Tuesday, October 16, 2007
" As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit - just as you were called to one home when you were called - one Lord, one faith, on baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." -Ephesians 4:1-6
bearing: to hold up; support. To hold or remain firm under. To suffer; endure; undergo. To strive harder, intensify one's efforts.
I am learning, again, that we're all human and prone to pride, harshness, impatience, anger, frustration, and disunity. What does it look like to bear with one another? To suffer for, with and because of each other? To support and uphold? This is a hard thing to do - bearing with one another - much more so in love. In love requires us to examine how we are bearing with one another. Not in anger or frustration, not it pride or impatience, but in love.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Have you ever had the feeling that life is about to explode, that something has to give? People can only be pulled in so many directions for so long. I have to wonder, what's going to give, and what's going to follow. I have a sense of peace about it all though. It must be God, because, well let's just be honest, the only time I'm not overly stressed out is because someone else is more stressed out or God has somehow circumvented the freak out button. Though, I have a feeling I am not the one most stressed out, and I would hope that means a miracle is about to happen, I'm not so sure that's where God is taking all of this change.
To accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And the Wisdom to know the difference.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
My mom has many stories about me when I was little. Most parents do. As I have heard them, some more than others, my mind has warped stories with brief memories and infused them into a hybrid of what I heard and what I could remember. One particular story that I seem to remember whenever a topic near to it comes up, is about sheep and driving.
When I was young, probably two or three, but no older than four, I must have been obsessed with sheep. Perhaps it was just that I was at the age where I was able to point at things and give them names, and sheep was just one of them I had learned that week. Needless to say, my mom has commented (more than once) on a particular drive through the countryside of England, in the "lellow" car. I must have sheep in one of the fields, and in one of those young, excited voices, I screamed " Sheeeeeep! Mummy, sheeeeep!" Apparently I must have scared her sufficiently enough to retell the story, and therefore have it firmly placed in my memory. Little Leya sitting on cushions in the passenger seat of an old "lellow" car screaming at the sheep as we passed by.
Somewhere in my younger Christian years, mid-high school I would guess, I grew fascinated with the idea that we, human beings, are continually referred to as sheep. Dumb, in fact ridiculously stupid animals. I mean, they drown on their backs in the rain, they always want the grass elsewhere (usually on the other side of the fence) even if the grass is better where they are, and they are always prone to wander. They need to be watched over constantly. They cannot defend themselves. And we are referred to as sheep... I can see the resemblance. When Jesus entered the picture (on Earth, that is), he talked some about sheep, and about shepherding. He was after all, referred to as the good shepherd, so it would make sense... even though he was a carpenter by trade... but I digress. One of my favorite parables is about the lost sheep (the beginning of Luke 15). Jesus explains that if one sheep out of a hundred sheep is lost, a good shepherd will leave the 99 to find the one missing one. What's worse leaving one dumb animal by itself or leaving 99 for the sake of the one that probably wandered off? This parable used to confuse me. Why on earth would you put the 99 sheep in danger, for one? You have 99 more! One sheep isn't going to make a huge difference on the amount of wool you're going to get at sheering time. I don't think I ever piped up about my questions in bible study when we talked about this, so it took time for me to realize the significance of it all. Apparently shepherds know their sheep... by name, even. If one goes missing, it's akin to one of my kids at day camp missing. 99 sheep probably aren't going to bolt and their's strength in numbers, even if they aren't the smartest and well equipped animals, but one sheep by itself can get seriously lost and hurt without someone watching over it. Ends started to meet and I was left with the understanding that no matter the number of sheep, or anything special to us, if we care enough about it, we are going to seek out the lost or missing. More over God is going to seek out the lost or missing, not because He isn't concerned about the rest, but because he cares that much about me, or He cares that much about the individual. There are more than 6 billion people roaming this world and He knows us by name, and He cares enough to seek us out.
I don't think I will fully understand the reality of God's compassion.
Friday, August 17, 2007
I want to do great things. It's hard to sit still, and I don't do it very often, need I say often enough. I'm about to start a job that isn't my dream, and I wonder what God has in store for me. What is he preparing me for? After the earthquake in Peru and the mine mishap in Utah, I wonder. I am drawn to disaster, I am drawn to those who are hurting. It's hard to be where I am, mentally. I am bitter toward those who have so much yet give so little - building their own palaces. Yet I do this personally, not in a million dollar type of way, but with my time and with what money I have, I build an empire of my own, neglecting the Kingdom God has established for me! Why should I be so haughty and proud to believe that I could build something greater than He?
