A great friend of ours died this week. Fred received a new set of lungs in a transplant in 2009, after falling ill with a degenerative lung disease. He’d been doing pretty well since then, but became unwell again recently, and passed away in a hospice early this week. He leaves behind a beautiful wife and five grown children, all of whom are some of the most amazing human beings you’re ever likely to meet.
I’ve been doing some thinking about marriage lately, in light of the recent decision by New York state in the U.S. to legalise homosexual marriage, Continue Reading
Walk into your bedroom. Step around to the side the man sleeps on. If you will fix your gaze upon the space measuring about one and a half feet square which occurs to the side directly in line with his pillow, that, my friend, it is. You have before you Holy Ground.
Inviting God to visit His kingdom upon us reveals that we are welcoming of not just the prosperity He shares with His subjects, but also appreciative of the gracious rule that comes with that. More so than any other way to pray, “Your kingdom come” says to our heavenly Father, “I believe that you love me. I trust you. I’ll do what I need to do from this end. Please, let’s have it your way.”
The fact is that shame requires one essential thing in order to exist. Without this one thing, shame cannot survive. That thing is memory. I call it the tapes. The tapes is the video footage I play over and over in my head to remind me of what I’ve done and what exactly I deserve because of it. The tapes remind me I am stupid, dirty, have no talent and make people feel bad. The tapes show me there is proof people think I am stupid, have no talent and am a pretender, and one day everyone will find this out. The tapes are evidence of all my fears and insecurities and provide ample justification for all the crappy things people have ever done to me, as well as evidence of all the crappy things I’ve done. I am evil and must be punished, and the tapes help me remember this, providing instant and sometimes unwanted recall at a moments notice.
For the poor, things can only ever get better. Blessed are they, Jesus says, for they don’t just get something better, they get the whole Kingdom. Jesus is for losers.
When I doubt I’m in the right place doing the thing I’m meant to be doing, I find myself stumbling across Emmylou’s song, and remembering that evening, and that young man. I couldn’t help him – but he helped me. He’ll never know that, and it diminished the gravity and tragedy of his situation for me to say that’s why I saw him that evening. He was not helped, at least not be me, but I was helped to understand that I can make a difference, if I listen, and I obey that prompting. I am not one for just following my feelings everywhere they lead me, but sometimes what they say doesn’t just tell you about you – they tell you about something outside of yourself you need to pay attention to. Sometimes our feelings show us what hurts us, not so we can avoid it, but so we can run to where others hurt for the same reason.
I was talking to God last night. As you do. Well, as I do. So do some of my clients (I’m a mental health support worker) but that’s another story. Actually, it could be the same story. But I digress. Last night, I was talking to God about my anxiety. Come to think of it, some of my clients were probably doing that as well. I’d best get past this part, or we may never get anywhere.
A poem for my friend **Linda, the holiest woman I know, who happens to have schizophrenia.
Name has been changed.
There is one step beyond critics; the walking dead. These are the ones who have managed to get up out of being ineffective, self-absorbed and insecure, and have found a way to succeed but without shining or taking any risks whatsoever. They like to fashion themselves into leaders of the lying down dead. As long as everyone is in various stages of dead, the zombies are okay. But when you turn up, breathing and jumping around and acting like not being a walking dead person is a viable option, they get mad.
God likes men, and so do I. I like their humour. God made them funny looking too, which is always super. I also like the way men think; straight up and down – in levels, zones and and boxes. Women think like tangled string. I think like tangled string. My string needs to go in a box, onto a level, then be in a zone. That’s why I keep men handy at all times. I married one, gave birth to three and whenever they aren’t available, I go out into the street and fix my eyes on one, just to reassure myself all is right with the world; I will not be consumed by string, today.
If there are no poor with you, you haven’t been listening. Jesus never said anything about the great paying job we would always have with us, or the two-storey rendered brick four bedder we would always have with us. He didn’t even say anything about the husband or wife we would always have with us, the friends, the church, or the pile of money we have in the bank we would always have with us. The poor. They are what Jesus said we would always have with us. Strange. Where do you suppose they’e gotten to?