braches of McDonald’s, 20+ branches of Pizza Hut, and 12 braches of Burger King. Here’s a picture of the McDonald’s at Nyugati Train Station. It’s so clean you could probably eat off of the floor.

one tree at a time

Language acquisition has been the primary activity for Laura and I these last three months. Today a friend shared an analogy with me. Entering Hungarian culture is like walking with a chain saw into a forest dense with trees. And every tree is a word. To reach a vocabulary of 50,000 words, I can do nothing but learn them one word at a time. Every word is a giant tree that has to be cut down. And cutting each tree down takes work. And even when the tree is down, there is still work to be done on that tree. The branches must be cleared, and the trunk cut into pieces.

A couple days ago, I learned the word “lelkiismeretes.” It means “conscientious.” Slowly and with help, I’ve come to learn the parts of the word. “lelki” is the word for “soul.” And “ismer” is “to know.” And “Ismeretes” is “knowledge.” So literally it means “soul knowledge.”

One tree down.