Friday, October 31, 2008

hello again

My laptop has been sent out to best buy to be repaired, so I've been so out of the blogging loop :( So now that I'm limited to library internet time, blogging just isn't at the top of my list, but I had to share this Rilo Kiley lyric that's fitting as of late.. I'm starting to listen to all the music that I've been ignoring for so long on my ipod and it's like Christmas all over again.

"Maybe love won't let you down, all of your failures are training ground and just as your backs turned you'll be surprised, she says, as your solitude subsides." -Rilo Kiley

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Oregon memories and Nouwen

It's a beautiful Portland morning and I find myself sitting in a sunshine filled window of a bustling neighborhood coffee house. Feeling the warmth of the sunshine's rays, I look out on the changing leaves, the train chugging by and the line of Montessori kids holding hands down the sidewalk. As if this moment couldn't be any more perfect, right beside me is a man playing lovely music on his acoustic guitar and providing the most peaceful soundtrack to this Oregon memory...

Also, of note, I was reading some Nouwen this morning and read this little pearl, which is what I needed to hear today.

"It can be discouraging to discover how quickly you lose your inner peace. Someone who happens to enter your life can suddenly create restlessness and anxiety in you. Sometimes this feeling is there before you fully realize it. You thought you were centered; you thought you could trust yourself; you thought you could stay with God. But then someone you do not even know intimately makes you feel insecure. You ask yourself whether you are loved or not, and that stranger becomes the criterion. Thus, you start feeling disillusioned by your own reaction.

Don't whip yourself for your lack of spiritual progress. If you do, you will easily be pulled even further away from your center. You will damage yourself and make it more difficult to come home again. It is obviously good not to act on your sudden emotions. But you don't have to repress them, either. You can acknowledge them and let them pass by. In a certain sense, you have to befriend them so that you do not become their victim.

The way to "victory" is not in trying to overcome your dispiriting emotions directly but in building a deeper sense of safety and at-homeness and a more incarnate knowledge that you are deeply loved. Then, little by little, you will stop giving so much power to strangers.

Do not be discouraged. Be sure that God will truly fulfill all your needs. Keep remembering that. It will help you not to expect that fulfillment from people who you already know are incapable of giving it."

Monday, October 6, 2008

An old favorite...

(One of my favorite books when I was a little girl and still, today. The Velveteen Rabbit.)

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

“I suppose you are real?” said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.

“The Boy’s Uncle made me Real,” he said. “That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”

By Margery Williams

oh Powell's win my heart every time

I was downtown this morning running some errands in the Pearl district and couldn’t stop myself from wandering into Powell’s Books AKA heaven. It’s a whole city block worth of books, several floors, levels, color coded rooms-thousands and thousands of books. I love going in there. The downfall, I always buy something regardless of how bleak my current financial situation is and somehow hours pass as I wander through the rooms, picking up random books and reading excerpts from every book I fancy. I get lost in the world of books. I think in another life I would be someone who holes up to read in a big sunny chair all day every day. My current reading habits are more along the lines of reading four or five books at any given time and sometimes finishing them months of years later. It’s not an effective process in slightest, but it’s the truth.

At one point I think I was holding a stack of ten books. I don’t have money for ten books, so I plopped down on the hardwood floor to read some more excerpts and narrow it down. I ended up buying On the Road by Jack Kerouac and The Inner Voice of Love by Henri Nouwen. Here are the excerpts that sealed the deal for me.

From Kerouac,

“He was simply a youth tremendously excited with life, and though he was a con-man, he was only conning because he wanted so much to live and to get involved with people who would otherwise pay no attention to him. He was conning me and I knew it, and he knew I knew, but I didn’t care and we got along fine- no pestering, no catering; we tiptoed around each other like heartbreaking new friends.”

“Marylou was a pretty blonde with immense ringlets of hair like a sea of golden tresses; she sat there on the edge of the couch with her hands hanging in her lap and her smoky blue country eyes fixed in a wide stare”

(This is one of my favorite quotes-however; I didn’t know it was from this book until I read it on the pages.)

“Then they danced down the street like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’”

And from Nouwen,

“Love Deeply. Do not hesitate to love and to love deeply. You might be afraid of the pain that deep love can cause. When those you love deeply reject you, leave you, or die. Your heart will be broken. But that should not hold you back from loving deeply. The pain the comes from deep love makes your love ever more fruitful. It is like a plow that breaks the ground to allow the seed to take root and grow into a strong plant. Every time you experience the pain of rejection, absence, or death, you are faced with a choice. You can become bitter and decide not to love again, or you can stand straight in your pain and let the soil on which you stand become richer and more able to give life to new seeds.”

Good words, good words. Now if I could pull myself away from reading these new treasures and start reading my textbooks for school, I’ll be back in business.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

a good goodbye

I’ve been watching these videos about end of life and palliative care as part of my orientation at Hospice and it wipes me out emotionally just to watch the videos. I haven’t even gotten to interact with patients and families yet and I’m drained. The whole world of hospice and palliative care is the heart-wrenching work of helping people have a good death and helping their families process their grief afterward. It’s watching a person go through the process of saying goodbye to someone who has been their world for so many years, a mother, father, child, sibling or spouse. When I think about it that way, I wonder why I am drawn to this work. As someone who dreads goodbyes, I’ll be in the midst of the hardest goodbyes someone people will ever know.

I feel privileged to enter into that intimate time with families, to help people have a good goodbye. To be a part of their world as they find meaning in the life they lived and the lives they touched. The end of one’s life is a sacred time of making sense of it all. I think it’s really important to have that time with family, to say the things you need to say, to tell your family you love them, to be in as little pain as possible as you leave this earth, to reach a point of being ready to let go, knowing it’s time. To not feel as though your loved one was torn from your fingers, but that each finger was gently unfurled until a point when you are able to let go.

One of the videos follows a couple through the whole process of terminal illness and the end of life process. They followed them through the nightmares of the medical system and treatments, through the pain and prescriptions, through the long and drawn out process of death and most beautifully through the devotion to one another in the midst of a heartbreaking goodbye. The wife was by her husband’s side through it all. She did everything in her power to help. She made him hearty home-cooked meals to try and keep him from losing weight so fast. She cried because nothing she could do would make him well. He explained to her that it may not make him well, but it made him better. He was better for her love. I’m a softy when it comes to love stories and you better believe that I was sobbing by the end of this video as she recounted their last moments together at home. They were lying side by side in bed, early in the morning. His breath became irregular which is a signal that death is close. She thanked him over and over for choosing to spend his life with her. In his last breaths, he muttered, “love you, love you, love you.” Rip my heart out why don’t you. Seeing this kills me, in the best way possible. I am just in awe when I am in the presence of that kind of love.