Friday, June 17, 2011
Everything they had, is everything I want.
Unfortunately I didn’t realize this until mom was on her deathbed.
I am earnestly and eternally grateful for what seems to have been woven into the fabric that is me, by my parents.
I learned to harmonize standing close to my mom as she bellowed out the melody of each and every hymn – she had such a beautiful voice. Very tender and honest.
My dad remains, to this day, my hero. It was under his tutelage that I developed an unflappable work ethic.
Because of their commitment to The Church: It’s religion&community, I was left not having to ask one question about any of it.
I followed and followed and followed.
I dressed the right way, sang the right songs, memorized the right scriptures, threw down a full 10% in the offering plate and won my fair share of sword drills.
It was the perfect way to grow up.
And then I grew up.
I believe in Jesus the Christ, and know fully that if I follow his teachings life is better. It’s hard to argue with things like peace, patience, kindness and the like…
I believe in God.
With all of the tiniest, light filled, energetic and remarkable bits of me, I believe.
I have my own children now.
I watch them process things - topics ranging from divorce to Darfur.
They ask questions about timelines and science and mythology and evolution.
Ten years ago, if I had overheard people around me asking these questions I would have had 2 options: 1. Shun them. 2. Pray for them. But they would have never, ever, ever been my friends.
I didn’t need their stinking blasphemy in my periphery. I had God all sorted out.
I look back at the mental pictures of that day and see that God looked suspiciously like me.
Anne Lamott said it this way: You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.
The honest truth is that I can’t stomach my own hypocrisy. I’ll let science hurl me through space for a visit down-unda, I will sprint to science when my child has a suspicious lump in his bone. But I say ‘oh no you di’int’ when science offers up anything to do with all that I think I believe – as if!
I really see it as everyone’s fault (but mine), as the Christian community and the scientific community trend to three legged races for the prize in Arrogance and Smarmy.
HEAR ME HERE:
I LOVE THE CHURCH.
The beautiful Bride. Unblemished, perfection, so white your eyeballs burn.
If we take GOD, the Supreme Ultimate BEYOND THE UNITED STATES&EVEN PLANET EARTH GOD, and subjugate Him to OUR understanding, what we think we know, what we groan to understand and finally, our twisting of scripture to prove it, we will get no where: and that’s a hysterical understatement.
The bottom line for me is this: Keeping God as small as me takes too much energy.
And anyway, I’m a messed up girl – so I need a really big God.
I need a God whose ways are not known to me. Whose decisions and methods are not dependent on my approval.
A God who needs no instruction. And finally, though humbling, A God who prefers from me stillness and praise.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
This is where church wax is hashed. It’s pretty generic but every once in a while Steve will ask, “What’s going on with you? Need prayer? Have something good to say”, and he scans the room.
For one year (minus two days of ditching) every Wednesday he has posed the question and I slink in my chair… think math class, 8th grade.
People talk a lot about how great their kids are, school acceptances, career advancements, proposals, moving to Europe blah blah blah.
At my house we talk about moving, advancement and college too. And my kids have beaten me down with such vigor that not ONLY am I nearly convinced that a pot farm in California is a viable solution for college financing, but it could also answer a bevy of retirement questions I have as well.
I tried the the-family-that-prays-together-stays-together thing.
Maybe the-family-that-harvests-together-stays-together is worth a whirl.
BUT TODAY IS DIFFERENT.
Today I had two things to report – but, alas - no inquiry.
So I’m going to tell You.
Last night, Fat Tuesday, my boys and I were at party in the neighborhood. There was a great band and no once was dancing.
I looked at my 11 year old and said ‘Want to dance??’ He is always up for a good Worm on an empty dance floor. ‘No’, he said.
I looked at my 15 year old, who only came because every once in a while I allow him to drive illegally. I said with a wide grin, ‘Do you want to dance??’
To my utter shock, he smiled and said,
He got up, took me by the hand, and proceeded to spin me, twirl me and box step me for what felt like a blissful eternity.
With the most beautiful awkward smile I’ve ever seen.
It was the perfect gift.
Next item: Last week we found out that son #2 (Worm boy) beat out a few hundred kids for a position at the Talented and Gifted middle school in our area.
… He’s got such a bright future.
I hope I don’t mess it up.
Thanks for listening.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
I’ve done this before (again, no comment needed) but I tire easily because I don’t understand why they get $$ for a 50 minute hour and only ever seem to offer, ‘and how does that make you feel?’ [my girlfriends at least offer wine with that, FOR FREE]
‘Well, Bob, it makes me feel like taking a tire iron and bashing their useless head in’.
‘Oh’, says Bob, ‘And how does THAT make you feel?’
‘Bob, I’ll be right back, I need to get something from my trunk.’
So, I’ve been seeing AnotherBob.
And I learned something about me this time.
