June 7, 2012
Journeying through the wilderness is like an emotional CrossFit program. You are strengthened and conditioned in the most intense of situations. The only thing that sustained me was the love of people and the complete living into the mystery of “His grace being sufficient” it is in the wilderness I learned in the most visceral sense what St. Paul could have meant when he said “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”
When you have no control over a situation that ends up bringing such heart wrenching sorrow you realize just how weak you really are. The power of God to bring strength and healing at such deep levels and the conditioning of the soul to be still, relinquish and hope for me only came by the Spirit of God.
I sense I am out of the wilderness now. The journey now continues and I find myself on the sea. The sea has many waters to navigate. My friend Jessica wrote a beautiful song that captures some of the waters I find myself navigating. Take a listen. Just as the Spirit of God carried me through the wilderness I now put up my sails and see how and where the Spirit will navigate this leg of the journey.
April 13, 2012
I love this quote by Wendell Berry, “The shoddy work of despair, the pointless work of pride, equally betray Creation. They are wastes of life.” So true, and I would say they betray New Creation. We’ve just celebrated Easter, the resurrection of Jesus, an embodied reality that God is with us and is inviting each one of us to participate in New Creation. Participating in new creation simply means in the midst of a still very broken world, I will choose to not cave to despair. When the circumstances of life seem to invite, no, invite is too kind of word…when the circumstances of poverty, sickness, selfishness, greed and any kind of evil invade my life I pray for mercy. Mercy that the new creation in Jesus will intervene and grace me to participate with peace, love, healing, justice and truth.
And the flip side of that coin, “the pointless work of pride” that wallows in self-contempt or grandiosity in order to prove myself I will beg for mercy and grace to walk in forgiveness, humility, strength and light.
As this present evil age wages war on all that is holy and good, I will practice longing for, looking at the evidence and stepping into the new world that Jesus brought. A world that is emerging in the midst of the brokenness. A world that is full of compassion, peace, and kindness. A world that bursts with the colors of faith, hope and love.
The shoddy work of despair and the pointless work of pride, betrayals and wastes of life – yes, I would say very much so.
March 15, 2012
Lent, the season of relinquishment. Relinquishment, letting go, surrender all verbs, something we do. Time in the wilderness definitely calls forth action but the action I find being called forth during this season in many ways is what Jesus might have meant when he said if we wanted to follow Him we would have to pick up our cross daily. Some of the relinquishment I am being invited to:
• Giving up any sense that I can control things that are absolutely out of my control, not even sure that makes sense.
• Letting go of expectations that at one time seemed legit.
• Surrendering to the paradox of surrendering my will to God’s will but even that is not in my own power but by God’s grace.
• Abandonment of all illusions that we don’t live in a war zone
• Surrender to a dependence on and a desperation for the Spirit of God
• Letting go of people in graciousness that I really don’t “have” to be present to
• Giving up on pretenses
• Releasing my pride to accept kindness and goodness in all the ways in which they come to me
• Letting go of willfulness and embracing willingness (Thank you Richard Rohr)
• Desisting from self-contempt
• Surrender to the powerlessness of meeting other’s expectations of me
My time in this wilderness is definitely a painful call to action…
February 28, 2012
As I continue to reflect on the Lenten journey today I found myself reflecting on Jesus’ forty days in the desert, the wilderness. The Judean wilderness was largely uninhabitable and full of dangers for anyone traveling through let alone staying for forty days. Dangers from the scorching sun by day and the extreme cold at night. Dangers from the wild animals and scorpions, the lack of food and scarcity of water. Today in my reflection on the journey through the wilderness this is what came up for me:
Dangerous animals – right now the most dangerous animal threatening to devour is “cancer.”
Scorpions – the poisonous sting from people’s unkind words, their projections, their unresolved pettiness and lack of relational integrity. One of the most vile scorpion bites – passive agressive behavior
Scorching sun – anxiety surrounding provision for those I care deeply about
Extreme cold – Biting fear, fear of the future, fear of harm to those I love, fear of rivers of sadness as you watch those you love in pain.
The wilderness journey for Israel, Moses, Elijah and Jesus end with renewal, faith, hope and vision. I will hold that posture…justice comes. As my friend David sings, “#LTKC!”
February 11, 2012
Our family is once again facing the demonic illness named cancer. This illness has wreaked havoc in the lives of the people I love most on this earth and once again it has come to call. Words from the doctors, “incurable, 6-10 weeks, chemotherapy, maybe 6-8 months” these are surreal words that should not be spoken over a thirty-five year old husband, father, son, brother, uncle. Our hearts are breaking yet finding strength in everyone’s prayers, thoughts, blessings, love and words of comfort and peace. Our grandson, Daniel is three. Whenever he is getting his picture taken he gives you the “peace sign.” I’m told that’s big in Korea (where he is from). Little does he know that’s exactly what is needed for him, for his mom, for his dad and for his extended family both here in the States and back home in Seoul.
This I know. God is not the inventor or author of the insidious disease named cancer. Cancer comes from the pit of hell where one day when its all said and done there will be no more sickness, no more dying and every tear will be wiped away. Until that time we know that when it comes time for our son to pass from this life to the next, death does not have the last word. In the end of all that is now temporal will be made right, cancer does not win.
Daniel you keep giving us the peace sign. As we watch your innocence in flashing us that sign we will breathe in peace and trust that one day, “All matter of things shall be well.”