I'm sure some of my friends call me cynical and sarcastic, heck! I call myself those things, but I think they are starting to be more negative influences in my life - in my relationship with God. I struggle to see the church and people represented in a positive light. I doubt any goodness I see in people, and I am unsurprised by the poor decisions other Christians make. I struggle to see the fruit that my life bares when I neglect my prayer time or time reading my Bible. Instead I grab a novel or watch some TV. Each season I convince myself to read a little more, pray a little more, and all in vain as I sit back down to the TV and grab my book of choice. It's not to say that I can't watch TV and I think I might go a little crazy with out a novel in progress. However, my priorities are skewed. It's that constant struggle to keep God first others second, and myself at the end of that line, while not neglecting my personal sanity.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Faces of lost
Faces of stolen
Faces of enslaved
Broken by the hand and mind of man
What lies have we believed?
To become so blind
To become so deaf
To the pain and suffering
That surrounds us
We live beside it
Breathing. Praying. Pleading.
For us to see, to hear
Why have we believed such lies?
Not all can say they are not for sale
Saturday, August 4, 2007
My mind has slowed down in the past hour, but today has been full of thoughts, dreams, wanderings, and a touch of anxiety (perhaps more of a temporary grasp caused by unknown reaches in Aardvark books).
After a lazy and unfortunately early morning I finalized plans to meet Lauren at Civic Center and have a small City adventure. As usual I was running early/on-time and Lauren was running a little late. In a moment of sheer brilliance (ok, more like smart thinking) I decided to read my book in the UN plaza as it was sunny, unlike my current housing location. As I was shuttled up the escalator into the downtown sun I could hear a couple arguing about money. I wasn't surprised when I saw it was a homeless couple. A few people discreetly watched the argument, but most people just passed by. As I walked towards the fountain I could see groups of homeless laying out in the early afternoon sun. It has been a strangely warm summer for San Francisco. One man in particular caught my eye - he was laying in front of the black marble pillar that had the words of the United Nation's charter preamble inscribed in it. I was taken back by the duality and dare say the hypocrisy that this image created. A man that lay homeless and unconscious to the world lay at the foot of a structure that sought to memorialize a charter - a proclamation - that declared the "equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family." I was inspired to write
I sit beneath two flags
Amidst a memorial that proclaims peace
Thar cries out for the equal rights of all mankind
Laying in the sun under the black marble placard that bare the words
That brought the United Nations into being
A man recovers from his sleepless night
Crotch wet with urine
Mouth open wide
His chest rises and falls
Unconscious of the city that moves around him
Tourists search to find a way to capture
The freedom giving words
Without the image of a man that clearly sites the duality of what this plaza truly represents
I spent my afternoon walking around the city with Lauren. We grabbed a picnic style lunch from Trader Joe's and enjoyed it in the sunshine of the park that I have been to every Monday afternoon with my Day Camp kids. It seemed much more peaceful today. We passed through Yerba Buena Gardens and as much as I wanted to taken in the Martin Luther King Memorial and the beauty of the green sanctuary that lay tucked in between the MOMA and the Metreon. After a quick wander around the MOMA gift shop we made our way to the embarcadero via Peet's and Market St. Eventually we parted ways and I was left to write my grandma a letter on a notecard that I picked up at the gift shop. I found myself writing to her on one of the piers as the fog rolled in. After the fog came in I made my way back to MUNI to head down to Church St. to explore Aardvark books. I hadn't been in there for a while, but as a pleasant surprise the moldy smell had disappeared. I suspect it has more to do with the weather drying out the old carpet than the mold going away. It was strange to be walking around there by myself again. I think it took me back to a place that I didn't want to be. I was so overwhelmed at one point I had to sit down and write:
"I suddenly have the intense feeling to escape my life and live on the streets of San Francisco... is that normal for recent graduates? I'm sitting on the floor of Aardvark Books against the Native American Studies bookshelf. This sudden feeling came just after a brief moment of anxiety as I walked through the used literature and during my perusal of the travel section. After the realization that there are very little guides that show San Francisco for what it is. The beauty, the pain and the struggle of the people of this city. I wonder if I should act on this feeling. My mother, in my mind, is saying it would be a bad idea. Debbie is saying I should pray about it, and Lauren is doing the thoughtful "mmmm." I'm trying to talk myself down and put a little rationality and reason in my head . I am afraid of adulthood."After purchasing my books my mind reeled all the way home. It seemed to slow down after I got some food in my stomach and sat down to write. I did realize something important though, as I walked home from West Portal... I should live in community, I need to live inside of my head less, it gets scary in there!
