Thursday, November 30, 2006

seattle protest - dec 3rd

great thoughts from shari mac donald on the upcoming seattle protest of the "wee-man woman haters club" here:

they thinks we doest protest too much

if you are in the northwest i encourage you to join. information here:

people against fundamentalism

UPDATE: rose madrid-swetman has blogged of the sit-down, face to face meeting held nov. 30th, so has mark driscoll. i must say that this turn of events makes my heart glad. i hope the protest continues as planned as they are using his own words to remind those in his pews of the damage they have had. i pray the future of the woman haters club and that it also grows into maturity to see the true potential that the other half of the kingdom of god truly has.

UPDATE #2 - wow - that was fast, as soon as i posted the above i checked my email and the link for people against fundamentalism cancellation of the protest because their objectives had been met.

wow! this was a beautiful way of drawing attention to this ugliness - i am so glad paul's courage and foresight has brought about such progress. thank you for standing up against this!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

unpacking slowly

this past month has been a whirlwind of experience, opportunity and enjoyment. i have so much to say, but i am unpacking slowly. taking the time to savour the moments, ponder what happened and be gentle with myself upon 're-entry' back into real life.

i have learned much. i plan to write about it, it's just going to come in trickles instead of streams (i think).

Monday, November 27, 2006

decision making, happiness and god's will

rick at new life emerging has a question post about determining god's will. the comment i was leaving got so long i just decided to make a post out of it here:

i think that having 'happy' as a goal for our lives will always leave us searching.

i find that real joy and contentment are far more satisfying in the long run.

we have made many major life changes and our first indication of a need to change circumstances is our mental and spiritual health.

we find that as we get more healthy, especially in ministry, that we no longer tolerate situations we used to agree to. when that happens and we have no influence to change things we begin to investigate our options. knowing all of your options is the best place to start with decision making.

then we begin to pray for open doors. we seek counsel from people we love and who love us and continue to investigate each option to it's full potential. if we feel any hesitation with the information we find (like cost of living or school situations for our kids, etc) we assume that is a closed door. we proceed until doors close. when they close we take that as an indication that we aren't supposed to head in that direction.

my theology used to be so specific in this area - that there was some magic combination needed to make god happy and that i had to figure out - so that i didn't step "out of his will" and end up a smudge on the highway. i now believe that there are lots of good options and it's up to me to continue to choose life instead of death in the decisions i make. could we have been happier/whole-er/more fulfilled in ontario instead of the maritimes? maybe? but the doors to move here didn't close and we are making the healthiest, most life giving choices we can each and every day.

we are content, have much joy and know that god is giving us the desires of our heart. we have found the community we have always longed for and while it's not all sunshine and roses we know that the choices we have made have consequences that we can live with as we seek to expand the kingdom of god here in our community.

i am so glad to be free from the 'magic path theology' of yesteryear. it is a confusing trap that i think doesn't come from god at all. i used to joke that paul's verse 'whatsoever state i find myself, therewith to be content' meant even iowa! :) (where i went to bible college and met my husband).

i think there is truth there that folds into this. contentment is a far more tangible goal than happiness. god never promises us a happy life. it's an unfulfillable goal - and it actually creates a void of happiness because it remains so fleeting - so it backfires instead of bringing life. joy allows for richness even when situations are difficult, even when i am not happy. i can be grieving and still be full of joy - i cannot grieve and be happy. joy allows me to be present to all of my emotions, not just the ones that fulfill my goal of 'happiness'.

it makes for a much richer, reality based life, instead of having the temptation to stuff away bad emotions and pretend. i have seen far too many christians (especially) need to sugar coat everything so that god doesn't get a bum rap - like they are his PR person putting a spin on it all. it's so sad to see, especially when they have to admit that bad things do happen to good people.

i know that this was way more than rick was looking for - but once i got going i just couldn't stop. making small, continual, positive choices for life. i think that is what god's will for his people truly is.

