processing france

this is something that has really alluded me this week. i have had such a hard time taking in everything from my time overseas. there are lots of little things, and some bigger ones--but none of them really are worth sharing too much i don't think. and i don't really want to write a run down of everything that we did. that is just not very interesting. so maybe i'll just write what comes to me and fill in between with various pictures and perhaps that will make it somewhat engaging.
i suppose i'll start with paris. it's always a mixed bag for me when i visit an old famous city in europe like this. i love it--there is so much that i love, but i always feel as if the whole tourist thing isn't worth it. a lot of the things i do i do or see just to say that i've done or seen it. not all, but some. and it is so rushed it is hard to really enjoy everything and take it all in. there is too much. you are only able to absorb so much. there were a few paintings i really took in, felt something from. it's hard running around those museums though--there is just so much.
i really did love sitting under the eiffel tower at night though. that was relaxing and just really nice to take in. that felt like paris of course. even as touristy as it is, out in the fields in front it was pretty empty and it felt like you would go there even if you lived in paris.
st. chappelle was also incredible. it was unlike any other church/chapel i have seen in europe. truly extraordinary.

taizé. well, this was quite a week there. if any of you have the good fortune of making it to europe any time, i deeply encourage you to make a visit to this place. it was far and away more than any place i went, more rich, more giving, more meaning. it was my favorite of any place i went to. there are just so many unique and good things about it that is so different from doing the tourist stuff anywhere else you go. really it is hard to explain why. but most people i know who have gone always want to go back, and they usually find a way to do so. whereas most cities i visit i think i probably won't return to directly or for that sole purpose. i think that says a lot. but again, it can't really be conveyed in words.
it was certainly a pilgrimage of sorts for me. a short one perhaps, but one none the less. i wonder how people feel when they take a pilgrimage. i think for them it's usually much more in the journey. because it seems like the fulfillment of it--actually reaching the place you were seeking doesn't deliver. it doesn't and can't live up to all that you were hoping from it. like it should change your life or something.
was i expecting this trip to change my life? well, in a way, yes. i wanted it to mark the end of a season. i wanted it to bookend the last time i was in taizé, which was the beginning of something. can we control such things? does simply going back to the same place mean that it will have a similar significance? of course not. but it was and still is somewhat my hope. not to seal something off and shelve it away. no. but rather to be freed to begin something new. to put away a time of hurt stemming from disappointment and loss and idolatry. to begin a season of joy. not because everything is better and situations fall in line with my desires, but through a death of the self that held onto all of that too much.

"If in all things I consider only the heat and the cold, the food or the hunger, the sickness or labor, the beauty or pleasure, the success and failure or the material good or evil my works have won for my own will, I will find only emptiness and not happiness. I shall not be fed, I shall not be full. For my food is the will of Him Who made me and Who made all things in oder to give Himself to me through them.
My chief care should not be to find pleasure or success, health or life or money or rest or even things like virtue and wisdom--still less their opposties, pain, failure, sickness, death. But in all that happens my one desire and my one joy should be to know: 'Here is the thing that God has willed for me. In this His love is found, and in accepting this I can give back His love to Him and give myself with it to Him.
And by accepting all things from Him I receive His joy into my soul, not because things are what they are but because God is Who He is, and His love has willed my joy in them all."
Thomas Merton

i prayed for that. i walked myself through a good friday prayer time, placing myself before the cross and laying it all down. dwelling in that place. then experiencing the symbolism of the resurrection through candlelight. i know it's a process too. but i think God did a lot in me through those services and through the week, not through a lot of quiet alone time with him, but through the blessing of some great connections with people from across the world. that was such a fun surprise. i think God just wanted me to enjoy them and that time--not wrestle so much or put such a weight on it all. the effect is less cerebral then and harder to explain, but just as significant if not more i think. that will take more time to understand probably.
it was also good from the perspective of observing people who live by a rule of life for Jesus. those of us moving to kc this summer look to do a similar thing in a new monastic way, so it was really informative to be in that community. there is something to having a daily rhythm of prayer. it feeds the soul in a unique way. it raises lots of questions about how we live, how we seek to live, and how that can be possible in the midst of the world we know and live in (i didn't say "real life" because this common phrase has so many assumptions and so much wrong with it). our community will spend the next couple of months (read: years) wrestling through those questions. we were also able to share our plans with quite a few people there, which always made for interesting conversations.
it was so great to go on this trip with 3 of my brothers. i loved sharing this experience with them. it will be something we will always remember.

