Saturday, September 20, 2014

Life and Death

Goodbye's must be the hardest part of life. 

Yet they also have an unshared ability to detail the beauty before the goodbye. And I have to suspect that part of the uniquely sharp pain is due that our bodies here and now cannot sustain the emotion of so many memories at once. Even aside from the loss thereof on top of it all. 

The heart is the hardest working muscle of our body, but there are things even it barely endures. 

Goodbye's produce this unworldly moment, wherein beauty and pain connect and are felt all at once. 

In the moment, it is unlivable. And yet we do live. And in the end, I find that beauty wins.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Always Hopes

"No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised."


"Love always hopes"

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

No One Hates Me

You know what bothers me the most about my "Christian walk" when I am really thinking about it?

No one hates me.

No one hates me! Not one that I know of really, truly hates me.

Jesus lived a life so radically loving, so highly offensive, and so stubbornly bent on truth, that He was hated for it. Mostly by what we would now call 'the church'. His people.

No one hates me.

I once heard someone talk about Jesus as the double-edged sword- with one side being love, and the other being truth. Honestly? Both are offensive. Those two things, in their purest forms... are offensive.

Because the Truth is that there really is only one way to the Father- and it for sure isn't through my good efforts. I could be the best person in the world- the kindest, most generous, most sacrificial person on the planet, and it's not going to get me into the good graces of God. And the Truth of love is that the person who has absolutely NO social awareness, or that person who is somewhat of a jerk and completely lacking in tact... or that person sitting next to me of very much opposing beliefs... is to be loved, and defended. That pro-choice, democratic, lesbian Buddhist. Is Jesus' friend.

But no one hates me.

Why? Because no one has reason to hate me! What Truth I have, and what Love I have... I keep to myself. Sure, I can sugar coat it under a mask of not wanting to offend, and there truly is that desire in me. But the greater desire is not to offend myself. Not to offend my reputation.

So I sit and listen while people mock that person at work that constantly smells, or the family member making a racial slur, or shoot- the things I say or think or feel or believe. Or how often I sit in uncomfortable silence when all that's bursting out of me is this gnawing desire to talk about Jesus.

I writhe in this setting of vanity, and blame my conditions for it, when there is a perfectly well-abled person sitting in my own silent chair not saying a blasted thing about it.

But no one hates me.

No one hates me.

"If the world hates you, know that it hated me before it hated you." - Jesus.

I don't love like Jesus loves. And I don't stand for Truth like Jesus does. So no one hates me.

And I hate that.

"Oh wretched man that I am- who will rescue me from this body of death?! Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

"Christ in me, the hope of glory."

"Be perfect therefore, as your Father in heaven is perfect."

Here's to perfection. Here's to letting Jesus talk for once. Here's to the prayer that He speak up before I filter His voice. Here's to loving so well that someone in the church hates me for it.

Here's to desperately seeking Jesus, and finding Him. And letting Him out.

"I came not to condemn the world, but to save it." -Jesus. Love. And Truth.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

When Love Looks Like Conflict

My happiness today is a result of conflict. Confused?
What do you think? What does love look like? Real, heart-wrenching, I-love-you-and-I-won’t-help-it love.

I think we mistake admiration for love sometimes. Don’t get me wrong- admiration is powerful and wonderful!!! There are so many people that I admire. And I think a good handful of people who admire me. But a rectangle is not always a square.

Any relationship that gets close enough to use the word ‘love’, is at some point going to require communication. Love is most often wonderful and consuming and satisfying! But love is also vulnerable.

As unfortunate or backwards as it may seem, I have come to realize over the years that the best way to discern love is to look for the people who are willing to address the uncomfortable.

Sometimes love is messy. Sometimes love looks like conflict.

There are times that we need to take our annoyances, set them aside, forget them, and move on. But there are at other times comments or actions that run a little further than pet peeve. And I think we can deceive ourselves thinking that in love we can swallow our hurt and not address it, but we silently build walls around that portion of our heart and close off from that person in that area.

A mentor (in actual love) recently shared some things that they see about me that were very difficult for me to hear. Some of them painfully and obviously true, and maybe one or two that are misunderstandings. Feeling misunderstood was probably the hardest part. Not going to lie- there was crying.

But after the defense mechanism fades, and offense is overridden, there lies this glimmer of hope in me. Let’s do this. I’m in. Because whatever hurt there may be, or whatever misunderstandings there may be, they are willing to bring them up.

And I cherish that beyond words.

Beyond words.

It takes serious guts to address our own hurt, or to admit that we see something that is hindering life in a friend. And yet those friends are out there! There really are people that not only admire us, but want to be close to us, and will inevitably see those secret strands of imperfection. And then the kicker- love us enough NOT to say goodbye at that point, but to address their concerns.


Iron sharpens iron.