THE ragamuffin diva

claudia mair hawthorne-burney you astound me!

did you know i once told this lovely woman that her writing skills would be wasted on fiction. forgive me dear friend.

i have just finished "Murder, Mahem and a Fine Man" and how wrong i was. Claudia Mair pours herself into her writing like marie belle hot chocolate in a big, warm mug on a cold, frosty day. she holds nothing back and leaves it all on the pages. you see, i said those words to my diva friend because her own story has moved me so deeply in the years i've been reading her amazing blog - ragamuffin diva.

no fiction could come close to the trials this woman has endured. you just can't make this stuff up. her life has been a journey toward redemption and each chapter is so rich. but she does it ya'll! she does it. she weaves her own story right into the pages of this book. it is extraordinary and courageous. she is one of the bravest women i know (whom i've not had the honor of meeting - yet).

this book is funny, the dialog is tight as a drum and you will fall in love with the rich, deep characters as they are drawn together to solve this mystery. i enjoyed every page. as lisa samson says on the cover "sign me up for the fan club" - i can't wait for the second in the series, Death, Deceit and Some Smooth Jazz, to hit the shelves!

it's coming!

life will be slowing down starting today long enough to prepare for advent (i hope). there are some amazing posts out there that are far more thoughtful than mine today, so i thought i'd make you aware of them:

erin at biscotti brain has some wonderful links for the season here and bob at the corner explains (for advent newbies like me) the difference between advent and lent - and does it so beautifully here.

i also want to tell you about my favorite advent tradition - susan (of visual voice & banjo bunny e-cards fame) spends countless hours and tons of love and puts together THE MOST AMAZING online advent calendar. (it still says 2005 - but never fear as she will update it just in time!!)

2006 Advent Calendar

Friday, November 24, 2006

off to speak

spending the weekend within my community of women at our retreat. i am the speaker for the weekend. please pray that god uses me and that i am centered. feeling a bit pulled in a lot of directions thought wise, and haven't caught up on sleep from the trip. liam reassured me yesterday morning that i have been preparing my whole life to do this - it's just hard to believe sometimes and rest in that.

thank you for your prayers!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

thankful heart

today i am thankful that we celebrated thanksgiving in october on the canadian holiday and that i don't have to make a turkey or have any hungry company today.

i do miss my family today more than i did yesterday. we had a wonderful tradition that we are not going to be participating in today. i will miss that.

but just returning home and having to speak this weekend at our women's retreat makes for far too much stuffed into too few days. i don't feel ready or focused enough to get ready. liam reminded me this morning that i have a lifetime of 'getting ready' for this, and i know he's right, i just don't want to ramble and be all distracted.

so, just for today i am going to be thankful. i am home, safe and sound with my family here. we have an amazing community that we are putting down roots in and i am able to use my gifts in a church like i've always longed to do.

i have the blogosphere where i can send my thoughts and words into and they don't return void - you read them and respond and we interact in such a beautiful way. i am so very thankful for you. even those 'lurking' - actually, especially you today - i think about you often. wonder what it is that brings you back here. i pray for you too. hoping that something i say will be a key to a lock that opens something beautiful for you. something life giving and full of hope. for you i am grateful. you bring me back here to write.

my friends - you know who you are - you've changed my life and given me keys to unlock doors in my own heart that have been rusted shut for years. you inspire me, challenge me, kick my butt and keep me going. you show me jesus in ways i never knew possible. for you i am eternally grateful.

my husband - your faithfulness and love, patience with my struggles and my growth. better and worse - we have and will walk this path together. i am grateful for you liam. thank you for your constancy and joy. your stability and solidity. i love you and am so thankful for these past 20 years.

my children - oh how i missed you while i was away! you bring so much fullness to my life - your humor, presence and personalities are so rich. it has been a joy to watch you grow into the individuals you each are - thank you for being the YOU god made you to be.

i pray today is a thankful day for you too. happy thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

back to blogging (sort of...)

where to start? i missed you all and also missed being able to put my fingers and thoughts into words here. i got to check emails 2 times for about 5 minutes just to make sure there weren't any urgent items needing my attention - but other than that i had NO access to the internet.

how can so much happen in 8 days? it feels like a lifetime. traveling 'non-rev' (on a buddy pass) is great for the pocket book, but it's not free by any means. our 5 1/2 hour trip turned into a 19 hour trial that could have been it's own version of 'planes, trains and automobiles' - although ours would have been called 'airports, food poisoning and lost luggage'...

