As You Prepare to Leave

I'm feeling it tonight
Though I don't quite know what "it" is
It is a thankfulness
And a sadness
All wrapped together

She's in palliative care now
My mom says
Her health is declining
She will soon leave us

She's been a hero for me
Someone ahead, further down the road
Her life has given me glimpses of what mine might be
As I've watched her
Fifty years ahead of me

Aunt Annie,
I hope I will be like you in so many ways
Your positive outlook
Your choosing of grace, forgiveness and service
Rather than self-pity, bitterness or complaining
Your consistently reaching out to others
And yet trusting the Lord yourself too
There is probably much more too
But honestly, we haven't seen each other very often
For me to know more
I'm thankful for the amount of connection we've had
For your emails
For your encouragement

I hope this last leg of the journey goes well for you
I hope you know His comfort
His peace
I hope He holds you, in a very special way
I hope you are at peace
And that there is joy
As you graduate on
To the life after this one

Thank you for this life you have lived
Thank you for showing me how to live it well
To live it with courage
And with grace
I will choose to remember you
And I will take courage from your life
Long after you are gone
Thank you for your faithful journey
Thank you for the strength you have imparted to me

Blessings
Peace
Comfort
Be yours


I wrote another post for Aunt Annie a few years ago, for her 94th birthday. Here is more of this woman, and how she has blessed and impacted me: Thanks Aunt Annie!

Update: on Nov. 10, 2017 Aunt Annie took her last breath...

Trembling and Bewildered, Afraid

Mark 16 
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

The Realization

     I guess I am a little "afraid" after all.


But...

It's okay to be afraid and bewildered
   as you follow this Jesus
This Jesus...who will constantly surprise you
   with what he does next
It's okay
   that it takes you time to process it all

He still comes to you
   invites you into the experience
   and the revelition
He still goes ahead of you
   and waits for you
   in the unknown

Follow
Trembling
   Bewildered
      Afraid
Go there anyway
You won't want to miss out
   on this adventure!


The invitation:
   Expect the unexpected
   Cultivate a sense of anticipation (it is a faith) choice.
   And in my mind ring the words, "In the light of an unknown future, why would you choose fear [instead of faith]?"


Note: the above are my reflections that came from this Lectio Divina meditation: The Risen Christ Goes Ahead of You


Tired of Simplistic Faith

God, I'm tired of simplistic faith!
And simplistic teaching on faith
Simplistic lists of sins
That leave most of us feeling 
     self-satisfied with ourselves
     noble in helping others
     along with a little bit of pity
     ...disguised as compassion
"Come to the Cross,
     and everything will be okay"
Really?
That's all it takes?
What does that mean anyway?
Does it help us?
Does it help anyone?

And it bugs me
That this sort of thing is still
So prevalent
It seems we may be
Doing more harm than good
Inoculating people
Against true faith
When they get a chance
To finally hear it


Greetings Friend!

Hi there,
It was good to see you again today.
As you came close
I suddenly realized
How nice it was
And...
    It's been a LONG time

There you were
Feeling light and free
Enjoying people
Enjoying strangers
The elderly lady who was friendly
    Sitting beside her on the bus
Chatting, about 
    life
    the city
    what it's like to be retired
Noticing and enjoying the exuberant little girl
    Walking home from school with her grandmother
A smile for the woman walking her dog
Letting a young man know
    "I also like those little croissants
    ---bought some yesterday."

I saw you there
Just a few glimpses today
I wonder if you'll be coming back
More regularly
Stay for longer
I'd like that
I really would

I wonder what sort of space and time
Is needed for that to happen
Maybe you were never meant
To come back permanently
Maybe...
    You've changed in the absence
Maybe...
    I don't even know what I'm looking for
When I yearn to see the "real you" again

Ah...
The me I want to be
More often
For longer
I wonder what it will take

You Will Always Struggle... (Notes for the Journey #1)

You will always struggle to figure out how to live a healthy life.
Do not be surprised at this!

Your dreams are huge. New people and ideas keep coming. New projects start. You are changing. Your life is changing. Your body is changing. Those you work with are changing. All along the way you will discover new things about yourself, your energy levels, what inspires, what drains. There will be a continuing need to reexamine and then adjust, based on the new understanding that you have.  

