Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ill-Fitting Boots

I read a magazine article earlier this week (while brushing my teeth -yes, perhaps I take the multi-tasking thing just a wee bit too far occasionally) that has been rattling around in my brain all week. Actually, it's one sentence from the article that stuck with me. The story is about a writer who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, alone, at the age of 26, after major upheavals in her life.  The sentence (really, it's the last phrase of a lengthy sentence) is this:

...and lost six toenails to the trauma of hiking in ill-fitting boots. 

 Ill-fitting. I wonder how often we inflict trauma on ourselves (and others) because we're walking in something that doesn't fit:  attitudes, behaviors, jobs, relationships.  Something that appears at the moment to be appropriate, or at least serviceable, but that ultimately results in pain.  Maybe what doesn't fit is someone else's expectation, but that you've squeezed and contorted yourself to fit.  Perhaps ill-fitting describes a choice made by your younger self, but that doesn't reflect the life you'd like to live today.  Sometimes it feels as though there is no other option than to put one bloody foot in front of the other and keep walking. And sometimes we keep walking in those ill-fitting boots because we think we deserve the pain for making the original choice. 

Maybe it would be a good idea to take an inventory of what fits and what doesn't fit in our lives. And since our own perspectives can be really skewed, inviting the gentle, loving inspection of the One who created us, redeemed us, and restores life would be a good place to start.

Messiah's Jubilee 
Isaiah 61: 1..He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and freedom to the prisoners...
61:3 give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning, and splendid clothes instead of despair..."

Take off the boots.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It has begun - the annual sending of emails and petitions by those upset that the words Merry Christmas aren’t used in December advertising.

The birth of Christ is a shattering pronouncement from the throne of heaven that we are all foes, enemies, of God and totally incapable of changing our status. The “world”, by definition, is unbelieving. That’s why we are here – to represent the Savior to them.

Do not marvel, brethren, if the world hates you. I John 3:13

What do you expect?

We are offended that corporations are not using the phrase “Merry Christmas” in the advertising they generate to lure us into their stores in an effort to acquire our money while we accumulate more stuff – none of which has anything at all to do with God’s grace and truth personified in His Son. The world isn’t celebrating the Word made flesh among us – they are celebrating consumerism. They are behaving according to their nature. And we’re in a twist because they aren’t slapping “Merry Christmas” on top of this?

Wouldn’t it be the ultimate irony if the dropping of Merry Christmas by those corporations who have done so isn’t the work of God Himself to remove any association of what is precious and holy from our gluttony of materialism?

We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, guard yourselves from idols. I John 5:19-21

Sometimes I wonder if we haven’t made idols of our “rights”. It takes an awful lot of time and energy (and an enormous focus on self) to be so vigilant in making sure somebody out there hasn’t done something at which we can take offense. Be assured, there will always be something – we’re in the world. Why do we marvel? Maybe the question isn’t, “How can I make them stop doing that to me?” but rather, “How can the work of the cross be presented in this situation?”

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. I John 5:4

There are legitimate stands to take and battles from which we must not back down. There are stores I will not shop in because I think their advertising is soft porn and, frankly, I hope they don’t have a Merry Christmas sign in the window next to that garbage.

I’m not forwarding emails or signing petitions. Here’s what I am going to do this December while shopping: Look every store employee in the eye, smile and say, “Merry Christmas. God bless you.” They will know us by our love.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

What is that beautiful thing that just happened?

Hmmm, I'm suprised by how long it's been since I last wrote something here. Surprising because all these thoughts, ideas and random musings are in my head and then I realize I enjoyed thinking them, but never actually wrote them down. Sounds a little bit pyschotic doesn't it? Oh, well. I'm determined to do better.

Here's what touched my heart today:

At BlackwaterPond the tossed waters have settled after a night of rain.

I dip my cupped hands. I drink

a long time. It tastes

like stone, leaves, fire. It falls cold

into my body, waking the bones. I hear them

deep inside me, whispering

Oh, what is that beautiful thing

that just happened?

-- Mary Oliver, from "New and Selected Poems"

Friday, April 24, 2009

What is enough?

So I was putting some thoughts together to share with a group at church (hurrah for the Wednesday nighters!) and kept coming back to something God has brought to the forefront of our time together. What is enough? How much is enough?

From Exodus and "Thou shalt not covet...." to Philippians and "I have learned the secret to being content." We, as mortals, are predisposed to covet. We're apt to latch on to some thing to fill that soul deep longing, pursuing it without regard to God's love for us, loving Him or loving other people. Add to that predisposition a culture in which the voice that reaches into every nook and cranny is that of advertisers whose very purpose in life is to cause us to be discontented with what we have (what God has given us - ouch!) and you have a potent mixture.

Paul says the secret of contentment is the strength of Christ. The strength of a love that gave all, conquered all, and is, in fact, the source of our longing. The beauty of that slays me. Maybe that's a good starting point.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Walking the dog

I was walking Moose, the dog, today. I'm not a pet person, how did this creature make his way into my life? (Oh, yeah, the daughter has a tender heart for all things that require cleaning up their poop.) Anyway, every walk for Moose is a grand exploration - he's the canine Lewis and Clark. But I noticed that when he sniffed something that he found especially interesting, he stiffened all four legs to avoid being pulled away from it and got so excited he just quivered all over.

So, that's my new barometer: what in my life causes a Moose-like reaction? Family (great husband and fabulous, creative, passionate kids), the chance to explore (cities, food, books, music, art) are at the top of the list....and we'll see what else gets added.....

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