well i suppose that is what i have to offer from my trip. i received much more than that, but this is all i can really say now i think. so ask me more in person. or better yet start planning your own trip over there! it's easy.



clouds | heaven

so you know those old cartoons where they show angels laying around on the tops of clouds strumming their harps, passing the time? well, of course those are ridiculous pictures of angels--but perhaps they're not so far off from heaven, even if the illustrators didn't do squat to show just how magnificent that place is. that place up there above the clouds.

heaven is like the tops of clouds.

or perhaps i should say it the other way around. no i know you can't sit on them and they are just water, but i don't know that i've ever beheld a more breathtaking sight--even through the 6-layered finger-smeared plastic glass of an airplane window. and it's every time i see it too. the plane rises up through the clouds, perhaps on a stormy afternoon, and then you break through to sunlight. the mist lingers for a moment and then you are looking down on it. it can't really be captured by a camera either of course.

whenever i behold such a sight--as i was able to a couple times on this last trip, i feel sorry for the billions of people who lived before airplanes and never got to behold such a sight. it is a shining white that cannot be seen anywhere else, except i suppose in heaven before the true author of light. but i think then that this must be a little glimpse of heaven, the tops of clouds.

there's a metaphor here too. of course our idea of heaven is always understated. we cannot really imagine the beauty that must be there. but then, what we do think is that it's way up there, way out there. it is always slightly ethereal, unsubstantial. just like the tops of clouds where if you were actually to try to walk on them you would fall right through, so are our conceptions of heaven. pearly gates and golden streets don't quite do it for me, for who has actually seen that? no it's a loose conception in our minds, one we would probably fall right through if we tried to put any real weight on it.

if jesus tells us the kingdom of heaven is near us, does that mean that heaven is? or just its kingdom?

in any event, in a place we think of as heaven (where our theology is pretty spotty anyway--resurrection is more the biblical future), it doesn't really matter what the surroundings will look like to some extent. the sight of God will be enough to triumph all beauty easily. and the greatest desire we should hold towards heaven would be to gain Christ, to be united and together fully. that will be the greatest joy.

i don't know what all these thoughts have to do with much else or this life really. i guess that's why they talk about having your head in the clouds--only slightly higher. but this kingdom is here among us. so perhaps all of us in one way or another have our heads stuck in the clouds.


27 quiet stars

jet-lag is stealing all my late night time. i become so tired pretty early in the evening and it wipes me out for most of the night, as long as i can stay up. and then i wake up pretty early, which is nice to have some more time in the morning--but i am really not used to that. i don't know what to do with time while the sun is still low. i much prefer the night, especially when it's a matter of getting my alone time to figure out what all is going on within me. i don't have a good grip on it now though. who knew that would be a symptom of jet-lag? and who knew it would take this long to adjust? i think my body is just mad that i've made another change to adjust to so quickly after the last one. ugh.

i think we have our non-physical jet-lag sometimes too. and it seems as if mine are corresponding a little right now.

but beneath all of that is a reality that i feel within me. i can't quite bring it up and out in its fullness though it seems--but at times it seeps to the brim and almost pours out. this is an unfamiliar feeling for me. it's been some time. i don't quite know what to do with it either. this joy thing. especially when it's not really connected to any particular thing or event. nope. just a restoration within.

well i suppose that's enough general stream of consciousness for this blog entry. i'll have some substantial reflections on my trip sometime soon. i promise.

on another note: here are a couple of concerts i am a little interested in going to. anyone want to go? let me know!

4/13 mates of state
5/16 flight of the conchords with iron and wine (redrocks in denver)
5/27 the decemberists


taizé music

this is one of the songs from the week that i really enjoyed.