Do not be discouraged at this need for continual discovery and change. Do not give in to the misplaced idea that because you have not yet "figured it out," somehow you have failed. 

What will work for you, will not work for someone else. What works for them, probably wouldn't work for you. YES! Learn from others. YES! Adopt and adapt time-tested principles. YES! Take on their wisdom and use it in your own life. But you are not "them" (whoever "they" are), and "they" are not you. 

Lay down this idea that "getting it right" or finally "figuring it out" should somehow be your goal, or that it is even possible. Drop the all-or-nothing thinking that leads you to either focus on "figuring it out" or giving up via the many ways you can run. 

Just live.

Live.
Breathe.
Relax.

Know that you are loved, you are valuable, what you do matters, and this all while you are so NOT "figured out."

Learn to live each day in hope. Learn to live each day, each moment, making the wise choice for that time. Yes, keep setting aside those times to stop and evaluate and strategize to make the adjustments needed based on what you see now. But do not expect it to be perfect. Don't even hope for that. Realize and embrace the reality that even the new (better) plan will need to flex, change, and someday it may be scrapped altogether. It will serve your journey for the time it was needed, and that is enough.

Again, take a deep breath.
Life is good.
Live it exuberantly.
Live it well.
In all your glorious, imperfect messiness. 

I'm...Just me

It hit a again
That sudden feeling of dismay
(or maybe it was envy?)
I see a good work an organization is doing
And, their organization, and ability to tap into resources
They have so much to offer
They do so many things so well

But me
I'm mostly just full of dreams
And plugging away at little things
That don't really seem to amount to much

Sometimes I wish
That somewhere
Out of the blue
Would drop in
Some people
With amazing abilities
And initiative 
To organize
Plan
Help us make what we have
Available to more people

But...I'm just me
We're just us
Limited
But with dreams
And a bit of stamina
Here we are
Staying in the process
Being formed
Growing
Learning
Hoping, somehow
It will all make a difference

I think it is
I think it has
Sometimes
For some people
I hope it goes deep
Stays
Spreads
I guess it's enough
It'll have to be

Do not despise the day of small things
Who are you to ask or expect to be someone else, or receive a different path? Just walk this one well. Keep learning to walk this one well...

I'm Back

I'm back
It's me again
Showing up again
Starting to face my life again

Oh, what a mess
So much, neglected for so long
It's hard to know where to start
Hard to figure out how to plan
But plan I must

I don't need a perfect plan
It will need to be adjusted
Time and again
But each time adjustments will be made
To address that season


I need a framework, to understand life, my life
Is the CWF one that will work?

Starting to feel again...

Maybe I am
finally 
starting to feel again
I've been
I've felt
     disconnected
for so long

Disconnected
   from me
   from feeling much of anything
rather numb, I guess
and I've wondered why

I still don't know why
not completely
I suspect it's related to this rather long season
a big transition 
with many 
    aspects
    choices
    tensions
Perhaps in the process
living with a constant undercurrent
of tension
     so many decisions
     so many unknowns
Maybe
sometimes
I don't let myself feel
lest the feelings overwhelm
and drown me

Now
maybe I'm moving again
into a place where I can breathe, again
I can figure out what it means to be me, again
get excited about going forward, again
maybe...

But for now
I'm thankful
I can sense
I'm starting to feel again

Feel
    the pain of situations happening far away
    the loneliness of missing family
Even
    some of that overwhelm again

No, the overwhelm, is not fun
there is so much ahead
    so much to face
    so much to learn how to do
    so many to whom I am responsible
    so many directions in which my head goes

But with the overwhelm
at least there is something to figure out
    and face
At least I'm not just in denial
    shut down

Perhaps, in the feeling again
I can even
once again 
start to feel 
connected to God, again
    and I think...that's what I've missed most


Words Fail

Written Mar. 30, 2017

So many times lately...I just don't have words. 
Well, not that I don't have words, but...I start to have some
And then the other side of the thing pops up
Other aspects
Other nuances
Or...the opposite extreme is also true
And the story becomes so big and complicated
I no longer know where to begin
Or if I should

Maybe I just need to sit in the reality longer
Not needing to write
Not needing to tell
Not needing to express

Well...I find
I just don't want to...write, tell, express

So much is going on
so much in so many directions
I don't even know what it really is
What the essence is
Must
    just
       experience

and ... let   go

God, is it You?