it was horrible. i ate something in the philly airport that came back to haunt me on our 're-route' from charlotte to cincy... yes, on the plane. you think those bathrooms are too small to toilet in? try barfing - 6 times... it was horrible. the only thing worse was that the vomiting was so violent that i peed my pants (yes the ones i had to wear the next day because our luggage didn't arrive until 11:00 p.m. the next night)... i told liam that if we didn't love YS and the NYWC so much it would have put me out cold for ever returning.

so for those keeping track it was
-one case of food poisoning
-two pieces of lost luggage
-three bumped flights
-four airports
-five states (and one province)
-six episodes of barfing
and a partridge in a pear tree....

the way home yesterday was much smoother, although our bags didn't make it on the flight with us and we had to stay in the city until the next flight came in. we were very thankful they made it on that flight as i would have had to drive back today (2 hours each way) to pick them up.

i feel for those of you traveling for the holiday weekend (or who travel for a living). it has quenched my desire for the jet set lifestyle. i would much rather be home with my family living a quiet centered life any day.

now i just have to get ready for speaking at the women's retreat this weekend... whew.

hope you all had a great week, i can't wait to catch up on your blogs. missed you too!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

It's alive! (well, live)

the link to my talk is up and i've posted it on my other blog.

i'd love to hear any feedback if you listen!

done - thank you for your prayers!

oh it feels so good to be on the other side of this! it went really well, i was nervous and my voice quaked and my hands shook - but it flowed and the response was overwhelmingly positive. tears were shed and i think people heard things that resonated with them.

it was the most fun to watch the faces register, the heads shake in agreement and the emotion on the faces - it was so powerful - i almost wanted to stop and just soak in it for a bit - but i kept going.

i'll put the link up on my other blog when it goes live if anyone wants to hear it. if you don't know my 'real' name/blog email me at emergingsideways AT gmail DOT com and i will send you a link.

it's only been because of this blog, my blogging community and all of your honesty and support that gave me the courage to do this. thank you! you mean the world to me!

now, off to pack and get up at 3:00 to head to the national youth workers convenition in cincinnati tomorrow... yawn. i am exhausted, drop-down exhausted. maybe i'll get some sleep on the plane... yah, right...

i hope to have access to a computer there, so if i do i'll post. have an amazing week!

ps - even my hair turned out!! :)

done - thank you for your prayers!

oh it feels so good to be on the other side of this! it went really well, i was nervous and my voice quaked and my hands shook - but it flowed and the response was overwhelmingly positive. tears were shed and i think people heard things that resonated with them.

it was the most fun to watch the faces register, the heads shake in agreement and the emotion on the faces - it was so powerful - i almost wanted to stop and just soak in it for a bit - but i kept going.

i'll put the link up on my other blog when it goes live if anyone wants to hear it. if you don't know my 'real' name/blog email me at emergingsideways AT gmail DOT com and i will send you a link.

it's only been because of this blog, my blogging community and all of your honesty and support that gave me the courage to do this. thank you! you mean the world to me!

now, off to pack and get up at 3:00 to head to the national youth workers convenition in cincinnati tomorrow... yawn. i am exhausted, drop-down exhausted. maybe i'll get some sleep on the plane... yah, right...

i hope to have access to a computer there, so if i do i'll post. have an amazing week!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

a bigger platform!! yippee!

people against fundamentalism is taking action!

i couldn't be more thrilled. i asked people in this post to use whatever platform they had to speak out against mark driscoll and his ugly, misogynistic theology. this was never near to what i hoped might happen - so i must say i am just tickled!

anyone in the seattle area please take note! here's what they have planned:

Take Action on November 19

james dobson has lost his moral authority

i don't have a lot of time or energy for indignation right now, but i am just sick and tired of james dobson and his tribe at focus on the family loosing the forest for the trees.

the news of dobson dropping haggard like a hot potato just sickens me. (here and here) of all of the families in america who need to be focused on right now i would say that the haggards qualify pretty high up on that list.

i actually think that the haggards will be better off without dobson and his shame based ministry providing counseling. i don't know if he could really provide this family with the help they need anyway. but this 'i don't have time' garbage is just sickening. his "kingdom" is the closest to the former "haggard kingdom" - so it's not like travel would be a problem... and the fact that he was involved previously with haggard and didn't love him enough to give him a safe enough place to confess shows what dobson's counseling looks like anyway. it is my opinion that he (and others on this "team") must share in some of the blame for this escalating to this point without any of them seeing the warning signs. at least their discernment must be called into question.

this news comes on top of this article i read on the god's politics blog (here) regarding the voting guide FOTF provided to pennsylvania voters. it rated don sherwood a "pro-family" politician - this was the man who admitted to having a mistress, but denied the charges that he strangled and abused her... pro family? is this really how we are making our choices for our children?

all i can say is focus on your own damn families. leave ours alone please.