I have an addiction.
It is hope.
It’s not HealthyHope. It’s sickhope.
It’s the one that makes you stay when you shouldn’t.
It’s the one that makes you justify something that is unjustifiable.
It’s the one that makes you crazy and end up hating yourself.
It’s the one that causes you to believe something that is unbelievable.
And you put your sickhope glasses on every time your start to see or sense something in someone, or something, that you don’t want to know/deal with/believe.
And then you run/breathe/work/live like you can call it into being – by sheer will.
Trust me:You Cant.
My BFF, Karen, has a beautiful life altering mantra:
No expectations, No disappointments.
Another friend of mine holds to the sentiment: Under Promise Over Deliver – unfortunately what that really translates to in that particular life is Never Promise Never Deliver – lonely, but safe.
I’ve thought about pursuing Karen’s line of reasoning but I have the same trouble with it that I do with fasting (which is why I don’t): I become so obsessed with not eating, that I forget why I’m not, and what I’m to be doing with that space in my life.
The more I focus on expecting nothing, the more my focus moves to what I expect – which, OF COURSE, increases my disappointment… over stuff I shouldn’t be counting on from another human. (which is a crock for another blog).
So I decided that I was going to be Hopegnostic – I won’t believe or disbelieve in Hope. And I will step aside and appreciate another’s pursuit of it, or not.
(and yes I realize that it’s sickhope I should do away with not HealthyHope: think baby/bathwater.
So, I walk through my kitchen this morning, tidying up from the beautiful chaos of a school morning, and see a little black square on the floor beside the fridge.
It’s a teensy tiny magnet from a magnet poetry set we like to have fun with…
I turn it over:
and I know, without a shadow of a doubt:
I’m not ready to.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
I am back from Costa (duh), and in the new house – this new house that represents hope, promise and a future.
We have moved from Egypt to Canaan.
My boys are the bravest men around. Especially Henry. He is 14. Entering high school.
He has made this move without one grumble. One complaint. One negative word. One iota of crappy attitude.
He has left the land of everything he has known for 6 years… which is a world of years when you are only 14.
Henry reminds me of my dad. Strong. Silent. Dangerous. Thoughtful. Proud. Good.
Henry, like my dad, is deeply good.
(and unlike my dad, has all his teeth)
Right now – right at this minute: Harry Potter blasting from TV, laundry set to tumbling, school in the ‘morrow, nail in tire and an empty tank of gas, life rocks.
Woodrow – be good to my son.
God – be good to my son.
Life – be good to my son.
Love – be good to my son.
Sorrow – be done with my son.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Headed for bed – but not before I tell you about the most arrogant position I’ve even taken, and the broken humility that came on its heels.
I wrote that sentence 2 days ago. It is now July 22.
I have sweat and re sweat and then sweat again.
I have built cinderblock footings, moved concrete and mounds&mounds of dirt.
Today I’m going out with the medical team into the villages. They are taking medical surveys for the clinic that we are building. Two days Drew made a visit. Last night, one of the Drs on the trip told me he had followed up with the child and mom and that Drew had saved that child’s life. Not heroic measures, but with water and Tylenol.
10 of thousands of people die daily, all over the world, due to a lack of fresh water.
10 billion dollars would supply fresh water.
That’s what American’s spend on ice cream each year.
Americans spent 600,000 billion on Christmas each year.
We are 5% of the world population and consume 40% of the world’s resources.
And here is the point I started on July 20.
And then I bring my fat, free voting, Christian, American butt over to save the day.
One small matter of fact, on top of all that: I haven’t had the common decency to learn their language before I swoop in to save the day.
The mighty American. What a crock.
And so, I break my back over a ditch. Lay tile as beautifully as I can. Sand down school desks and pray over each one. Hoist cinderblocks over rebar, and wonder, all the while… Will this change me.
I want to be changed.
Cuan Grande es Dios.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Sunday, July 18 and then some
I hear monkeys! And I’m not talking about about Tova and Phil HA! Actual monkeys. They do a groan/bark thing. How WEIRD is that??
I have to tell you – Tova sat in with our little small group tonight. She was talking about God, and what God has given each girl. She told the girls how beautiful they were, inside and out. She told them that God has blessed them and they need to know it and do it.
I started thinking about my small groups, and Sunday school classes growing up. I was a TOTAL misfit – not bad – just the wrong fit.
I remember my Sunday school teacher – I guess I was in Jr High ish. She was really together, beautiful, demure, organized, holy and whatever else. I know she meant well – REALLY well – but the message I heard Sunday/Wednesday after Sunday/Wednesday after Sunday/Wednesday was that if I wasn’t quiet and demure: translate: monovanilla – I wasn’t really a good fit as a Christian girl.
Now there’s NO WAY she could have meant for me to hear that (giving her benefit of the doubt) but that’s what I heard.
