Soul Poverty

Friday, December 28, 2007

There are wrongs done by people in the grip of poverty that can be understood on some level. A man steals because he's hungry. A child too young is left to fend for herself because mommy has to go to work or she'll lose her job. Wrongs that shouldn't be, of course, but understandable in the face of real, honest physical poverty. I've been doing much study this year about this kind of poverty, the root causes and what we can do to help. Scripture demands that we help people faced with this kind of poverty.

But there is a poverty that I encounter weekly, maybe even daily, that I cannot comprehend and cannot combat. It is the poverty of the soul.

I once had a friend who had spent his Christmas holiday in Breckenridge Colorado with family. As I understand it, Breckenridge is a charming and very affluent ski town, (sound familiar?), and he had come home annoyed by the affluence he met there. He said, "I hate people who drive brand new, freshly washed Volvos in the wintertime."

"What?! So if I drove a Volvo and had just washed it you would hate me?"

"No, it's the people like that who wear designer clothes and stuff."

"I'm wearing Tommy Hilfiger jeans. Do you hate me?"

I remember his wife laughing from the kitchen. "That's the beauty of prejudice," she said. I remember thinking it was not very beautiful or funny. The comments have stuck to me like icky tar on white pants, and that conversation was probably 4 years ago. There is a poverty of soul that causes an otherwise good person to cherish a kind of hatred within themselves, and that confounds me.

I went walking this morning. We live in the brand new neighborhood that was built right next to our old neighborhood. At the time the development started, the neighbors in the old neighborhood decided to be annoyed that the field next to them was going to be houses (albeit beautiful houses) instead of a field. They did everything possible to make sure that the roads of the new neighborhood would not be connected to their roads. Their wish was granted and the roads that would have joined theirs were blocked, but it wasn't enough. Now they have spent thousands of dollars installing gates to close off paths that were already blocked from cars and still constantly complain about the new neighbors. I know because I still own houses in the old neighborhood. I walk there still (I pay the dues...) and this morning found myself blocked from my usual path by a bright red padlock. I get their newsletters, and before they knew I was "one of those people" they would voice their agonies to me. And what was their complaint? "Those people are using our streets to walk on! Yeah! I caught one standing looking at the pond the other day and had to tell them these ponds are only for Tillicum residents!" Wow.There is a devastating poverty there.

Our new neighborhood has a pool. Perhaps the old neighbors think that we think our pool is better than their pond or something and so they want to "show us"...I don't know what it is. Like I said, it's a poverty that confounds me. And I think, man! What if we were friends instead? What if you were nice to me? I would invite you to my pool on that hot August day and we'd swim together. You'd invite me to fish in your pond and my boys would make you laugh (they're so funny...) What if we shared the beauty each of us has been given instead of horded it?
But alas, you feel poor, I guess. Not that you would call it that.

But it is. Soul poverty.

Jesus addresses physical poverty. Helping widows and orphans in their distress is considered true religion. He also adresses spiritual poverty...the poor in spirit are blessed for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven! But when Jesus encounters this sort of soul poverty...all he can do is rebuke it. "White-washed tombs," he calls them. "If you had known what these words mean, 'I desire mercy not sacrifice' you would not have condemned the innocent," he says.

I've learned that when someone speaks to you out of their soul poverty, you should believe what they say. I have made the mistake of believing that friendship went deeper than soul poverty, and unfortunately, it doesn't. That same woman who laughed at me about her husband's "prejudice" also expressed hating coffee drinkers...especially if they made the grave error of actually carrying around a paper cup from Starbucks. She also hated runners. Again, I don't understand it, I just report it.

I still wear my Tommy Hilfigers. I got them on sale at Macy's for $12 for goodness sake, but I think about the hatred I unwittingly stumbled into every time I put them on. I drink coffee and have been a runner for years, but I naively thought my friends were joking about those things. I mean, if you called them on it they'd laugh and say..."no, of course I don't actually hate anyone...that would be wrong." But our lives have a way of proving what is true in our hearts don't they. Our friends poverty was real and powerful and today's reality is that we are no longer allowed to call that couple friends (by their demand, not ours). I don't think they even knew the wrongs birthed from their poverty landed hard on me, and they'd certainly disagree that it had anything to do with coffee or jeans or exercise, but I've never been more hated in word and action by anyone than I have by them. Good Christian people too...they probably go to your church. I don't even think they realize they are poor.

