Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Cement

We aren't confronted with it. It is easy to ignore, to turn away. With a click of the remote or turn of the dial we can step away from the images and sounds of the suffering.  We can flip over to happier things - how to remodel our kitchens or who is winning the game. Our feet aren't cemented in the dry ground where bullets fly and bombs drop. Our eyes aren't locked on the tormented face of the wrecked father carrying his only surviving child through the demolished streets of an abandoned city.

It is not our reality so it is not our problem.

"We have to take care of our own before we take care of other people," said Jesus never. The problem with that argument is we click away from our own as well.

Especially in this season, I am thankful for the story of the Good Samaritan. The Good Samaritan didn't check the victim for his papers. He did not ask him for proof of his citizenship before kneeling to tend to his wounds. He didn't shake his fist at the sky and yell "How dare I have to use MY tax dollars to pay for this man's medical care!"

I look for Light. I find it under a bridge where a couple serve hot soup on a cold day to the homeless. I find it in the man who day by day looks for ways to find employment for veterans, who walk the streets with a shadow of themselves (part of them is still lying on the battlefield thousands of miles away).  I find it in my friends who come alongside of refugees, as they try to navigate a completely different culture in a country they are not sure still welcomes them.

The pull to disengage is strong because reality is overwhelming, messy and uncomfortable. How did Jesus do this thing called "life in a broken world"? He remained entrenched - to the point of death. To the point of life.

He never vilified the vulnerable.

He never told us to fear them.

He sought them out and planted his feet in their path.

May I go and do likewise.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Dear Ones

A long pause between posts. But my steps continue, even though they aren't documented in type form. My heart today is with friends spread out around the world. I close my eyes and imagine sitting across the table from them, sharing words, laughter, silence. Sharing coffee, questions and musings. Sharing the deep joy of each other's company.

How I have been so blessed with beautiful souls to journey with throughout the days my God has given me. Today I am thankful beyond words for each of you and how you have lived Christ to me. If I could sit at a table with you in this moment, I would tell you how I have seen Christ in you and how grateful I am for you and the beautiful light you are in this world.  
One of these lights (Cara) gave me the gift of music the last year I was in Colorado. I still listen over and over to the songs she put together for me and here is one of my favorites to pass along to any who stumble across this blog. May it encourage each of you today. 

As C.S. Lewis said, "Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: 'What! You too? I thought that no one but myself...'"


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Away

He has called me away. 
Away from security 
Away from friends 
Away from what I know
Away from what is "normal"

He has called me into. 
Into deeper relationship 
Into love 
Into rediscovery 
Into unknowns

He has called me to be. 
To be with Him 
To be silent 
To be watching 
To be listening

I am in a place that I cannot well describe or explain. This liminal space is full of unknowns, quizzical looks, prodding questions (like "But what do you DO?"), and unsatisfactory answers. Though there are days or moments of frustration, overwhelmingly there is peace and a sense that I am exactly where He wants me at this time. As a person who likes answers, who likes to DO, I am surprised at how my heart is running into the vagueness of this space, to the One who designed me and created this space for me. In this space is a great pool of refreshing water. And I am gladly drinking from it. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Wyoming

It became my grieving state. Driving by the empty landscape with a car packed full of my life, the tears began to flow. Actually, they started back in Colorado Springs where my home had been for nine years, but I had kept the tears in check for the most part. Until my friends prayed for me as I was starting my journey to Washington. Until I pressed "play" on my finicky cd player containing the music mix another friend made for me - for this journey. Until I read the goodbye letter from another friend. Until I crossed that state line and entered the seemingly endless rolling hills of Wyoming. I declared to myself that Wyoming would be my grieving state. And it was.

In Wyoming there was plenty of time, plenty of space, plenty of browns and tans and subdued colors, to allow for tears. Some might call it desolate. I call it sacred space.

I passed the state line into Montana, wiped the tears away and waved to the state that had given me such a treasured gift. Thank you, Wyoming.

"...Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5

Friday, November 7, 2014

Reflection - In the Present

I walk through my days, looking over my shoulder, feeling as though Johnny Cash is following me, strumming his guitar and singing the song of my life. Perhaps a haunting ballad like The Highwayman. I have lived a number of lives. And now I step into the desert of not knowing what life to live next.

My steps are uncertain, and yet resolute. I may not be able to see where I am going, but I know I am to go. There are moments when the wind picks up, kicking sand into my face and throat, and I choke. I fight back the panic of not being able to breathe or see. In those moments I stop, fold into myself and hide under the shadow of His wings. I am not alone.

