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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Speech to the Young

(I found this on a professor's door at the College of St. Catherine)

Speech to the Young

Say to them,
Say to the down-keepers,
the sun-slappers
the self-soilers,
the harmony-hushers,
"Even if you are not ready for day
It cannot always be night."
You will be right
For that is the hard home-run.
Live not for battles won.
Live not for the-end-of-the-song.
Live in the along.

Gwendolyn Brooks
1991

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

George MacDonald and Don Miller

I have been reading The Back of the North Wind, by George MacDonald, to my kids lately. While the main character, Diamond, is in the land at the back of the north wind; MacDonald starts to interrupt the story with song/poetry to describe what the river that flows there, sings.

I have been reading, for myself, Searching for God Knows What, by Don Miller. He has been talking about a dynamic he learned while taking a class from Dr. John Sailhamer. Dr. Sailhamer showed the class how Moses used poetry in his writing. He would be writing narrative and then suddenly break into poetry. Dr. Sailhamer said that "the way Moses wrote wasn't unlike the way people who write musicals stop the story every once in a while to break into song." Don Miller explains that poetry is used as a literary tool to help express the "emotions and situations and tensions that a human being feels in his life but can't explain."

I thought of George MacDonald. And then I remembered how the poetry he wrote in the story helped me to feel his meaning even though the words of poetry were like "nonsense" if my mind tried to understand them.

This is what George MacDonald writes through the voice of his narrator about these songs...

"Here Diamond became aware that his mother had stopped reading.
'Why don't you go on, mother dear?' he asked.
'It's such nonsense!' said his mother. 'I believe it would go on for ever.'
'That's just what it did,' said Diamond.
'What did?' she asked.
'Why, the river. That's almost the very tune it used to sing.'
His mother was frightened, for she thought the fever was coming on again. So she did not contradict him.
'Who made that poem?' asked Diamond.
'I don't know,' she answered. 'Some silly woman for her children, I suppose - and then thought it good enough to print.'
'She must have been at the back of the north wind some time or other, anyhow,' said Diamond. 'She couldn't have got a hold of it anywhere else. That's just how it went.' And he began to chant bits of it here and there; but his mother said nothing for fear of making him worse; and she was very glad indeed when she saw her brother-in-law jogging along in his little cart. They lifted Diamond in, and got up themselves, and away they went, 'home again, home again, home again,' as Diamond sang. But he soon grew quiet, and before they reached Sandwich he was fast asleep and dreaming of the country at the back of the north wind."

Diamond goes on to sing the song to help and comfort babies and people and help sustain their hope as things get harder in the story. It makes me think of how incredibly old Moses' words are and how his "song" is still reverberating and repeating to help sustain our hope to this day...

May we all listen and sing and fall fast asleep and dream of the country at the back of the north wind.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Hearing...

Man!! Have I been struggling lately. I don't know what the deal is, but it has been hard just to accomplish life lately.

One thing I have noticed is that I am having a very hard time hearing my children. I used to boast that I could negotiate peace treaties for the UN, but not so, lately. I was talking to a friend and I realized that I think it is because of my hearing. I am not able to distinguish the intensity of conversations until they are boiling over. I am not able to tell where sound is coming from, so sometimes I am not aware something is happening. I am also having a hard time discerning who is telling the truth, who is lying, and who is just plain confused.

So, I am beginning to look into hearing aides. This is actually a big step for me, because I have been on a journey with God where I felt Him leading me and I have been vulnerably asking Him to heal my ears; give me my hearing. I get twisted up in the faith issue of is it not faithful to that journey with Him, if I go and get hearing aids.

I am pretty settled with it now. I now see it as loving to my children to not make it more difficult for them to have my hearing issues.

Anyway. I was wanting to ask people to pray for me around this, if God puts me on your heart. I am asking God to provide hearing aides for me that we are able to get.

Thank you.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Learning to fly...

We did it. We declared Sunday our last day at Open Door; and we were so blessed! I could not believe how people responded in love to us. It started, here, on this blog. I began to receive responses from fellow "Open Doorers" and I began, before Sunday, to sense that this leaving was going to be different from my past. I began to feel that just because we will not physically be there Sunday's does not mean we are not "part of the family".