Friday, November 10, 2006

the ground on which it is safe to stand

i joked in an email to erin this morning that i have figured out why women shouldn't be pastors/ministers. yesterday i got my hair cut. i'm freaking out a bit this morning. it doesn't look like the stylist did it in the salon. i can't imagine what sunday morning will be like.

i imagine this is something that most male preachers never have to consider. the trials of having a bad hair day on the day you also have to stand in front of a congregation... sigh. i guess many of them just have 'bad hair lives' as my dear liam of the tall baldness will attest to! :)

i'm beginning to get nervous. i know it won't be this level of anxiety if and when i do this more often, and breaking through in a new community for the first time, telling my story and practicing my teaching skills - but today i sit before you all at this keyboard wondering 'what was i thinking?'...

i have literally been putting this sermon together for months. on tuesday it all fell into place and i was very comfortable with the flow, stories and quotes i will be including. i know that this is what i am meant to talk about. it is just risky. to hand people the tools with which to hurt you always strikes me as just plain silly. but that is the point isn't it? that is where intimacy happens.

others talking from books and keeping everything/everyone at arms length is what i have complained here about for years, right? so to do the same would make me the the biggest hypocrite of all. but boy is it tempting. i feel much more sympathy for those i judged so harshly. projecting a version of oneself is much easier and safer isn't it? that way if we are rejected it wasn't really us to begin with.

i have been working with my counselor in walking that tightrope of determining self revelation that is balanced, true, and honest. i fear being gratuitous or over the top. it is a difficult boundary for me. i have prayed about it a lot.

one of the main focuses of my teaching is parker palmer's concept about being pushed down to the ground on which it is safe to stand. much of my journey has been finding that ground. i realized that if i can keep my feet firmly planted on it no one will be able to knock it out from under me.

speaking from a place of wholeness and healing instead of projection and insecurity. finding the "author"-ity i own instead of grasping for power i have no right to.

please pray for me. it is an excited fear, not a loathing or crippling one. but it is fear none-the-less. i have found myself finding comfort in eating these past couple of days. it's not something i want to trade for my serenity. my prayer is to have real serenity even in the midst of anxiety. oh, and that i'll be able to have a good hair day too!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

a bully culture

david byrne of talking heads fame has a fascinating blog. he posted his election day thoughts here and said something that resonated deeply with me:

I sense that the balance of power in the house and senate and the rollback of the neocon agenda is only part of the job ahead, as the country has been inundated with bully culture, the culture of greed, for at least a dozen years. For many young professionals, that’s all they know in their working lives — the attitude of winner takes all, bigger smashes smaller and do it if you can get away with it. It might take a while to allow another more humane culture of getting along and nurturing each other and benefiting from each other’s skills and knowledge to rise from the ashes. At present ashes are pretty much all there is. Social animals know better than this — they seem to instinctively know that there are limits to what the bosses and the alpha males can get away with, and that cooperation within the group is how the group survives. Checks and balances — something that’s been missing for a while.

I sense this culture every day, on the streets and in the media. Every time a cop car from my local precinct runs a red light or speeds down a one way street the wrong way (just because they can, no other reason) and every time an SUV with darkened windows muscles other cars, bikers, old ladies and kids out of way — sometimes narrowly missing pedestrians as they run a red light — well, it’s all been sanctioned by Bush and Cheney and the senators and congressmen who allied themselves with these bastards. They reflect and encourage one another. Push in line, build your building right in front of someone else’s, destroy a neighborhood, be a winner, a survivor. To me, those reality shows “teach” bully culture — that’s the lesson that is imparted — and that includes ones like Laguna Beach, which seems to promote backstabbing, lying, duplicitous behavior and entitlement — all in a world where no one works.
what are we teaching our children?