"seigneur tu gardes mon âme"



apparently it takes me leaving the country to have a real blogging hiatus. i spent the last 10 days or so in france, which was i huge blessing. i consider it really fortunate that i was able to do this--when you plan way ahead in advance it is actually quite manageable. international travel is not as difficult as it may seem, and i strongly encourage anyone to do it.

it's difficult to explain exactly all that this week meant to me. it will take a long time to process. and at the moment i am still jet-lagged so my mind is a little foggy. i will have more thoughts as i process more i'm sure. but for now in short i am at least back. back in the country. back to life as it was before but also as it is now in its newness of the changes brought about through this experience. much of it was done by God in my heart behind the veil of perception.

still though, i'll probably take a few peeks behind that curtain and some of what i see will probably make it on here.

but i'm around so give me a shout. i love my friends. lets get some coffee or something.


you, me, and all that is mine

man what's with all the intense entries lately, eh? you'd think i was dying of a terminal illness or something. not to make light of all that is going on in my spirit of course, because all that is true and genuine--and nothing to be avoided. in fact we probably need to come face to face with that stuff a bit more. the spiritual death is just about as taboo as talking about real death. but the fact also is that my spirit is also experiencing pulses of renewal. i don't know how to write about that quite as well yet, but i think it's coming out in the midst of what i've been writing.

there is so much in life right now. and it is the right kind of fullness. so much crap was pushed out as the season of emptiness endured. still more needs to go of course, but i'm beginning to be filled with such better things. my life isn't so obsessed with myself and how things are affecting me and my relationships and my future anymore (though you might not know it from all this rambling on about myself on here--geez luke get a journal). it is almost that i kinda don't care anymore. not a numbness, but finally an experience of the healthy detachment from the very binding concerns and cares of this world. you can still be very concerned about the world and its state, it just isn't with you at the center of it.

i realize none of this is very revolutionary or profound. it's stuff i've been hearing for years in some ways. but it is so different when you actually are truly experiencing it finally, and yet the words to try to describe it are still the same. how can i make it seem more real to you? what questions can i ask to try to probe the depths of your heart to consider seeing what your life is all about?

i feel like for me it all started with a simple declaration--and i've heard it from others as well. it is a simple prayer:

whatever it takes.

i know i've written about this before. but i keep coming back to it. that was about 6 months ago when a lot of crap was happening. it was the beginning of my beard. i have a lot more perspective now--and not just because of the beard. that prayer will lead you into a lot, probably suffering and pain. because it just so happens for us comfortable americans (and probably everyone really) that's what it takes for us to give up being the lord of our own lives. and to give up our unhealthy attachments and sins. i won't say that you shouldn't fear what God might lead you into, because i know the pain that can come from it. but i don't know how you can call Jesus Lord of your life without really truly praying this prayer. it is what that means. you submit to all. even before you have the chance to make the choice you give up the choice to Jesus. that is Lordship.

it's also connected to the question i asked awhile back "what am i living for?" i still want to write a few entries about things we live for that we shouldn't--so maybe i will get around to that eventually. if we're not living for Jesus what are we living for? and what does that look like? well i think i just told you in the last paragraph!

i kinda find it pretty incredulous that it's taken me so long to come to this point. that it's taken me till 25 with many spiritual books behind me and years of christian school and bible college and ministry jobs to finally realize that being a christian is about giving away your life. like i said, i probably could have expressed that before in words--but i'd never really truly experienced it. somewhere along the line it got all messed up, this christianity thing and how we do it and see it and describe it. it's become about me getting saved, me living better, me doing the things to grow (aka bettering myself). we spiritualize it by saying that God wants to give you the desires of your heart. that may be true, but God is probably not satisfied with quite a lot of those desires. he needs to do the character and the heart in you work first. because it can't be about what you're receiving.

we are so steeped in selfishness that we don't even see half of the selfish things we do as so. it's just the norm. but what if christianity really was about the idea that "my life is not my own." and that to follow Jesus it really takes leaving everything behind (read the gospels). what if that was the gospel we preached? we might have far fewer "christians" out there, but then again maybe we wouldn't--because things would be vastly different all around. and perhaps then people would be able to see a culture where life has true meaning, and the idea of losing oneself would actually be incredibly appealing. it would not be for just the few saints. oh no. we can all live that life. and all the blood sweat and tears that it takes to get there--well we would finally understand what they were talking about in the Bible with all that blessed suffering stuff.

if it is better to give than receive, than wouldn't the greatest thing you could give be what is absolute best? and surely isn't that yourself? give yourself away. give your life away. do you believe you can actually do it? God will be faithful to you if you do--don't think you would just hold back later. if you give fully and sincerely now he won't let you later. and you may not like that but you can hold onto hope and belief that it will be worth it. and i believe deeply that it all will be. what else would?

i'll climb down off my soap box now--you probably didn't come here to read a sermon. i didn't sit down intending to write that. i guess i just had all that welling up inside me, because i am so full of joy at the loss of my own life. i can't explain it--though i just spent forever trying to and urging you to do the same. it can seem overwhelming like it's so much. but it is so simple really. all you have to do is pause for a moment now, search your heart, and find your prayer there. say it with your lips. "whatever it takes Lord."