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
No wait, I am at my tipping point, I have passed tired and I'm just running on the pure grace of God, which seems to be my frayed rescue rope. Well worn and stretched out, I don't know how long it can hold me up. It sounds almost silly to think that God's grace is wearing out, but in my head there is very little ability to grasp onto the grace that he has given me.
Friday, June 29, 2007
I had a talk with God this evening. It was pretty one sided. Like a venting fight with a good friend who just knows to listen. I shouted for a while, as I put the dishes away. At first it was in pure desperation, throwing my hands up into the air and looking at different parts of the ceiling. Later it became a frustrated, choked up conversation. We talked about the craziness that some people have to deal with in their life. I talked about my issues with wanting to save the world (of course I didn't actually use those words... they're just the words that seem to make sense right now). I found myself walking in circles in my one sided conversation, asking why for others, asking why for myself, asking why in general and back again. God doesn't seem to answer the why questions. I told him I wanted to hear him audibly, that I was tired of simply trying to feel His answers. Then I went back to why.
This conversation with God was sandwiched between two conversations with the same person, in no unlikely cosmic mishap. The starter conversation had actually been the second time I was on the phone with this person today. They had called me earlier in a foul mood, one of those moods that doesn't speak in metaphors, but rather epithets and profanity. After convincing this said person that I could do nothing if they didn't tell me what was going on, I got a little bit of information. In short this person's short temper had backfired and now they were scared. After a little bit of straight talk I was told I would get a call back later. The next conversation, the first piece of bread in God talk sandwich was a follow up. I called to make sure that the person had followed through on some of the steps to hopefully soften the blow of their temper backfire. I was comforted with the unfortunate words "I was stupid, are you going to be mad?" These words I have heard before, they usually begin the I did this last night conversation. Some of them end with, "I'll show you the (self-inflicted in a way) bruise tomorrow. You should see the hole in my wall."
I thought I wouldn't be phased by the conversation, and I prefaced it with the normal, " I haven't been mad at you to the point of not talking to you yet, but if you're starting with that sentence, you might expect me to be upset." Then it came, words that made me more than upset, they put fear back into my heart for this young person. It started with, "After school a whole bunch of my friends went to the golf course..." For some people those words would be the beginning of a great story, how they resisted temptation, but I knew this was not one of those stories. For the next five minutes we talked, I can't recall much of what I said, but when they asked me if I was mad, I told the person that I was scared. They said they would call me back.
This was the time of my conversation. I couldn't just sit and talk, I got up and cleaned the dishes as I stormed around complaining, and laying it out for God. I was pissed at that point, and He knew about it. We talked for about 20 minutes. In that time I was reminded that I can do nothing on my own.
Two minutes after my frustration had defused my phone rang; I prayed until it went to it's last ring, then I picked it up.
The last piece of bread lasted for a while, as we discussed many things. We talked about addiction and quick fixes. We talked about consequences, and motives. Then we prayed, I prayed, then they did. We talked a bit about forgiveness in a round about way, then we ended with what now. It's no easy feat to overcome something that not only seems big, but is big in human standards. It's easy to organize our mastery of our own flesh when we foolishly think we can do it ourselves. Perhaps I will talk to the person in a few days and let them in on this thought. For now I will pray. Perhaps on my knees, as uncomfortable as it may be, I think it's worth it to be uncomfortable and pray - it reminds me that I am too weak to do things on my own.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Sometimes I need to stop
Into the nothingness that exists -
Just below my bedroom ceiling
To let the numbness settle
In hopes that I can feel again -
If I am still enough
I am tired of angry and discontent
They do not cover this loneliness
They no longer make me feel
I wish tears could wash away
Clean these thoughts
What I would do for him to
hold me close
So I could yell and pound against
Would any of my pain go beyond
his hollow shell
Does he still exist?
All that I feel is numb
It circulates through my veins
I want out of the mental anguish
This personal cell
God, why don't he just hold
Be my father
I need him to be
How can I understand who you are
If I can't understand who he is?
Thursday, April 12, 2007
I walked the city of oxford
In beat with Ani DiFranco
Letting the words wash over me like the breeze that seemed to never end
The cotton like pollen of the trees tickled my nose
Lost in my thoughts of how strange it was
My past colliding with my present
Contemplating the would haves
The could haves
The life that wasn’t mine
And the life that was
For some reason Ani understood my plight
So I walked to the beat of her guitar
People walked past me unaware of my thoughts
I passed painters capturing the beauty of willows dipping into the Thames
I smiled at childhood memories as the ducks talked to each other
Seeing my sister and I in a reflection throwing stale bread into the water
Bridges felt smaller than they used to be
Throwing pooh sticks and to the other side
One stride to cross the width
Leaning against the cold metal
My eye on the pooh stick as it floated freely down the river
Ani still played speaking of beauty and last night’s mistakes
I walked on
Lost in the time in between
The space that was neither yesterday nor today and certainly not tomorrow
Each sight and smell
Oxford faded from past to present
As I walked between the memories and the beat of Ani Difranco
Monday, March 26, 2007
I feel that this post needs to have a disclaimer. It was an assignment of sorts. I was told to write a reflection on a book called "Love my Rifle More Than You" so I did and this is what came of it. Again, it's not my normal writing and it has some harsh language in it, but I felt it was important to share.
