I am a seed, embracing limits, & other musings…

I find myself doing more pondering than I used to do, even a few short months ago… not sure if its solely the lag & slowly-but-surely attempt to re-engage the motor that always happens for me coming back from a long trip as I work through the physical, mental, & emotional costs of said trip, no matter how enjoyable or productive it may have been.

Work is different & the rhythms I’d grown used to (fallen into) over the last few years have been shaken up with a (virtual) head-shaking, sinus-clearing whiff of smelling salts brought on by change. Instead of just jumping back into the known & the familiar, I find myself stopping & observing, thinking on & through, & leaning more & more on my foundations for encouragement & possibly, for some directions as I go forward into December & toward the brink of 2024.

Jerry Cook used to say, “If you don’t know what you’re DOING, limit your activities. And if you don’t know what to SAY, limit your words.”  And so in these days I’m finding myself choosing (rather than begrudgingly complaining my way to & through) to embrace those limits of NOT knowing, surely, confidently, what to do. To say.

It’s not apathy. Nor inertia. It has the feel of a ‘gathering of self’ kinda like you’d do before you’d JUMP or SPRING towards something. (I’m picturing Mario C Champagne, a childhood cat much loved by all, getting ready to pounce. And pounce he did. But he could also linger. But I digress.)  i occasionally feel pressure (probably from firstborn, formerly Type A me) to DO something, to JUMP in & lead loud & fast & confidently towards… something. But what I have is nothing concrete, merely the subtle encouragements, a sense of being drawn towards/by the things/person I know & trust… to keep taking the steps in front of me that need to be taken. To lean on myBean & also on my Savior, trusting that I need both to encourage & remind me of things spoken to me long ago, things that are in process of being worked through now.

Sitting at my desk, looking out the window. Melancholy? Peace?

And I’m hit with this: I am a seed, (with the lyrics too.) Haven’t thought of that song in a minute (or a decade.) And yet… I am a seed. SOMETHING is definitely happening, but there’s not much ACTIVITY happening. Like a seed. In the ground. Waiting for the shaking off of the old form, the kernel that’s held me for so long, waiting for roots to sprout DOWN & for life to spring UP. Knowing I can’t make it happen by wanting, as the process isn’t mine to force. I’m on the timeline of Another; the Gardener who planted me knows His times & His seasons. And He knows not only WHEN the shaking/breaking will begin (emerge?) but also WHAT will come forward. And, like the fruit/plant/green that doesn’t even remotely resemble the seed it came from, that which is coming (probably) won’t look like the seed did… but it will be GOOD. And then the activities, the words, will be more evident.

This is the way. Walk in it. These are the words. Speak them.


/ˈrɛzəˌlut/ Spelled[rez-uh-loot]

  1. firmly resolved or determined; set in purpose or opinion.
  2. characterized by firmness and determination, as the temper, spirit, actions, etc.

The New Year is knocking on my cold, cold (have I mentioned it is absolutely frigid?,) front door. Which leaves me taking stock of me & mine, & of life… pondering, musing, thinking & re-thinking through, almost ad nauseum, as I am oft want to do.

New things are here. Sigh.

I start a Masters program through Life Pacific College with a week-long intensive starting 1/10. For the last month, I’ve been trying to read through the ‘pre-intensive pre-requisite’ books. I’ve found 4 of the 5 to be great, more than I could have hoped for.

Thought provoking. Challenging my status quo. Antagonizing, even, in the best sense of the word.

I’ve got pages & pages notes that I’m transcribing from scoey-scratch & notepads to the Mac so I can easily search & access them when it comes time for The Writing.

And then there’s the One book. The 5th of the 5. I got 1 chapter in & laid aside my notepad. Put down my pen. Muttered a ‘you have GOT to be kidding me,’ or 3. Put it away to save for a time when I need: a) a cure for insomnia, or b) something to tick me off so I can get through a 90 minute kettlebell marathon workout.

For reals.

Thinking through the next weeks where my crafted routine will undergo massive change. Part of it is flexing time so that I can take care of the school requirements (reading & writing, no rithmatick :) , but a bigger part of it is wanting to grow, develop, learn, & be becoming as a husband, father, & pastor – which means heading into new areas with new things to do.