On Sunday, we had the overwhelming surprise in the community we minister in with, coming around us and praying for our family. They blessed us and sent us. People also shared that they feel we would still be connected in heart and spirit.

Then, driving home, Craig prayed for our family... acknowledging to God that we were now "churchless" in terms of a physical community to worship with. Asking our Shepherd to guide us to the pasture He wants us in... He then prayed the picture that stays with me, and encapsulates what I think, through people, God was/is saying to us. Craig said that we are like kids who have grown up and are leaving home. We are still part of the family, but we just don't live in the house with mom and dad anymore. We are out of the nest and learning to fly.

That says it, I think.

Thank you for all the love and support you all showed us and we know your hearts go with us. We will keep you posted on this blog. I am thankful for this technology!!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Announcement...

I have been writing this post, in my heart, all week... it is time... I must post it. I am amazed at how difficult it is to write it. To "announce" it. Then, we have to follow through... First, the announcement... then the rest...

This is our last "official" Sunday at Open Door. For about a year, we knew that we were being "weaned" and "called" to live fully in the community we live in. About two weeks ago, we felt the sense that in a few weeks, we would be "done". The gas prices will finally help us sever the umbilical cord.

I am shocked by the depths of my feelings around this. Shocked? Let me explain. I have been a person who has "moved around" alot. I was born in Peoria, IL and then we moved to Tokyo, Japan. Then we moved back to Illinois, then I went to finish high school in Minnesota, then I went to college in Minnesota... Moorhead State... then finishing up at U of MN in the Twin Cities. So. I am used to making changes and leaving; but I leave and cut off my heart as I go.

Last night I was meditating on this and feeling it and I realized that I really want it to be noticed that we are not at Open Door anymore. But how will that happen? It is a huge church. There is no way to "announce"... "Hey... we are just people who have gone here for at least 13 years... and God is moving us out... hello?? Anyone???" I don't want to disappear without a trace again.

I have noticed that I have felt like a "ghost" all my life... through all these "movings". I have felt like I show up somewhere and everyone is more "solid", "real", "connected" than me. I feel shadowy and vague and like I really don't have a place. I may begin to get more "form" as I am there, but I feel like when I leave, I don't leave a "void", a "lack". I don't know if anyone noticed that we left Japan... Susie Camarata... do you remember playing with me? Jaime Vorvick? (I am trying to not get melodromatic... but this is fresh for me...)

So. I am living in the hurt. I am allowing my heart to hurt and grieve over leaving this place that has been such a blessing and that I allowed my heart to pour into. A place that was used immensely by God to show me that I had a heart! And I am allowing my heart to grieve over how I have handled the pain of these changes in my past. I have been wrong to not invest myself in each place and to keep my heart closed so I don't hurt each time we moved. I have imagined that the "communities" I have come into didn't let me be solid... but maybe I wasn't connecting myself... giving myself to make solid relationships...

I am not even sure if people read my blog anymore... it's been so long since I have been a reliable "poster". This was the only place where I felt I could gather a group of Open Door friends together to say... "good-bye".

I will still be here at "release the good". We may still be active in Open Door's Tuesday morning groups... but we are out and searching for our church home...

p.s. Jan, my heart is more empathetic to what you have probably been going through...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Help us remember...

"The heart at the centre of the human body represents the beauty that is at the heart of life. We often define ourselves in terms of the ugliness of what we have done or become rather than in terms of the essence of our life. We are made in the image of God, in the image of the One who is Beauty.

Think of a beautiful plant suffering from blight. If botanists were shown such a plant, even if they had never seen that particular type of plant before, they would define it in terms of its essential features and life-force. They would not define it in terms of its blight. Rather, the blight would be described as foreign to the plant, as attacking its essence. This may seem an obvious point botanically, but perhaps it is such an obvious point that we have missed the point when it comes to defining what is deepest within us. In our Western Christian tradition we have tended to understand human nature in terms of its blight. The doctrine of original sin defines us as essentially sinful rather than seeing that sin is attacking the essence of our being. What is deepest in us is the beauty of our origins." J. Philip Newell, Echo of the Soul

!Lord! Help me to walk out of such a 'western' mindset and help me to remember...