In My Lane
Stay in your lane, I am told!
Neither left nor right
But I will choose what lane I drive
I will drive in your lane
With guns and gas masks
Fatigues and humvees
I will wear what you wear
I will drive what you drive
Armed with intelligence confidence and the same gun you carry
I will navigate my way up your mountain without you
I will earn the respect I demand from you
“Sir, yes Sir”
No! “Ma’am, yes Ma’am”
I have lived my life inside my lane
Unassertive, indecisive, expecting you to lead
Unsure because you told me to be
But your lane does not pull to the side or yield for faster traffic
Damn it! I’m coming over
I won’t be the slut that lets you pass
I will be the bitch that hits the gas
The bitch that won’t sleep with you
The bitch that won’t stand at ease
The bitch that won’t show you her tits
This bitch won’t back down
I will change the oil of my truck
Count my equipment
Maintain positive control of my sensitive items
1) Self confidence
3) Personal identity
5) Sanity and perseverance
All items present and accounted for
This woman, the one you consider a bitch
Is more confident than you are
More aware than you are
Is more sane than you are
And Drives better than you do!
Should I question your masculinity?
Am I more man than you could be?
I will be your subordinate
I will be your comrade
I will be your superior
I will be a bitch, but not yours
And there is no way in hell I will show you my tits
I won’t ask you to move over when I come in your lane
Because I’m tired of yielding
Because I’m tired of pulling over and being pushed over
So this bitch is moving over
Into my new lane
This lane I’ll stay in
Saturday, March 24, 2007
I sat at the window waiting for the sound of her car
I woke to every click of the door
Every chiming of keys
When she didn’t come home
At first I held hope
Perhaps next week
Maybe next month
When she didn’t come home
No one gave me an answer
She’ll be by soon
She needs some time
She’s getting clean
When she didn’t come home
At first I cried
Large droplets turning into free flowing streams
Streaking my face
Begging for understanding
My throat strained
Words distorted into choking sobs
When she didn’t come home
Questions ran through my mind
Ones I wouldn’t dare ask aloud
If I’d just tried harder
Would she still be here?
If I’d listened more closely
Kept my room cleaner
Would she still be here?
Was it my fault?
When she didn’t come home
I stopped crying
When she didn’t come
I closed my curtains
Slept through the night
Deafened myself to the sound of car engines slowing down the street
When she didn’t come home
I don’t cry anymore
I don’t care anymore
I don’t try anymore
I don’t love anymore
But I still ask those questions
Let them run through my
Could I have been better?
Was it my fault?
That she didn’t come home
Sunday, March 18, 2007
How beautiful it is to see your grace and mercy
in our brokenness!
In our vulnerability you provide clarity
A paradox of beauty in our lowest,
most broken moments.
How perfect is your love
Displayed in the single breath of finding joy in our trials
in the moment when we see just a glimpse
Of the amazing plans you have for us
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Even when it isn't cool
let me fall on my knees and worship your name
Even when it isn't cool
let me lift my hands
let me dance at your throne
Lord, even when it isn't cool.
Guard me from my pride
let me fall to my face in reckless abandonment
to give you my praise
to rest in your peace
How do I show them that you are in their darkness? God you are there in their pain, in their hurt you hold them close. "My child I am overwhelmed with grief when I see your tears, - your anger in frustration. My child I am here, I am here."
How do I show the endlessness of your love? I am only you child, just as they are. But God, I have felt your comfort, your loving embrace. Please show them what you have revealed to me in my darkness.
Your self control leaves me in awe. I realise now, how you feel when I sit and ignore your presence. I do not know what is going through their head. I do not know what is on their hearts. Lord please let it be on you. Let them find you in the voices that lift up your praise.
Who are you God?
Who are you to me?
A strong tower
A faithful father
not the broken reflection that this world provided me!
How many times have I asked for peace
for joy, for direction
Unlike this world, you have been faithful to answer my call
And even in my pain
you stand with me
While my faith my falter
my desperation rarely fades
so I cling to the promises that other have spoken
you will carry me when I am broken
when this world trips me up
You will be my light
in you alone I trust
in you alone I trust