"i do not fear death"

i just finished reading the lord of the rings, and subsequently watching the extended edition of each of the movies (each after i finished each of the books). i'm glad that i did it, and it has been really rich with imagery and symbols that have spoke to my life. there are so many characters to identify with and relations between the story and this journey we call life. i've written about them on here several times. and right now there is a new one--seemingly somewhat unrelated to those of the past, but also connected. all of these things are overlapping right now. it is in many ways a very rich time--rich with poverty and opportunity and challenge and community. sprinkle a nickel of hope and that's me right now. sort of.

anyway. i decided not to do anymore quotes. sorry.

instead, right now i am feeling that i have my own journey. i don't need to quote this story, but rather look at my life and take the things that i've learned--at this point more overarching themes. one of those themes throughout the book is the idea of "shadow." shadow is the darkness that seems to be all over the world of lotr. it stands in the path of just about every character to have to pass through. and i think that is something that is very reflective of all of our lives. we all have to pass through the shadow at one point or another. many will go through with their eyes shut. some will not survive the passage. every journey through a shadow is an opportunity. and we lose much opportunity because of fear. many times we will have to choose to go through that door ourselves.

it is looking likely that i will be living at 43rd street just east of prospect in kansas city next year. it is the first step in a movement from a call of the Lord. our community will seek to be a place of peace amidst chaos, prayer amidst curses, stillness amidst noise, light amidst darkness. it is in the neighborhood the kansas city star dubbed "the murder factory," because it produces more people in prison for murder than any other zip code in missouri. i will no longer refer to it as such, as it is a pronounced curse on the place and we will seek to do what we can to undo it. i am convinced that God is present there. but he needs workers, and we have been called.

a lot of people sort of freak out when i tell them about this. they sort of look at my like, "why would you want to live there?" it's a fair question. though i could give them the same look after a 5 bedroom 3 bath house for 2 people. we relish in comfort and extravagance while the economic and racial barriers only grow stronger. i don't put judgment or guilt on anyone else and what the Lord has called them to. but i wonder how many are where they are because of the call of God or simply because they haven't allowed themselves to listen for anything else. there is no need to raise our eyebrows at living differently, nor do i want any sort of acclaim for it either. the romanticism and idealism of it will quickly fall beneath the struggle and sacrifice of daily life and constant spiritual oppression and attack on ground where the devil has long held power.

there is something to remember in all of this though. the darkness is afraid of the light. so often we think it is the other way around. why are we afraid? we have the Lord on our side. what should i fear? man? or God? too long have we feared the darkness. too long have we backed away from the creeping shadow.

i don't want to be afraid anymore. i want to stare that doorway to darkness in the face and say "i do not fear death." and then i will walk right into that shadow--whether it be personal struggle and death or physical suffering and persecution. i want to be prepared to have my car broken into, or stolen. i want to be prepared to have all my possessions taken away. i want to be prepared to be beaten. i want to be ready to die. what is there to fear in death? is there not so much more to be gained? more would i fear a life of meaninglessness spent all on myself.

to die would almost be easy though. much harder will be the constant daily death of giving up the things that have made up my life before. the comforts and pleasures that placate me. the addictions that i use to pass the time and cover the holes in my life that i continually seek to find filled in things other than God, being so controlled by my own selfish desires of what i want for my life--made wrong by continuing to hold them above what God wants for me.

if you gave up one possession a day, how long would it take you to be completely poor? a really long time. in many ways we need the quick brutality of death to steal us away from the mass of attachments and idolatries in our lives. but only if we would make the choice ourselves--we will not be forced. we must receive the cup. and oh that i would be able to stare into it through my deep swills and not fear the death that brings about life.


thomas kelly

For if you will accept as normal life only what you can understand, then you will try only to expel the dull, dead weight of Destiny, of inevitable suffering which is a part of normal life, and never come to terms with it or fit your soul to the collar and bear the burden of your suffering which must be borne by you, or enter into the divine education and drastic discipline of sorrow, or rise radiant in the sacrament of pain.