God, is it You?

Is it You that has called me?
Is it You that spoke?
Did You speak to me through Isa. 58
Leading me to think that the next decades 
   will be spent
   doing that
   there

If it was You
If You want me to do this
(and I have no other possibilities 
or options going through my head right now),
Then You're going to need to provide

I suppose You know all that is needed
I suppose You know all about
...the ideas
...the people
...the money
...the buildings
...the organizational structures
...the coordination
...the communication
and whatever else
that will be needed. 

Yeah, so, if You want this done...
Please lead me
Please show me 
What to do
How to live

And please hold me
Calm
At peace

Torn

It's that feeling again
Of being ripped apart
Having life to live 
And people I love
   on two sides of the ocean
I like each of the places
   when I am there
I can be excited about the other place
   when I think of it
And yet the leaving is hard
And seems to get harder
It's inevitable I guess
Unless I were to
   disengage my heart


Connecting to Myself

Not too long ago I finally cried when talking to God about something at night. The next thought was, "Oh it's good to finally be connecting with You again." And then I realized..."No, I am actually finally connecting with myself."


For some reason it's been hard again, these days...to connect to me--to know what I'm really feeling, and why...to process it all. 

Little sister had a baby this week--a baby born soon followed by testing, procedure #1, then surgery for an in utero known congenital heart problem. The tension and relief of all that--helped the tears to come, and I was glad.

I wonder what's going on with me. I wonder how to see it all. I understand some of it. Some I don't know. And I'm not quite sure what to do. 

And for some reason I'm now less eager to pour it all out...even here...


How Long Will I be Here?

Someone I know and respect lost his brother this week. He posted this music video. Ever since I watched it the words and melody have been running through my head.


The man who died--sounds like he was an amazing person, and a blessing to many.
He was 54 when he died.

I am 46.
Many have not made it to the age I am now.
A cousin was only 19 when he succumbed to cancer.
An uncle was only 42 when he left this world.

Some of my great aunts have lived long lives.
They would joke around--"One of our sisters died when she was young, she was 59." (Or was it 69?) Yes, they mostly lived well into their 90's, one (at least) past 100.

And so I ponder again this question: How long will I be here?
Not sure how much time I should spend pondering it.
At this point I don't know the answer, and don't really need to know.

And yet to stop and feel it, the poignancy and mystery of the brevity of life, and the reality that it is beyond our control--not a bad thing.
Somehow, it seems, it is important to learn to hold this reality, to live humbly before it.
And somehow it's important to then, not fritter away our days, make sure they are invested for what matters, lived well--stewarding well the "talents" entrusted to us.

Captured again


It amazes me, You know
How You do it
How You capture and inspire my heart
Again and again
Just when I wonder
If I'm too tired
If I'll ever know again
   the "me" that I'm meant to be
   the "me" that is alive to You
When I think I can't hear anymore
When I wonder if I'm dying
Or if I've permanently lost something
You capture my heart again

Last week it was through the book Chasing Fireflies. Oh my, what an amazing story! I cried several times (and laughed too). And through it, and by the end, and the author's personal reflection--You, pulling me, wrecking me actually, igniting again, or deepening, that passion for...to encourage and help young guys, to see them find healing and encouragement, to be amazing and good men--husbands, fathers--in the future!

I'm sure the messages I heard by N.T. Wright yesterday were also a part of renewing and refreshing, refocusing my eyes, my heart, reminding me of Your beauty, the privilege of having Your Word, of knowing Jesus.

Today, it is a song (or maybe more than one song...discovering a group I hadn't heard of--a few great songs!)--Wild Heart, by Urban Rescue. Yes, it brought tears...but maybe because I was needing to cry...to really connect again, or...first to acknowledge, that it's big, that it sometimes feels hard, very hard, and to bring it to You. But in this song, something touched me, something resonated...something in the song resonated with something already true and real and deep, down solid in me...

And in the tears
I know again
That I am alive


Ah...I know
I shouldn't doubt
You are the God who renews and refreshes
You promise to do these things
You, God of the resurrected Jesus
Of course You can resurrect
    and renew
    and revive
    even me.

Thank you.

Urban Rescue

Ooh, hadn't heard of this group before, but...I like this song:



And this one is good too--His Name


Courageously Wait

Wait patiently for the LORD.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.
Ps, 27:24, NLT

Yes, it does require courage...