It gets me fired up. We should give to the needy. We should fight injustice and poverty. So I wish to fight this sort of poverty too...but what weapon is there against such a thing? I've tried every one I knew...believe me. How do you fight a problem that even Jesus answered with disgust and rebuke? there's a topic for discussion.

Don't be hateful. Be careful what you say you hate. There's probably a real person behind that coffee cup...and she probably has some really lovely qualities and cooks a mean Moroccan Tagine and wants you to swim with her this summer! Hatred of anything will shape your life the same way love will. Hate evil only. Love justice and mercy and walk humbly. That is wealth.

Favorite Christmas Pics

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Wow. We got a Canon SLR for Christmas. Finally, a real camera again! Steve has been saving for years...he takes these little online survey things and they pay him $5 and $10 for taking them and he's been stashing it away and this year he pulled it out and had enough to buy a real camera. Isn't he fantastic? So are the pictures we got!

Jordy got the "ROBORAPTOR" for Christmas!
And he got me a ballerina doll from his class auction. He said all his friends thought he was dumb for thinking I would like to get a doll for Christmas, but he knew better!:-) That's a great kid!

I'm not sure what the putting silly things on our heads for pictures father, like son?

Homeless Gratitude

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Her sign said she was cold and hungry and no one would doubt it on a day like today. Christmas is only 6 days away now and old man weather is sure trying to give us snow, but it's coming out more as a blustery slush than snow. The wind is blowing and every car that turns the corner at her post near Barnes and Noble christens her with it's muddy spray. At least she has a hat and gloves. I don't know her story, I don't know her name. Maybe it's Mary, or Eileen or Sandra? I know she has a name, and maybe even a family. How I hope she has someone who loves her.

I made an exchange with McDonalds gift card for her Christmas wishes. She wished me God's blessing and a wonderful Christmas, and I thought it among the nicest Christmas wishes I've heard yet this season. In fact, now that I think about it, I don't think anyone has wished me a Merry Christmas store clerks or mailmen or business associates. Her smile was genuine, I mean...when she smiled and thanked me her eyes smiled, not just her mouth, and I thought it a better gratitude than I could have pulled off if I'd been standing in the muddy slushing wind holding a cardboard sign 6 days before Christmas receiving a silly McDonalds gift card.


Everyone has something to teach us don't they?
Thanks Mary, or Eileen or Sandra. Merry Christmas to you too!

Look at this...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Steve complained because my blog is all white now so...

I decorated it...
And my house. :-)
We Love Christmas!

Merry Belknap!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I'll never forget mom's phone call 10 years ago...I can't believe it's been that long. It was 2 weeks before Christmas and she and Dad had gone up to Belknap Hot Springs for the weekend. Dad's sister Val had recently married Ron DePiero and the whole DePiero clan had planned this cool Belknap Christmas weekend so they could all get together for the holidays. Uncle Ron is one of those great jolly guys who lives his life with open arms and ready advice, and he had told Val to go ahead and invite her family too. So Mom and Dad went.
Mom called me on Saturday just bubbling about how pretty the lodge was decorated
...and how incredibly nice this family was
and how it was snowing and the kids were decorating cookies
...and the dads were going to take them sledding up the mountain
and some of the ladies were doing crafts
...and they were going to have a big dinner all together
and the pool was like a giant hot tub
...and there was room for us on the floor in their room
and did we want to come up for the night.
We had a 4 month old baby at the time, but we packed up the crib, some little blue footie jammies and a santa hat. I wish I could post the picture of that first year at Belknap for you, but that was before digital cameras. LOL! Maybe I'll scan it.
We spent this past weekend at Belknap. This was year number 11. Wow. The clan has grown so that we fill up the entire lodge and all the cabins now. Every year is different. Sometimes it's all about the pool and sometimes it's all about the late night scrabble and poker games... and sometimes it snows! (Those are the really great years). We always do a giant ornament exchange and the huge tree they put up in the lodge is decorated now with a lot of our ornaments from years past. The part I love the most is that I don't really know these people. I see them once a year and every year on the drive up Steve and I have to refresh ourselves on names and faces and associations. But then as soon as we walk in...we're family. There are ready hugs and smiles from people truly glad that you came...again! One of our favorite families showed up this year with a brand new baby after telling us last year that they were DONE! Hilarious! There is one couple that has been there from the beginning. John and Donna. They aren't any relation at all. She is one of the DePiero sisters' best friends from college, but at Belknap they are as much part of the family as Uncle Ron is. So are the front desk people. We always make them have dinner with us.
This year my boys were the cool "older kids" and everyone seemed to be holding a baby or chasing an adorable toddler. (Oh how I remember those days!) I learned to knit at Belknap 3 years ago. This year I finished the aqua blue scarf and gave it to my 10 year old cousin Mikaela...and made a friend for life! We won at Pictionary, she and I.
Wow. I am blessed. It's true that I have some difficult, sorrow filled places in my life, that's for sure. But I also have Belknap Christmas with the DePiero's. I am rich.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Two of my favorite people IN THE WORLD...and the cat that likes them better than he likes me!


