The Turning Gem

Music, Film, Family


“The real joy of life comes when you start asking yourself, ‘What am I here to give?’”

– Rob Bell

I’ve been here before. Perhaps you have been as well. It is also possible that we’ve crossed paths, you and I, on this same fork in the road. Tell me if this sounds familiar: Inspiration slaps you right in the face! Maybe it’s a song. Maybe it’s a book. Maybe it’s a song about a book you’ve never read, or a book about a song you’d like to sing, but you don’t know where to begin. You don’t bother with things like intention or purpose. Pfft! You’re inspired NOW! You’re fascinated NOW! So you jump right in before learning how to swim, and to keep from drowning you toss away that inspiring fascination and grab back ahold of the familiar. And even though the familiar always ends up letting you down, at least you know it’ll keep the wheels turning.

Well, I’ve grown dizzy from the spinning. So let me tell you why I’m back.

Just before the end of 2018 I started going to church more often. I’ll get in to why I stopped going in the first place in later posts. For now, let’s just say… as a pastor’s kid, going to church was the opposite of something I wanted to do. But it made my wife happy. Making my wife happy was exactly what I wanted to do. In going more often, I inevitably found myself back up against the same questions. This was how it always went, and I knew I needed some answers. Otherwise I’d just stop going again, and like I said… I was getting dizzy. To be honest, looking back, what I was looking for more than anything resembling an actual answer was a solid excuse. I wanted to once and for all be able to say “THIS is why I’m not going back! BOOM!” So I went to the book store, walked right over to the religion section, browsed a bit, and then saw this:

“What Is the Bible?” by Rob Bell. “That ought to do it!” Oh, it did!

Instead of this book providing an excuse to NOT go to church, it gave me the courage and desire to go without needing to explain. This book actually DID answer many of the questions that plagued me for decades. It made me happy. I felt like I could breathe, and I was so excited! Rob Bell introduced me to the concept of “Turning the Gem”. What that means is this: Looking at a story from one angle doesn’t do a person any good. At least not if that person means to glean anything meaningful. So you look at the story like it’s a glorious diamond and you turn the gem… paying attention to each reflection until the whole picture becomes clear. I absolutely loved that metaphor! I will always love that metaphor! I will sing Whitney Houston songs to this metaphor until the day I die! It blew me away, and it put me back on the path of inspiration. The same path I’d been on countless times before, but this time… I knew it was going somewhere.

Now, I don’t know how far away that somewhere is, and I don’t know how I’m gonna get there. It might take me years, and I might have to walk on my hands the whole time, but I do know this: I’m not in a hurry, and I love to travel!

4 responses to “FASCINATION STREET”

  1. Hey Joel! It’s your cousin Judy. You are as gifted a writer as your dad, and that’s huge. Could you post your blogs on Instagram too? Or in another place I can easily find them? I’m not a big follower of FB. Looking forward to your next post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Judy! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Comparing my writing to Dad’s is high praise, so thank you for that as well. I don’t yet know much about how to work this blog, so right now I can’t figure out how to post it on Instagram. And I deleted Twitter b cause I can’t stand all the negativity there. Makes me want to claw out my eyes! I’m sure there’s a way to “subscribe”.


  2. Hi Joel, it’s your cousin Auralie here. You do have a gift for expression, and I was riveted by the vivid pictures you painted as you shared your thoughts. Looking forward to next post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there Auralie. I’m happy you enjoyed reading my little tid bit. It’s a new thing for me, but an old thing too. I’m trying to actually make it work this time!


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