January 31, 2012
For Christians that follow the liturgical calendar it is the season of Epiphany. However, today I find myself back in a season of waiting…
Waiting to hear decisions
Waiting to make decisions
Waiting, feeling powerless
Waiting, holding onto faith by a thread
Waiting, clinging to hope for dear life
Waiting, wondering what will be…
January 7, 2012
It is time for me to prime the pump of the writing well. I have different writing projects I simply put on hold after completing a four-year doctoral program. I sit in my home office today, reflecting, reading, thinking and trying to get some creativity flowing.
I started my blog years ago and committed to writing in it at least a few times a week to start a creative flow. Now, eighteen months post graduation, I am going to begin writing here on a consistent basis to develop my writing muscle.
Let the random thoughts, stories of life and questions about the journey once again commence!
July 24, 2009
I haven’t been blogging for a few months. Too much going on.
Alex played baseball in the Spring and then made the All Star’s Team. We lost control of our schedule. He had practices 6 days a week and then game to game depended on if they won or lost the prior game. He is obsessed with baseball! It was a ton of fun watching him but March through mid-July was a bit long.
My mom passed away in June. That was a tough time. Once again all the unresolved issues that come up for a highly dysfunctional family came right to the surface. The farther away I get from her passing the more I am able to disconnect from all the negative emotions that come from having to interact with my siblings. I am actually relieved that I don’t ever have to interact with them again. And when I say that, it might seem harsh but there are some times when there is no hope for reconciliation because without change it’s dangerous to put yourself back into an unsafe situation. Now that my mom is gone there is no reason and that is a relief.
Rich and I took a short trip to Vegas to just get away for a few days. While we were there my daughter convinced me to play in a Texas Hold’em tourney. I did, there were 154 players and I won! I played from 7:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. What a surreal, fun, crazy experience. I was in shock for days afterward. Rich and I walked around Vegas for the next 2 days in utter amazement we kept saying to each other “how did that happen?”
VCC is going well. Some changes coming soon. Very exciting.
I am on the last leg of my doctoral journey. I am writing my dissertation. I have been a bit paralyzed and blocked thinking about the 260 pages I need to write. Someone gave me a brilliant idea to write 12 pages at a time. I am going to try it. I am also blogging again. It helps me get the creative writing juices flowing.
We are having a beautiful summer in Seattle. I cannot remember a time that the weather was this great and for so long. Back to writing…
January 5, 2009
Lots of really great stuff happening and lots going on. VCC is growing and healthy. We have some important decisions to make about how we will go forward. Lots of prayer and planning this month.
Alex turns 11 on Friday. I cannot believe he is already 11. Time goes by so fast. He wants to go to Tasters Wok for dinner with his brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews (this has become a tradition) and then on his actual birthday which lands on a Friday this year he is having 3 of his friends for a sleep over. What a joy he is to us. He is a good boy, sensitive and kind. I think he is a bit introverted which is so interesting to me because he has two very extroverted parents – well at least one very high extrovert (Rich) and me, I am more right on the mid-line…I get energy from being with people but I definitely need time alone, for silence, reflection and thinking. I see Alex a bit more like that. He loves being with people but definitely needs his down time. I so enjoy him. He makes me laugh and he makes me proud.
I am going to try to keep blogging but I am coming to the end of my course work and will have to really buckle down to write my dissertation so my blogging will be a bit spotty. I am, however, going to begin writing my story. I am going to write some of it as notes on my facebook page as I can control who is reading it there. A public blog seems a bit to vulnerable for that kind of writing so I won’t be posting any of it here for the time being. If you are interested in following that story you can find it on my facebook page.
I think 2009 is going to be a very good year. I am hopeful and expectant for what this year will bring while at the same time trying to live in the every day moments of my life.
I wish a very joyous, blessed 2009 to all of you.
December 21, 2008
Advent/Christmas, the entire season is really my favorite time of the year. I love autumn but I really love this time of year. I have wonderful memories of Christmas through the years. My mom would make Italian Christmas cookies, candy and lots of pasta. Christmas Eve we would go to midnight mass and then come home and open one present before going to bed, always new pajamas!
My mom would set out milk and Italian cookies (scallini), divinity fudge but not just for Santa, she would tell us that Jesus and the apostles would come and sit around the table as well. Imagine as a small child thinking, “Jesus and the apostles are sitting at our table tonight?” That was just as exciting to me as Santa coming.
Christmas morning my parents would always leave a “big’ gift unwrapped out for each of us, this was our gift from Santa. One year it was a bike, another a Chatty Kathy doll (I loved that doll?) another an Easy Bake Oven…
Christmas meant, peace, giving, receiving, good food, family, church, very fond memories.
Somehow over the years I have grown to love the entire season, beginning with Advent. Embracing not only celebrating that Jesus came as a baby over 2000 years ago, but living in hope that He will come again and when He does, everything, all sickness, death, violence, war, mental illness, addictions, poverty, everything will be put to right. This is how I celebrate the four weeks of Advent and the season of Christmas.
Each week we as we light the Advent candles we have reflected on each candle and asked the question, “how can I give and receive the gift of hope, peace, joy and now today, love?”
Today we had to cancel our worship gathering because of weather, we would have listened to folks from our community tell a story of how the light of Christ came into some part of their darkness this past year. Then we would have had a talk on how to“ receive” this Christmas. We would have sang carols together and closed in prayer.
Today, in order to practice waiting for Christ to come in all His forms into my life, I will light the Advent candles with my family, sit in stillness for 15 minutes and receive the love of God into my entire being and then we will sing some Christmas carols. This week I will try to be mindful of how the light of Christ comes into my life moment by moment. As I drive around town and see Christmas lights I will look at them in wonder and allow them to shine into my soul and use them as moments of prayer to ask God to shine his love into the hearts of those that are suffering and in pain.
I wish you a wonderful, blessed Advent/Christmas season.