important post from jenell paris on the haggard story

lynnette davidson directed me to an important post by jenell regarding the response of the evangelical church to the ted haggard incident:
NAE says Ted Haggard’s situation was individual, not institutional. I don’t know anything more than I’ve read in the media about Haggard or the NAE, and I’m not implying anything about that specific situation. In principle, however, I don’t buy it. When evangelical institutions distance themselves from disgraced individuals, they perpetuate the radical individualism that marks evangelicalism. They are also acting more to preserve themselves than to necessarily tell the truth or to love anyone. My suspicions are these: a person is rarely caught the first time they do something. There’s usually a pattern, and there are usually people who saw the pattern unfolding. Even if no one knew about the sexual issues, people knew about how the person handled power, secrets, and authority. Institutions also hold people accountable for how they spend their money and their time. When individuals sin boldly, there are usually institutions and individuals in institutions who commit the sin of self-deception. They know, but they don’t want to know, so they tell themselves they don’t know.
read the rest here: Notes from an out-but-not-so-proud evangelical

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

skinny with a heart of gold

oh andrew, you've made me weep with this one. it's beautiful and so heartfelt. i will be praying for those children to have a safe place to feel loved and connected in a much deeper way than before i read your story. thank you for your courage and transparency. it is beautiful.

please go and read andrew's story:

carrying your dad's dumbell

blogging the bible

while on the msnbc site reading news this a.m. i followed a link to slate magazine and followed another link to 'blogging the bible' - i am fascinated.

david plotz, who calls himself "a proud jew, but not a very observant one" and later an "ignoramus" about biblical matters is taking a fresh read of the old testament, chapter by chapter and blogging it. he's on the story of david and bathsheba in 2 samuel now and his writing is fresh, funny and very readable. genesis to 2 samuel can be found here:

blogging the bible (so far)


via the huffpo

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

how to write a book in three easy steps

didn't want to loose this article:

how to write a book in three easy steps

thanks jordon!

vote, please go vote!

as an american in canada i have lost my right to vote today - i used to live in the 'bellwether' state of pennsylvania, so my vote today would have been important.

please, please, please go vote today.

Monday, November 06, 2006

thank you ted haggard!

i know, strange title, but i am so grateful that what is spilling out over this mess is a dialog about pastors, christians, evangelicals and their views on sex, power and sexual addictions. we are all talking about it now.

i am horrified at some of the responses i am reading though. i am learning so much about people's theology and what they believe about sex, god and women. i think you can learn more about people when they talk about sex and money than when they talk about church and jesus.

i think that's why the bible spends so much time on these issues. they show the heart and soul of a person more clearly than hiding behind flowery church-talk.

if i can introduce anything into the dialog it would be this:


please understand this people.

alcoholics aren't really thirsty people.

alcoholism isn't about alcohol.

drug addiction isn't about drugs.

and sexual addiction isn't about sex.

hotel rooms and fat preachers wives aren't the reason that pastors stumble into sin.

addiction, especially the sexual type happens when there are broken parts of the past that have injured the body, soul and spirit of the addict. masturbation, pornography and acting out sexually feeds those broken areas in a counterfeit way that masks what we truly want and can't seem to find a way to achieve.

true intimacy and wholeness sexually would fill and replace the need for this acting out behavior, but because so very few of us have the ability or help to navigate this, we settle for the counterfeit and it becomes the fix.

blaming other things and people for our brokenness is NO WAY to find healing. owning our junk, confessing to god, to ourselves and another human being is THE ONLY WAY we can break through the shame we carry so that we can find the healing and wholeness we all long to have in our lives.

i have a precious son (i also have a precious daughter, we're just not navigating this area right now in her life yet) who has awakened to the opposite sex. he was shown pornography a couple of months ago by a friend and since that time we have been dialogging about it.

this morning he awoke and found me at the computer, reading about the ted haggard story, and said "mom, i'm having a hard time when i see someone not thinking about them without any clothes on" (he is so honest and real, i respect this child-like innocence he brings to this so much).

first i prayed for wisdom. and then i reminded him about what we have been talking about for the past couple of months. this is about building muscles. spiritual muscles, that will help him navigate this journey called growing up. we talked about 'taking every thought captive', and that temptation isn't a sin. those pictures will pop into his head for the rest of his life. learning to set them aside and see that person as real and an image-bearer, instead of reducing them to a 2 dimensional picture or image. this is what will help him navigate this.

i reminded him that i must do this. daddy must do this. and pink must do this. all for ourselves. it's not something we can do for each other. it is our responsibility to learn, stretch and grow.

it is a very sad thing to hear of someone, with much influence, reducing women to ornaments and add-ons to their lives. it makes me weep. i would ask that we would each use what influence we are given to speak out loudly against this. it is theology like this that feeds the broken kingdom that cannot truly minister the love of god.