Disconnected

Disconnected
That's the other word that describes how I have felt lately
Even longer than three weeks
Off and on

Disconnected from myself
Disconnected from emotions at times
Not really sure of what is what
Of who I am
Or how to properly judge
(or if I am)
How I am doing
From God's perspective
From a bigger perspective

And sometimes I've wondered 
If I was able to feel properly
Perhaps I'd be more excited
On meeting that person
Or in that discussion
If it was another time
Another place
A more integrated me

I'm moving into the rest that is needed
I'm hoping and believing it will help
To get to the place
Once again
Of knowing who I am
And where I am
In You

Unsettled

Unsettled
That has been the reoccurring feeling
Lessening now
But frequent upon landing
On this side of the world
The side that I'm supposed to call "home"
(There really is no "home" now,
that I know, or feel,
only one I hope for,
but that is another topic.)

I don't like the feeling
But it is good to recognize it
And maybe it is good that it exists
And comes to the forefront, 
Due to this shifting between locations.

I stop, often, and ponder the 'why' of the feeling
Where it comes from
Why it is there
And what might bring "settling"

The "why"
Actually probably "why's"
As there are probably several
Part of it is just a natural thing I think
Of not being used to this environment
These social settings
Not knowing how to behave
Or what are the correct or expected behaviours
And there is, behind that then,
The wanting to fit in, to "get it right"
Sometimes it has been a concern about how others see me,
Whether I am properly fitting in with their expectations
There may be other reasons and aspects

And there has been an awareness
That what will bring settling
Is knowing I am okay
Knowing Your love
Knowing You hold all things
I've thought of many words of Dallas Willard
About being free from all these worries
Being at peace--a pervasive sense of well-being
Knowing all is okay
Not needing to push for something with other people
Not wanting or needing them to see me in any particular way

So I'm thankful for the feelings
And the awareness that has been there
All along
And the moments of pause
To look to You
To ask for help
To grow
To learn
To change

I am held by You
I am loved by You
And the more I know it
The more I am settled

All the dreams that haven't happened

I don't know why it's there...
Suddenly, open, in Word...
A document from ... before...
Back when we were planning
When there was excitement
About doing things together...
But that is over now...
That one...with them...
And it hurts

And I think of others
How many times that has happened
What do I DO with all of this
What am I supposed to do?
How do I find hope again?
Why should I try?
Or think that if I do try again, with others,
That somehow it might actually go forward?

These are memories...that haunt
That hurt
Lord, what do I do with these--
Memories of hopes...raised, then dashed
And the dreams and visions 
That invite (or is it taunt?) me now?

(mostly written Dec. 23, 2015)

He prowls this way?

It's incredible, and eerie
The similarities between today
And Feb. 5, 2015
And the only reason I notice
Is it connects to the same one person
(that I rarely connect with)
And today I've reviewed what I wrote then.

Yes, both times around a person, the same person
    someone--these are the only two times of contact in this year
Then it seemed You brought him to mind
As I was in a time of praying and seeking
And You wanted me to ask him
To invite him to come work with us
For the guys
And I did
Well, I tried to
But I did my part
I sent a message
Tried to connect on the phone
He didn't want to talk it seemed
Brushed it of
Sent a text message saying someone else would explain

But today we talked
Yesterday he had sent a text message saying he wanted to
And I've heard about Your leading
And that he will come
And this is a great encouragement
This is a time of great joy
Or...it should be

But at the same time
Today
I've come to the end of myself
Almost despairing
Around other things
And the inability to move forward
And pain
And frustration
And I stumbled on
Something else I wrote
Then
Yes, almost despairing
Not knowing how to go forward
Feeling utterly alone

Is this...just simply part of the battle?
Is this what battle looks like?
On one hand, the fight, the push
For this person, to grow, move forward
And step into blessing others
And the fight within me

Is it that the enemy comes to discourage at this time?
Why? Just to make it harder?
Does he think I'm going to quit? Or give up?
I'm not. That's not going to work
Or maybe His effectiveness is in throwing up a smoke screen
Or sand in the eyes
Distracting the focus
Decreasing effectiveness
Time wasted for lack of seeing what is happening
And energetically responding

(written Jan. 11, 2016)
Related Posts with Thumbnails