These people who have chosen to battle with me are the people I have given highest priority in my life. (A short list: my parents, my husband, a couple best friends, and my God.) No, I’m not just going to surround myself with people who don’t believe in me and speak illy of me. But if someone loves me enough to get close to me, and once I have offended, to address that rather than run?


It’s just Jesus through and through.

I am so thankful to be loved so well.  And I have so much more to learn, but I really do at heart want to love well.

Christ in me, the hope of glory!

In conclusion- I am happy today, because I have been working on those things that my mentor addressed, and for the remaining misunderstandings, I know I have another person in my life willing to get dirty. Yay loving body of Christ!

Beautiful friendships = playing in the dirt together!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Things Worth Reading

So last night, craving some much-needed brain food, I dusted off an old college literature book looking for some good poetry, and found this gem!

I will not, for the fear of boring you to death, relay all of my many favorite bits from this work, but there were some that I thought worth sharing. 

Below are a few excerpts from Alexander Pope's An Essay on Criticism written in 3 parts over the course of 1709-1711. He offers his advice on strengths and failings of critics and poetry, but the piece is infused with glorious statements and applicable life lessons fit for anyone. So good. 

Here are a few!

"Be sure yourself and your own reach to know,
How far your genius, taste, and learning go;
Launch not beyond your depth, but be discreet,
And mark that point where sense and dullness meet."
-Pope. Part I. Lines 48-51

"Like kings we lose the conquests gained before,
By vain ambition still to make them more."
-Pope. Part I. Lines 64-65

"For wit and judgment often are at strife"
-Pope. Part I. Line 82

"Great wits sometimes may gloriously offend,
And rise to faults true critics dare not mend;
From vulgar bounds with brave disorder part,
And snatch a grace beyond the reach of art,
Which, without passing through the judgment, gains
The heart, and all its end at once attain."
-Pope. Part I. Lines 152-157

"Of all the causes which conspire to blind
Man's erring judgment, and misguide the mind,
What the weak head with strongest bias rules,
Is pride, the never-failing vice of fools."
-Pope. Part II. Lines 201-204

"The power of music all our hearts allow."
-Pope. Part II. Line 382

"Some ne'er advance a judgment of their own,
But catch the spreading notion of the town;
They reason and conclude by precedent,
And own stale nonsense which they ne'er invent."
-Pope. Part II. Lines 408-411

"We think our fathers fools, so wise we grow;
Our wiser sons, no doubt, will think us so."
-Pope. Part II. Lines 433-434

"To what base ends, and by what abject ways,
Are mortals urged through sacred lust of praise!
Ah, ne'er so dire a thirst of glory boast,
Nor in the critic let the man be lost!
Good nature and good sense must ever join;
To err is human, to forgive divine."
-Pope. Part II. Lines 520-525

"Be silent always when you doubt your sense;
And speak, though sure, with seeming diffidence"
-Pope. Part III. Lines 565-566

"But where's the man, who counsel can bestow,
Still pleased to teach, and yet not proud to know?
Unbiased, or by favor, or by spite:
Not dully prepossessed, nor blindly right;
Though learned, well-bred; and though well-bred, sincere;
Modestly bold, and humanly severe:
Who to a friend his faults can freely show,
And gladly praise the merit of a foe?
Blessed with a taste exact, yet unconfined;
A knowledge both of books and humankind;
Gen'rous converse; a soul exempt from pride;
And love to praise, with reason on his side?"
-Pope. Part III. Lines 631-642

"An ardent judge, who, zealous in his trust,
With warmth gives sentence, yet is always just;
Whose own example strengthens all his laws,
And is himself that great sublime he draws."
-Pope. Part III. Lines 677-680
Jesus! Ahem... :)

Alexander Pope by Michael Dahl
Look at his little quil! :)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Pianos and Hearts

Sometimes the piano seeps into me like the word of God

Piercing until it divides soul from spirit
It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart

Placement and Photography by Steve Hoefer

Verse: Excerpt of Hebrews 4

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Look Ma, I'm Camping!

So. After a long day at work, and ignoring the fact that Switzerland has broken our truce and is currently holding my husband hostage [true story], I came home perfectly prepared to cook and clean.

I noticed this morning that it was a bit more brisk than usual, but was mostly amused by my inability to see in the bathroom due to the sauna I had apparently created by turning on the hot water. 

"A bit more brisk than usual", however, does not even come CLOSE to what it felt like when I came in from my long day at work. 

Clearly... SOMEBODY decided to stop working....

So, naturally, I did what any sensible farm girl would do; I dressed myself up to look like the Michelin Man, and plopped down in front of the fire to thaw.

Look Ma, I'm camping!!...

KUMBAYA anybody?!?!?!

(My options were to laugh at myself or have a total melt down. I think I chose wisely.)

Just as well! I'm off to see which Goat wants to cuddle with me tonight...

"Come here, you little fluff ball... give us some snuggles!"