Monday, November 24, 2008

Slam poets

I saw this girl(Jodie Knowles) perform at the Wordstock festival this year and just loved her words. I am so inspired by slam poets, how to they put words together in such a moving and deep way? serious talent.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Seasoned People

There is so much wisdom accumulated with age. I feel as though I should be wiser than I am at my ripe age of 25. I guess it is all quite relative though. I just listened to a podcast from Imago Dei last week and the speaker was a 92 year-old woman talking about her faith journey. I have always had a thing for old people. Well, let me rephrase that, I’ve had a thing for old people since I stopped having nightmares of elderly woman chasing me in the night, so probably since I was about fourteen. I love talking to old people. Also, I’m sure there are better terms or verbiage to classify this population, but I find the term “old people” endearing in its own way. Actually, I kind of like the phrase “seasoned people”, one who has lived many seasons…maybe I will use that. Anyway, back to my love of seasoned people, I love talking with them. I feel as though there is so much to be absorbed in every conversation. I also feel that when one has lived so many seasons, they realize their own wisdom and experience and wish to impart some of it to the world around them in direct ways through conversation or advice and indirect ways like the way they carry themselves or handle situations that come their way.

My favorite customers at the coffee shops I’ve worked in were always of the “seasoned” variety. They had an endless amount of stories to share and a love of sharing, which may or may not have been the most welcomed thing at 5am when my eyelids could barely be lifted and I could only hope to produce full sentences. Eyelids open or not, I loved hearing about their lives, their love stories, their travels, and the pearls they had picked up in the trials of life.
I always have my ears open for these pearls when I’m talking with seasoned people. They are privileged with perspective and the ability to look back on their life and see all the various ways that God worked in their lives, how certain decisions led to certain outcomes, how prayers were answered but maybe not in the way they had hoped. They can look back on their lives with different eyes. Maybe it’s those eyes that I crave, that perspective, a knowing that my life is on a path that will bring glory in the end.

This woman who spoke at Imago, who has seen 92 Winters and Springs, during her talk, in the most precious voice, said countless times throughout, “hang on” and “hang in there”. She talked about how the 20s and 30s can be a really tough time in our lives because by this time, we have had time to form expectations and dreams for what our lives would be and when we don’t see things turning out how we thought or we are faced with crisis or suffering, we begin to doubt and we begin to throw the idea around that we should give up and throw in the towel. “Hang on. Hang in there”, she says. You can’t see what God is doing, but you will. Hang on. In all of her words, I clung to those and will continue to cling to them. I will keep hanging on. And someday I will have the perspective and pearls to look back on my life and say I am so glad that I hung in there and kept holding on.

“Hang on. Hang in there.”

Monday, November 17, 2008

On forgiveness.

It’s stormy today in Portland (actually, it’s gorgeous and sunny in Portland today but I wrote this last Wednesday between classes when it felt like monsoon season). While I sit in the window of a bustling downtown cafĂ©, I find myself trudging through a multitude of thoughts on forgiveness. We watched a powerful documentary in my social work and spirituality class called The Power of Forgiveness. I can’t stop thinking about it, like a shiny pretty thing, I can’t draw my attention away. The filmmaker proposed that forgiveness is the key to achieve social justice, reconciliation and peace in the world. He talked about how important it is to forgive, to let go of the anger. To forgive is to do something for yourself. If we hold on to anger, we only hurt ourselves by sitting in an open wound. When we forgive we let go of the anger; we are no longer continually hurt by it. We don’t forget but we incorporate those pieces into who we are and we keep moving. The film talked about forgiveness between faiths as between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland and what that might look like. They are teaching forgiveness in children’s curriculum, teaching them about the inherent worth of every person and when we forgive, we see people with new eyes not for what they have done.

They shared a story of a 14 year-old boy who shot another young man, the pizza delivery boy, because he refused to give them a free pizza. When I hear stories like that I can’t help but feel sick and judge and blame. They followed the victim’s father as he embarked on a journey of forgiveness for the young boy who shot his son and the boy’s grandfather. He forgave. The Amish families who’s children were gunned down in their school. They forgave. It’s a daily act of forgiveness. They wake up in the morning and actively choose to let go. It is woven into the fabric of their faith and lives to forgive.

There is nothing reasonable in forgiveness. In a society so hell-bent on justice and retribution, it doesn’t make sense to forgive. It doesn’t add up. I remember a conversation I had about heaven and faith with my step-dad. We talked about how God forgives and anyone who believes will go to heaven, no matter what they have done in this life. He couldn’t understand a heaven that would include a serial killer and an innocent child. There was no justice. A killer deserves to go to hell. I couldn’t respond. It wasn’t justice alone. It was mercy.