Monday, December 03, 2007

Don't you love that word...ransom? There is just so much hope wrapped up in those six little least to me there is. I love the word Redeemer too. maybe it's an "R" thing :-) Maybe it's a hope thing.

We bought some Christmas presents from Nepal this year. How cool is that? One of my favorite presents ever was a big fluffy wool cable knit sweater that my brother bought me years ago. The tag says it was handmade in Nepal and every now and then I find a long black hair literally knit into the sweater (apparently by accident) and I think of the woman who spent long hours in her little hut or home or whatever she lives in, knitting my snuggly sweater. That gives me joy. I wonder if she thought about me wearing it the way I think about her knitting it.

Anyway, there is this company called RansomWear that helps rescue women from the sex trade and then gives them jobs knitting hats and scarves and things for rich Americans to buy for Christmas. It gives them something to sell besides their bodies, a way to live a real life.
Ransom-n. the redemption of a prisoner, slave, or kidnapped person, for a price.

Hope for the price of a scarf...(which is less than I would have paid at the Gap, btw).
A young woman's heart for a pair of wool mittens.

I like this organization.
Tell our friends.
...oh yeah...the guy who started this company is Dave Rogers...who used to be the pastor over here at Fellowship Bible (the little neighborhood church that we love)'s legit.

A Poem...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

...and prayer for a brother on his birthday.

Excerpts from Monna Innominata by Christina Rossetti-
O my heart's heart, and you who are to me
More than myself myself, God be with you,
Keep you in strong obedience leal and true
To Him whose noble service setteth free,
Give you all good we see or can foresee,
Make your joys many and your sorrows few,
Bless you in what you bear and what you do,
Yea, perfect you as He would have you be.
So much for you; but what for me, dear friend?...
Trust me, I have not earned your dear rebuke;
I love, as you would have me, God the most;
Would lose not Him, but you, must one be lost,
Nor with Lot's wife cast back a faithless look
Unready to forego what I forsook;
This say I, having counted up the cost,
This, tho' I be the feeblest of God's host,
The sorriest sheep Christ shepherds with His crook
Yet while I love my God the most, I deem
That I can never love you overmuch;
I love him more, so let me love you too;
Yea, as I apprehend it, Love is such
I cannot love you if I love not Him,
I cannot love Him if I love not you.
Love builds the house on rock and not on sand,
Love laughs what while the winds rave desperately
And who hath found love's citadel unmanned?
And who hath held in bonds love's liberty?
My heart's a coward tho' my words are brave--
We meet so seldom, yet we surely part
So often; there's a problem for your art!
Still I find comfort in his Book, who saith,
Tho' jealousy be cruel as the grave,
And death be strong, yet love is strong as death.
If I could trust mine own self with your fate,
Shall I not rather trust it in God's hand?
Without Whose Will one lily doth not stand,
Nor sparrow fall at his appointed date;
Who numbereth the innumerable sand,
Who weighs the wind and water with a weight,
To Whom the world is neither small nor great,
Whose knowledge foreknew every plan we planned.
Searching my heart for all that touches you,
I find there only love and love's goodwill
Helpless to help and impotent to do,
Of understanding dull, of sight most dim;
And therefore I commend you back to Him
Whose love your love's capacity can fill


Thursday, November 29, 2007

From where I stand to take this picture I can hear the kids playing in the schoolyard in the first real snowfall of the season. Who can resist the joy of a Central Oregon morning like this?!