"There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I've been warring against it all of my adult life," Haggard wrote.
how much more powerful would it have been to his congregation if he had started HERE and not ended HERE?

how much light and life could have been brought into the life of his congregation if he had admitted how hard it was to live his life? love his wife? parent his children? how much more could people have learned from him if he lived transparently - free of the shame and owning his junk instead of the portrayal of the shiny plastic christian with no problems and free of struggle?

if we confess our sins one to another, pray for each other, we will be healed.

james 5:16

Sunday, November 05, 2006

they won!

dolce & anna from USC have won the contest!! can't wait to here who they
help with the $$

Saturday, November 04, 2006

you go girls!

these two back to back articles in the BBC just thrill my heart! i want to live in this world.

1. If the Democrats make major gains in next week's elections, Nancy Pelosi stands to become the first woman to serve as US speaker.


2. Congratulations Bishop Jefferts Schori!

*tears & cheers*

impeding progress

max wax, the blog of max hsu (superchick fame) has a great post on following your dream - and i need this kick in the pants today:
As you well know if you're a regular here, I'm a big fan of people chasing their dreams. Here's the max formula yet again:

1. dream,
2. research/plan,
3. try,
4. fail,
5. repeat.

after lunch today with a friend who's road managing a backstreet boy, I have come to this conclusion:

Sometimes people get stuck in the planning stage. I believe in planning. I love research. I think before you embark on any endeavor you should ask someone who's done it to tell you all about it. If you don't know any astronauts/ballerinas/pro bass fishermen you should read a book about it. But here's where it goes wrong. If after 60 days you're spending more time planning than doing, you're probably letting fear keep you in the planning stage. If you've pretty much only done planning then you're most likely stuck. Planning feels like progress. But it can actually impede progress if you never get past the planning stage.

So quit waiting for the weekend to work on your book. Quit building the perfect creative space. Quit reading books about creativity. Quit reading this blog. Hold your nose and jump in. Get your feet wet. Make beginner art. Be bad at something. Get your bum in the chair and create/practice/snowboard or whatever it is you wanted to do.
thanks max, i needed that!

the sin of sodom

will samson has a challenging post for the church up today - definitely worth your read:

Recapturing a Complete Sense of Morality

Friday, November 03, 2006

looking haggard - ben witherington post

ben witherington has a really thoughtful post up on the scandal:

Looking Haggard, Ted steps aside

cancer in the body of christ

reading will's blog today i saw that ted haggard, the head of the national association of evangelicals is caught in the middle of a great and grand mess. god help him. true or not this again sheds light on the issue of pastoral struggles and the environment we have created for those who lead the church.

i blogged at the end of september on the church and porn. maybe i should have entitled it 'pastors and sex'? either way we have a HUGE mess on our hands and we need to begin again. the elephant is sitting square behind the pulpit and if we don't begin to dialog about this in new ways we will NEVER weed out this hidden behavior that is eating like a cancer in the body of christ.

please know i am not condemning ted haggard - there but for the grace of god go i. i pray that this is false, but the new acting sr. pastor at his church said (here) that some of the allegations made have been admitted to by haggard.

i don't see this as much as his failure, but the failure of the church. we have trained these men to be separated from their souls. the disconnect will wipe us out.

i know that when i was in the middle of my acting out in my sexual addiction that i was the most vitriolic and shaming of everyone around me. my own shame was so great that i had to keep throwing it outside of myself. those who are the most vocal in shaking their fingers in others faces many times are the ones that struggle the most deeply. i know it was true for me.

that is why telling out stories is where healing can be found. finding the safe place to share our fears, confess our sins and receive grace and healing is what truly will bring this back from the brink.

it truly is a cancer. and it's breaking god's heart. instead of portraying perfection, image and the bright shiny plastic jesus we need to return to the place where redemption is found. by bringing our stories into the light and allow those damaged places to find healing. we then become the 'wounded healer' nouwen writes so beautifully about.