You who have in you the stirrings of perfection, the sweet, sweet rapture of God Himself within you, be faithful to Him until the last lingering bit of self is surrendered and you are wholly God-possessed.


midnight snack

does a heart ever fully heal?
does any part though i suppose?
memories are the blades against
the bindings of the brokenhearted,
spreading the pieces strung together
into a new sort of falling,
away from in--well beyond out.
but we're content with our slings
and time, swinging away--
tossing aside another wrapper,
a cover to bring you something better.

it's like a donut really--
cream filled of course,
for we aren't holes at our core.
but only a deep bite will reveal--
we might be surprised by the flavor;
it might be too much filling;
perhaps pausing at our indulgence;
or simple distaste.
the good news of course is that
it's just a donut, cheap,
which can be dropped away--
no obligation to finish.
it's probably better for you that way anyway.

so begin the search
for one to take away the pain,
a new meal for a sickened stomach.
we can all sing along--
all you need is
the next love.
a salve over the old cracks,
so that no cords are needed again.
nor their binder.

a rag no more
to wipe this shit away,
to try to get a clear view.

a fool no more
full of simple trust,
weary of prevalent self-deception.

the shadow sometimes reaches into the light;
the peace feels the old shaking.
and i wonder which holds the greater sway
or reality.
when i hate the dying more than the death--
still surrounded by life and light and embrace,
though not my own.
a meal entirely unsatisfying,
on the menu for months to come.


defend the fort

i think this post might get me put on some sort of government list. but hey, what can you do? we still have some sort of first amendment right?

so there is this new show on the air called "homeland security." i haven't actually watched it, but from a few blogs i perused about it apparently it is all about agents tracking terrorists and narcotics and illegal immigrants etc. what struck me about this show was something in the preview--a soldier or agent or something said the phrase, "we are going to protect our own." which begs the question, who again is "our own"?

"He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." Matt. 12:48-50

there's a bumper sticker out there that i like. i'm not usually a fan--they tend to be snappy and not very clever and usually a little tacky. though i must admit i really wanted to put one of those white circle stickers on my car with a "CH" in the middle. i like those because you usually don't know what they mean, or it is just cool when you do. most people wouldn't know that "CH" is actually the abbreviation for switzerland (Confoederatio Helvetica, they use latin so as not to choose one of the 4 national languages over the others)--you learn something new everyday right? if you want to learn about something else interesting, how about a language you've probably never heard of--i did say 4. but i digress.

so this bumper sticker, it says "God bless the people of every nation." i won't get into how warped i think our ideas of what God's "blessings" really look like. the point of the sticker is that the phrase "God bless the USA" is ridiculous. why? because it is a "christian" nation? even if that were the case does that entitle us to some special favoritism from God? like as a christian i have God in my corner so i get the blessings the arab or african doesn't? how about God bless kenya? or tibet? or a country that really needs it. maybe the last thing we need is "blessing."

"And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth." Heb. 11:13

of course none of this is all that revelatory. what is perhaps a bit more is to take it to the next level. or rather the smaller scale. maybe you don't buy into all those national and cultural boundaries. maybe you realize that lines on a map do not determine the nature of a person's heart. but what sort of lines do you draw? they are all the more subtle, but take a hard look.

this is one of my favorite nouwen passages, and it has stuck with me for years. i can't say it any better or more full:

It is important for me to realize how limited, imperfect, and weak my understanding of love has been. Not my theoretical understanding but my understanding as it reveals itself in my emotional responses to concrete situations. My idea of love proves to be exclusive: "You only love me truly if you love others less"; possessive: "If you really love me, I want you to pay special attention to me"; and manipulative: "When you love me, you will do extra things for me." Well, this idea of love easily leads to vanity: "You must see something very special in me"; to jealousy: "Why are you now suddenly so interested in someone else and not in me?" and to anger: "I am going to let you know that you have let me down and rejected me."