Make it real

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Go ahead and leave me a comment from time to time.
I'd love it.

I think there are maybe about 6 people who read my blog occasionally...ok, maybe that's stretching it a bit. I'm sure I have at least 2 readers. My fabulous husband reads it and faithfully tells me he likes my writing (I like him too) and I just gave Aimee the address last night, so I think she'll read at least once (chuckle).
I love blogging and would do it even if I didn't have any readers because I just love the writing part, but I think it might be kind of fun to know if I have an audience. And it would be fun to know who you are! Even better would be some fantastic dialogue around particular subjects...I'd LOVE it if you left your thoughts from time to time. You know, "Good point" or "Jennie you're an idiot". Either is fine. I'm a "D" personality type :-)lol.
Would love some interaction with you. Make it real.

There's Risk Involved

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

We went to Seattle to visit some dear friends this weekend and had the time of our lives. Gazed up at the space needle glowing in an amazing blue sky (how common is that in Seattle?),got the necessary parking ticket, ate cheap Japanese food and amazing pomegranates, made the mind-boggling pilgrimage to IKEA, heard a great octopus story from the fish guy at Central Market, got naseous on this cool playground thingy (the sort of thing you'd only find in Seattle), fell asleep on Heather's squishy couch to the sound of rain and football on a Sunday afternoon. Heaven.

It was hard to leave. Just as we were finishing up breakfast before heading out on Monday morning, Simon crossed through the kitchen on a mission. Simon is 6. He was wearing shiny black church shoes, jeans rolled up above bare ankles, carrying a bright green collapsible light sabre. "I have to go have a sowed fight, Mom." (Sowed is case you've forgotten). Heather was giggling, but she followed him to the sliding door with mild concern on her face. As he hopped down the steps she called out after him, "Ok Simon. As long as you're aware that there's risk involved." I busted up. Simon was, of course, undeterred.

"As long as you're aware there's risk involved!" Go slay the dragon son. Just be aware that they breathe fire and you could be toasted. Go impale the heathen enemy, just be aware that you could be the one kebabbed! "Ok Mom. See you at dinner!"

I tucked the moment away in my heart. I've learned that words fly around me at the speed of life and I can't always process them in the moment, but sometimes there are words that seem to have a weight of some kind and I've learned to tuck them away for later with a note that says, "i think this is important". Heather's words were like that for me, so I tucked them away along with a mental picture of Simon in his shiny shoes and green "sowed".

It didn't take long for the words to come back. I've been enamored with some of Elisabeth Elliot's writing lately and I was reading her book, "Loneliness" in the car. She's talking about the life of a disciple and relates it to the commitment of loving another, accepting the pain with the joy. She says,
"Acceptance is abandonment, the great risk of great lovers, when an awesome power is given over-the power to hurt. No one in the world has such power to hurt as a husband, wife, or intimate friend. To love is to be vulnerable to that power which lies in the hands of the one loved." Boy don't I know the truth of that! She goes on, "To love means to open ourselves to suffering. Shall we shut our doors to love, then, and be safe? Acceptance of discipleship is the utter abandonment of the disciple, the surrender of all rights to the Master. This abandonment, in all cases, will mean pain. Christ listed some of the troubles His followers could expect, so that they would not be taken by surprise and thus discard their faith in Him. He did not offer immunity. He asked for trust."

That's when Heather's words came floating back in through my rain obscured window. "Just be aware there's risk involved." She had turned to Steve and I and said with the familiar cringe in her voice. "It never fails that it ends in him getting hurt and coming back to me crying." We laughed at the familiarity of the situation to our own two boy family. But I remember how Simon didn't pause, didn't think twice, didn't even look back. He did exactly what all three tea-sipping adults fully expected him to do. He marched off to find his opponent and proceeded to sowed fight him!

I'm struck by the fact that Elliot doesn't say that being Christ's disciple "may" mean pain. She says "in all cases, will mean pain." And I know she's right. Jesus never painted any sappy watercolors about what life in his footsteps would be like. I have known pain. I have known the deep cutting that can be done only by the friends endowed with that tremendous power to hurt. Oh why do they do that? And more...why does God allow them to cause me such pain?