cancer survivors are some of the most vibrant, enthusiastic souls. watching them minister to those currently going through treatment is like watching jesus himself. they know what it is like to be so afraid. be so sick. be so wounded and broken. real survivors make the best ministers. they never shame. they never wound. they are present and carry their story with them wherever they go.

the church needs a lot more survivors.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Marigold Path Grid Blog: remembering mom

image designed by adam walker cleaveland

It is still so new
& all we see is
the empty space,
but that is not
how it is in the
landscape of the heart.
There, there is
no empty space
& he still laughs
& grapples with ideas
& plans
& nods wisely with each
of us in turn.
We are proud to
have known him.
We are proud to
have called him friend.

for bob who put this grid blog together, from Story People .

grief and remembering is something i must do intentionally lately. it's been 18 years since my mother, the real bobbie died. i was 21, she was 43. there is never a good time to loose a parent, but this time for me was very traumatic. she seems so very far from me now. like a distant friend living in a far away town who i haven't seen in a very long time.

i never thought i would say this in the middle of all of my grief, but it has gotten easier. it's not easy - but easier than i'd imagined it would be.

she was a bundle of contradictions, my mother. i think it was her sickness that made that real. i got stuck for quite some time in the anger stage of my grief. a lot of unresolved emotions that i had to untangle. what was god's and what was hers? it took me years of therapy to figure that out, heck, it took me years of therapy just to be able to admit it. i guess that's why it was such a drawn out stage of my grieving process.

she was so ugly to me before she died. they told me it was the medicine. the mass doses of prednisone and constant frustrations with her inability to care for herself. i think that by finally admitting how angry i was at her i was finally able to have her back again.

that's what i tell people now when they speak to me of their grief. that it's okay to feel any way you need to - even angry. it doesn't mean you don't love them any less. anger and love are both valid, deep emotions that can co-exist within a heart at the same time. and by admitting the anger i was able to deal with it and move it out of the way to make room for the good memories to show up again.

one of my mother's favorite things to do was to go out for breakfast. i don't know how many saturday mornings she would awaken my teen-age self and try to coax me out to go junkin' with her by first bribing me with breakfast. that's probably when i miss her most. in the simple things. like finding an amazing antique at a yard sale and knowing she would be right by my side if she could have been.

or raking and burning leaves together. how many times the smell of burning leaves brings her back to me. i can see her with her red bandanna on, flaming rake in hand, carrying the fire from one pile to the next in our old back yard. she loved to burn those piles of leaves.

i smile as i remember her sitting with a golf umbrella in the sunshine of the bleachers watching me play first base, while others stared, wondering if this woman thought that it was going to rain. she was allergic to the sun, her lupus made her so sensitive and the sun took so much energy from her. but she wouldn't miss a game if she could help it.

the clacking of the typewriter will forever remind me of her. sitting at her smith corona desperately trying to write something that someone would publish. it was her greatest dream. she would have LOVED blogging. hitting that 'publish' button would have fulfilled a great void in her life. she was never so sad as when the mailbox held the large envelopes with her manuscript, rejected, inside. i could never understand why she kept doing that to herself. i do now.

i wish she had written about her pain, her struggles, her journey through living with terminal illness, that would have been something that could have captured a publishers eye. there aren't even journals. just forced poetry and sad pre-teen, christian romance novels. she so desperately wanted to figure out what the magic combination was that would get her words read.

i know she would have loved recovery too. i think she longed for it her whole life. serenity, wholeness, healing. she died with so much unresolved. so many questions, resentments and bitterness. i wonder if it exacerbated her sickness? did that emotional baggage weigh her down and she bore the consequences of that in her body?

i know she would be proud of me today. thrilled at the level of healing and wholeness i have found. rejoicing with me in the choices i have made. i also know that i wouldn't be where i am today if she was still here. i think realizing that was one of the biggest helps to my grieving process. we had quite an unhealthy co-dependent relationship. i think i am stronger and healthier today because i don't regularly have to navigate a relationship with her. i hope that doesn't sound bitter. it's not meant to. i just know that she who installed 'my buttons' knew how to push them like no one else.

so today, i remember you bobbie. thank you for the life you gave me. thank you for your strengths and weaknesses. i have learned and continue to learn from them both. i miss you mom.

read other's stories here: Marigold Path Grid Blog