I get really emotional when I hear or see stories of forgiveness. I was watching Grey’s Anatomy (I know, I know, I’m addicted) and a husband and wife ended up in the hospital and it came out that the husband had been having an affair with the wife’s best friend for months. I was writhing in anger. Later the husband had written a letter to his wife asking for forgiveness, pleading for another chance and declaring his love for no one but her and made a statement that he would spend every day for the rest of his life trying to make it up to her. I was bawling at this point. Infidelity is something I have the hardest time with. As with all wrongs, someone makes a choice, and another is hurt as a result of that choice. Once it’s done, it’s done. Once you’re stung, you can’t get un-stung. When Eve picked the apple, she couldn’t just give it back as much as she longed to. It can’t be undone or forgotten but it can be forgiven.

That’s what I’m pondering today, while I’m supposed to be writing a zillion papers…gah..

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I am learning still, learning still...

Driving home tonight in the rain, singing the words, “I am learning still, learning still…” I was reminded that I am still learning, learning what it means to be a living, breathing person, living a life that is not my own. I have so much to learn, still. I find that I am learning in the still.

As much as I miss having roommates, I have come to love my nights at home in the tranquility of stillness, I get to cocoon and embrace this time of growth and solitude. Tonight, in the glow of candles and the sound of the wind twirling outside my window, I am engulfed in blankets and leaning into the stillness.

In the stillness, I feel the budding of redemption and restoration in my heart. Rising from the broken pieces is an unblemished and unbridled hope that I can’t explain. In the letting go and moving on, I’ve received a second and third wind. I am feeling inspired. I am feeling brave. I am feeling at peace. I am trusting. I don’t know where the road will lead, but I rest in that hope tonight and the knowledge that I am kept in the hands of the one who knows my every toss and every turn and reminds me to be still.

“I am learning still, learning still…”

Monday, November 10, 2008

Get On

Well I've clearly gone blog-happy now that I have my laptop back, reunited at last :) And, I finally made use of my spendy Best Buy warranty. I finally had a hardware issue that they could fix, FOR FREE and it felt oh so good, to hear that the repair would have cost me $757.14. Holy moly, I do not have that kind of money and let's be honest, I would have thrown in the towel at that point and gotten a new laptop of the apple variety. Anyhoodles, I have been listening to Late Tuesday non-stop lately. They are my life music. I swear they have a song for every life situation and this is the one I find myself in currently. Sometimes, just the assurance that someone has been through it before is all I need to keep going, to get on.

Get On-Late Tuesday

You fall for someone for some reason
And you share a bit of life and you love them
And you want them to sit down and stay awhile
What’s more, you take a liking to them
And they sweeten up your days
You start to fancy that it’s best this way

Ah darn it, now I loved ‘em but it’s not all up to me
If it’s not right, then it’s not right to worry
Cause life has a way of shaking things up a bit at times
And so you learn how to say goodbye

So it’s time now to get on
I can see now that they’re gone
That they were good and I learned what I needed
But they were never mine
So I admit to those things and get on

I’ve got stories to remind me and I probably won’t forget
And I miss them and I trust that there are better things ahead
Cause, though I have loved some good ones,
I know I’ve just begun to get a handle on how to love

So it’s time now to get on
I can see now that they’re gone
That they were good and I learned what I needed
But they were never mine
So I admit to those things and get on

Life has a way of shaking things up a bit at times
And so you learn how to say goodbye

(Life has a way of shaking up, I love them and I lose them, I miss them and I say goodbye)
(It’s time to get on, they’re good, now they’re gone)

To Be Compassionate

You’ve been tossed into the valley, into the mire

You feel lost and in the midst of fire

They tell you they will be there for you

They will help you through

They will stretch their worlds for you

To be compassionate

And we all want to be compassionate

But where are they now?

People struggle with pain

Pain in their own hearts, they’re always hiding

Their pain rises and meets yours and they’re colliding

It overwhelms, it stings and it’s just too much

To be compassionate

Compassion means to be with, to suffer with

And it’s too much

To be compassionate

But we will dig deeper

Stretch our hearts a little wider

To be compassionate

We will hold your pain

And be with you

Suffer with you

Tell you that it will all be okay

Slowly, ever so slowly

Time will bind you back up

And heal you

And you will believe us when we say that it will all be okay.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Jon Foreman

"Seems like every story I can relate to starts off with a broken heart, broken dreams and bleeding parts. There's a story I know about a man named Israel who wrestled with God. From that day on he walked with a limp. I guess in a lot of ways I don't trust a man who doesn't have a limp. The future is yet unwritten. Write it well.'
Jon Foreman