If I am to go on loving (and I must somehow, musn't I?), and moreover, if I am to be his disciple, I must do what Simon did. I march out saying, "I have to go love now, Father." Surely His response is, "ok, just be aware there's risk involved. Those dragons breathe fire, those swords can be sharp, that betrayal devastating. But march on child!" How dissappointing the moment would have been if Simon would have taken stock of the danger and instead hunkered back into the kitchen, defeated the way I am tempted to be so many days. But he didn't. He was still swinging that light sabre when I went to hug him goodbye. I almost lost my neck. I'm sure the dragon did.

Our House is for sale

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hi Friends who read my blog sometimes.
So we finally got our house back in shape and ready to sell...except for a little paint touch up. We have a blog for it...go see.

And here's the best part.
It's only $298,000
AND, since we're selling it by owner, we'll pay $500 at closing to any of our friends, families, neighbors who bring us the buyer! Five-Hundred dollars is worth a phone call to your cousins who are looking to move into Bend right??! :-)
Do you have any leads for me? Email me or leave a comment here!


Silly Fun

Monday, October 22, 2007

Boy...this silly little quiz nailed my personality type! :-)

ColorQuiz.comJennie took the free personality test!

"Seeks success, stimulation, and a life full of exp..."

Click here to read the rest of the results.


Friday, October 05, 2007

Originally uploaded by jandtheboys

Randy...doing the cool "biking magazine" pose


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Another new post

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Testing site feed again. Hmmmm. doesn't seem to be feeding. What am i missing?

Site feed

I'd like to get photos on my site feed...

Death of a Seed.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail." Luke 22:31.

The truth is that I am wheat and not chaff. If Satan has asked to sift me and my Lord has said, "do what you will", then my only response can be, "May it be to me as you have said." I am not chaff and I shall not blow away as chaff, for I have a high priest who intercedes for me before the Father.

John 12:24
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

"If my life is broken when given to Jesus, it is because pieces will feed a multitude while a loaf will satisfy only a little lad. -R.Stull

There are a lot of analogies all wrapped up there in one post. (Chuckle).

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live. This life I live in the body I live by faith in the one who loves me and gave his life for me. I'd put the reference, but I'm not really quoting it. I'm stating it. Copyright infringement. Nah. Public's more than 100 years old...or does it only need to be 20? Either way, it's mine now...after what I've been through this year...and continue to face, you can put my name after it if you like. I don't think Paul will mind. We can ask him later. (chuckling again.)

Oh come quickly Lord!

Far reaching smile.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

How is it that no matter where you go, no matter how hard life is, children can smile and be truly beautiful? These pics were taken by Lori Cain from the Statesman Journal. These are children in a war zone...Kabul (where Wuf Dog is...we're so proud of your work Wuf!). I have one just like them that I took in Aceh after the Tsunami. They smile...they're beautiful. Life is good, even when it's bad. Life can still be good and a smile can still reach around the world to make someone's day. Your beautiful face made my day sweet big sister in the orange shirt! Your amazing eyes take my breath away little captain in blue.

If I could just hold you tonight.

Friday, April 06, 2007

I think that the love between Jesus and his people looks as different as one person looks from another. When he wants to express love to me, he sings...or at least sends me a song. I think most of my friends would find the songs he sings sacreligious. They wouldn't expect it from Him, I think. I think he plays the bass guitar too. They think that's a really wierd picture of Jesus, but I think it's funny and endearing! Our love song...Truly, Madly, Deeply by Savage Garden. He's different to me than He is to anyone else and he knows how to move my heart. I love that about Him.

Today is Good Friday. I celebrate the depth of his passion for me. The passion that moved him to die. If I could just see him...tonight...I'd walk a thousand miles.

Making my way downtown
Walking fast, faces pass and I'm Homebound
Staring blankly ahead, making my way
Just making a way through the crowd.