I want to be ‘resolute’ – set on becoming the man God made me to be, knowing that I can’t plan for every eventuality, but I can prepare to take whatever waves come my way… & to do all that I can to be ready in-season & out of season. To set my will upon God’s purposes, with a face like flint, not easily discouraged, cowed, or frustrated.

To not be a complainer. Or whiner. Which makes me wonder, “Was I whining about Book 5? Or was it just commentary?” Hmm.

My brain whirs. Music helps.

Rich Mullins. A little Tears For Fears. David Crowder. Akiko Suwanai’s interpretation of some great Bach.

Suddenly, I realize It’s there.

You are a failure.

Where did that thought come from? From some dark recess, some pit of despair & fear, the place where the accusations & lies come from, recounting past & present stumblings, mocking me with memories of my shame, my lowest points. Words biting, some spoken in ignorance, others in spite, by people who have passed through my life’s 41 years.


Failure? No.

It’s taken practice, learning to take thoughts captive. At times, (like today,) its an all-out battle. But who & what I am, the purpose I live, cannot, WILL not be valuated by a liar, no matter how many old stories & current challenges are dredged up.

Cause I’ve been made to be someone who stands. And to remain standing. To look for opportunities to put into practice God’s commands. To hold tight to His Word, hiding it deep & secure in heart & mind. To intentionally & strategically look to encourage & pass on what I’ve learned to others. To never give up, never turn aside, never quit.

Failure? No. Cause I belong to Christ. Forgiven. Changing. Transforming. Growing. Loving. Encouraging. And I’m not gonna stop… I’m

/ˈrɛzəˌlut/ Spelled[rez-uh-loot]

  1. firmly resolved or determined; set in purpose or opinion.
  2. characterized by firmness and determination, as the temper, spirit, actions, etc.

20 years ago… an anniversary…

I woke up this morning a few minutes before my alarm… not surprising… except for the fact that the alarm was set for 4:50 so I could have enough time to get to to the church office to make coffee & read a little in advance of the guys showing up for Thursday morning prayer. The blurred numbers on the clock came into focus as I clumsily fixed my glasses onto my face… 4:34. It would be 4:34 today. Sigh.

My mind raced, mentally flipping through the calendar that exists in my head (isn’t there one in yours too?) finally coming to rest on today. Yesterday was June 16th, so that would make today… June 17. Hmm. It’s the 20th anniversary of the day my little brother, John Leavy Locke, went to be with Jesus early on a Sunday morning, Father’s Day, at 4:34 a.m.

I wrote a little bit about my brother not too long ago HERE. And as I sit here pondering the fact that its been 20 whole years since his death & ‘home-going,’ I take the time to revisit & rehearse the memories I hold most dear of my brother. They flicker through my brain like the rapidly turning pages of a picture book.

Folding newspapers together in the early morning as we prepared to go do our paper routes. Football. Soccer. Baseball. Hoops. What an athlete. He was the best of the 4 of us, by far. Rocking the mullet that shook Carson City on Day 1 of his tenure at Carson Middle School. I don’t know if it was the surf shorts, Jetson’s T-shirt, vintage Air Jordan’s or the infamous mullet that got him called to the office as a “distraction.” They hadn’t seen anyone like him before. His mix tapes. The rosy cheeks I see every time I look at thePasty Gangster. The smile. The temper. The baseball being thrown at me simply because I went in to wake him up. The grumpy comments because I was on the phone (again) too late with theBean. And a million others…

The picture at the left was his last school picture before he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. And yes, he was wearing MY red bow tie, the same one I’d used to complete my Pee-Wee Herman outfit… It’s not like this day is a dark, morbid day that I dress up in black & mope around. Not at all. Rather, its a day of remembrance. Prayer for my parents & brothers. Thanking God that we don’t grieve as those who have no hope. But a day where I still grieve. Laugh. Play his favorite songs on my mp3 player (he’d have loved the iPod & iTunes, & the ease at which mixes could be created. He was a Master mix-master.)

Father’s Day has been forever linked with Johnny since 6/17/1990. Can’t seem to think of one without the other; not that I want to think about death an inordinate amount, but hey, its inevitable, barring the preemptive Return of the King. Came across a great book about death, heaven, & processing the loss of loved ones called Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, But Nobody Wants to Die. Great book, which I’d heartily recommend.

But I digress.

It’s a celebration, a day of remembrance. So join me:

Here’s to Johnny – & the profound influence he has had & continues to have on me & the man I hope to be.