didn't Jesus have something to say about who we try to define as our "neighbor"? and wasn't there something about loving that neighbor too? or we can keep drawing the lines. forget that--we don't even need to draw them; they are already there. just following them is as bad. i feel unless you are actively working against them and doing what you can to erase them then you are doing less than the greatest commandment we have been given, and you're not really loving.

what are your lines?



life's worth all the dying you do

i spent this last weekend in oklahoma city, visiting the Refuge once again. i thought i was going there mainly to show it to a new group and that for myself it would be mostly repetitive. i don't know why i thought this. it was such a good encouragement and blessing to be there amongst that community. it is amazing what God has done there. and in the deep recesses of my heart and mind i quietly hope for my own experience--a gift from Him. not for notoriety or acclaim--nor for any sense of personal success or feeling good about myself. no. i want to discover that the kingdom of God is not something to be found only in books or in other countries. i want to believe it is within you and me, and that it has power over the darkness right here and now.

that isn't really what i think of when i think about "church" as we know it. and it's really time that changed.

the church in america believes, "i must increase so that Christ might increase." but we must live and believe that we must decrease so that Christ might increase.

friday night was one of the craziest experiences of my life. i had a dream and a waking vision as i laid in a room that was a concrete expression of transformation and renewal--the crack house now full of Jesus. i saw an angel, going around to each of the rooms with a grail saying "can you drink this cup?" the cup of Christ. the giving up of your life. the crucifixion of your self. the phrase referring to the garden of Christ's struggle and the cup he did not pass, explored beautifully by one of my favorite authors in a book. there was also a dream and a bit more, but that was the center of it all.

can you drink the cup?

what are you holding onto? what about your life is so precious that it cannot be given to the giver of all life? what comforts dictate how you are living? what fears rule you more than you care to admit? what is the use of living life on the fence?

i've seen a lot of my life fall away from me these last, well, couple years i suppose. and i haven't been too happy about it most of the time. yes i have had my share of gains as well, for which i have been joyful over--especially of late. i am in a great community and have some really great new friends. i don't take that for granted at all.

still, i have wanted to live life on my terms--to have it all, to not lose what has meant so much to me. to watch love turn its back and lifelong friends drift away. i'm not good at separation. it is probably what i hate most in life. and no amount of goodness or hope or faith or control or pleading or preparation can keep you from it. that's life. c'est la vie. and we shrug.

yet i believe that some part of my vocation is fixed on fighting the separation we so easily stumble into in this day and age. what that looks like i am not sure. but selfishness, independence, and pride are the major instigators. this western culture is a poison to our souls. how would we know the taste of clean water if all we have drank is dirty?

one step against this i believe is learning to live in community. i mean this spatially and in practice. we will feel alone and abandoned if all we really find love in is one person. sure our family is always there--but that is distant. it is different. and even many of us have been in some way isolated from them in many regards. can we love one another deeply to give our lives to a community? i'm beginning to believe we can.

i'm beginning to find pieces of hope again. i don't know what it is that the Lord has been doing to me these past couple years. i would scarcely know myself from before. i have been put through hell and i'm supposed to be all the better for it, right? otherwise what's the worth of it all, right? tell me that life's worth all the dying you do. the new life is better. we just don't know that for sure. do we really believe that it is? and did we know that losing the old would cost so much? that it would hurt us so? i suppose i should have known death was and is painful. i guess i just thought it would have been a little quicker.

it's amazing how heavy it is at times. and you think you can't make it through any further. but if you haven't come to that place yet then you haven't come to the place of losing yourself, of laying your life in God's hands because you really truly do not believe you can hold it yourself. that the weight will be too much, that the pain will get the better of you, that death just might kill you. it is somewhere in this place where you might begin to hear those words--life's worth all the dying you do. you don't quite believe them perhaps, but enough to find a spark of hope. and maybe that's all you need. maybe that's enough to take that first sip of the cup, and to find that you can drink a little more. and sooner or later you will lose your taste for the sweet comforts of this world. and you will believe that there is something more, and that it's worth giving so much to try to get it.

you can walk that path. you don't want the easy life. it won't satisfy. will the harder one? well. how much is life worth to you? are you willing to risk it? will you take the cup? or will you pass it on to another?

probably the one thing i have been able to say through it all, even when i was questioning perhaps everything else--i mean pretty much everything, was that it is worth it. it is worth it.