Category Archives: Musings

Wondering if

What would it be like to tell people’s stories with God, to wrap them in words and package them so that others could read them and grow, or find a friend, or know that they weren’t alone?  What would it be like to be entrusted with others’ stories, to work with someone else on crafting words that expressed the deepest places of their hearts?  What would it be like to spend so much time with someone else’s story that I knew it’s texture and feeling and could begin to put that into words so it could be shared with even more people?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I’m beginning to think there’s some value in finding them.  Value, at least, for me, and maybe for others, too.

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The now-infamous Mother Teresa letters

In case we hadn’t guessed before, Mother Teresa had doubts about her faith. There’s a big hullabaloo out there on the internet and, while I’m not surprised by it, I’m saddened. It’s strange how we view doubts in our world. It’s strange that having a doubt means a person doesn’t believe. It doesn’t make sense to me.

What do you know for sure? Not a whole lot. Mathematical truth, maybe, at least until you get into higher mathematics, when even that seems to be an approximation or at least capable of contradiction. We don’t know anything for sure. We choose to act as if we believe a whole lot this way.

Mother Teresa’s honesty in these letters is actually refreshing. When you combine it with the fact that she kept at it–she kept serving the poor, helpless people in Calcutta as if they were Jesus–the letters mean something deeper than most of what we hear today.

You don’t have to feel like you believe to believe. You don’t have to feel like Jesus is walking next to you holding your hand, or holding you when you cry, or even answering your doubts to live for him. You only have to act. It seems like, much to many people’s dismay, there were many mornings when Mother Teresa woke up and wondered where Jesus was. But she didn’t just hang around, waiting. She didn’t decide that she couldn’t love people because she didn’t feel him. She did it anyway, and so showed Jesus to so many who were hurting.

I’m inspired by these letters–inspired to love people better. Inspired to be honest about what I feel, but also to live beyond my feelings. Inspired to take what I have, even when it’s not exactly what I want, and move forward in Jesus’ name, confident that he will be there when I need him, that he will move and reveal himself through me, even when I can’t see or feel what is going on.

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Musings on the Cadillac Escalade

While driving home from church the other day, we were behind one of those behemoth vehicles…you know, the ones where you can’t help but wonder if the driver is compensating for something? Right, those. And it was called an “escalade.” Now, I’ve seen an example of the Escalade before, but I never really pondered it. On Sunday, I did.
At that point, I didn’t know “escalade” was a word. However, it does remind me of two other words:

  • escalate. As in, “Oh yeah? Toyota made their new SUV how big? Well, we’ll just see about that…let’s escalate this conflict as far as we can.”
  • escapade. As in, “Hmm…I know…let’s make the next one even bigger and badder. Won’t that be an escapade to put on our resumes!”

I later found out that “escalade” is in fact a word. It means (and I quote), “the scaling of fortified walls using ladders, as a form of military attack.” As in, “We’ll launch an escalade against their sorry asses. See if they can withstand the size of this baby!”

So that’s what SUVs are for…driving through walls.

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Yes, but what does it all MEAN?

Ok, I really promise I’ll stop writing about being sick.  Though this one might be a little more interesting than the others.

I keep wondering what it says about me that, every time I get stressed or get over being stressed, I get sick.  I mean, I suppose that’s one way of dealing with it.  The weird thing is, it’s not like I don’t deal with it in other ways.  I journal, I talk to people, I exercise some, and I even cry when I need to.  I’m also pretty aware of the stress I’m carrying, most of the time.

For instance, I know that I’m carrying a lot of stress even when I’m not feeling it acutely right now.  My life-change stress is…well, not off-the-map, but high.  I’ve had two grandparents die in the last year, I’ll be moving, I graduated, got a new job, will get married, and will have at least two pretty significant financial changes.  It adds up.  I know that.  But I’m wondering why it’s making me sick.

I don’t think I’m “worried” about all of this, persay, but I am curious.  I know that some people, in stressful times, don’t get sick at all.  They are amazingly healthy until the stress is over, and then they get really, really sick.  Others don’t get sick at all.  But I get sick a lot, particularly when things change.  For instance, the last time I got sick this often, I had started my first “real job” and was working with a lot of little, autistic kids.  I just don’t know what to make of it, is all.
Ok, I’ll stop, because I’m rambling.  I swear I’ll write about something else tomorrow.

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Old News

Ok, so the Britney-Spears-dashes-KFed’s-hopes-of-ever-being-solvent thing isn’t new. What is new is that A) I’m hopping on the bandwagon to talk about it and B) I feel bad for her.

Dissolving a family is never good. And particularly with her boys the age they are. But I feel bad for her beyond that. It’s like she’s always on the cusp between goody-two-shoes and vixen. It’s like she wants to do what’s right, but she gets caught up in things she doesn’t really understand and ends up doing stupid things. And getting reamed out in the media for it.

Stupid things, like marrying KFed. And having children with him. And strutting around with a snake on her shoulders (*shudder*). But yet…I don’t know…I guess I have an intuition about the girl. And that’s that she really wants to do things right, and really would be just as happy with a “normal” life as she is being Britney Spears, and loves her sons and wants to do her best by them. I hope she gets a chance to figure things out.

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Just call me Syd

“There is also “Gold Base,” the exclusive desert compound housing the Religious Technology Center, or RTC, the financial hub of the church, located about eighty miles southeast of Los Angeles, home to David Miscavige, the charismatic forty-five-year-old who heads up the international church.”

That’s from the really disturbing article in Rolling Stone about Scientology. The above paragraph makes me really want to throw on a wig, speak some Chinese, and do some Alias-style espionage.*

Now I’m probably on their “watch list.” Maybe the Scientology thugs are going to come get me in the middle of the night.

Good thing I’m a black belt.

*Where “espionage” equals “taking all of their money, bankrupting them, and kicking some serious security-guard ass.

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Garth E. Feeney, truly an American Hero

I don’t really know how to honor you today. There’s not much information out there on you, though by all accounts you were a great guy to know. As I read the tributes your friends and relatives have written previously on the Internet, your sense of humor and your kindness stand out to me. Though this is true about all I’ve seen written about you, it stands out about these traits: when people wrote about those traits, they didn’t seem to just be saying nice things because you died a horrible death. Instead, they seem to be grieving the loss of traits that will never be personified in your special way again.

What also stands out to me is you as a sportsman. I read about you rollerblading, and see pictures of ice climbing, soccer, and diving. It seems clear to me that you loved this world and loved being out in the fresh, clean air. You loved interacting with the world, pushing yourself to greater lengths because of what the world had to offer you. It seems like that fed you in a way that other things did not, and so you pursued it when you needed that feeding.

Finally, what stands out to me is that you should not have died. You didn’t work there. You worked somewhere else, and were there for a meeting that morning. You should still be able to rollerblade, play soccer, go diving, bless people with your kindness and your laughter. The fact that you cannot is a grief, and is something we all must mourn. Garth, you were a hero, and as such should never be forgotten.

September 11

“And the pillar of fire, and the pillar of cloud
Did not depart from before the people.”
– Exodus 13:22

According to the promise, we had known
we would be led, and that the ancient God
would deign to make His hidden presence shown
by column of fire, and pillar of cloud.

We had come to suspect what fierce demand
our translation to another land might bode,
but had not guessed He would allow our own
brief flesh to bear the flame, become the cloud.

– Scott Cairns

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