Tuesday, June 08, 2010

jaded sixth grader

in just a few weeks, i'll be moving to a new town about two hours away.

this means, that on top of saying goodbye to the two churches i've been serving, i must also bid farewell to the beautiful people i've worked with at the local tutoring program.

there were only two goals i set for myself upon leaving seminary and re-entering the real world: 1) to tutor at a local school or community center and 2) sign up for netflix. i decided it would be important to start off with very realistic, achievable goals. =)

netflix has been great. the addition of streaming video through the wii has brought immense joy to my household.

but tutoring has been magnificent. the young girl that i'm assigned to strikes me as a 10 year old version of my beautiful goddaughter and i'm endeared to her immediately. the two hours of tutoring a week quickly becomes a source of joy in an increasingly busy schedule filled with church work and church people.

(author's note: grr...i typed out a long dialogue, but it wasn't saved in time.)

last week, as we were waiting for the end-of-the-year festivities to begin, i struck up a conversation around bella and edward and how their twilight romance is moving into real life. (i made sure she knew that it was great for her to be reading "twilight" books at age 11...21 and over? not so much.) i expressed my concern that they might just be caught up in the production of it all and that they don't have what it takes to last.

here's the line that sunk my heart: "they'll probably just get divorced in two weeks anyway. it's not a big deal."

"that doesn't make you sad?" i asked. "no. my cousin married this guy and got divorced two months later. it's not a big deal."

not a big deal?! what could this sweet child have seen and experienced that would make her think that divorce is not a big deal?!?

i pushed it out of my thoughts as we celebrated her and other hard-working students that evening, but since that night, i've been haunted by her sweet smile and innocent expressions nonchalantly conveying her truth: that divorce is nothing new.

i hope that divorce does not become part of my lived reality - but for now, i'm having a hard enough time finding a date! much more a partner to covenant with!
i wonder what's to keep me from being as jaded and cynical as this child though...it's not like i have someone to come home to - to physically remind me that i have committed to be present, to be vulnerable, again and again, day after day. that after the haze of twilight fades, the commitment that i've made to another still remains.

of course i'm being overly dramatic.

someday i'll look back on all these entries and wonder why in the world i was so caught up in love, the search for it, the readiness for it, etc. but until that day, my prayer for both myself and this beautifully gifted child is that we would unlearn some cynical thoughts...and also be open to new understandings of what it means to be saved by love.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I am ready for Love...

I’m at the stage where commitment sounds more promising than dating; settling down has shed its stigma; partnership is what I long for.

Every couple months, I travel down to San Francisco for a 5-day session on spirituality. It is a total of eight sessions that span the bulk of two years, complete with a different book list and new faculty each session.

In this time away from home, I am surrounded by faces, accents and tshirts (clergy folk don’t have a ton of variety in their wardrobe when it comes to retreat settings) that become more and more familiar with each new session. Slowly, I am able to recall individual histories and ministry contexts with only a word or phrase as my prompt.

The personal enrichment though, aside from learning another’s story, is that in this process, my own story is taking shape. The deep desires of my soul begin to surface with increased prayer and intentional conversation. My likes and dislikes take a backseat to what the Spirit is working out. It is super slow work (slow by my instant-text-message standard) but I trust in it.

In discovering other folks’ spirituality, I’m beginning to see where my soul is fed, when I am most responsive to God’s “love energies.” Reading the Abbas and Ammas of the desert, Evelyn Underhill, and other deeply spiritual people have begun to chip away at the concrete casing around my heart and imagination called ‘reality’.

Joan Chittister says, “We do not realize that coming to know God has as much to do with coming to know ourselves as it does to anything we know about God. We do not recognize that it is what we are that will determine the nature of the relationship between God and ourselves. And for that to happen, readiness is the key.”

So for a while, I've felt ready -- in every body-aching expression of India's phrases -- ready for love.

But therein lies my problem. I was ready for love without fully experiencing "Love". The capital L explains it all. As much as I think "I'm ready", I know I'm too easily resentful, too easily doubtful, too easily swayed - am I the loving vessel that seeks to know love and Love?

Not yet...and yet, in my core, I believe I am enough.

So, I've turned another corner on this journey and am trying to get back to the basics of prayer and reading scripture; that I might become prayerful -- the consciousness that says, "God is near at all times, God is always available, and "if I ask and I listen and I reach out and I fill my heart with the words of the One who is the Word, then I will be answered."

This is what I'm really ready for...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

break up music

i believe a good break up is like being at a karaoke bar.

you hem and haw on the sidelines, asking yourself,"am i really going to do this?"

then, inspiration, a sudden burst of confidence hits and the next thing you know,

you're up there on your own. you second-guess yourself, "what did i just do?".
you, anxiety, and insecurity make up your three-person band.

now here's the real hard part: the music. of course, every good break up (just like every good karaoke performance) requires a good soundtrack.
or at least, that one good song that summarizes your relationship, or the angst you feel, or maybe it was "your song" while you were together - the kind that sends you into their arms in five notes or less.

we had a song like that. and even though it will always be a classic song to me - i wonder how to hear it's message to me today...is this a sign of days too far gone? is this confirmation that indeed, the one who held my heart through this song, is the same to hold it now?

if only luther were around to be my love guide! =) im only half-serious.
until i figure out the message behind/in/through the music, i'll keep looking for karaoke songs.

take it away, luther...

