Rusty Whitener - PASTOR, NOVELIST, SCREENWRITER

Archive for the ‘Blog’

Things I LikeAugust 21, 2009

I like autumn. The cooler air, tree leaves that wave like a box of shimmering rustic crayons, and football. I like old pop, rock and country music. By “old,” I mean anything that came out before 1990. I might like some songs that came out after 1990, if I knew any. I like good worship music that came out any year, any time. I like hymns that came out before the year 1850. I like Christian creeds that came out before the year 150. Yes, I mean 150, not 1500.

I like going on walks or hikes with my wife Rebecca. I like the look on my wife’s face when she stops walking, and looks into the trees, searching for the bird whose call she just heard. “I don’t know what that is,” she says. Then she says, in the direction of the hiding bird, “What are you?” In heaven, the bird will answer her, and she and I will like that very much.

I like baseball, pretty much everything about it. Well, I guess I could live without the designated hitter rule and steroids. I like playing softball, especially the feel in your arms and shoulders when you hit the ball with the meat part of the bat. I like the feeling I get too, when I’m playing shortstop and a young kid knocks a ball over my head, just out of my reach. That warms my heart, because I know in a couple years that kid will be scorching line drives into the gap and stretching singles into extra bases.

Which leads me to another thing I like; I like rooting for people other than myself. As a kid I struggled mightily with a temper when I lost a game or when I played poorly. In my late teens I learned the secret to peace of mind about sporting endeavors. If I do my best at something, and root for others to succeed, then my spirit is crowded with good will. There’s no room for self pity or anger over losing or “being bested.” Try it, you’ll like it.

I like running, or what real runners would call jogging. I like the calm that overtakes me when I’m physically taxed, and relying on just the will to keep going. Of course, I really like the feeling of “having run,” and the dolphins that are released into my system. Wait a sec, they’re not dolphins, they’re endomorphines. No, that’s not right either. They’re whatever…those thingamabobs that get released into your system when you exercise. I like those thingies.

I like walking into a church for the first time and realizing this particular church has God and God’s Kingdom at its core-center, not human systems or generational traditions.

I like writing with a pencil. It’s nostalgic. I like word processors. They are not nostalgic but they sure are convenient. I like reading someone’s writing who tells me, “It’s not very good, but tell me what you think of it,” because it’s almost always good.

I like reading poetry aloud to my wife. I like reading “Rascal” and the Narnian Chronicles aloud to my wife. I like my wife’s gentle tone when she’s reading something I wrote and she says simply, “This is good, Honey.” I also like making my wife laugh. This is most easily accomplished by wit and comic insights, not by tickling.

I like standing on the promises of God. Not the hymn, I mean ACTUALLY standing on the promises of God. I also like waiting peacefully on the promises of God. I especially like resting on the promises of God, particularly if it means I get to go to sleep. I agree with C.S. Lewis who believed heaven would include times of eating and sleeping. He said “Surely God will not confine such marvelous creations as eating and sleeping to Earth time alone.”

I like hound dogs. Who doesn’t? I understand they bay too loud sometimes, or they get on a scent and disappear. That means they got a case of the “caint-hep-its” (can’t help it!). That just makes them more endearing to me.

I like bears. I don’t know why. I like chocolate cream pie. I DO know why. If I ever come across a bear eating a chocolate cream pie, there will be a fight. Or at least a conversation.

I like games. I can play Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit into the wee small hours of the morning. I like used-book stores. I like hunting through them, finding some book not too old and not too new; a writer I can discover in quiet moments reading at my home.

I like traveling, seeing other places, other people. When Rebecca and I can travel, my heart soars. The Carpenters are a sentimental 70’s group. But I think the world could use a little more honest sentiment and a little bit less cynicism these days. I love the Carpenters’ song “We’ve Only Begun.” The lyrics and melody haunt me. “Sharing horizons that are new to us. Watching the signs along the way. Talkin’ it over, just the two of us… And when the evening comes, we smile. So much of life ahead. We’ll find a place where there’s room to grow.”

Of course, there’s a long list of things I don’t like. But you don’t want to hear about those things, and I don’t want to write about them.

Rusty