I wonder if we think that clarity of self and life grows as we age but instead tolerance and blindness to ourselves is the true outcome with each passing year.  If only life did not possess so many curves and twists.  Life is a most odd commodity.  We strive to stay alive.  We scratch and push nature, technology, careers and health to survive.  Yes.  The cliche lives – or dies.  The old expression comes to mind, “life can change on a dime”.  If only I could live with that very sentiment in the front of my mind.  I wish I could get out of bed and each day and say – no – to remember to say, to myself that this could all change.  In the blink of an eye, to use another cliche, that somewhere in the world, someone’s mother has died, a baby is being born, an illness diagnosed, a marriage is made or dissolved.  Life is messy and there is no way to clean it up.  At least not on our own  And yet, we age and we think we see ourselves as we truly are.  How often do we see ourselves as we hope we could be?  Or worse, those around us, those who love us, those who come in contact with us see us as we truely are.  Perhaps, this is the way of all living things.

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Into the breach

Interesting, isn’t it?  The expression, “into the breach!”.  A breach is a rift or gap.  The expression comes from Shakespeare’s Henry V.  King Harry is calling to his exhausted men during an assult upon the walls of Harfleur in Act Three.  The full line is:

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead.    Act 3, Henry V.

Shall we abandon those exhausted among us who are fighting for their lives?  Shall we turn our heads and walk away?  Shall we ignore their cries.  Or, shall we instead, bear one another’s burdens?  Shall we stand in the gap?  Shall we go into the breach with them?  Comfort them?  Love them?  Cry with them?  Give them hope?

 

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Pretend

My heart has two metal valves and a pacemaker.  Nothing man can do to me physically can hurt as much as seeing my children in pain.   Yesterday, I was telling my youngest daughter about an expression, “fake it until you make it”.  We were talking about making friends.  She is lonely and especially feels alone at school.  It is agonizing to watch her in pain and, I think doubly so, because I was bullied as a child.  On some level, I am reliving the cruelty I endured as a teenager.  I don’t want to make this situation about me.  It is about her.  And pain.  And acceptance.  She tells me that she doesn’t fit in anywhere.  She doesn’t fit in at school, in the school activities, in the horrible survival of the fittest lunch hour.    And here I am telling her to be a friend, reach out to others, fake it until you make it.   She’s had some wonderful achievements so far this school year. She should be on top of the world.  Instead, she is climbing up a slippery ladder which whispers, “You can’t make it!”  Am I teaching her to pretend – to be the fake?  Plastic people bifurcate themselves – split into two persons in order to present themselves to the world outside and to themselves inside.  How Lord, do I communicate that she is beautiful and a hand-crafted, fully loved child of the King.  She is perfect the way you created her.   Motherhood really hurts.  And stinks.

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Underneath

I can’t get all spiritual today.  I am seeing my child hurting and I am grieved to the bone.  As an adult, I have difficulty adjusting to new situations.  Some say that a child is more flexible.  Some say that children can end when the storms of life blow. I know first hand as a child who lived in the storm throughout most of my childhood, we do bend and sometimes we break.    We remain crooked and we bear the scars of the rocks that pummeled us.  The balm of the Lord heals us.  Just as deep physical wounds heal and scars fade so can emotional wounds heal and fade.  The scars still remain – even if only the bearer can see or feel them.  We remain bent but we can grow upward.  This is more than middle school pre teen angst.  Deep wounds.  I am watching my child bend.   I am praying she doesn’t break.

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Seeds

  It’s been quite a day.  This afternoon I learned that an untruth had been told to my eldest child.  She’d been told by a family member that I wanted nothing to do with her after her birth.  I cannot fathom the effect of telling a human being such a thing.  How did this small seed thwart her growth?  Looking at life through the glasses of abandonment and unworthiness, how did that lie affect her choices and goals.   Today, I had the opportunity to tell her that I pined to have her.  I wanted her more than life.  She was a colicky, hard baby but I loved her from the idea of her.  A lie, a small seed, grows, grows, and grows some more.  It chokes out the full abandonment of giving yourself to others.  It blocks out the sun.  It blocks us from the Lord.  There are no big lies or small lies.  There are just lies.  Seeds from which grow complications, pain, sorrow and loss.  I love getting a pack of wild flower seeds in the spring.  I open up the package and throw the seeds onto my little garden.  Some flowers come.  Some don’t.   I think that for today, I will throw out seeds of encouragement.  I love being encouraged.  Instead of carefully digging the hole and placing the seed in it and covering it up and watering it, I choose to broadcast my seeds of encouragement.  I choose, for the rest of today, to smile at strangers, to be kind to drivers when I pick up my youngest kid from school and yes, ugh, be extraordinarily gentle with my husband.  So.  Instead of planting seeds of hatred, lies and pain, I will throw my seeds of kindness, joy and faith with abandon.  Who knows what will happen?  It might just change the world.  Or at least my little piece of it.  Oh, and no matter whether the lie is 20 years old or two minutes old, it will be found out.  Matthew says so – that all hidden things will be revealed.  Yay – time to start casting my seeds!

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Stoopid revamped

Yes I did.  My post on Stoopid has mistakes I missed.  Good thing I am loved with an everlasting loved cause I sure feel stoopid again… (bad use of ellipses).