The days extend before me, open and uncharted. A privilege and a burden in the same bundle. May I treasure the gift of these days and continue to take steps in expectation of all He has in store for me.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A New Favorite


 

"I Shall Not Want"

From the love of my own comfort
From the fear of having nothing
From a life of worldly passions
Deliver me O God

From the need to be understood
From the need to be accepted
From the fear of being lonely
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

And I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

From the fear of serving others
From the fear of death or trial
From the fear of humility
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

And I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

No, I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

When I taste Your goodness I shall not want 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Especially


Thank you for the work you are doing in my life – especially the work I cannot see.
Thank you for what you are doing to prepare me for the next thing – especially the preparation I do not recognize.
Thank you for gently holding my heart – especially when I can be careless with it.
Thank you for seeing me – especially in those moments when I feel so unseen.
Thank you for walking with me – especially when I feel so blind.
Thank you for your grace – especially when I have a difficult time receiving it.

I ask “Lord, how do you deal with me – such a Doubting Thomas!” 
You reply, “The same way I did with Thomas – I show up.”

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Undeserving Souls

I recently came across the phrase "undeserving souls" while reading a book by Dorothy Day. A common argument I hear against helping the poor is that some people don't deserve help because they aren't doing anything to help themselves. Contrary to popular belief, "God helps those who help themselves" is not found in the Bible.  Yes, there are those who abuse the system and seem to prey on the generosity of others. But I have also seen these abuses become the excuse Christians use to keep them from doing anything at all. It is a dangerous thing to take on the part of judge, deciding who is deserving of help and who is not. Yes, wisdom and discernment need to play a role, but I would much rather err on the side of giving undeserving love, as is given to me, than be on the side of withholding God's love. The fact of the matter is that I am an undeserving soul. I have received limitless and unconditional love from our God. What right then do I have to turn around and say to someone else, "I have received love and care, but you aren't good enough nor are you showing you are worthy enough to receive the same love and care God has given me?" Jesus didn't say to look for those who are deserving and then love and care for them accordingly.  He was continually moved with compassion for the broken and challenged us to love our neighbor as ourselves....tax collector, prostitute, the stranger on the side of the road.

This can be messy and uncomfortable.  There have been times I have felt taken advantage of or that my attempts at loving another were refused and scoffed at. But I would rather be uncomfortable than be a priest who passes on the opposite side of the street. I tend to be a reserved person by nature, and traveling on the other side of the street is something I battle against daily. But I pray that I am continually watching for and following the path Christ is walking on...the path of the undeserving souls.

May I be moved with the compassion of Christ to come alongside those who need love and care...and may I do so indiscriminately.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Christmas Spring Fever

It is amazing how warm 19 degrees feels after days of zero and sub-zero temperatures. The sun has emerged from behind the white curtain of frigid clouds and drops of melting snow can be seen trickling off the eaves of buildings. Breathing in the outside air is refreshing rather than painful, and walking anywhere brings joy instead of dread.

Needless to say, 19 degrees has given me spring fever. Or maybe Christmas Spring Fever is the more appropriate term.

I am looking forward to spending Christmas with my family this year! After years of Skype Family Christmases, I am ready for the live and in-person version.  I even have a ninja gingerbread-man kit ready to decorate with my nephews and niece...though the youngest ones might just be interested in the frosting.  I am looking forward to seeing the kids' wonder and excitement surrounding all things Christmas.  I am looking forward to the fits of laughter that inevitably surround our family game times.

Christmas Spring Fever. I have the bug.

Wherever in the world you are, may this Christmas be one of peace and hope.  And maybe some ninja gingerbread people.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

And So Fall Begins

It's that time of year again.  Already the sun is dropping behind the Rockies far earlier than I would like. The evening breeze doesn't carry the warmth it used to.  Instead, I grab a light jacket to carry with me during my evening jogs. While the shortened daylight always bring a little sadness to me, I love the other changes that come with fall. I love the different colors that emerge on the tree leaves.  I love the smell of pumpkin coming from coffee shops and bakeries. I love being able to wear my sweaters again.

Over the Labor Day weekend, I made a last-minute decision to drive up to Washington to spend time with my family.  It was my niece's first birthday and I wanted to take advantage of the longer weekend. I love spending time with my family and this was a perfect fall getaway. Some highlights:

  • Learning/Playing 221B Baker Street: The Master Detective Game (Umm, I don't think I am cut out to be a detective, though I think I'd be a good Watson.)
  • Seeing my niece enjoy the frosting on her cake...the bigger the mess the better, right?
  • "Sharing" my nephew's umbrella (see picture). At the smallest sprinkle of rain, Caleb knew what he needed to do: get his Thomas the Train umbrella and put it to good use.
  • Just being with family. While a couple dear ones were not able to make it, most of my immediate family was there. Eating, talking, driving, watching, playing...it was all a blessing.  I am so thankful for the time spent with them.


And so as fall has started to show itself, I am thankful for the way God allowed me to enter this season. For you who read this: may this autumn season be marked with beautiful colors, fragrances and time with loved ones. Peace be with you.