On friendship.

Friday, July 29, 2011

I don't feel brave.
Let's be real here. Starting over is so much scarier than starting the first time. If you have to start something over, it generally means that your first go round failed. Or that your first 12 go rounds failed.

So why try again something so inevitably prone to failure?

Because if you can get it right, it's really, really beautiful. Even if you don't get it right there are these really beautiful in-betweens that take your breath away and make you think you once looked into God's eyes.

I've done that before. I've looked into a friends eyes and known I was looking through into God's face. It's stunning and unforgettable. I've been loved before in a way that I would insist was impossible except for I loved back the same way and so it couldn't be impossible.

So I start again. Failure prone and scarred. I start again.
But I sure as heck don't feel brave.

So long apart

Sunday, January 24, 2010

You and I have been so long apart, dear blog.
Sometimes quiet is good, you understand.

I read something tonight, though and it is stirring in me. It's from Peterson's "The Message". I've been avoiding the "translation", because I wasn't sure how I felt about it, but after hanging out for a spell in Matthew tonight with the Lame Duck Jesus (Jesus after he announces to his disciples he will be crucified and heads to Jerusalem for the festivities...what a fiery and humorous character he becomes!), I am a "Message" translation appreciator. This is the part that seeped into my pores tonight.

"When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: "Teacher, which command in God's Law is the most important?"Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them."

At church we've been hearing and talking all about each others passions. The idea is that a church body shouldn't just be all about the pastor's passions for world missions or in-depth Bible Study or church growth. We all have something beautiful and Christ-like to contribute and the more we know each other and embrace each others passions, the more we can love each other and grow together into Christ's idea of the Kingdom. I totally love the approach and relish the privilege of really getting to know what makes our friend's hearts beat, you know? (Have I mentioned how much I love my church?)

My problem is that, I don't have a passion to share with my friends. Or...it's that I am passionate about too many things, all of them really. We haven't discussed a single passion yet that I haven't said, "Oh. Yep, that's me for sure." It's just my personality to do things passionately. But I've discovered something, just this year. My passions have only ever led me on very painful, dead-end trips. And they were good passions, really.
-A passionate desire to lead worship that found me 5 years ago in a dr's office with a permanent vocal chord dysfunction...no explanation...just no more singing.
-A passionate desire to be a youth pastor that found me 17 years from my starting point with the firm conviction that church leaders aren't really ever going to notice that women might be good at it too.
-A passionate desire to foster deep, committed relationships that found me 4 years ago in the worst betrayal of friendship a family could ever know.

So, can you really blame me if I don't want to get up on a sunday morning and share one of my current "passions" with my dear friends in order that they may know me and embrace what I embrace. What if they did decide to take it to heart and travel my passions as I travel theirs and we all wind up on another one of these dreadful dead-ends. They really are dreadful.

So I plan, for this series of talks, to just listen really well and really enjoy knowing who my friends are. They are really super, and I plan to embrace and support their passions with my acts and words. But I find myself thinking about the topic all the time. What would I say? What am I passionate about now? If I actually had the courage to name a passion today, would I just be jinxing myself to another painful dead-end? (I know that's superstitious...and I'm not...but you have to know that after so many dead-ends, a person's gonna start asking the jinxing questions!) And that's why my favorite verse in the Message translation is sticking to me tonight. Instead of saying I should love the Lord with all my heart, soul and mind, it says I should love him with all my passion, prayer and intelligence. So now I wonder what that would look like. What if I made my passion to Love Him? I've always loved Him. That's why I was passionate about worship, about youth ministry, about relationships...because I love him. But what if my passion was really about no other thing than loving him? What would that look like?

I plan to ponder that for a little while. You ponder it too. Let me know what you think, would you?

How to Love One Another

Friday, September 25, 2009

I might start watching Xena, Warrior Princess.

Wacky, I know. But I was talking to Sean at work today. He's one of our really kind, good-hearted janitors. I was wearing my sparkly flip-flops when he came in the work room and he commented about how they looked like the shoes of a character from Xena. I giggled and commented that I'd never really watched the show (truly only once to sort of laugh at it), but that I was glad for it because it's so necessary to have a phrase like "Xena, Warrior Princess!" to exclaim on such occasions when you need to raise your fist and make a battle cry or something. He smiled at me and said sincerely, "you know, I like the show because to me the whole storyline is all about redemption." Sean doesn't really know that redemption is one of those buzz words for me that makes my ears tingle, but he did notice when I stopped what I was doing and turned to face him as he explained. When he finished, I must have looked intrigued enough that he made an offer. "Oooh...this would be hard for me," he said, "but I'll loan you the first season if you ever want to watch it."
"You actually own it?" I laughed.
"Oh yeah! Had to!" he smiled. I told him I might actually take him up on it. And I might, but not because I'm so much interested in Xena...more because the conversation made me really like Sean. I'm glad i work with him.

And it got me thinking. This is how we love people. It's not so hard to be interested in what other people are interested in. But I find it doesn't happen very often, not to me at least. Honestly, when was the last time you tried really hard to like something because another person you know liked it, and they were worth your effort? This is how I want to be loved, but I don't find very many people who try to like what I like just because I like it and they like me.

So I'm thinking I might start watching, and liking, Xena, Warrior Princess, because though his taste in TV series is not my taste (he's also a trekky), Sean seems a beautiful person, at least a person worth my effort (anyone's effort really)...and he said it's about redemption...so...