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Stoopid

Last night I watched the finale of “So You Think You Can Dance“.  It is my favorite tv show.  I was checking face book comments as I watched the show which is amazing in itself.  Comments came in fast and furious from everywhere the show is broadcast.  I’ve loved watching the show this year.  I marvel at the beauty of the human body in motion,be knowing full well that my body has never moved in the way those dancers can.  Well, maybe my mom manipulated my limbs when I was 2 or 3 weeks old.   Earlier that day, a writer friend gave me a compliment on my blog.  Oh My Gosh, I was on cloud nine when I read her email to me.  Her opinion on writing is like gold.  And then, last night, it happened.  One comment came in about the show and its writer used the word “stoopid”.  I laughed out loud at the ironic spelling.   I reread it.  Laughed again.  Stoopid.  Tee Hee!  After the show, I snuggled up to the computer and I smugly read through my earlier posts.  There it was.  Syntax errors.  Auto correct errors I didn’t find when I proofed the post.  Grammar mistakes.  And that’s when I remembered what it is like to feel stupid.  And then, that’s when I realized that I’ve felt stupid quite a lot in my life.  I’ve made stupid mistakes both personally, physically, professionally, socially and spiritually.  A lot of them. (yes.  Sentence fragment but this is the way I really talk.)  I still feel stupid when I am around the brilliant and talented.  I am still making stupid mistakes and try to cover up my feelings with all kinds of blankets.  I have blankets called humor and withdrawal.  I have quilts I’ve lovingly made out of anger and bitterness.  Even though Gods me I am fearfully and wonderfully made, hey, I can’t fill up all of my heart with that truth.  I am crying out this morning for Love to lift me, Love lift me, when nothing else can help, Love lift me.  May His grace cover my stoopid today.

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Forgiveness reloaded

This morning, I told my friend some of the things that happened to me during my childhood.  I am trying to work through issues of divorce, poverty and step parenting.  HA! That doesn’t even cover my first marriage to a drug addict!  She responded to my tales of woe that she felt sick to her stomach.  She is an amazing person not only because she has a great deal of empathy but also because she suffered from horrendous childhood trials herself – much, much worse than I can imagine.  The conversation narrowed to the subject of forgiveness.  Forgiveness is in the spotlight and I am a deer in its headlights.  Sunday School Class.  Forgiveness.  Bible study.  Forgiveness.  Movies (Amish Grace).  Forgiveness.  Oh dear Lord, are you trying to tell me something that I already know but I am not doing.  Some of my wounds are deep and 50 years old.  The wounds changed me.  Changed my perception.  Affected my choices.  Wounds made me who I am but not who I want to be.  But, wounds cannot change that I am a child of God and I belong to Him.  Right now, this moment, I choose to enter into the process of forgiving those who afflicted me and pierced my heart.  My mom always reminds me to ride the wave of pain.  The wave will bring me to the shore.  There will I rest.  l long for forgiveness to those I have caused pain.   Being denied forgiveness by loved ones – especially after asking for it – is often more than I can bear.  This summer was an emotional rollercoaster.  And again I remind myself, I must look to the One who can bear these burdens.  Whether the pain is 50 years old or fresh from this summer, I choose to say that I need Thee.  Every hour I need Thee.  O Bless me now my Saviour.  I come to Thee.  Only in your arms will I survive this life.  Thank you my friend for helping me to lighten my heavy heart.  Isn’t the grace to forgive a paradox? Grace is free but is not cheap.  Here I go.

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What up?

Saw a moving dvd at Bible Study this morning.  A woman answered the call of God to give up all she had (affluence, position, prestige) to minister to the poor who live on a garbage dump in Cairo.  She answered that “tough” call.  She sold all of her possessions and her professorship at university to spend her life taking care of the poorest of the poor – many are Egyptians.  She told us that Egypt has the record for Christian martyrs.  It was an intense experience for me for several reasons.   It sparked memories of my early Christian days when I hit the streets to spread the Gospel and to feed folks homemade soup and sandwiches out of the back of a van.  The rest of the morning held a rush of ideas and sharing of ways we can impact the world around us.  It was an amazing time just to be with these sisters in Christ.  Now, at home, I am reminded of the ways that passion gets sucked out of me.  Being sick can and has been a self-centered monster which takes bites out of my freedom to laugh, to dream and to be.  So much time gets shoved into the process of being treated and getting well.  It’s the same old story.  To use the metaphor of starving a cold and feeding a fever (or is it the other way around?), Putting all of my effort to overcoming the trials of the physical, I starve the spiritual.  After a while, every part of who I am becomes exhausted.  The cares of the world choke out the word and its divine application.  I don’t want to live a passionless, me-centered life.  And here I am.

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Hold on

I read a comment this morning from a well known teacher.  It is annoying me to me when complex and difficult concepts are boiled down to a one liner.  The Bible says a lot about hope.  We all know the scripture about hope being the substance of things not seen.  How ’bout these?

1 Corinthians 15:19 If in Christ we have hope in  this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18  So we do not lose  heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed  day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal  weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are  seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are  transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our  Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born  again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the  dead,

Hope from the Book of Romans

Romans 5:2-5 Through him we have also obtained  access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the  glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that  suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character  produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been  poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to  us.

Romans 8:24-25 For in this hope we were saved. Now  hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope  for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

I am coming up on two and a half years of open heart surgery.  A difficult one where both cardiac valves were replaced and a Maze procedure performed.  I was very sick afterwards.   When the surgeon removed my heart from my chest and the by-pass machine kept me alive, I was changed.  The surgeon held my heart in his hands.    I cannot use the word “hope” glibly.  My hope goes beyond a positive attitude (which believe you me is a tough one for me).  Hope must, for me, be in the belief that I will live eternally with him.  I’ve recently been given counsel that cardiac patients who have undergone similar surgeries have a kind of syndrome – similar set of responses towards life.  He held my heart.  So does Jesus.  So, today, as I struggle with my diet, aching joints and irritable bowel (ugh!), I choose to believe in Him who holds my broken heart, beating with mechanical valves and a pacemaker, AND, my life in His Hands.  Something better awaits me.

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