MAN O MAN did I spend a years trying to fit in with her ideas!! One year I even signed yearbooks as ‘God’s Handmaiden’!!! Can you believe it???? Ick. Blach. Gag me!
As I listened to Tova I thought: What if SHE had been my mentor, leader, teacher? Loving who I was, the heart of me. Seeing it and applauding God in me. Imagine – all the goofy, singing, dramatic, insecure, hopeful, confused, boy crazy, struggling, loving little bits of me being adored by someone who was convinced that God knew what He was doing when He dreamed me up.
These girls and guys are blessed to be in her care. Her momma heart is big. Way bigger than her body – though not big as her laugh.
Time for bed now.
I want to dream about the will of God tonight. Not a ‘what is the will of God for my life’ dream, but I want God to appear to me and tell me if there really is just one will per life.
And if you don’t hit it square in the eye, you’re sunk.
Now, there is a LOT about that thinking that would play well with my life, but I really have doubts about it being the heart of God at work.
Monday July 19
I have no more finger prints.
My back is shot.
My knees are swollen.
It’s very pretty.
Going to dinner, then worship, then bed.
Cuan Grande es Dios, and mi booboo’s.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Saturday July 17, and then some:
First of all, I guess I was the last to know that you could GO to Costa Rica and NOT see a beach. Up until 20 minutes before I got to DFW
I thought I was ‘giving of myself’ at, on or near sand and water.
If I sit very still I can feel a little briar patch creeping up around my we-are-the-world heart.
I am currently sitting in DFW waiting for my flight.
International travel being what it is, I have DAYS to poke around the shops. The bookstores are always my favorite. I found a book called, ‘How to Change Someone You Love’.
I called my boyfriend immediately. I knew he would be just as excited as me. I told him he could read it when I’m done.
Next, I spy with my little eye, a ‘Green’ bible. Really?
Then I wandered to Ben and Jerry’s. I found the perfect flavor, asked for a single/small cone. I was told that their small cones come with 2 scoops. GREAT! How cool!! That’s so customer servicy, so Ying & Yang, which is just so Ben & Jerry! So I picked my #2 flavor and slid over to the cash register. I noticed the cash register had a message on its read out screen. W
accustomed to the innocuous ‘Have a Nice Day’, but Mr.’s Ben and Jerry take every opportunity to make a statement. This message read, ‘Have a Euphoric Day’.
Totally loving that… then I was charged for my small cone. $5.27. I asked if was laced with opium, which would then explain the euphoria…
Btw:My house is 80% boxed up for the move my kids and I are making across town 4 days after I arrive back home. That means that even though I’ve been packing in a way that would assure that I’m lacking NOTHING for the mission trip, I still had to open 7 sealed boxes.
It is HOURS LATER… plane was delayed by 3 hours. Mechanical trouble. New plane. Herd 60+ kids to oppositeside of airport. Take tram. Tram broke. Had to get off. New tram: Twilight Zone experience. Found plane and sat down on it (seat, not wing).
We landed in San Juan, Costa Rica and are now sitting on the floor with our passports in hand. It’s midnight. Computers went down. We have a 2 hour bus ride ahead of us. And the truth is, we could be in this airport for several hours. On this floor.
Oh My Goodness.
It is now morning.
We arrived at Hotel Bambu @ 3am.
My room is gorgeous. Very simple/utilitarian.
What is this wood on the floor??? And it’s EVERYWHERE! Even the outdoor walkways are wood. The view from my balcony is ridiculously stunning. I can hear critters… and if I listen very carefully, a driving bass line – who brought a boombox???
The air is very thick.
B’fast @ 8:
The coffee at breakfast was the smoothest slick slippery brew I’ve ever tasted in my life. I ate my weight in mango – it was perfect mango.
Every morning at b’fast akid will be giving their faith testimony. That’s pretty sweet – sometimes the choir needs to be sung to!
I think what the kid said this morning is pretty right on thinking for most kids that have spent some years in church and the grown ups they grow up to be.
His struggle is with maintaining a spiritual high. He is hoping to be set on fire during this trip – something sustainable.
As much as we all would like that, we know – those of us who are a little further on the journey – it doesn’t happen. Euphoria is not sustainable.
Instead the journey with God is littered with twists, turns, battles and sometimes even terminal wrecks of faith.
If you make it even further in the journey, you realize the highly coveted ‘euphoria’ you’re sporting has more to do with what you have personally come to know: skin graphs can cov
er the deepest woundings: than the celebration of having maintained dignity thru a bone crushing experience good Christians like to call ‘seasons’.
But that’s just me.
Dpt for church @ 9:
I’m told the entire service is in Spanish. RIGHT ON! Have to leave it to my Spirit.
Cuan Grande es Dios,
PS: ok. explain THIS!!