And I need you, And I miss you
And now I wonder
If I could fall into the sky
Do you think time would pass me by
Cuz you know I'd walk a thousand miles
If I could just see you tonight

It's always times like these
When I think of you
And I wonder if you ever think of me
Cuz everything's so wrong and I don't belong
Living in your precious memory

And I still need you, And I still miss you
And now I wonder
If I could fall into the sky
Do you think time would pass us by?
Cuz you know I'd walk a thousand miles
If I could just see you...if I could just hold you

Can I turn "Can't" into Beauty?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

I was thinking about Al Tozer yesterday...I'm not sure what prompted the thoughts. Al is a building designer here in town. He's a gentle, soft spoken man with a deeply thoughtful manner and a quick, genuine smile...and he's a really good designer. I always enjoyed sitting across the desk from him, and I remember asking him once about his education. It turned out his degree had nothing to do with design...not directly. He studied some sort of microbiology thing. I laughed, because I always think it's sort of sad/funny to see how unused so many degrees go. But he said his degree was actually quite applicable to the work he does now...something about how it causes him to approach his design with an awareness of systems and mircrosystems and what promotes healthy living...or something. It was a good point. And in thinking back, I actually can see how he applies it. That's cool

But that's not what made me think about him. We were introduced to Al when Dad and I acquired a piece of property in the historic district on Colorado Street. It was a great little lot...and I do mean little. 40'x100', I think. It had actually been the side yard to a classic bungalow that was now being restored and upgraded. It was hard to picture it being home to anything larger than the little grape hyacinths and tulips that still grew around the scattered bricks that had once formed borders and paths. But as any development goes, this lot had to turn a profit and so the tulips would soon give way to a commercial and residential mixed-use building. That's where Al came in. He was to design us a beautiful building that could house some sort of commercial use on the bottom...we didn't know...offices, store, deli, flower shop, coffee shop...any number of possibilities, and residential space on top. If that weren't challenging enough, it had to pass the architectural review of the National Historic Registry while it met all the new construction parameters that change a buildings appearance like fire and ADA codes. The enormous elm out front was "historic" and had to stay and the power lines outback were "grandfathered" and had to be avoided. Every time we gave Al one more limitation his design got better; that wall can't have codes, that space can't be that increases our parking requirements, that brick can't be used there...we need self contained drainage systems. Seriously, every time we said, "we can't", Al was able to somehow change his design to not only accomodate the "can'ts" but to make the building more beautiful and useful all at once. I remember so clearly the day we got our final permits and approvals. I went and bought Al a box of giant cookies from Great Harvest and sent them with a thank you note. He had pulled off what should have been an impossible, discouraging feat, and I remember laughing in awe at the approvals I held in my hand.

That's why I was thinking about him yesterday. I don't remember ever hearing Al complain about the limitations everyone was putting on him. I think, in fact, maybe he thrived on them. I need to find a way to be that person. I am looking around at so many shattered dreams, so many "can'ts". They are there, the fire codes and historic regulations and city codes. The reality is that half of them are nothing more than someone else's idea of how things ought to be and those only based on biases and opinions, not on truth. The other half are truths that cramp and clip like the truth that there is a useable backseat in a Volkswagen Bug...really? You can advertise that as a seat?

It doesn't matter why my limitations are there. They just are. There were times when we wondered if it wouldn't be smarter to just sell that little lot and let someone else figure out how to build on was a crazy task. But Al was never daunted. He turned his "can'ts" into beauty. He really did. Our list of "can'ts" that threatened and taunted us every day for a year is now the pretty blue and cream building on Colorado. It sold to a family that runs a personal training gym downstairs and lives in the sunny, luxurious aparments upstairs. What a fun dichotomy of modern day and old fashioned lifestyles for a building that had to balance the historic and modern in order to exist, huh?

My "can'ts" have to change me. I don't have a choice about that. Many times I want to answer them with bitterness. But today I want to be like Al Tozer and turn Can't into beauty instead.

Moments you don't forget

Friday, March 02, 2007

Some days go from bad to worse. Yesterday was one of those days. I'll never forget it.

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of a devastating betrayal in our know how those one year anniversaries can be...although I didn't realize it was "the" day until I was already knee deep in grief. The boys came home from school with a piece of news that related to that situation a year ago and innocently dropped it on my already raw heart. I couldn't hold it together and they saw my deep sorrow. What do 9 and 7 year old boys do with a mom's sorrow? Today I know that we should all be 9 and 7 year old boys.

Jordan, my "feeler" of course blamed himself and was certain that if he just went and had another conversation, he could fix everything. I told him that we have been trying to fix things for a year now and couldn't find anything that would work. His jaw dropped to hear that we had been trying for a whole year (that's like a lifetime in kid years), and then he stuck his chin up, looked me in the face with tears threatening his eyes and said, "then we'll just have to keep trying." He had no idea that this was the one truth I couldn't find the strength to tell myself today.