I thought sometime alone
was what we really needed
you said this time would hurt more than it helps
but I couldn't see that
I thought it was the end
of a beautiful story
and so I left the one I loved at home to be alone (alone)
and I tried to find
out if this one thing is true
that I'm nothing without you
I know better now
and I've had a change of heart

I'd rather have bad times with you, than good times with someone else
I'd rather be beside you in a storm, than safe and warm by myself
I'd rather have hard times together, than to have it easy apart
I'd rather have the one who holds my heart
whoo-oo-oo-oo yeah

And then I met someone
and thought she could replace you
we got a long just fine
we wasted time because she was not you
we had a lot of fun
though we knew we were faking
love was not impressed with our connection built on lies, all lies
so I'm here cause I found this one thing is true
that I'm nothing without you
I know better now
and I've had a change of heart

I'd rather have bad times with you, than good times with someone else
I'd rather be beside you in a storm, than safe and warm by myself
I'd rather have hard times together, than to have it easy apart
I'd rather have the one who holds my heart
who holds my heart

I can't blame you if you turn away from me, like I've done you,
I can only prove the things I say with time,
please be mine,

I'd rather have bad times with (please be mine) you,
than good times with someone else (I know)
I'd rather be beside you in a storm (anytime),
than safe and warm by myself (so sure baby)
I'd rather have hard times together,
than to have it easy apart
I'd rather have the one who holds my heart (my heart)

I'd rather have bad times with you (surely),
than good times with someone else (surely)
I'd rather be beside you in a storm (oh yeah),
than safe and warm by myself (all by myself)
I'd rather have hard times together,
than to have it easy apart (you know it)
I'd rather have the one who holds my heart

I'd rather have the one who holds my heart
I'd rather have the one who holds my heart
whoooo.....who holds my heart

Sunday, July 26, 2009

just friends...

relationships are strange organisms.

like a product in life's grocery store..
the shelf life varies depending on where, when, and with whom they are made.

i've sat in front of a laptop before...spilling my guts out in what i'd hope would be pretty words...about a relationship's expiration.

well kids, it's about that time again.

i moved away from believing in "the one"...but i thought he was close.
(how many times will i think this way?!)

i'm not saying it's over - how can anything be over when it's just happened? - but we did decide we'd take a break.
something that was a year in the making, i'm sure, is about complete.

my prayer is that God continues to walk with us both - and if there is a way for us to find each other in that 'good love' space i've longed for - then so be it.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


we did it.

finally, the west put the country on the right track.

as the polls closed at 8pm, cheering and balloons clouded my hearing and vision..before 8:01 hit, it was projected that california, oregon, and washington state put obama at 284.

can you believe it? of course you can believe it..it's easy to believe something that makes sense. and yet tears welled up in my eyes when the thought of real change occurring could be a few months away.

we did it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

oh my...

i've written at least five entries since my last post..
and yet, haven't found the time to actually upload them.
weird. i thought the point of blogging was to simplify the stream of consciousness-sharing.

anyway, i am back in seattle. have been here for more than 4 months and yet am only now feeling like i've made a big transition.

fall is here and it's dark when i wake up in the morning. drizzly rain is not a stranger to me anymore now that summer's gone.

i miss my life in dc. my friends and loved ones -- and yet i wouldn't stay when i had the chance. the thought of job hunting when there are plenty of churches that need workers -- well it seemed unreasonable and a waste of resources.

sooo..i'm here. and i am going to get off my lazy a$$ and do something meaningful with my time here. we all have to grow up some time, right?

Friday, July 04, 2008

winter in july

i pride myself on being so self-aware..
and this extends to awareness about other things going on in the world --
poverty, war, you know, things that the rest of the world is concerned with.

this week, the horror of war and its aftermath - like an insidious disease that slowly eats at one's body and soul - hit me in the face four different ways.

washington post online reported june as the deadliest month for american soldiers in afghanistan.

i was listening to the reports of iraq war veterans and the atrocities they not only witnessed, but participated in. that was yesterday early evening. i was driving and the road became blurry when i listened to a soldier describe other soldiers stomp on a body where rigor mortis had already set in, in order to get it into the truck. he said the image was seared into his memory forever and through his sharing, it seared itself into mine as well.

later that night, the evening news highlighted a soldier who was a victim of ptsd. the family talked about how the illness manifested itself in the young hispanic male. he turned on himself, his stepfather, there was bloodshed, and in the end, he lost his life. the image i'll remember from this is his mother sitting at their dining table looking at pictures and the distortion of her face as grief and anguish took over.

lastly, just an hour ago, i saw a rerun of lara logan on the daily show. the straightforward way she discussed iraq and afghanistan and the american way of jumping on the next bandwagon, forgetting the 5+ years we've been involved in perpetrating violence in other parts of the world...

my heart is aching for people who are so closely impacted by war. compassion and hospitality, the need to be loved - all parts of what distinguishes us from animals, simple organisms, and plants - are no longer present. i'm afraid we really are losing our humanity.