We sat on my bed. I had to convince Jordan that it was nothing he had done and that he wasn't going to be able to solve it (although somewhere in the back of my mind I sort of wondered if he might actually be able to pull off what we couldn't). I told them that nothing had changed between yesterday and today...that their news had just caught me off guard and I was already having a hard day that's all. I told them I would be alright and they didn't have to be sad and cry too. Jordy looks up into my face, giant alligator tears rolling down his cheeks and says, "Somewhere in the Bible it says that you should laugh with those who laugh and cry with those who cry, and I think if you're crying and sad, we should cry with you." I pulled him onto my lap, buried my face in his soft blonde hair and we cried. Caleb laid his head on the bed next to me. They stayed.

What do 7 and 9 year old boys do with a mom's sorrow? They stay...which is so much more than I can say for most adults. I learned a lot. I'll never forget those moments. I know when Job's friends first came and witnessed his devastation, they just sat with him in silence for seven days. There was beauty and wisdom in that. I'll never forget the strength of my 7 year old's heart yesterday. The strength to feel it all and then stay anyway. Thank you boys. Your mommy doesn't deserve you.

Raging Sea

Thursday, March 01, 2007

MW Smith

Sometimes the journey makes you weary
Feels like a long and winding road
Sometimes this life can lose it's meaning
But you might be surprised to find some hope
Maybe you're wondering where love is
You may feel it's far away from here
Maybe you're wondering where I am
You might be surprised to find I'm near

And when your life is tossed and turning
And you are on the raging sea
I'll come and pull you from the water
Then you will know that you are free

So if you're stumbling through the valley
Or if you're tempted to give up the fight
Reach out your hand and I will lead you
I will be your strong arm in the night

Boy do i get weary. I wrote on my shower door this morning, "What if there's hope you never dreamed of hoping for". It's another song lyric.

My friends can't understand the mountain I climb, the path I follow. That can make you feel like you're crazy. But if you know you're following the God of creation, it can't be all that crazy can it? Then again, maybe that's exactly what it is! Who else does this?!

We talked last night at youth group about the calling of the disciples. We don't know what made them drop their fishing nets so quickly and follow this Rabbi, but we do know that only these 12 (and really only 11 of them) followed all the way through the bitter finish line. John 6:66 says, "from that time on many turned back and no longer followed him." I was quite struck by the location of that verse...666?! Six in scripture is the number of man, 666 the number of "the beast". The question I left my girls with was...will you follow man or this Jesus? The latter is exponentially harder. There's no way to know right now which they will choose. When the others turned back, Jesus turned to the 12 and asked if they would go too. Was he discouraged? Peter's my hero. "Where else would we go dear Rabbi, God of all creation, friend? You have the words of life." I think Jesus was grateful for him in that moment. He had to have felt discouraged...he was well acquainted with suffering. And I guess I'm glad to know that Jesus knows what it's like to feel the way I feel today.

I don't understand this path. No one does. My friends advise me to walk away from the task put before me. "This is not worth your effort," they say. "Walk away. Put your love and energy into someone who deserves it," they say.

Maybe the path I follow really is crazy. Or maybe it's brilliant beyond measure. All I know is that I keep on lifting one foot in front of the other, following the small circle of light that my guide shines on the path in front of me, because what if there is hope I never dreamed of? I won't find it by giving up. If I give up I'll never know if there actually were answers, rest, life, beauty, riches...right around the next corner. Oh how I long for that to be this corner. sigh.

So for today, it must be only the seemingly tenuous ropes of "What if..." that I grab onto as I pull myself more time. Oh I hope it holds me.

Pain and Poetry

Friday, February 09, 2007

I have found pain to be a truer messenger
than ever pleasure could be.
When I step into icy waters,
Frothy ocean breakers
a babbling crystal mountain stream
And the icy fingers like knives shoot up my legs
I am reminded by this,
more than any other sensation,
that indeed, I am alive.
A corpse feels not pain.
And so with you.
The pain that grips me even now in separation
Bears witness, sure and true
to the depth of my love
A witness that no pleasure, no matter how great
Has ever borne.